Guitar Tone...

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by corrupted, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Hi folks... I have an issue with some recently recorded guitar tracks.

    -The levels of each track are fine
    -I used my Marshall DSL50 head and a yamaha 4x12 cab
    -I miked it with a Shure SM57
    -They were recorded direct into sonar, no outboard processing

    So, the good news is that the recorded tracks are in good condition, they haven't been manipulated. But, they sound dull and lifeless. There isn't much room ambiance because they were close-miked, but they don't have the brightness or presence I was hoping to achieve. I don't really want to re-record any of this if I don't have to... but I can if I am required to do so. I'd like to find a way to do it in post with plugs and EQ, because I have multiple tracks layed down in more than one song.

    The problem is, I want a nice thick tone that's not boomy, and has enough crunchy high end to punch correctly in my mix. I can't seem to get that without making it too shrill or ear-piercing. I've EQ'd a ton of guitar tracks before, but for some reason these sound strange and flat. Part of the problem is that when I recorded them I didn't realize that the tone was this dull.

    So, I used a Cakewalk SonitusFX PEQ and just rolled the highs up a little bit (from about 2k and up)... but all that gave me was a nasty "tunneled" sound in the 4-6k range. I used a narrow band in that range to drop those freq's, but then it sounds tunelled through the 2-3k range.
    (I describe it as a "tunneled sound" for lack of a better term. By "tunneled", I mean "canny" or "tunneled through a certain frequency range". It's really an *overprocessed* sound, that's my best guess. Someone please tell me if this makes any sense!!!)

    I can post a sample of the dry track tonight, maybe that would help. Anyone willing to give it a shot? I'm not looking for someone to mix my song... but maybe some advice on what I could do to improve the tone would be nice! Maybe an exciter?
    I tried running it through a dynamic distortion to break up the highs a little bit, but I ended up with a different type of distortion, same tunneled sound. No luck there! Anyone have any ideas?

    Also, could it be because I'm busing them together into a stereo bus and EQing them through the same PEQ? It still retains the stereo space, but maybe because they are EQ'd identically I'm getting this nasty sound?
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    OK, so you recorded these guitar racks, and each one sounded great on its' own, right? But when you play them all back, it's CrapCity?
    When somebody complains about it being "nasally", "like it's coming out of a tunnel", or "like a megaphone", I say, "Can you say ' comb filtering'?
    This is a phase cancellation issue. What happens when you combine that stereo mix down to MONO? You always want to do that to check your mixes out for phase issues. A proper stereo mix won't change much when you do that.
    Anyway, did you simply record each track with ONE mic? Did you throw in a direct signal from a POD or such other evil device just to piss the Prince of Phase Coherence off? Or did some of the track(s) you first laid down inadvertently get "bled over" to the next? A simple thing like a latent monitor signal that gets into the fray can screw things up. I'm not a ITB type of guy. I like a "real" recorder and board to mess up, err, mix on. But even in the days of MDMs, I could take a single track on a Tascam DA88 and delay it by a 'hair' and clean things up. I'll bet that you can do the equivalent of that ITB with a plug-in. Try delaying 1 of the tracks by a few milliseconds. Play with that. Take all the other $*^t off. You don't need no stinkin' exciters, EQ Doth Screw ( you may quote me on that!), and distortion plugs sound like garbage. Try pulling tracks out and see what gives. Pan stuff to the center....did that help or make it worse?
    Anyway, WTF do I know after 30+years putting a 57 in front of a Marshall cab? (GOD, it HAS been 32 years!!!). But what you describe really sounds like a phase issue.
  3. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I hadn't assumed it was a phase issue... I will look into that. It seems that each individual track reacts the same when soloed, so I'm not sure. I have to play with it a bit more.

    Okay, to answer a few questions you asked.
    -No bleeding involved, each one is clean.
    -Nothing was run direct, it was all using an SM57 on a 4x12, but I didn't move the mic between recording each track

    I will play with the phasing and test it, though... that may be what it is. There is no audible "phase shifting", it seems locked consistantly into a certain phase, but that does seem to describe it.

    If it is a phasing issue even though they are separate takes, just nudging one off might fix it? Definitely worth the 2 seconds it takes to try it!

    Thanks for the time, moonbaby, I will let you know.
  4. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    So, the mic is at about a 45 degree angle horizontally towards the lower third of the bottom right speaker in a 4x12 cab with Celestion GT75 (I think) speakers.

    It's an old sm57... I have a couple of other mics I wanted to try so I could see if that was the problem. It could also be the room it's in, I might point it at something more dead so as not to get too much of a plate reverb, although the recording isn't really "ringy" that I notice. (I don't know if the clip has any stops in it or not, can't remember)

    I checked into phasing... that didn't seem to be the issue. Even on this single track it's got that nasty vibe to it. I used no outboard EQ, just straight into a Mackie ONYX board's mic preamp.
    So... if you'll notice the ringy "locked phaser" kind of tone... any ideas?
  5. hey dude corrupted dude could it possibly because you spend too much time being a pedophile and not enough time learning how to play guitar dude. post some audio of your guitar work, i'd like to hear, maybe i'll shoot you some back dude pedophile.

    to fully answer your question, your guitar sounds lifeless because you are a lifeless guitar player, and you aren't worth a good god damn.

    seriously quit trying to over-analyize it, you aren't any good
  6. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I'll keep that in mind! It took my eight years to learn that riff, though... I actually had to sell my parents to get the lessons.
    It's unfortunate, but I wanted to be like you... and I figured I'd sell everything I had to be half as good... I guess I should have sold more because I'm still not good enough. :cry:
    Please excuse me while I go cry.

    So, your suggestions? I should probably go get some EMG's and a mesa cab or a peavey XXX metalllllllllllll amp? Maybe I should blow some more lines? I dunno... I just want to be a pedophile. It's tough when I don't know how. Show me?
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Yo corrupted -

    I know you said that you tried different placements, but I'm thinking that very well may be the root of all the evil here. (Well, not ALL the evil here, but at least that dealing with your guitar sound...)

    The 57 is not a very good mic for off-axis work and since you have it angled at a good 45 degrees, there's definite off-axis going on here. 57s off axis sound like someone is pinching the nose of whatever is being reproduced. I know it's technically pointed latteraly at the cone, but bear in mind the pistonic motion of the cone propels vibrations forward, not inward.

    Try coming at a straight angle instead of a 45 degree.

    BTW - cute drawings. I'm going to print them out and hang them on my fridge and tell everyone that a "special" kid in school gave them to me.... :lol:


    PS -

    Good luck with that pedophile thing. I hear it's a tough racket to break into nowadays, what with the FBI cracking down on everyone. I mean, just last week, they busted up our local NAMBLA chapter!
  8. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
    Yea, yea... I'm no graphic designer.... but it served the purpose, didn't it?

    HAHAHA! NAMBLA!! Nice.

    But, thanks... I will try pointing it directly. How far away would you suspect? I think I had it about 6 inches back.

    Also, I have a Shure PG81 live instrument mic that I think I'm going to try...
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    6 inches are okay... with a 57, I've been known to get even closer.

    With a ribbon - 8 to 10 is what I like...
  10. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Cool, I'll bump it up a bit. I also need to deaden the vibe of the room a bit more, hopefully that will tighten it up as well as cutting some gain.

    Also, I have a better Ampeg cabinet that I'm going to try, and it runs at 16 ohm, so it ouputs a bit quiter with the same amount of poweramp warmth... but it's also brighter because it's not so used and abused.

    I have a Samson kick drum mic I was thinking of trying... I'll just hook all three up and compare. I'll post samples if I come up with anything spectacular.

    Thanks again!
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Cucco has given you some very good advice. I think that the mic you will end up using will still be the 57. You didn't indicate what you are plugging the mic into. Personally, I would think that the PG81 will be a bit too sensitive and harsh on a cab, but ya never know. And I regularly place a 57 (or 421, RE20,etc) much closer to the grille of a cab-maybe 2".
    BTW, I have been playing guitar since '64...Don't stop learning, it's what keeps it exciting!
  12. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Okay, so I put the SM57 straight on, about 1"3" away from the speaker, and more towards the center of the cone. I didn't even need to bother with the PG81.
    I also turned down the overall volume. I love the poweramp overdrive in this amp when you crank it (that's why I only bought the 50watter), but for recording it's better to use the preamp distortion afterall. Imagine that! haha

    So yea, I played with it a bunch and re-recorded the tracks. I'm pretty friggin happy with the results! Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help!

    Oh, and I was running the mic directly into a Mackie ONYX mic preamp... the only control you have is trim/gain. That keeps things nice and easy... straight foreward.

    Thanks again!
  13. you think because you have a DSL50 you are some all-star tube player and have an enlightened attitude towards your playing? you probably still have your cab loaded with complete $*^t. but that's besides the point, you can rant your sarcasm all you want, but it's not going to make your playing get any better. who gets lessons anyways? what is all this reference to selling things and doing lines? what colour are the lines?

    you're not a tone monster, you're not creative, you don't have technical ability. so quit trying to spout off like a little pathetic baby in an attempt to make it better. be a little more mature about it, get pissed and go break a string or two practising. this honestly sounds like something done on a BR-900cd. ill stand waiting, ready for you to throw a sarcastic fit on your next comment. your comments are almost as predictable as your guitar playing might seem to be.

    and im trying to help you, right? why else would i be on this forum commenting. sheesh do your homework on guitar and listen to me already. at the very least don't be so predictable.

    also am i reading this right, you had a close mic positioned 6 inches back?
    if thats so my only question is, are you retarded?
    cucco, why is it that you don't feel the need to blatently correct this jackass and tell him that he has no clue in response to a half foot away 57?

    you know what, because i sure as hell don't think it has anything to do with being knowledgable towards audio engineering.
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Uh...dude???? Why the hostility? Did Mommy not hold you enough as a kid? Or did she drop you a few times??? Perhaps she sprinkled cocaine on your corn flakes.... I dunno, but dude - ease up or you'll find yourself off this board - permanently.

    As for the 6" close mic...that's perfectly fine. In fact, I've put 57s feet away from a cab and gotten good results. It all depends on the sound you want at that moment in time. Especially given that it's a 4 driver cab, a well placed medium distance mic can do a great job of picking up that massive sound.

    So, LS, please take your prozac and come back when you're feeling happy and warm.

  15. Mario-C.

    Mario-C. Active Member

    Nov 17, 2002
    Mexico City
    Home Page:
    I'd try another mic ... something like an RE20 works great
  16. corrupted

    corrupted Guest


    Yea, you tell 'em!
  17. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Don't worry about him, I don't get worked up over a message board. My sarcasm may seem like I'm offended, but it's just dripping, dripping wet sarcasm. Kinda like Liquid's dripping va... oh, nevermind.

    Thanks for the input, though. I've gotten it to work out well now, even though I'm a no-talent hack.

    Got any extra corn flakes?
  18. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006

    liquid hey .... over here man .... incase you forgot... the lithium only works if you take it....
  19. so youve described and prescribed my condition as; depression: prozac, bi-polar: lithium, CNS stimulant: cocaine and you've said by reason of poor parenting effecting in mental retardation. now you are calling the millions who are bi polar, have depression, and take cocaine retards. who are only retarded because they've been poorly parented.

    since prozac has a much different effect than cocaine, which do you professionaly prescribe? either way your correlation of perscriptions is possibly unparalell to that of my actions. who say lines have to be cocaine? god your so simple minded man. on one sentence you seem to be unanimously bashing drugs but on the other hand you prescribe them quite fluently. either way i just wanted to express my disdain for corrupteds corrupted guitar playing. and corruption is bad kids.

    either way who will i turn to when i need an expert opinion, you guys. because the way you state your case they aren't opinions, they are god's word. however credible that may be.

    man at least my comments had musical references, look how childish you look cucco. but look in the mirror before you answer that. your familiarity of drugs just shows me you have no idea what you're talking about sheesh
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    At least hes laying it out for all to see... Hack or not...ya give props....Where's your stuff mister liquid studios....Gawd I pray you dont actually charge people to work there....Mines on the 12.95 w/shipping....twenty even for you LS.

    pony up if you got the nerve...until then "judge not lest ye be also judged".................prick.

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