Recording Distortion

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by ORL, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. ORL

    ORL Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Can somebody give me some tips for recording distortion? I'm using a Boss DS-1 directly into a presonus firebox and it sounds too harsh. I have tried tweaking the settings on the pedal, but haven't had any luck. Is there a particularly good (relatively inexpensive) pedal I can get? or a different approach to recording the distortion?

  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    if you go direct from pedal to interface
    any guitar sound will probably be harsh
    and very much so for the distorted and driven sounds

    use a small amp and mic setup
    introduce a speaker amp emulator between the pedal and interface

    this can be as simple as a hi pass filter
    the good ones try to do much more than just that

    even so
    as good as some of the simulators are
    none sound as good as a good amp and speaker and mic setup

    just my 2 cents
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    100% agree with Kev. I'll even go as far to say that recording a small amp with an SM57 in a small less than ideal room is better than most cabinet sims will do. That is if you can get the sound you want with the level under control. I don't play electric guitar very much, but do record them. Sometimes we can't get the sound we want with the gear we have. In that case I use Amplitude.
  4. ORL

    ORL Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Thanks fellas, that helps alot. I was thinking of trying to mic the distortion, but was unsure to as to how to do it.
  5. binaural42

    binaural42 Guest

    If you are concerned about the actual distortion tone you might want to get a better pedal. The DS-1, even though for the price is a real bang for the buck and works ok for live settings I wouldn't recommend using it for recording guitars. I recommend the Marshall Guv'Nor, it runs about $70-$80 but it's pretty good and very flexible... For about a $100 you can get an Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer which is a popular tried and true pedal with great crunch but maybe not so much flexibility.

    Also, what kind of guitar amp are you using if at all?
  6. ORL

    ORL Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    I'm using a roland jazz chorus something or other. It's pretty old, but it's powerful. I also have a smaller, but much newer, Line 6 amplifier. I think one of my friends actually has a tube screamer that he may be willing to lend me.
  7. ORL

    ORL Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Oh by the way, I'm trying to get the distortion to reinforce my guitar chords as opposed to highlighting my guitar solos. I can get solos to sound pretty decent with the ds-1, it's just the chords that sound like crap. Sorry if that doesn't make much sense. Here's a sample of some of our music: maybe that can give you a better idea of what i'm talking about. The recording quality is pretty terrible (hence our efforts to improve our recording techniques) so I apologize in advance.
  8. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    the jazz chorus can be very bright and brittle
    not my first choice for this job

    look out !! :shock: wierd old fart stuff alert

    try some physical interuptions like towels or a light blanket ... between mic and speaker
    get the mic more OFF axis to the amp

    we used to use Tea Towels on the snare

    I'll duck the flames now

    I'm back
    tilt towards the floor/carpet and bounce to the mic ... soften the sound
    acoustic filter thingies ... as above

    duck the flames again 8)

    ' distortion to reinforce my guitar chords '
    not my first choice for this job
    try an overdrive pedal instead ... ' less is more ' here

  9. ORL

    ORL Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Thanks Kev, that type of wisdom is what I'm looking for (being that I'm vastly under experienced in recording.) What type of mic would you recommend I use for recording guitar? I have a limited selection of mics and an even more limited budget. I've got a few dynamic vocal mics; a sennheiser, an audix and a shure (I don't know the exact model numbers, but I can find them if need be) all three of these mics are good quality. I also have a set of crappy Nady drum mics; condensers, bass drum mic, snare mic.
  10. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Shure SM57

    but many of the dynamic mics will give a fair result

    I have even used small speakers as substitutes for microphones

    but just go for an industry standard of the simple SM57
    mid speaker cone and a little off axis

    then work on the tone from the Guitar/Amp combo

    so many subtle changes to sound can be made with mic position and proximity to walls and floors
    carpet and furnishing and hard floors and walls

    this is even before you actually use a room mic
  11. Soundbomb

    Soundbomb Guest

    How about using a Pod or a V-Amp? I've never had any problems recording decent sounding distortion with them - and they're versatile enough to give you loads of other effects as well.

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