Axe Fx Ultra recording - Infernal Outcry (Progressive/Death Metal from Aus!)

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Daniel562, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Daniel562

    Daniel562 Active Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    Hey everyone! My band Infernal Outcry recently recorded a track using Axe Fx Ultras for the guitars and I was wondering what you think of the overall sound. Any criticism is welcome!! And if you like what you hear please don't hesitate to chuck us a like on facebook and let us know!

    Looking forward to your responses!


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  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I've had to record some of this stuff. Not my favorite genre. Your stuff sounds like amateur mud wrestling. What do I think of the guitars? Not much. That's for sure. The drums? There are drums? I think I heard a bass drum with an itch? Otherwise you have made an appropriately deathly sounding mix. So I guess you won?

    Was he successful in spitting out his vocal cords?

    I think death metal would sound really cool on violins, violas, cellos and a brass section. Don't forget the tympani.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

    I think Philip Glass may have already done it?
  3. Daniel562

    Daniel562 Active Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    Honestly don't know why you bothered to post that response. I don't mind if you don't like it, but the whole point was for constructive criticism. All you've basically done is say: this sounds like $*^t. Without any actual reference to any of it basically.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I think I told you what you needed to change? I need to change the whole mix. Do you want specific individualized recommendations? On a track by track basis? But first you need to understand what you are listening to and through.

    So you take a couple of well known top notch CDs by well-known Producers and well-known Engineers. I'm not talking about your current musical genre. We'll get there soon enough. So you pop these CDs in and you take a listen.

    What are you listening for and what are ya listening to? You're listening for definition. You're listening for the ability to hear each instrument clearly. You're listening for punch. You're listening for style and stylistic mixing techniques. You're listening into the mix. Your brain DSP is separating out certain instruments that are on top of others. You listen to those other musical instruments beyond the lead musical instruments. You dissect and evaluate what you are listening to. You listen to the low-end response. It's tight. It's not bloated. It's not flabby. It's not nondescript. What button did they push to get that? All of them. What plug-in did they use? All of them or non-of them. Did they work completely in the box or out-of-the-box? Pre-1995 much of everything was out-of-the-box. Boxes didn't do a whole lot back then. And nothing sounded like the analog stuff we had been using for so many years.

    Enter affordable digital recording in the new millennia. It's all drive-through. Everybody thinks they should be a single plug-in or a single button. There are for those beginners that need it. Professionals don't use that though others do. But they don't use the entry-level one-button plug-in's. We are artisans. We are craftspeople. We create our sounds. We don't necessarily rely on some other bozos plug-ins. We create our own however which way we want to. Some with digital. Some with analog. Some with both. Do people have their favorite plug-ins? Sure they do. You purchase a plug-in as you would any piece of equipment you wanted to use. You just cannot expect that purchasing a plug-in will turn you into George Massenburg or Elliott Shiner or Ed Cherney, Bruce, Geoff and all the rest.

    What makes you think that your engineering should sound like its professional? When you compare it to all of those other well-known recordings and you hear them to the same monitors you'll quickly know what I'm talking about. You'll be able to hear it for yourself because this business involves listening and hearing. It's not a video game. You've provided no information yet you expect answers. And that's childlike BS. So until you can sit down and describe what you did, how you did it, what you went about doing and why, how the heck are we supposed to help you with anything specifically when your question is mommy look I went poop. Doesn't it look good my poop? Well it looks and sounds like poop what else is it supposed to be it's obviously the poop you created and we can't tell what you ate the day before. It just looks like poop. There's your answers. You're getting this was somebody who doesn't do poop mixing or poop recording. And we didn't have anybody to ask. You just had to listen, professionally listen. And then you experimented until you got THAT particular sound you wanted to get from whatever you wanted to get it from.

    To speak of this on the whole is like postulating whether Pres. Kennedy was assassinated by a single shooter? Why does it matter now? He's poop. But people still want to know. So should you. Not who killed him but why you're recording and mix came out like Pres. Kennedy? It's all dead. Lifeless. It's not going to go anywhere. It's not one thing that's wrong with it other then being poop. Which is actually a haphazard combination of everything you had the day before. And it's hard to take something that has been chewed on, swallowed and then try to put it back together again. This is why there are professionals that do this and folks that have fun trying to do this.

    So if you want some real help list all specifics of the production. Don't leave anything out. Where gains and trim levels were set. How full the waveform is in the time line. The type and placement of the microphone. The type of preamp and/or computer audio interface or mixer that was used. What microphones were used and where they were placed. Your software. Your computer and the interface, all that stuff. Because that's how other engineers have to talk about things with other engineers if they are having some kind of engineering difficulties. Instead you're left wondering what the heck I was actually trying to say and you couldn't read between the lines.

    So here is my typical tracking and mixing sessions:
    drums get set up in the middle of the room
    57's on all of the drums. Sennheiser 421's are actually my favorites on drums. But then so are 57's.
    A pair of condenser overheads. Small ones in small rooms and bad acoustic environments. Large ones in good rooms would good acoustic environments. Sometimes maybe a pair of ribbons overhead? Overtop the left side and overtop the right side of the drums. Height to taste and room conditions. Sometimes it's a single MS stereo microphone overtop? And some other room microphones on separate tracks no matter how awful the room sounds.

    Bass guitars I always take direct. Sometimes through an active DI box. Sometimes through a passive transformer DI box. Sometimes from the preamp output from their amplifier head? Sometimes including a microphone on the cabinet? Sometimes only a microphone on the cabinet?

    Guitars always get a close up 57. And you might use another close up microphone like a U87 in cardioid with the pad switch on? Maybe a ribbon microphone instead? You might take both? You might only use one? You might only use one on one song and one on the other song? You might put it in the front of the cabinet and you might have a different one behind the cabinet if it is an open back amplifier? Sometimes a Sennheiser 421 can provide more balls? I may or may not elect to compress the crap out of the overhead microphones and then gate them? Instead, I might elect to do that to the room microphones on the drums and gate those room microphones against the snare drum and/or bass drum? And I'll definitely rolloff lots of the low-end on those microphones because it's just mud. Don't need that low end. It's just noise and distortion and mud.

    Any keyboards I'll take direct. This might be through active or passive direct boxes? It might even be from one of my API 3124 mixers sitting next to the keyboards and their outputs feeding my Neve microphone preamps padded way down? And maybe a distant microphone from the amplifier cabinet for that extra mojo? It might get used for stereo? It might not get used for stereo?

    Live vocals in the studio with the band and I'll use or let them have a handheld 58, SM or, Beta? Whatever I feel works best on their voice? On a stand, most likely my SM-7? I'll never use a condenser microphone with the band playing in the studio on the vocalist. If I'm overdubbing lead vocals? A 58 or a seven or a U-67 or 87 or KM 86, AKG 414 or 451, SM 81, RE 20 or maybe even a Sennheiser shotgun microphone? And then it goes into the API or the Neve preamp. That's patched into a vintage 1176. If that doesn't sound good? LA-3. If that doesn't sound good? DBX 165 A. If that doesn't sound good? Orban 418 A. And I generally use low ratios, medium slow attack times, medium slow release times or let the DBX RMS auto circuit do its thing? Sometimes I want hard knee. Sometimes I want easy over? And then after one of those, nothing until mix down. What kind of EQ did I start with? Simple, yeah simple. On the microphones if they have a low frequency rolloff switch, I'll engage it. Sometimes they don't. So I have the option of doing that on my EQ instead. But I always do that on vocals because of the Proximity Effect. Otherwise you get mud. Depending upon the microphone I use? I might put a little boost in around 12 kHz? Maybe add or subtract some mid-band EQ? But I'm never heavy-handed on my EQ during the tracking session. I go lightly during tracking. I can do more to it upon mixing. Sometimes I EQ before the compressor/limiter? Sometimes I EQ after the compressor/limiter? Sometimes I do both? Most of the time I do both. And most of the time, I still find myself using a 58 even in the studio on the lead vocals? Because they sound so right. There are plenty of things that sound better. I don't want better I want right. And only real engineers know how to make that kind of a decision.

    Do I use any cheap Chinese condenser microphones during the tracking process? I'm sure you expected a no answer? But in fact, on crappy rock 'n roll gigs, instead of the 87 or 414, That if they were damaged by a heavy metal/death metal wayward drumstick, I could be out between $1000-$3300. And so the $80 each, Samson Chinese large diaphragm condenser microphones may get used on the drum overheads? Do they sound awful? Only as awful as you make them. Which can be very easily accomplished LOL. No, they're fine. Best choice? Sure why not? Do I like the sound of the Chinese transformer inside the microphone? Hell no! But who cares really? If you want that condenser sound it's that condenser sound

    Time to mix down.

    I put gates on the bass drum, snare drum, tom-toms. Might add extra EQ for that extra punch, clarity and the right, je ne sais quoi. I don't use any look ahead on any of my software dynamics processing 99% of the time. That's BS. Look ahead is for a broadcast transmitter and inept engineers. I find it is only handy sometimes and rarely necessary. Because you want that certain amount of overshoot on the dynamics processing. You're making less dynamic range while making it appear you still have dynamic range. And then I run them into a downward expander not a gate. There's a difference. A gate is like a door slamming open and slamming shut. And that sounds pretty nasty on a vocal. So you use downward expansion. The only difference between that and a gate is that with a downward expander you can set however low you want it to expand down to. And I generally find not much more is necessary than 10 db. And you don't want a very fast release time as it will cause it to chatter like it's cold and freezing. And setting that threshold at the point in which that downward expander opens, is a critical adjustment. Much more critical than any compressor setting. But it's really nothing more than a compressor. It's being used differently. He doesn't cause any compression when there is sound it compresses when there isn't. It's an inverse compressor. And you don't add 100 db of compression so you don't want 100 db of downward expansion. I generally set my downward expansion to essentially the inverse of the amount of gain reduction that the compressor and/or limiter is reducing. And I get a vocal track normal sounding breaths, dynamics and the ability to place it and keep it where I want it and make every word 100% intelligible. I don't even listen nor can I comprehend lyrics in the song. To me, the voice is just another musical instrument but there is that factor of intelligibility and sweetness that also has to be part of this equation.

    And then you push the whole mix up at once altogether, everything. And then you begin your other tweaking. Then you start to add in your reverbs, your room simulators, your effects. Until everything is glued together. Until the mix is punching. Until you can hear everything, clearly and unencumbered by mud.

    And then you listen to that mix in every pair of speakers and headphones you can get your hands on in every location you can play it. Then you go back and repeat the procedure again. You do this however many times it takes. Then it's ready to be mastered.

    Taking a good mix to a mastering engineer is a good decision to make. Then ya have a third-party that comes into this as a professional listener to make any final corrections they deem necessary. And you'd ask them for whatever type of improvements you think you might need? You don't tell them what to do. You go to them to make your product even better because you can't. Most can't. Though you might think with all of these cool plug-ins that say Mastering this or, Mastering that, that plug-in gizmo software is going to make it sound like it was done by an actual mastering engineer. It won't. It isn't going to sound like a professional Mastering Engineer because it has nothing really to do with those plug-ins. That's false advertising. This is a process that requires way more stuff of hardware and other specialized software with a highly specialized playback system designed for critical decision-making that costs enough for a down payment on a house. And I don't think you're going to spend that kind of money on your own equipment?

    So this is how it's done. If you have done exactly what I have described? That all the should be required is a rethink on how this mix should culminate? What should it sound like? Who should sound like? And why would you want it to sound like everyone else's? Sometimes that's important. But I definitely don't. What I do sound like what I do. It doesn't sound like anybody else's stuff. I refuse to conform to moron-ism. My stuff stands apart. Some folks love it. And some folks say they hate it. Some of my engineer friends that I respect have given me complements such as "I can hear there is something almost there". Which simply tells me, they can't do what I do even though I know they do very excellent hit making work. They're threatened by my engineering. Because when you pay me, I'm hard to beat. When ya don't pay me you still get something wondrous and I have a lot of fun. And a lot of people rely upon me to give them pure Remy David mixes. So I think it's pretty funny when my professional engineer colleagues, whom I've only said glowing things about their engineering should give me a left-handed compliment like that. And that's because their mixes are all Pro Tooled around with. And they know I don't use Pro tools to do what I do. And they are jealous of the equipment I have because they are using Avid. They've already told me they hate the microphone preamps. Guess they made a great purchase decision eh? It suits their needs and that's all that matters. It doesn't suit my needs. Their stuff sounds highly processed and released slick. My stuff sounds like good old-fashioned 1970s/80s rock 'n roll. Because I have the technique and I have the equipment to deliver.

    That new movie produced by Dave Grohl called " SOUND CITY " is out. Get it. Watch it carefully. Listen to it carefully. That's what you're going for. It's that sound you want. Compare it to yours. This came from a need console with extremely simple ass equalizers and just a couple of different limiters. No digital anything. And it's a sound to behold. But you're not working that way. You have to rely on what you have ITB. And it does a mighty fine job at emulating and reproducing all of those hardware devices we've been using for the past 40+ years. And they come right close. So it ain't the equipment that's the problem. It's the technique in the use thereof. And my friend, that takes time. It ain't drive-through. So you just have to go back and mix it again. And then you go back and do it again. And then you do it again until it sounds like the stuff on the CDs and in the movie. Right now we are in the middle of the Huckleberry Hound cartoon and we haven't gotten to the end of The Wizard Of 0Z. Both were shot with 2 Dimensional equipment. The cartoon looks flat because it is flat. The Wizard of Oz looks three-dimensional even though it is two-dimensional. It has depth. It has width. It consists of a broad palette of colors. The cartoon uses very few colors. They both looked colorful but one is more so colorful than the other. And mixing audio is no different.

    Does that answer some of your questions? Or did you think I should tell you to put another 2 DB at 10 K, on the hi hat? Because I ain't going to do that. That's for you to work out.

    You probably also think it requires superduper monitor speakers? It doesn't. In fact it could be quite the opposite. Plenty of hits have been mixed upon Yamaha NS-10's. In fact it's almost a preferred monitor by many. I hate them. I used Aura Tones in the past and FOSTEX 6301's powered 4 inch monitors, today. Then there are the six-inch two-way monitors by KRK. And the JBL 4311/12's of which there are two pairs in the control room powered from a Crown DC 300 A version 2. And then I still play it in the car and other home stereos. Take it down to the audio store and play it there. Then I'll stop by Best Buy and play it there. Then I'll stop at the computer store and play it there. And they repeat the process until it sounds like George's stuff, Geoffrey's stuff, Bruce's stuff, Elliotts stuff, Eddie's stuff, all that stuff. And I don't stop until I get there. You kids today think everything should be drive-through and all ya get with that is McDonald's Happy Meals. And that's fine for most of ya. But you have to want to rise above the crowd and the riffraff and the nonsense and the false advertising marketing gobbledygook BS.

    I got a copy of that movie yesterday. I've watched it twice. It's a one and a half hour commercial for me in my studio that Dave does not know even did. Because if you look at the control room in that movie, in his studio, you are looking at what I have on six tires, exactly the same control room. And it's because of that sound. No plug-ins needed. And I'll lay things back to analog tape if I think it needs it? Most of the time it does not need analog tape. But it does need that analog control room. And that's because I can largely create much of that nonlinear analog tape style saturation, obtainable through this type equipment. It ain't attainable in much of the entry level and/or even high-end boutique preamps, alone. It requires those dozens of extraneous transformers and other amplifications stages that deteriorate the sound just the right way. And I see and hear a lot of people moving back to this. Because it blows the digital crap and the digital crunch away. But digital done well still sounds wonderful in spite of the fact it is still florescent light PCM like sound to my ears. So as a whole I vehemently dislike PCM of any bit depth or sample rates. It still sounds like PCM and that does not sound like analog, no way, no how. But it's still 100% adequate for the current state of the art.

    So whether this helps or not, this is how it's done. The rest is up to you. I worked away real engineers work because I am a real engineer. I'm not a wanna be. I'm not academically misinformed and misled. I've been mentored by a couple of guys for a couple of years when I was still in my mid-teenage years. And that goes back to 1971-73. When good equipment was too expensive and entry-level equipment wasn't worth the salt on your food. And you still had to make good recordings with that cheap crap that you owned. So ya had to do enough study and investigation into the circuitry and the differences between your stuff and the good stuff. Ya had to understand its limitations. Then ya had to learn how to work around those limitations. Then ya had lousy reverbs that used springs ugh. And that was fine for rock 'n roll but it wasn't fine for the operatic and symphonic work I was heavily ensconced in doing. So my reverb for my home studio cost me well over $3000 for a used unit. And it took up nearly an entire room that had to be soundproofed. And the equipment I was using in the early 1980s was from the 1960s and 1970s. And I'm still using that same equipment today. What's that tell ya? We all know the new stuff is usable and decent but at the same time... we know it's all crap. But that's the crap in which we must use for the most part.

    I think after enough people see this Dave Groll movie, the cost of used 2 inch 24 track machines which has plummeted down to the $5000 area will go back up and tries again? People are going to want decent analog consoles again. And Chris who has been running this site for 14 years is now also coming to that exact same conclusion in a slightly different configuration. And that's called a hybrid facility. Yet he still does not have enough of these wondrous sounding preamps that all match, to mic up, an entire band to track all at once. And that's my specialty. That's my investment. That's what cost me $150,000 of which I will never see my entire return on and I know that. I'm an artist I don't care. My art is extremely important to me so I must have the extremely important equipment in which to do my job with. But I could obtain that same sound with just a couple of 500 series units in a 500 series rack if I was just going to screw around with things at home. But I still would have at least eight decent microphone preamps if nothing else. Because that's where it's at, baby. And those things cost dearly. You don't go down to the used car Mart and find a Rolls-Royce generally.You don't even find that vintage Corvette Stingray. You find Toyotas. You find Ford's, Chevrolets, Nissan, Mercury's & Hondas. All do a great job. All get you from point A to point B. Some get you there in a little more style, than the others but they are still all run-of-the-mill. And that works fine for most folks. So I don't necessarily expect your recording to sound stellar? But I'd still like to hear the instruments properly and the vocals properly. And you can give me an excuse that this is the genre and the way it's supposed to sound. That's BS. It's because everybody else is doing just as lousy a mediocre job as yourself and error buddies in competition to sound like each other's mediocre self's. And if that's your goal? Then you're there. If you want better? You need only listen to the pros. Not the kid next door. Not your ever favorite awful recording either. I'm not talking about trying to make you sound like all of the other mediocre idiots. I want you to rise above them. I want you to be a good example that you're setting for others to follow. The real art of recording. It's not the art of playing video games with software. That's a different course for tomorrow from a different teacher than myself.

    Your good. I'm hearing good coming from you. It's all in the balance and the tweaking. You'll get there. I know it. So do you. But only if you want to. Lots of folks think it's too hard or say those other pros have just the right equipment. That's simply an excuse for lousy engineering technique. A good engineer can obtain a good sound on the worst equipment. Will it be the best sound? Hell no. But it will still sound professional. And that's what you're working towards.

    You didn't think ya get a book like this did ya? I could go on forever.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:

    THAT was a great answer!

    Take note I'm not an expert in that genre, BUT there are also issues between the articulation and timing with the drums.bass and guitars.
    They are not quite tight enough, that's what stood out in the intro!


    Take a CLOSE look at the waveforms of each track.
  6. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    Dec 11, 2004
    This post seems more like free advertising of the band's music more than an actual desire for mix critiques. I thought the song sounded nothing more than a scratch track used for writing guitars. Drums sounded like a guitar player wrote the parts. And there's absolutely no depth. just all guitars straight up the middle, can hear a drum in there sometimes, vocals are loud and not fun to listen to.
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