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Mark G 04-02-2010 11:13 AM

The tone testing thread V3
 
Welcome to the new and improved tone thread!

The first couple of posts will be guides written by yours truly, with guest columns by Bostonrocks and Jaekae which will attempt to explain the most common issues we ran into in the old thread.

The purpose of this thread is to give information regarding tone, and to help you get better guitar tone. Feel free to post here with recordings of your tone for others to comment on. Everyone is welcome to post clips, and everyone is welcome to offer their (constructive) opinion on the clips.


You can also post if you have questions or suggestions regarding the guides. I wrote and proofread them all, but if a mistake slipped in please let me know. None of these guides should be considered final, if you have useful information or a guide of your own let me know, and I'll add it in.

original tone thread:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...d.php?t=1005428

V2:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...d.php?t=1176864

FAQ

What do you mean by low-end? I know what low end means but not in terms of tone.

The lower frequencies of the guitar sound, they give the sound "oomph". For the specific frequencies in question check the guide on EQing.

How do you quad track?


You record a certain riff or song four times, as best you can. I personally tend to use both a drumline and a clicktrack to make sure I stay in time. After making sure all four are very tightly played and in time you pan them to the left and right. A common panning option is 100/80 80/100. Keep in mind though that gain is cumulative, so when you overlay several tracks like in quad tracking you will want to record with less gain. For a more in depth guide check the panning section.

All of those were double tracked. Meaning I record once, add a new track, copy first, paste into second and add (x) number of milliseconds to 2nd track. Then I pan one Left and pan one Right.

This is wrong. Simply copying and pasting with a + # of ms. will not give you the desired effect. In fact, overdo it and it'll sound like a chorus or even an audible delay. Double tracking is recording something twice, then panning the two tracks. For a more in depth guide check the panning section.

I placed my mic right in the middle of the room, why do I sound muffled and distant?


Because you placed the mic right in the middle of the room. The mic should be very close to the grill aimed at a specific point on the speaker.

Don't wanna rain on anyone's parade, but how does this thread support the idea of "tone is subjective"?


Tone is subjective, and different people will like different setups. All advice offered in this thread is opinion, which you can accept or ignore. People come in here asking for opinions, not facts. That said, I do like to think there is a general ballpark of EQing that works, Micing that works, etc. We'll get you in the right ballpark, and you can take it from there.

I'm a total noob when it comes to making clips. I got Shure mics. What do I need to make clips?


Ignoring the obvious such as a guitar, amp etc. You will need an interface to connect the mics to the computer. You'll also need a recording program such as audacity or a DAW such as Reaper to record the clips.

How does analyzing my EQ help? How would I figure out what I'm doing wrong? Do I compare it to the original song?


There are several ways to compare EQing. Pretty much everyone will start out by using their ears to spot any differences between what you have, and what you want. However, spectrum analysers will give you a visual representation of your EQing, and the comparison material EQing. You can use this to see differences, instead of hearing them. Sometimes you can hear your sound is more "fuzzy" than what you want. Visually comparing the EQ curves will help you spot the specific frequencies to blame. Other programs such as CurveEQ can even function as an equalizer, and correct the differences.

What software are you guys using for post-EQ'ing?


I use reaEQ which came with my DAW for my EQing. This is a multiband parametric equalizer with graph representation. Any graphic equalizer should do though. ReaEQ is a VST plugin.

Are pickups that noticeable to tone? I'm wondering if swapping out the stock pickups in my guitar would really make that much of a difference, or if I should save my money for some pedals instead.

Yes, pickups are very important for tone. Crappy pickups will sound muddy, thin and undefined. Good pickups will give you clarity growl and cut. However, if you already have good pickups and a crappy amplifier, it would make sense to replace the amplifier first. Amplifiers have a bigger effect on tone that pickups.

I get this weird static in my recording/when I play loud, whats going on?

Your problem is most likely clipping. This is when the volume exceeds whatever the interface/mic/computer/speakers can handle. When you record make sure your input volume into the interface isn't too loud. Most DAW's will have an input volume meter, keep an eye on that. Second make sure the output volume of the individual tracks isn't clipping either. Most DAWs will have a volume meter for the track outputs as well, keep an eye on that. Lastly, the DAW should have a master output meter, same deal there. If you did all this and there is still clipping, make sure your microphone can handle the input volume.




Are there any good sources of information to get started on guitar tone and recording?


The internet is a wonderfull place when it comes to information. Please check out these two links.

Here's a good watch:
http://www.imperialmastering.com/guitartonevid/

And a good read:
https://www.mastering1.com/masterin...rding-tips.html

Ofcourse, forums are also a great source of information.

A video where I use all the mentioned concepts and guides.

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/Movie2.wmv

A guide to recording distorted guitars
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2067256/Slippermans-Guide

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:14 AM

EQing both pre and post

What is pre and post EQing?


Simply put, pre EQing is any equalizing you do before actually recording anything. Post eqing is any EQing you do after the track has already been recorded. Pre EQing is generally just the amp controls, and possibly an external EQ or OD. Just get these to sound as best as you can before even considering recording. Don't worry about getting it perfect, because it'll need adjusting to fit the mix with the drums, bass, vocals etc. anyway. That's where post EQing comes in. Do make sure you have the gain structure and amount of gain the way you want it...unlike the EQing you cannot change this later. Same goes with effects. Once they're recorded there's no way to get rid of them so get them they way you want them, or add them post recording if you can.

Frequency ranges


These are the ranges I keep in mind...there is no set rule about this, this is just how I seperate them.

Hi highs: 8khz +

This range is important to give the guitars presence, but too much will make it sound fizzy and add hiss.

Highs: 5khz to 8khz

This range will give the guitars the cut it needs, but too much will make it sound harsh and grainy.

Midrange: 800 hz to 5khz

This range will give the guitars most of the body. Too much will give a honky or wah sound, not enough and you get teh infamous scoop.

Low midsrange/high bass: 200hz to 800hz

This range gives the guitar sound the oomph, too much going on here will make the sound muddy and unclear.

Bass: up to 200hz.

The lowest of the frequency ranges, here is the low end rumble and boom. Too much will drown out the bass guitar and sound too warm.

Good read:

https://www.mastering1.com/masterin...rding-tips.html

Good read suggested by Bostonrocks:
http://www.recordingeq.com/EQ/req0400/OctaveEQ.htm

Pre EQing steps.


For the sake of completion, I'll consider this stage to include: Guitar strings, Amplifier EQing, OD EQing.

Guitar strings you say? Wut? Yes...they are very important. A little anecdote to help explain: When I have brand new strings and EQ my amp to sound nice, the Mids will be around 4/10. After a few months, I suddenly find me EQing the mids around 6-7, and dialing in more bass and treble. My gain will also sound more flabby causing me to boost my amp a bit harder. NEW STRING TIME. When you want to record your best tones, make sure your strings are fairly new, and stretched enough to stay in tune. Must I also say to TUNE THE GUITAR?

Amplifier EQing is the main deal of pre EQing. In fact, a lot of people think it is the only step. Dialing the Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence to sound their best would be the first part here. Just try to get them to sound as good as you can for a live full band setting. Don't worry too much about small changes though, you can always change this in the post EQing. More important is the amount of gain. You can't decrease or increase the amount of gain in the post EQing steps so you have to get it right now! The amount of gain will obviously change depending on your genre, and it is also a matter of taste. I personally increase the gain to the point my palm mutes have a nice chug to them without smoothing it out. This is for metal mind you.

You may use an OD, you may not. I play metal, and I usually do. If you don't use an OD, just skip this paragraph and move along. I'm keeping a tube amp in mind with this, OD's don't work well at all with SS amps. The idea of an OD in front of a tube amp is to juice up the preamp tubes a bit more. This increases gain, but will also tighten up the sound. I generally try to NOT increase the overall gain. For example, if my gain is 6/10 without an OD I might have it around 4/10 with the OD to keep the gain the same. The only thing that will change is that the OD tightened up the sound. More body, same amount of gain. This could well make the difference between a grainy sound and a raw sound. I tend to max the level, keep the lows and highs about the same, and keep the gain/drive at a minimum. For other genres such as rock and blues, you'll probably keep the level lower and use more drive/gain. Use your ears, and figure out what works for you.

Post EQing steps.


Alright, so you've recorded the tracks as best you can hopefully with drums, vocals and a bass guitar in the mix. Now its time to make the final adjustments to make your guitars fit the mix...or if you don't have the other instruments just tweak it to your taste. Read back up to the frequency ranges and listen closely to the individual tracks and the overall mix to figure out what could be better. I personally tend to cut everything below 70hz, and everything above 13khz. From there on it depends entirely on the recording. With my own recordings I tend to boost a bit between 6khz and 12khz for a little more presence, and I tend to cut a bit around 250 and 500hz to reduce some muffledness. This is a very personal process though, all I can say is use your ears, and try comparing your guitar sound to guitar sounds you love and try to approximate those. Keep the above frequency ranges in mind, and experiment with small boosts and cuts. Only if you messed up bigtime in the pre EQing or recording process will you need to make large adjustments.



Here is a quick recording without post EQing
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/without%20eq.mp3

Here is a clip with the EQing I used in the picture
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/with%20eq.mp3

The difference is pretty subtle, but the one with the EQing is less boomy and has more clarity.

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:15 AM

Panning

What the hell is panning?


To put it simply, its determining where the sound comes from. A standard recorded track will be centered, so it'll sound like its coming straight at you from the center. Both speakers will project the same sounds. However, if you were to pan this track 100% left it would only play in your left speaker. The right speaker would be silent. Likewise, if you pan it 80% left the majority of the sound will come from the left speaker, but you can also hear it from the right a little bit.

Why should I care?


Because proper panning will help you give your recordings a 3d sound. What sounds better, one person playing guitar in front of you or three people playing the same riff all around you? Exactly.

How do I pan?


Every DAW I know will give you panning options for your recorded tracks. Their default will be 0.00, which means the panning is centered as a mono track. This figure can be adjusted between -1.00 (left speaker only) to 1.00 (right speaker only) and everything in between.



Here are some common panning setups:

Rhythm guitar 1, -1.00
Lead guitar, 0.00
Rhythm guitar 2, 1.00

Very basic panning setup taking into account either 3 guitarists, or two guitarists where you double track the rhythm section (more on tracking later). One rhythm guitar will sound only through the left speaker, the other only through the right. Leads will sound through both equally.

Rhythm guitar 1, -1.00
Rhythm guitar 2, -0.80
Lead guitar, 0.00
Rhythm guitar 1, 1.00
Rhythm guitar 2, 0.80

A more complicated setup here. Using this panning setup you'll have more of a wall of sound effect. Another difference is that you will hear everything played through both speakers, instead of separating the different riffs. This is a common quad tracking setup (more about that later).

Of course, you can always experiment and change it around depending on your needs. These are just 2 common suggestions, the sky is the limit! Its totally fine to run the rhythms through the center and pan the lead(s) left and right! There are no rules in music, only suggestions and guidelines. Do keep in mind that gain and volume are additive. If you run 2 guitars through the center, their volume and gain will be higher than when you pan them 100/100. I explained this using guitars as my example, but this is also perfectly viable for other instruments and vocals. Especially drums. It is extremely common to pan every drum component differently.

Here is an example clip with a single centered track:
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/centered.mp3

Here is a clip where it first plays 100% left, then double tracked 100/100
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/both.mp3

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:17 AM

Tracking

What is tracking?


Tracking is simply recording something. Tracking guitars would be recording guitars. Double tracking guitars would be recording a guitar line twice, quad tracking would be recording a guitar four times. Note I said recording it four times, not recording it once then copying it four times. The idea of double and quad tracking is to get a fuller sound. The simple truth is that it is physically impossible for a human being to play something exactly the same twice. These little inconsistencies when recording something several times add up to produce a richer and fuller sound. Again, you should be careful here. Volume and gain are additive. If you track something more than once and overlap them, the volume will increase and the gain will add up.

I highly, highly recommend you track to a metronome/clicktrack and/or a drumline. It will be much easier to play something twice with the same timing and speed. Mistakes in timing and speed will produce a chorus, or delay sound effect which you don’t want.

Double tracking.


Lets say you have a rhythm guitar track and a lead guitar track, and you decide the rhythm guitar doesn’t sound full enough. You can opt to double track the rhythm and pan them 100/100 (remember the panning guide?) and run the leads through the center. This will produce a fuller sound with relative ease, and without too much of a mixing hassle. Just be sure to record them tight enough to fool the ears into thinking its one guitar.

What if you have two separate rhythm riffs and a lead track? Now you have a choice. Lets say you double track both rhythm riffs meaning you record each twice, you then have a total of four rhythm tracks. Do you want to hear one riff through one speaker and the other riff through the other speaker? This would be your panning:

Riff 1 take1: 1.00
Riff 1 take2: 0.80
Lead: 0.00
Riff 2 take1: -1.00
Riff 2 take2: -0.80

However, if you want to hear both riffs through both speakers and maintain the fullness of double tracking you would go like this:

Riff 1 take1: 1.00
Riff 2 take 1: 0.80
Lead: 0.00
Riff 1 take 2: -1.00
Riff 2 take 2: -0.80

Tracking more than twice


Of course you can track more than twice. As long as you can keep in time right, and keep in mind that volume and gain add up if you overlap the tracks you’ll be fine. Do keep in mind that it will be a LOT more work, both recording and mixing wise. Is it worth it? Try it and decide for yourself. Quad tracking will give you a huge wall of sound when done right, but it will lose some of the rawness of just a single or double track. This is a typical quad tracked riff:

Riff 1 take 1: 1.00
Riff 1 take 2: 0.80
Riff 1 take 3: -1.00
Riff 1 take 4: -0.80

Mixing guitar chains in tracking


Up till now I have assumed you use the same gear for every track, but its perfectly normal to use different setups or EQing for different tracks. You might for example double track a riff with a 5150 and double track it again with a Mesa double rectifier, and blend those for a quad tracked recording with two setups. The options are unlimited. Most studio recordings will be using more than one amp, or more than one microphone to add a certain flavor to the recording. All I can say is experiment, and see what works for you.

Here is a single tracked clip
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/single%20track.mp3


Here is a double tracked clip
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/double%20track.mp3


Here is that same double tracked clip layered over a part from the song Down With the Sickness by Disturbed. My guitars 100/100 and the song centered 0.00, essentially making it quad tracked + mix.
http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1010558/full%20mix.mp3

Double and quad tracking, it friggen works.

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:19 AM

DAWS and plugins

What is a DAW?


DAW is short for Digital Audio Workstation, which is a program used for recording, editing and playing audio. Plugins are non-standalone programs that only work when loaded into a DAW. Why are they called plugins? Because you can plug them into your DAW and guitar chain with relative ease.



What does this actually mean? Well, you’ll need to use a DAW if you want to use most of the post production programs such as EQ’s compressors and various other effects, because these are in plugin format. Some very common DAWs:

- Reaper
- Cubase
- Protools
- Cubase
- Nuendo
- Tracktion



Most DAW’s will also come with various plugins you can use. For example, I got reaEQ when I got Reaper. There are also a lot of free plugins available on the internet. A quick google search for free VST plugins should net you plenty of results for EQs and the like. If you are serious about recording, you will use a DAW. If you don’t you’re locking yourself out from all the plugins you could use in post production, as well as various editing and recording features. DAWs generally have a folder where you can install any plugins you want.



The plugin will have a .dll format, and any .dll in the specified folder will be loaded into the DAW. For example, VoxengoBoogex.dll, which I will use in the next section.

Some important plugins to have:

- A graphic or parametric EQ
- A multiband compressor
- Reverb and Delays
- A noise gate
- An octave shifter
- Various guitar and bass amplifier simulators
- Cabinet simulators
- Impulse loader


Mark G 04-02-2010 11:20 AM

IMPULSES

VST cab sims guide from the recording section by Dream Pin:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...d.php?t=1131250

Impulse guide by dcdanman
over at http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/...mpulse-faq.html

Quote:
hey guys, i'm dan. i'm pretty new to this forum. infact, this is my first post. so, i thought i'd do something awesome, and post a (seemingly) much needed FAQ, on impulses! yesterday, i'd never even heard the term impulse, and now i'm writing an FAQ. forgive me if i'm a tad incorrect i'll be using the mighty wagner sharp plugin as my pre-amp for today.

first off, what are impulses? a non in depth explination, is that using impulses lets you simulate cabinets (thats pretty much all you need to know). its actually an emulation of everything past the pre-amp (so, power amp, cab, mic, and i suppose the mic pre-amp). how they are made is of little importance to us. what is important, is how we can use them to get a pretty savage sound straight from DI'ing your guitar (for free!)

you will need:

Wagner Sharp http://www.the29a.org/nickcrow/Wagner_Sharp_v0.6.zip
GuitarHacks Impulses: http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.ph...dVVsMHpIRGc9PQ
SIR Reverb plugin http://www.knufinke.de/sir/sir1.html

you will notice all this stuff is free!

There are many other VST pre-amps out there, and of course, you can record a dry signal from your amp/effects processor, etc.. I use cubase 4 studio to do all my work, so things may be a little diffrent if you use another VST host, but its the same principle!

just download all the above files, put vst plugins in your plugins folder, and extract the impulse files to somewhere you can remember

Step 1, recording guitar. there is already a very good guide here for recording your guitar initially. basicly: plug your guitar straight into a DI box (or an instrument input, if you're soundcard has one) you don't need to record at the highest settings that your interface supports. recommended is 44.1khz, at 24bit. keep the guitar from clipping at the moment. this also sets you up for maybe re-amping your guitars with real amps and cabs at another date!

Step 2, add inserts in the following order:
Noise gate [Optional]
Wagner Sharp
SIR

you should have a set up like this (yours may vary depending on which VSTs you have used):


other plugins worth trying:

Tubescreamer's Secret (TSS) in front of the Wagner Sharp (a post has been written on what this does, and a lot more info) using a diffrent impulse loader. SIR runs with a fixed latency of 8760 samples. cubase can compensate for this latency (i assume other VST hosts can too), however there are others worth trying, like keFIR or boogex. these run with less latency, and probably are probably more stable than SIR.

Step 3, Pick some settings!
ok, so everything is set up as it should.

[Wagner Sharp]
now, it'll sound nasty, but adjust the gain to get what you're after, there is no point in messing with the EQ right now, impulses are going to drasticly alter the sound. the quality knob only affects live quality - in export mode, it is set to maximum (like most other plugins).

[SIR] do as the instructions say, and pick an impulse file. it doesn't really matter what you choose, as it will list all the impulses in the folder on the right hand panel. remember there are 4 folders though! now, this is really important, **turn "Dry" signal off!!** (or lower it to taste), your original signal will still come through with no gain reduction otherwise, and the wet signal comes through with -6db gain. at first i was very unimpressed with the sounds from SIR, until i realised that! hahaha.

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much it! try loads of impulses, settings, EQs after SIR, before wagners, in between the 2! EXPERIMENT! i've only had this set up for a few hours, so i've got loads of stuff to try. over all, i'm pretty impressed with the sound out of these 2 free plugins. so much so, i've stopped using gearbox (guitar amp/cab modler for line6 stuff).

here's a sample of the project i done this on. theres loads of work that needs to be done, i know. i don't think i'll ever be happy with the drum sound (its currently frozen superior 2.0 - only installed it in OS X at the moment..)

GuitarHack's impulses <-- not possible without these, don't forget to give thanks where they're due. thanks loads GuitarHack thanks for everyone else's recommendations!

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:22 AM

Guest guide by Bostonrocks on Amp voicings.

Differences between the 3 main amp voicings.

In the guitar world today, you mainly hear three primary guitar amp voicings. British, American, and German.

British and American voices are the most recognizable (IMO). There are many brands but here are a few of the most recognizable:

British:
Marshall
Vox
Orange
Splawn

American:
Fender
Mesa/Boogie
Gibson/Kalamazoo

These two voicing’s have almost opposite frequency responses. With the American voicing be more scooped in the mid range (500Hz-2 kHz) and the British voicing having a more pronounced mid range as shown in the two pictures below.
(British)


(American)


The German voicing is the new kid on the block as far as voicings go. Mainly metal amps (Although some company’s like Bogner make great Classic Rock amps also) they are somewhat of a cross between British and American voicings.

Some of the most recognized brands of German voiced amps are:

Engl
Framus
Diezel
Bogner


The German voicing is very unique as it’s kind of a mash of parts from both the American and British voices. For the most part they have a lower mid range (500Hz-2 kHz) (much like American Voiced amps) while still retaining the clarity in the mids by bumping the lower mids (250-500Hz) this is part of the reason they have that low end growl. As shown in the picture below.



So now that you have the frequency response of these three voicing’s you can tweak to your hearts delight. I suggest that you download or buy a frequency analyzer, as this will help you in your endeavor. I personally suggest the Voxengo Spectrum analysis. It works great and it’s free.


The amps used for the spectrum analysis pictures were:

German: Engl Blackmore (Mark G)
British: Vox AC15 (Bostonrocks)
American: Mesa/Boogie Mark IV (Mexican_Shred)

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:24 AM

Guest guide by Jaekae

Compression

Why have this guide in a guitar tone thread? Because it can help you get a better mix which will improve how your guitar tone is percieved.

Compression is used to reduce the dynamic range, the span between the loudest and softest parts of an audiosignal, which will bring up subtle details
and give a track more consistent levels, making it easier to mix.

The Controls

Threshold
Controls how loud the signal has to be before the compressor kicks in, for example if it is set at -10dB, all of the audiosignal that go past it will be compressed, and the signal that is underneath will be unaffected.

Ratio
This is a setting of how hard the compressor will kick in, usually shown as 2:1,3:1,4;1 etc.
What this means is, after you cross the threshold setting, how many db's you have to go over to effect 1db of volume change.
Thus a 4:1 ratio means that once you go over the threshold for every 4db over you will only get 1 db of amplitude change.

Attack
Is what it sounds like, how long in milliseconds it takes for the compressor to kick in after the threshold has been reached.
For example if you are going to compress a snare drum, you would want a slower value on the attack, because the "hit" of the snare is in the beginning of the signal, selecting a slower attack time will allow the initial transient portion of the sound to pass through before the compressor starts clamping, if you put a very short attack time it will dull the sound of the snare. However, if you use too slow attack
time the compressor wont be effective.

Release
Is also what it sounds like, the time it takes for the compressor to stop after the signal has been "attacked"

If you need 'invisible/natural' compression, slower release time
If you need 'audible/percussive' compression, faster release time
If it pumps and breaths, slower release time (unless you want that)
If the compression seems to disappear, faster release time

Make up gain
Is where you can set the relative volume of the track to match the volume it was before compression, use your ears, idea behind this is if something is louder, we automatically think it sounds better, which fool us into thinking that the compression made a good effect even though it maby didnt.

On the gain reduction meter youll see how much the compressor work.

Here's the big secret of compression:

You should *barely* hear it working. If you overcompress your mix will sound dull and lifeless. You have to use your ears to set all the settings, which is pretty hard :devil:

Some examples of guidelines to ratios
2:1 ratio, overheads, distorted guitar, soft vocals, most synths
3:1 ratio, clamping down on overheads, acoustic guitar, most singers
4:1 ratio, bass, snare, kick drums, toms, crap singers
8:1 ratio, bad bassists, screaming vocalists, squishing the life out of stuff
12:1 ratio, out of control peaks or when you want to sound like limiting but still keep some life to it

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:25 AM


Figured it would be fun if I posted this here. Ethan, Russ and Chris have collaborated on an acoustic guitar tone guide. I think it is too much about recording, and not enough about tone...but since I run this thread I´m pretty sure I can just post this here if I choose to.


have a read and if you have any suggestions for improvements I´ll add it in. If you have any TONE things to add, feel free to post. I´ll check back with suggestions and implement them if I agree. Before I post it in the new thread I will ofcourse spell/truth/layout check the guide.


Achieving a good acoustic tone is much different than a electric guitar tone. Acoustic guitars respond to a different frequency range, and thus mix differently than electric. I find acoustic guitars harder to mix and takes a little bit of ingenuity to get a good, rich, airy tone from it.



There two ways to record a acoustic guitar, one if using the pre-amp (if you have an acoustic electric) and adding impulses (if desirable) in your DAW to make it sound better. Known as the Direct Input (DI) method. The way I typically record my acoustic guitars is through the pre-amp of my guitar into my DAW and I use the Poulin Lecab to mix Catharsis Studios impulses to make it more airy and full. I typically like a lot of presence in my tone to make it more present, since you don't want too much mids or lows when mixing your tone using the DI method. The down fall of this method is that you won't always get the liveliness that acoustic guitars have, it can sometimes sound compressed and slightly dull.

EX: Takamine G Seires EG334SC with TK-40 preamp recorded DI, double tracked.
http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/.../all/play742675

The best way of recording an acoustic guitar is using a mic. Now the proper way to mic an acoustic is to have the mic on a stand of some sort, about 6 inches away from the sound hole, or far enough to where you won't hit it with your hand while recording. Generally speaking, the best mics for acoustic guitars are condenser mics as they possess a warmth and sensitivity that dynamics (such as the SM57) do not. Which mic. you use is generally personal preference but a good choice would be something like the Rode NT1.
Russ's advice on micing acoustic guitars:
If you’re only using a single mic, the best placement would be around the 12-14th fret where the neck meets the body. This will give a nice balance of the bass without it becoming overpowering. Again this is personal preference so have a listen, if you want more bass go towards the sound hole, less, go further away. Generally, a two mic recording technique is favoured for recording acoustics. When using two mics, place one at about the 12th fret, this will give you the mids and treble. Then place the second mic pointing towards the bridge, this will give you the bass. If you then take these two recordings and pan them hard left and right you will get a much more open and natural tone. If you have access to a third mic then you have a couple of options. Firstly, if you have a good room, then stick it further away in the middle of the room. This will again open out the tone, however, if you have a crap room, you will get a crap recording. Other people like to place a mic over the shoulder of the playing, in doing this you get a recording of what the guitarist himself (or herself) actually hears.
Single mic, pointed at 14th fret, double tracked: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2298596/Misguided%20Ghosts.mp3
Chris's advice on micing Acoustic guitars:
When mentioning mics, all you've mentioned are Dynamic microphones. IMO if you can, always use a condenser on acoustic guitar. The higher sensitivity and frequency response means that you will get a more detailed high end and it will capture more of the nuances of your playing.

IMO never mic pointing straight at the sound hole, its sure fire way to get your self booming in the microphone, obviously there's no right or wrong here, just what sounds best, but If I was micing using a single mic I'd point it straight at the 12th fret and then move from there. Not enough bass, move it towards the body or the head stock if there's too much bass.

Two mics > one mic. This allows you to point one mic and the body of the guitar, capturing the woody bassy tone of the guitar. Whilst pointing the other at the fret board capturing the detail in the high end and air of the guitar. You could also replace the mic pointing at the body with the DI if you've got an electro acoustic. Just stick a low pass on it and it will do a similar job, albeit not as well as a good mic!

If you really want to push the boat out and have a nice room, a room mic will add so much to your tone. But the sound of this varies hugely depending on the room your using, a crap room will sound crap etc.

Basically the best way to get great acoustic tone is to get a great tone using the microphones you have, experiment with different positioning to get the result you are after. Don't rely on post EQing to fix it, sure you can use it, but it will sound better if you use it for real fine tuning, rather than trying to add something that isn't there.
__________________


Now on to achieving good acoustic tone: The type of tone most people want is the exact tone that their guitar makes, which sounds rich, full and airy(means it cuts through and doesn't sound lifeless). Getting that feeling that your acoustic tone is alive is the hardest thing to achieve.

First off, the less bass, the better. Most people like to add alot of bass to their guitar tone, they think it will make it sound more full, which it doesn't, it will actually mud up your tone a lot and might become distorted. Its best to apply a High/Low pass filter to your track to limit the frequency range it resides in. I like mine to have a high pass of 250hz and a low pass of 11500hz. If your mixing your acoustic tone with a bass guitar, then, if you applied the high/low pass filter, you can record the bass guitar and you won't have to do much mixing, and it will sound much more full when you allow the bass guitar to take up most of your lower frequencies. Also, in your EQ, make sure your 0hz to 1000hz is either 0 db or lower, so the bass guitar can take up those frequencies better without having to fight for them and causing distortion.

Second, Double track. If you double track your acoustic guitar, then it will blow you away with the tone. It does the exact same thing as with electric guitar, except it'll give you a lot more airiness, and sound like its surrounding you, as well as be 100 time more clearer. Double tracking an acoustic guitar uses the same methods as with an electric guitar, record the part two times exactly, or as close as you can get it, then pan both tracks 100% left, 100% right. However, if the acoustic is going into a mix, with electric guitars that are already double tracked you may be better off with a single miced mono technique. A stereo recording could introduce too much sonic information leading to the recording becoming cluttered.

Third, bring those highs up. The more highs you have in your tone, the more airy it will sound, and it won't sound dull and kinda bassy. But if you add too much highs it will sound annoying, and shrilly. You don't want to bring your highs up too much, but you usually want them higher than your mids, because the acoustic guitars tone resides more in the upper middle, low highs frequencies range( 1500hz to 12000hz).

Generally speaking, when post EQing guitars (electric or acoustic) you want to do as little as possible. You’re better off spending longer getting a good raw tone than trying to polish a turd.

Mixing acoustic with everything else. When you mix your acoustic with say, electric guitar, bass guitar, a piano, and drums, you want the acoustic tone to be heard, but not present. So this means that you want the tone you like to add to your mix, not overpower it, you want it to blend in, and not stand out unless that's what you're going for. I'll elaborate on that later.
Give credit where credit is due:
ethan_hanus: written in normal font
Russ/Idiotbox919: written in bold font
Chrism3006: written in italic font

Mark G 04-02-2010 11:30 AM

That should be it, fire away! I will go over the guides to check for mistakes ets. later

CrimsonBizzare 04-02-2010 11:32 AM

I was just about to check out the old thread (update the link in your sig), until I saw this. Always been very useful.

EDIT: First.

ibrahimasood 04-02-2010 11:36 AM

thank

ethan_hanus 04-02-2010 11:39 AM

Sweet, bout time for a new thread too.

:cheers:

idiotbox919 04-02-2010 11:41 AM

Good work Mark...as I posted in the old one just as it died I'll migrate my post to this one...

I had my mate round again yesterday so we did a bit of recording for a laugh, so here's our cover of "Inside of You" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2298596/Inside%20of%20You.mp3

What do you guys reckon?

EDIT: Oh, and Mark, the video clip in the first post gave me a 404 error :shrug:

Apart from that everything's good :D

HowerPower 04-02-2010 11:46 AM

What's the most popular DAW that guitarist use?

ethan_hanus 04-02-2010 11:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by idiotbox919
Good work Mark...as I posted in the old one just as it died I'll migrate my post to this one...

I had my mate round again yesterday so we did a bit of recording for a laugh, so here's our cover of "Inside of You" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2298596/Inside%20of%20You.mp3

What do you guys reckon?

EDIT: Oh, and Mark, the video clip in the first post gave me a 404 error :shrug:

Apart from that everything's good :D



Sounds real good, everything sounds like its mixed to proper levels, bass might of been a little low in the mix, but the vocals and guitar are mixed perfectly.

I don't know how you kept yourself from laughing while recording this song, this song is just.....odd, if you get my drift. :haha:

ethan_hanus 04-02-2010 11:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowerPower
What's the most popular DAW that guitarist use?


On UG, I'm gona have to say that Reaper is the most popular DAW used, simply cause its free as long as you don't try to profit from it.

idiotbox919 04-02-2010 12:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowerPower
What's the most popular DAW that guitarist use?


Depends what sort of level you're going for. But Reaper is real popular, it's pretty simple to get the basic hang of it, but offers a lot of flexibility and has full VST support. Oh, and it's not technically free, they don't force you to buy a license, but after 30 days they ask you to. Personally, for the $60 it costs it's more than worth it and the developers deserve your money.

If you want more flexibility there's things like Cubase and Pro Tools, but they're much more complicated and expensive. For Mac users Logic is pretty popular and I've heard very good things about it. Basically, for hobbyist use I would go for Reaper, if you're looking to go pro, then Pro Tools for PC and Logic for Mac are generally the most used in the industry. However, people get awesome results with a vast array of DAWs...a guy on here called CathtarsisStudios gets amazing results out of Reaper.

Although, questions about DAWs etc should probably go in the R & R forum....there's guys there that will be able to give you more detailed advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan_hanus
Sounds real good, everything sounds like its mixed to proper levels, bass might of been a little low in the mix, but the vocals and guitar are mixed perfectly.

I don't know how you kept yourself from laughing while recording this song, this song is just.....odd, if you get my drift. :haha:


haha thanks man!

And yeah....there's a few takes which had to be canned due to laughter in the middle of the tracks! It was good fun though...looking forward to busting it out at the local open mic night :D

tr3nt 04-02-2010 12:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by idiotbox919
Good work Mark...as I posted in the old one just as it died I'll migrate my post to this one...

I had my mate round again yesterday so we did a bit of recording for a laugh, so here's our cover of "Inside of You" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2298596/Inside%20of%20You.mp3

What do you guys reckon?

EDIT: Oh, and Mark, the video clip in the first post gave me a 404 error :shrug:

Apart from that everything's good :D


Brilliant!!! I love this movie.
As for the recording I think it sounds great, I don't know much about acoustics but it sounds like there's a little too much high end?

mexican_shred 04-02-2010 12:14 PM

Brilliant again Mark. Ill be popping up some reamp'd tracks to see what needs to be fixed with the guitars.


Brilliant cover idiotbox. Love it.


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