Sound quality "issues"...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Horvat, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Hi guys, a few months ago I bought an RME Fireface. Problem is: I can't get good sound quality from it. All I'm doing is micing a single guitar amp, but it comes out quiet and undefined. I was under the impression the Fireface offered studio sound quality, but I guess not. Direct line input is just as bad.

    Do I need to buy better preamps or mics for it? What's the problem? I'm recording distortion guitar through a 75W Fender amp, using Shure SM57/58's.

    Thanks for your help.

    (I can upload a small sample of the sound quality if you guys want)
    EDIT: Click here to listen.
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Upload the sample... I can only guess what you are doing wrong.

    My guess would be trying to record a stage volume amp.
  3. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Definitely OE in this case. With that combination of tools, you should be able to get a good sound, although using a 75w amp in a small space is not the best way forward, as Greener has intimated.
  4. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Agree with hackenslash and Greener,

    If your room is smallish (that's a technical term for bed room size) then try a lower volume setting, and the microphone closer to the cone. Same goes if the room is not acoustically treated.
  5. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Thanks for the replies. Here's a small sample:

    Click here to listen.

    It's a shitty little riff thing I recorded just now... you can basically hear the frustration in my playing, lol. I can't try anything creative, because the sound quality is holding me back. I think it sounds really brittle and sticky, on top of it being generally quiet and crap-sounding. You would think just a straight mic->amp setup would at least yield somewhat OK results, but this doesn't live up to my expectations of the Fireface at all... :(

    I added a full band thing towards the end, so you can hear what it sounds like with other instruments. The distortion isn't set to max, just so you know. When I have distortion up to my normal live sound, it sounds less "sticky", but more fuzzy, as you can imagine. The guitar was recorded with an SM57 placed about 5 inches from my amp (which is a Fender Frontman 25A (75W), btw).

    Thanks in advance.
  6. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Reminds me Duke Nukem. :p

    Try the mic closer for more proximity effect, also maybe boot off the guitar and amp if you want to sound like Pantera you need the cleanest sounding guitar ever and a Randall Warhead. :p

    For the record I'm a drummer and not qualified to impart my opinions.
  7. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Invalid link here. It's definitely not the fireface, the amp, or the mic. All of those are decent kit.
  8. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    I dont hear anything wrong with it to be honest, quality wise its fine, i think its the method or recording and the source. Fenders were never known for their killer distortion. did you record the drums and bass through the same unit cuz they sound fine as well.
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    Sorry - I haven't listened to the sample (can't at the moment) but I guarantee it's not the fireface.

    I use my fireface to record all the time - including the sample listed in this post:

    Please tell us how you're hooking things up here. Which channels are you going into using what mics (or line inputs or instrument level inputs, etc.)

    The recording in the post that I linked to was done both on a Millennia preamp and the built-in pres on the RME.

  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Here's a guess. You're using a Fender amp but you don't mention which one. Does it matter? Yes. A lot of Fender amps are naturally "Trebly" is, they have a lot of high end. If you're trying to get that scooped mid sound by dumping the mids and boosting the highs, you're likely to get a very thin sound. I don't mind the treble on my Princeton for the clean channel but on the overdrive channel I just about have the Treble knob all the way down. It's just too piercing. I still think there's something else going on though. I'd bet there is a setting on the Fireface or on your preamp which is not quite right.
  11. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Could it be a case of the oldest error in computer related technology, loose nut on the keyboard? 8)
  12. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that I'm using a Boss MT-2 distortion pedal, not just the amp. And yeah, quality wise, I guess it's ok, but it's just so quiet and weak...
    The drums and bass are programmed.

    Whoa, that sounds excellent. If only I could get mine sounding that good.

    For basic test purposes, I'm only using one of the analog mic inputs for a single SM57, and just the built-in pres on the RME. Perhaps I need better preamps?

    I'm curious, what do you mean (specifically) by this? I'm still new to the audio interfaces as a whole, so maybe I missed something when setting it up.

    Another question: would anyone be willing to mix just that small sample i posted (if I gave them the raw files, of course), so I can hear how good I can potentially get it at this quality? That would help me rectify at least whether it is truly the sound source that is letting down the entire recording.
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    I'll gladly mix the raw files if you don't mind me waiting until the weekend to do it. I can either download them from your site or set you up an anonymous FTP site for you to upload them on.

    I wouldn't go replacing the preamps in your Fireface yet. As I mentioned, some of the sound you heard on that recording was from those preamps. I use my Fireface preamps all the time for some seriously high-profile clients and never have a problem. They're quite good - in fact, I would easily stack them up against the other "transparent" pres in the $1000 per channel range.

  14. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Awesome. No problem whatsoever, take your time. I will send you a link to the files either in a few hours, or some time tomorrow. After hearing that concert recording, I'm sure you can work some magic with it. ;)
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I don't mean anything specifically but yeah, maybe you missed something when you set up. I'm leaning more toward the problem being more the amp now though. Unfortunately I can't seem to access the file. So, I can't listen.

    Things I would try:

    -if the amp is an open back combo or cabinet, stuff the back with a pillow or block it off somehow. Get some more of that bass going forward.

    -turn the treble down maybe as low as 8 or 9 o'clock.

    -move the amp to another part of the room. Make sure you're not in a corner.

    -is there a coat closet near by? Try shoving that amp in there.

    -Keep the gain on the amp down and use the distortion box to shape the tone. IMHO Fenders are not made for metal. Rock and Roll? OK. But not metal.
  16. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    Try changing the MIC position on the cab as well. If its a sm57 try positioning it close to the outside of the cone angling it in towards the middle of the cone. There are also several other close micing technics that may work for you. Try searching on youtube for "MIC Placement"
  17. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Okay, I'll try out your suggestions guys.

    In the meantime, here are the raw files, Cucco: download link.

    If anyone else would like to mix it, go ahead. There's only four tracks, and I've edited them so they all match up perfectly. I'd like to hear a few different takes on it, and see what kind of magic you can do with it.
  18. themachinist

    themachinist Guest

    Honestly, I would ditch that Boss pedal and get a sweet amp. If you had like a 5150 or a Rectifier or something along those lines, You'd be fine. I'm sorry if I'm biased, I'm just not a fan of distortion pedals, especially Boss.

    If it doesn't sound the way you want it out of the amp, chances are it won't sound that way when you record it.

    Just an idea, :)
  19. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Agreed. I finally was able to listen to this and yeah it does sound thin and weak but I'll bet it sounds like that straight out of the amp. Get it to sound good at the source first and work from there. You should be able to at the least get good levels though right?
  20. Horvat

    Horvat Guest

    Hmmm... a new amp... interesting. My amp isn't exactly expensive. It's louder and bigger than a beginner amp, but it ain't great.
    The thing with using an amp for distortion is that I can't switch between distorted/clean on the fly, which I do alot. If I get a new amp, I'll have to retain some form of distortion pedal.

    hueseph, what do you mean by 'You should be able to at the least get good levels though right?' If you're talking about volume levels, I can't make it much louder than the sample I posted, otherwise the Acid mixer says that it clips. Maybe I should use another program rather than Acid? It sucks, I was listening to this guy's recording that he did solely on PodXT, and it sounds light years beyond what I'm getting from the Fireface. Something just ain't right.
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