How To Get A Good Metal Guitar Sound

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by aspguitar, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. aspguitar

    aspguitar Guest

    Alright so I'm having a lot of trouble getting a good distorted sound. I don't know if it is the mics, micing techniques or just poor eqing. I'm playing through a Mesa Dual Rectifier and getting a great sound that way. Im using one sm57 which goes through a presonus firepod and i just use cubase le's built in eq's. Any suggestions?
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Sounds good in the room, but not when tracked?

    This is why we use multiple mics.

    What the mic picks up directly at the speaker versus what you hear in the room are two wholly different sounds altogether. Not to mention the fact that just moving the 57 a tiny bit away from or closer to the dust cap (center of the driver) will result in a different tonality, as will angle and proximity.

    Do you have any more 57's?
    How about any other mics, period?

    It's often good practice to mix in a little room mic; one single mic on a cabinet sometimes just isn't enough. Also, if you have an open back cab you can throw a mic behind it and mix that to taste.
  3. aspguitar

    aspguitar Guest

    I have many sm57's because my brother uses them on his drums. I also have an sm58, beta 52 and 2 rode nt5's. I have tried using 2 sm57's and have tried 2 57's with the nt5 but still the sound is never that good.
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    If the sound is never that good then your mic technique needs improvement.
    Where have you tried the different mics?
    Are you setting your gain structure properly?

    If you find a spot in the room where the cabinet sounds 'perfect' then that's where you want to put a mic (including at ear level if you can), as well as the front of the cab for the direct sound. Send your multiple mics to separate tracks so you can give them discreet EQ, gain and phase.

    I've been able to capture some of my favorite guitar sounds by setting an amp in bathrooms, dining rooms, and laundry rooms, to name a few.

    Also, try facing the cabinet at a wall. The wall will act as a baffle.

    For other tips, search here for keywords such as: Guitar Tone, Distortion, Heavy Metal, Mic Placement, etc.
  5. aspguitar

    aspguitar Guest

    What i normally do it put both sm 57's within 2 inches of the amp. One is near the center of the cone and the other closer towards the edge. This however doesn't seem to ever get close to the sound that i actually hear from the amp itself.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    2 inches is a mile to some mics. For heavy guitar I stick a 57 right on the grill slightly off-center of the dust cap.

    Everything else is positioning by listening.

    If youre getting more fuzz and fizz than you want in your distortion, a great tip is to simply back off the distortion at the amp.

    Its the old 'a little goes a long way' thingy...........

    You might spend some time describing just what about the sound you're not getting....It helps to narrow down the process for us.

    I find, most times, that the MAJOR reason someone is NOT getting a great sound out of a great sounding rig is the room or the position of the amp in the room.

    Like Ben said, use your environment to enhance the sound. Every surface around you will display particular sets of responses to a sound being produced around them. Experiment experiment experiment.
  7. aspguitar

    aspguitar Guest

    O i when i said within 2 inches i meant that 2 inches is basically the furthest away i put my mics. I have tried putting them right up on the grill. Ill try some of the techniques u guys said though. As far as the sound, I just want a full/clear distortion if that makes sense. It needs to be clear enough so that all the notes are heard instead of fuzz because I'm playing stuff like human abstract/ trivium (ascendancy)/all that remains which doesn't just have heavy power chords. In these bands, the guitars sound like they have very high gain but somehow it doesn't interfere with clarity. The sound that I am getting on the other hand is lacking. It is fuzzy and doesn't stick out. Also when i palm mute i get this loud, big bassy noise that i do not hear straight from the amp.
  8. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Also, Google 3 to 1 rule.

    If you're putting your mics that close together then I guarantee you are getting phase cancellation. The direct result of which for you on your cabs is lack of low end definition, and an overall thinning of the tone.

    You've gotta separate those mics, my man!
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    Definitely with Bent there - there's really no reason to put 2 57s that close to the cone.

    I hear what you're saying though - you're getting a mid-heavy sound that doesn't cut through. Dynamics have a tendancy to do this.

    Try putting up a single 57 and play with not just the placement left to right and up and down, but try adjusting the angle.

    Then, with that single mic placed to where you get your best sound, figure out what you're missing from the sound. Use your second mic to get this.

    If this is high-end, cut through the mix sound, try those Rodes up a few feet and aimed in at the amp.

    As for the palm muting, simply cut the LF on the mics. Palm muting can cause a lot of cone excursion on your amp which will translate to a large thump on your 57.

    When I absolutely struggle getting the sound I want, I've been known to take a direct in plus the amp and us the DI to add that little extra to it. (Whether I use an amp sim or simply the sound through a phaser and distort the hell out of it.)
  10. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Cucco's right.

    Additionally, if we're gonna talk EQ - you don't want to reach for them until you've got the sound you want on tape. Then, when you do, the best metal sounds are achieved EQ wise by cutting HF and LF via shelving.
    You do not want a lot of high sizzle in a distorted rhythm guitar, trust me. I know it's easy to reach up there and add it, but don't. It will fit in the mix better, and when people play it back in their car stereos and what not they're gonna put a DJ smile on it nine times out of ten anyway, which will boost those highs and lows even more.

    The worst sound in the world, in my opinion, is the sound of rhythm guitars' high freq's that compete with and / or match the highs in the overheads and hi-hat - the number one mixing mistake of greenhorn fader pushers!

  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Your amplifier and speakers are too large and turned up too high. That's the problem. You like a sense of being overwhelmed which doesn't quite happen all by itself nor is it translated by a microphone. That comes from a good solid track that you've recorded of the guitar and a lot of further manipulation and/or other microphones and re-amping with plenty of time delay, blah blah, etc.

    Small amplifiers sound much bigger on microphone than big amplifiers in small rooms. It's the law of physics. You have too much fizz and then you feel ick. So then you use a smaller amplifier speaker combination. You'll save on gas and eliminate your constipation problems at the same time when you crap yourself from its sounding so good.

    A regular girl
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    I wanted to touch on this post just a bit more in regards to guitar tone , not just for metal, but for all guitar tones.

    I agree with Remy in that a smaller amp can sound huge.

    I also want to mention that getting the amp off of the floor will eliminate most of the comb filtering anomolies associated with the speakers interacting with the floor surface.

    Auralex as well as other acoustics companies make pads just for this and they work quite well.
  13. aspguitar

    aspguitar Guest

    Thanks for all the good advice. I've been really busy lately but ill work with the sound soon. Also in response to amp size, my small 15 watt crate just wont do the job and i don't have any in between amps. The one i recorded on however was done at very low volumes and not overwhelming at all. The volume knob was around 1.
  14. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Maribor, Slovenia
    This is a good start:
  15. I record all my guitars by micing up my Fender 25 watt amp with an SM57 and it sounds pretty good, with some adjustment.
  16. 357mag

    357mag Active Member

    Micing an amp can be a pain in the ass. There are several factors at play. Room acoustics, mic placement, mic selection, etc.

    Not to mention that most tube amps don't sound very good at a real low volume. To get a beautiful heavy sound out of a tube amp you gotta crank it up a bit so you're invoking not just the preamp tubes but the power tubes as well. A louder volume will also invoke speaker distortion which is also important.

    A great alternative to micing an amp is to use one of the Line 6 POD's. I have the X3 and it's emulations are killer.
  17. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I agree!

    I disagree!
  18. 357mag

    357mag Active Member

    Well at least we agreed on one thing!
  19. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Atlanta, Ga
    I think your mentality here is spot on, but unfortunately that won't translate as well with that amp. The Mesa is just one of those amps (along with many other high gain/high wattage amps) that sounds better when you turn it up. Low volumes on an amp like that are going to give you more preamp tube fizz rather than pushing it to make the power tubes work (EL34s in your case?)
    For your genre, a cranked Recto through a 4x12 is a little slice of heaven...I know first hand as I used to do the same thing with the old Mark2C+ (yes, I sold it...shoot me now), however those cranked up instances usually translate better when you're in a live scenario, not when you try to record at home. The idea with a smaller amp doesn't pertain only to size, but in wattage too...this is how/where they can shine on a recording.

    My recommendation for you would be to back a GOOD bit off of the gain, turn the amp up and the double your tracks. I know that it won't "feel" right when you're palm muting cause Boogies are all about the chunka-chunka mutes...but try to adapt a bit and see if you can get away with still playing like you play, yet without the complete sound that you're used to. Id' also suggest playing the amp at volume for a good 20 minutes before recording as tubes and speakers need some warm up time. If you're throwing the mic up cold, you're going to be more prone to get fizz. Also, add MIDRANGE...I know it doesn't lend well to the scooped sound, but it'll cut better on tape, trust me!!!

    Lastly, a few guys that have great heavy sounds without a ton of gain is old Megadeth (Peace Sells) and Death Angel.
    Albeit, Anthraxs' Among the Living may be the holy grail of metal guitar chunk in my book.

    Best of luck bro!
  20. 357mag

    357mag Active Member

    Fizziness is often due to pre-amp gain. This is why tube amps sound so good when you run them loud. Power tube distortion and speaker distortion become more prominent and you hear a great, creamy, singing tone.

    Try turning down the pre-amp gain and if you feel you are losing too much punch make up for it by increasing the gain on your stomp box. You can also add a compressor. Compressors add punch without distortion. I've used this same technique with my X3 and it definitely improved the tone for recording rhythm guitar tracks.

    Lastly, the way to get rhythm tracks sounding really good is by double-tracking. Not only will your tracks sound thicker and fatter, but you will have much more power and control over sculpting the final sound. Because you can manipulate the faders on each track along with different EQ settings or whatever, it gives you much more power over the final tone.

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