Home Guitar Recording

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by 40rods, Nov 14, 2009.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. 40rods

    40rods Guest

    Hi recording community,
    I'm not a newbie at recording, ive been doing it for about 6 years. I started out with a 4 track and worked my way up to a multitrack recording which i now use, the Tascam 2488neo Portastudio. It works great for me and I enjoy working on it.
    My recordings come out well, but one thing I have always been dissatisfied with was the sound of my guitars in the mix. They do not pop out, no matter how much eq i put on them. The seem to blend in to back noise, and they have no sort of ton that many recordings have. Usually the guitar in the mix shines, where you can hear it clearly and it sounds seperate from other tracks.

    Now, is there anything I can do to get this sound? I dont think it is my guitar tone because I have constantly tried to clear it up, so i think it might be something to do with how I am recording it. Would a preamp for my mic work? Could I use it in front of my Tascam? Is there any other way to get this sound that I'm not thinking of? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
  2. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    Sup Bobby, first a couple of questions...

    What types of guitars, acoustic or electric?
    What other instruments do you have in the recording as well?
    If electric, is it high gain or low gain?

    When I used to amp my stuff, I would always EQ the guitars really, really hot. This was wrong, all it did was compete with the vocals.

    Something that is also very important if you want the recording to sound high gain, you do NOT record it high gain. It's counter intuitive but it's one of the things I've learned on these boards, and is clearly visible when I started using direct in instead...

    I have recently moved from micing my amp to using guitar rig on the PC. I couldn't be happier. It's almost like MIDI. All you do is record the performance (granted, the pickups do matter here) and you can model it however you like. I run the program in the background while I record, so I can hear it wet while recording dry. What seemed to me as super low gain through guitar rig freakin POPS once I have tracks on both sides. Throw in some EQ to remove the rumble, and some compression, and it has gotten the sound that I, like you, have been after for so long.

    But to answer more of your question, I'm sure it's not your tone. From what I've learned using guitar rig, is that to get that super clear sound you need to remove as many outside sounds as possible. Turn your amp up loud (without clipping the input) and try to remove an reverb that might be affecting the mic, and keep your amps reverb to a minimum. In my old tracks you could hear me hitting the strings cus I didn't have my amp up loud enough cus it would bother people (hence why direct in is AWESOME, I'm up till 4 every morning silently making music in a dorm room). Just gotta get that signal as clear as possible to your interface.

    I'm not a pro at all, and sorry if I gave you wrong advice. Someone else will be able to chime in. This is all based on my experiences thus far in recording.
  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    Amp modeling might be the answer, while sims have come a long long wat they still can't really replace IMO the sound of a great amp, guitar well miced. I know you probably won't believe this but you don't like the sound of your guitar recorded? Then you don't have good tone from your amp, at least not for recording. Remember mics only hear what is there, if you are using an industry standard mic, like a 57, Audix i5, or something of that nature the mic is recording exactly what's there. The reason you think it sounds good may be because volume= percieved tonal quality. The first thing to try if you want to mic it is tweaking all your controls and recording, playback and LISTEN. Set your amp up to the sound you hear from the monitors. Garbage in = garbage out and if your amp lacks quality so will your recordings. A preamp is very unlikely to solve the situation. The Tascam may be limiting you however. I have yet to hear a portastudio whose recordings I thought were good but I never tried Tascam. I have used some of their other products and was underwhelmed by the quality.
    After you read this post back about what exactly you are using.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Recording tone is different than live tone, this is true. The time element involved is an important factor. Think of the milliseconds it takes for the sound to travel to your ears as opposed to the microseconds it takes the sound to travel to a close mic. Also, the free-air resonance allows the tone to develop so by the time it reaches your ear, it has been changed from its initial tone at the speaker. If you like your tone in the room where your ears are, then put a mic there.

    Our ears perceive tones based on environment and have the ability to effectively filter anomolies in a room full of noise.

    Thats why we trust them when placing mics.

    Without knowing much about your setup other than the recorder I have a couple of things that may help as they are very general in nature and will work for anyone.

    Decouple the amp from the cabinet, floor, sidewalls, corner, wherever its sitting and can be affected by its environment. If its an openback combo, get it out away from surfaces that are hard and reflective. This includes the floor. If its a head and cabinet, get the head off the cabinet. The sympathetic vibrations and overtones are reflected into the tubes and will translate into the overall sound. And not in a good way. Its not usually much unless you are earsplittingly loud, but its always enough to make a difference.

    If you are recording a multi-speaker cabinet, putting a mic BEHIND the cabinet as well as on the best sounding speaker can go a long ways to giving an organic 'presence' not achieved any other way.

    Dont use EQ when tracking, other than to cut the 80hz and below. Boosting EQ at tracking adds phase anomolies you dont really hear but are evident at the mix. If you MUST EQ, then a narrow bandwidth on an inductor type of parametric EQ is cool. You dont have that in the Tascam so avoid it. If you can switch the EQ out of the path at tracking and perhaps only high-pass the track then do this. Shorter path= higher fidelity.

    Think of tracking as the direct path to your mix. Create the environment that allows all the instruments potentials to be realized from the beginning. This is not 'fix it in the mix' mentality. This is getting it right from the top. You isolate in order to blend.
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Hey Bobby, I think you are approaching it the wrong way. At least from what I can gather from your post as I still don't even know if you are miking an amp or plugging straight in or what mic you are using or anything. IMO and in my experience, the proper way to approach home guitar recording is:

    1. Guitar/Amp choice
    2. Mic choice
    3. Mic position
    4. Room Acoustics
    5. Mic Position
    6. Amp Settings
    7. Mic Position
    8. Beer/Snacks
    9. Mic Position
    10. Press Record
  6. KrisA

    KrisA Guest

    Dumb noob question but is this why I have seen some guys record guitar using two mics, one up close to the amp and one at a distance, I am guessing to capture some of the sound the way it is when it actually hits you (assuming you don't stand 3" away from your amp when adjusting your tone settings)?

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