Getting that killer distortion sound???

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by leviathan2k6969, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. Hi guys

    I am heavily interested in composing metal music, especially in the style of In flames, Soilwork, Darkane etc.

    Up til now I have been recording by pluggin my GT-5 Guitar FX straight into my sound card and using various amp simulations etc.

    Recently I tried lining out the outputs from my decently sounding amp.

    The problem is that in both cases and get a distortion sound that is not very smooth. It just does not seem to have that pro sound.

    If I am looking to get the pro sound is there anything you guys can suggest. I am considering to mic out the amp, is there really such a huge difference by recording the guitars in this method?

    Are there any FX or EQ setting that I can apply to my distortion after recording?

    My setup currently consists of Cubase SX 3 and I have reason rewired in so I can have drums, synths etc. I am using Drum Kit from Hell drum samples.

    Any other tips on mixing/mastering such to get that pro sound?

    Thanks again in advance.

    Jean Louis
  2. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Some people will claim that simulators and di can sound as good as a mic'd cab but IMO they're just fooling themselves. I mic'd cab with some layered guitar tracks sounds pretty damn good. And if done right will get you somewhat near a pro sound.

    Here's a link to an interesting shootout. The guy recorded a clean signal di'd. Then ran that thru a tube amp, then a solid state, then a modeler, to give you examples of all three without the sound of the room. A few like the modeler better but to me the tube one sounds so buttery. I think on page 2 or 3 metalhead gives up which is what.
  3. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    I think you can get great metal sounds via NI Guitar Rig 2, but for the real real-deal you have to mic an amp. And a loud one at that. And usually utilizing different head and cabinet set-ups.
  4. The speaker has so much of an influence on the sound, so I always mic guitar amps. As for loud, it doesn't have to be loud, just the tone you want. On most of my amps, I like the tone when the volume control is in the 2-5 range, every now and then I like going balls out. Also, BACK OFF THE HIGH END. That is the biggest mistake with distorted guitars. Too much high end and you won't know what is going wrong. Think about what area of the audio spectrum the guitar will reside in, and try to emphasize that.
  5. Thanks guys, that is really useful. I am gonna give it a shot this weekend with the mic out and see what kind of results I get. Any advice on FX or EQ settings to get thickness and clarity?

  6. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    Bear in mind, variables like mic, mic placement, preamp and compressor selections factor into this "pro sound" production. A quick search on this site or related internet sites will give you an overview of techniques. Once you learn the basic rules-of-thumb, it's experimentation from there. Good luck.
  7. OK thanks.

    Last question.

    I have an M-Audio Delta 44 sound card and am usually running my sources directly into the sound card. For example Guitar -> FX -> SOund card. I have heard alot of talk about high and low impedance, and blanced and unbalanced inputs. Is this where a DI box comes into the picture. Is it actually necessary?

  8. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    In your case, you can just run right out of your pedalboard into your soundcard. A DI box can help you get a little better signal possibly, but it isnt necessary.

    A couple weekends ago, I recorded a metal band using a line6Vetta and we just used the direct signal via SPDIF for recording scratch tracks. Was hoping to end up with a somewhat usable track that could be mixed in with the main tracks, but.....Not a pretty sound. Luckily it sounded a whole lot better playing through the speakers and miked up and all. Of course it still didn't record quite like the tube amps it is modelling but what can you do.
    I get a lot of bands wanting to play with a retarded amount of fuzzy distortion on their amps. On sounds like this (when I can't get them to change), I have found that the key is picking out narrow EQ cuts to take out of the fuzz. Pick different spots for the EQ cuts on the double track, so that they each kind of give up a part of the sound spectrum to the other. In some of these kinds of situations, I find myself using as many as 5 bands of EQ cuts and boosts + highpass filter. Of course, don't just go cutting at random; listen (with your ears) to make it sound decent when everything is playing together. Oh, and on the boosts I mentioned, sometimes you can't get the proper chunk without a couple boosts to make the good stuff stand out from the fuzz. Usually somewhere in the midrange (700 - 3K, wider Q), and maybe find the chunky part in the lows anywhere from 100-350.

    I have no idea what possessed me to type out all this crap.
  9. Thanks Reggie

    Abundant amount of information for me to sink my teeth into. You guys know a good site I can host an MP3 such that I can let you guys hear my recording and give advice based upon my recording?

  10. djrr3k

    djrr3k Guest

    Forgive me if someone already said this, I didn't read all the posts but...

    In Flames Uses:
    Peavey 5150's and they are mic'd. YOU CANNOT SIMULATE IT. Trust me, I've engineered records for metal bands that sell millions of records and we mic amps. Don't expect to run an SM57 through a Delta soundcard and get the "In Flames" sound though. It's a start, but they have lots of custom gear as well as the fact we use high quality mic's, pre's, A/D, and good old fashion mic placement. Plus the player affects the tone just as much as the engineer.

  11. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004

    Word to your mutha. Peace
  12. A finger can be a powerful body part.
  13. Hey guys I put up an example of a small mix on this site


    Lemme know how I can improve these mixes. Thanks for the help.

  14. visualecho

    visualecho Guest

    I listened to the tracks on your soundclick page and first off I wanted to say that your playing/composition is phenomenal. As far as your tone goes I felt that for metal it was lacking a certain bite. Perhaps some eq adjustments (upper mids?) and an aural exciter could improve it. Also I didn't hear a bass guitar and that can really make a difference with rhythm guitar. Most of the advice here about miking is true but you can still get decent sounds direct with eq and filtering. my 2c. laters.
  15. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    I would have to agree that you've really got something going there. Great songs from what little I heard of them. Guitars need more balls. Get the bass sitting better with them. Kick drum is slightly over powering but all in all great songs man. Good work. Actually they're probably some of the better songs I've heard on these forums. Would be very interested in hearing the whole versions.

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