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  #1  
Old 04-26-2012, 03:02 AM
Jahan Honma Jahan Honma is offline
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I have several questions about recording metal guitars

I'm about to record my first full album EVER and I want to get it right. So here are a bunch of questions I have. Some quite basic.

1. I hear that instead of actually recording a guitar twice, you can record a single guitar part onto two tracks and you won't have to worry about synchronization as much. Then you give each track different sounds and pan them both to one side then do it again for the other side to get a full sound. Do you agree with this method?

2. When recording, I'll be making most of my sound with my effects pedal (BOSS GT-8). So when I record, does the size of the amp really matter? Cause even a small amp is freaking loud at level 8 or so.

3. Is a regular dynamic mic OK for recording guitar through an amp?

4. If you have two guitar distortions, is it better to combine them on both sides of the mix, or pan one to the left and the other to the right?

5. For rhythm guitars, you record several times and pan them to each side. For a lead guitar it usually is panned to the middle over the rhythm guitars. What if you have a two-guitar harmonized solo? Should I pan them both to the sides or the middle?

I think that's all for now but there will be more. In the future. Thank you so much in advance for all of your help.

Sincerely,
Jahan
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2012, 12:22 PM
Slipin Lizard Slipin Lizard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
1. I hear that instead of actually recording a guitar twice, you can record a single guitar part onto two tracks and you won't have to worry about synchronization as much. Then you give each track different sounds and pan them both to one side then do it again for the other side to get a full sound. Do you agree with this method?


Much of recording is subjective, meaning what you might like may not be what someone else likes. In this digital era, you should be able to simply duplicate the track if you want to have two versions of it. You can then add effects and as you say pan them however you want. One thing to keep in mind though, is simply making an exact copy of a part may not make the sound as "full" as you think... when you play the part twice, its the fact that they are not exact copies of each other that actually makes the sound fuller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
2. When recording, I'll be making most of my sound with my effects pedal (BOSS GT-8). So when I record, does the size of the amp really matter? Cause even a small amp is freaking loud at level 8 or so.


Sounds like you might be better off trying to record directly from your effects unit. There are many good computer based amp simulators out there that will allow you to record "direct", in other words, without an amp. I'm a little older, and a little more old school. I've recorded with a 100watt Marshall head going into a 4x12 cab with the amp cranked up very loud in a professional recording studio. Its a different sound than an amp simulator, but I think the digital amp simulators do a really good job considering cost & convenience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
3. Is a regular dynamic mic OK for recording guitar through an amp?


Again, we are into personal preference territory, but thousands of engineers all over the world will swear by a Shure SM57 for recording guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
4. If you have two guitar distortions, is it better to combine them on both sides of the mix, or pan one to the left and the other to the right?


Again, this is entirely up to you. I'd suggest you listen to other songs that you really like with a set of headphones, and pay careful attention to the mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
5. For rhythm guitars, you record several times and pan them to each side. For a lead guitar it usually is panned to the middle over the rhythm guitars. What if you have a two-guitar harmonized solo? Should I pan them both to the sides or the middle?


Same answer as #4... but just be careful you're not creating what's known as a "wall of sound", by just constantly creating stereo tracks and panning them left and right. Good mixes "place" the different instruments four separate ways:

Frequency range: simple example, bass & lead guitar. These two are usually in entirely different frequency ranges, so its easy to distinguish them from each other, regardless of volume. Keep this in mind as you create parts and mix... you've suggested multiple rhythm guitar tracks... make sure you're not getting muddy sound because too many instruments are competing for the same frequency space.

Volume: some instruments are louder than others.

Pan: Pan the instrument right, left, or keep it centered. Remember, too many "awesome stereo effects" tracks are going to create a wall of sound that will just blend everything together so nothing stands out... not what you're looking for.

Depth: Using reverb, delay, & echo instruments or vocals can be set "closer" or "further back" in the mix.

You'll probably find with a lot of good metal recordings its all about what isn't played, meaning the different parts come in and out at different times, allowing space for each other. Its not usually just 4 guitars, bass, & drums just all crankin all at the same time.

Hope this helps you a bit.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:03 PM
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RickBlacker RickBlacker is offline
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Just to throw in my 2 cents. I've got a boss gt10, when I've recorded I usually record directly from the GT10, into my computer with great results. You don't HAVE to mic and amp.

Doing this allows you to either capture the tones/FX from your GT10 or you can send in a dry clean signal and use software modeling tools to add FX later in your DAW.

Which DAW are you using by the way?
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  #4  
Old 04-28-2012, 12:05 AM
JeffS65 JeffS65 is offline
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Slipin Lizard pretty much answered but I will give a small extra two pennies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
1. I hear that instead of actually recording a guitar twice, you can record a single guitar part onto two tracks and you won't have to worry about synchronization as much. Then you give each track different sounds and pan them both to one side then do it again for the other side to get a full sound. Do you agree with this method?


Duplicating tracks will probably not get you what you want and particularly with metal; which is to say, a huge sound. My experience is that it comes out kinda flat when just duplicating.

I posted this little deal in listening forum but this track has 4 separate actual guitar parts played and the guitars total about 6 actual channels. The actual performances between left and right are very different but are cohesive (I think).

Think not in terms of short cuts via one performance but how you build a larger sound by the sum of the parts. Not only just playing the same part twice will give you a wider sound but also think in terms of different chord voicings. One track/performance may differ from another by how you voice or play the chord (upstroke versus downstroke etc). On the link I made above, one of the tracks is a simple third fret/B & high E upstroke chimey deal. It added a lot of definition and brightness to the side I panned. On the other side, I have a lower, twangy single string riff I played to the main riff and it gave the main riff more definition.

Anyway, not that my mix was the 'be all' but I learned a good bit messing with it and got a decently wide sound overall....

So there's that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
2. When recording, I'll be making most of my sound with my effects pedal (BOSS GT-8). So when I record, does the size of the amp really matter? Cause even a small amp is freaking loud at level 8 or so.


Jimmy Page used pretty small amps. Some times it's not the size of your pencil but how you write your name.

In my opinion, the key to good guitar tone is a well mixed bass guitar.

The tone you have sitting and practicing isn't always the ideal to record with. Massive ripping tone can sometimes lose definition when recorded. So, when you back off on the overdrive to get definition, having the bass mixed in properly gives a huge amount of support to the guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
3. Is a regular dynamic mic OK for recording guitar through an amp?


Like Lizard said....SM57 can't lose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
4. If you have two guitar distortions, is it better to combine them on both sides of the mix, or pan one to the left and the other to the right?


My instinct is to say pan. What I like to do (and did in my linked deal above) was to pan the primary versions hard left/right. Then, I will 'ghost' a lower volume version on the opposing side...that is to say, if the left performance is panned hard left and mixed at the appropriate top volume; I will duplicate that same track and pan mid-left but at a lower volume and with a slightly stronger reverb. It is a poor mans way of getting an 'ambience' mike performance. It's not exactly that but it seems to fill things out a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
5. For rhythm guitars, you record several times and pan them to each side. For a lead guitar it usually is panned to the middle over the rhythm guitars. What if you have a two-guitar harmonized solo? Should I pan them both to the sides or the middle?


Pan...I suppose...play with it.

.....So all that said; Mixing and mastering is a much an art as the music and I really dig it too. Now that we are in a digital world, there is no reason not to try all kinds of performances and mixing tricks. A good mix usually doesn't have a lot of short cuts in it.

One last thing..remember that in mixing, you are playing with frequencies...make sure they aren't stepping on each other. That's was my point about the bass above. EQ is your friend. You have to balance a number of instruments and making sure that each doesn't impede the sonic space of another will give your mix clarity, definition and overall breadth.

So...yadda, yadda...I gave tree cents instead

Last edited by JeffS65 : 04-28-2012 at 12:17 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:58 AM
Jahan Honma Jahan Honma is offline
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Thanks for your input. I am using Sonar as my DAW and I can directly record guitar into it with no problem. But I thought that most albums that get released professionally use amps. Do they not?
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2012, 06:15 AM
JeffS65 JeffS65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma
Thanks for your input. I am using Sonar as my DAW and I can directly record guitar into it with no problem. But I thought that most albums that get released professionally use amps. Do they not?


Most often, I suppose, use amps overall

....but before going the amp sim route, I did a lot of looking around. I mean, I have a fender combo and marshall combo and both have good tone but did not net the sound I liked overall for recording without getting really loud. Even then, capturing that tone in a home recording situation proved not terribly easy and did not have a whole lot of flexibility. I need now to have more options for tone texture. My amps did not have that for me.

Back 'in the day', I had a pretty odd rig that had massive tone. I am a tone monkey. I am picky but I could care less how I got there. It didn't (and it still doesn't) matter how I got there but just that I got the sound I needed.

Here's a couple of sample directly from IK Multmedia and a youtube posted metal song to give you an idea of amp sim stuff.

I think the key is that pros can get great tone with an amp/mike combo with great equipment, in a great room with a great engineer that knows all the tricks. However, I find that in my spare room with a spare bed, extra dresser, a bench I don't know what to do with and the new bathroom vanity I should get around to installing is not the ideal recording situation. At least as it pertains to having a 'good room'.

I think the point is get there however you find is best. I would not put any limitation and how you got there.

I will always love the tone of a tube amp pushing the air through a speaker. I'm old like that. Practicality tells me that to have the depth of options I want, I enjoy amp sims.

Note, I did review the IK stuff here .
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