#1
Ohai
So. I've been recording for a couple of years, so I'm pretty new to this whole thing. Luckily, I've had a mentor in the form of a friend who produces Jazz/Electronica music, which has been super helpful, but with him being largely a jazz/electronica producer, guitars are largely beyond his knowledge, especially the distorted metal sort. We did some work doing sort of pop-rock with a mutual friend, but that was not helpful whatsoever as far as help with guitars go.
I've just set up my own computer with some software (Cubase/Komplete/Studio Drummer/a metric ton of amp sim VSTs) and am in the process of recording a collection of metal-type songs I have floating around - as you do.
I've read all the right articles, listened to all the right albums and got all the right things, the problem seems to be assembling everything in a manner which I really like.
Initially I was doing 2 tracks - Tubescreamer>5150>MESA cab panned hard right and MESA Rectifier>MESA cab panned hard left (all sims - LePoulin, Guitar Rig, Amplitube, ReValver).
Having stumbled in on Devin Townsend quite by accident about a month ago (and having a long-held interest in Tremonti), I started tracking 4 guitars - 2 MESA>MESA cab with slightly different EQ's panned hard left and right, 5150>MESA cab 90% right and a Soldano>MESA cab with quite a lot of delay going through a HPF to avoid muddiness 90% right.
Now I'm faced with the issue that when I mix amps, I lose the characteristics of the the amp I'm using for a reason - the MESA's searing highs, the 5150's midrange because I'm mixing it wrong.
So: in this situation, am I trying to put to much in and should I strip it back to the MESA/5150 panned hard, or is there some deft EQing I should be doing in order to make the 4track-multi-amp thing work?
Sorry for the long post...
#2
Devin Townsend? You'll fit right in.

If you're using different amps, but you want them to sound more or less the same, get the amp EQs right first. The tone won't be exactly the same, of course, but each range should match up across amp models. So if you're scooping the mids, scoop the mids the same amount for all of them. If you're leaving in the highs for some shimmer, they should have the same amount. Otherwise, one model will stick out. If that's what you want, of course, that's fine.
#3
Right, thanks. Each amp has a particular characteristic I'm trying to emphasise, but when I mix them they get drowned out.
With the MESA it's the searing, fizzly highs (the lows cut through just fine), the 5150 has the sweet high mids, and the echoey Soldano one is purely for the echoes. Am I trying to emphasise to much, or if I focus on EQs will I get it all in?
#4
There's an age-old saying from some clever sod that holds true here - you can't have everything perfect in a mix. I mean, you can make a mix sound amazing, but everything can't be the loudest and clearest and have every element of it sounding great.

You sacrifice the bits you need least, to allow the best bits to shine through.

If I have a really huge guitar sound, I'm gonna have to find a way to fit that into the mix without sacrificing other elements... now we know that the very low end of a guitar in modern rock and metal is around the 80Hz-200Hz or so region, and a fair bit of that includes cab 'boom' and mushy low-end rumble that sounds great live or in isolation... so we cut away at the low end with a High Pass Filter, and what do you know? Suddenly there's more space for the bass to sit in comfortably and fill in the low end detail of the guitar.

Then we know that the guitar is all about midrange... but a large chunk of 'midrange' is also taken up by vocals, and they're something we want very present because the average listener focuses on the vocals... In this case, we can boost the guitars a little below 500Hz, where the important vocal information starts to enter play, and cut the guitars around 1kHz with a wide Q, to allow a little space for the vocals to shine in their dominant range.

Of course, now we have a slightly scooped, low-mid sound with a fizzy bit of high end competing only with the overheads, and it sounds a bit harsh and a bit washy... so we can roll-off the high end of the guitars from, say, 8kHz with a Low Pass Filter (or better yet, even lower into the treble range, but with a more gradual slope). Now the overheads can be nice and spacey and present, and the guitars don't sound so thin anymore.


Exact numbers aside, that is the sort of thinking you should be doing when getting the 'tone' right for your mix. The numbers above are estimates based on what I typically find, but the chances are you record differently and with different gear and with different setups, so you'll have to experiment and find the right ballpark figures to get where you wanna be.


All I'm trying to say is that you can't max out everything and expect things to work - a great mix is as much about knowing what to cut, as it is about allowing the good stuff to be heard
Hey, look. Sigs are back.