#1
I like to record myself every once in a while mainly so I can assess my playing. But I'm getting some wonky results:

Method #1
-Mesa 2x12 with ENGL Powerball 2
-SM57 in every imaginable position relative to the cone, on and off-axis
-Focusrite 6i6
-Reaper

Result: Sounds like crap. Overly harsh and distorted.

Method #2:
-Mesa 2x12 with ENGL Powerball 2
-Zoom H1 about a foot away

Result: Sounds pretty darn good -- no harsh distorted edge to the audio and it actually sounds very close to what I'm hearing as I play.

What gives? I felt I've followed the script with method one but my results stink. The only thing I can think of as the possible cause:

On the Focusrite, the input gain dial has a lighted 'halo' -- to set it properly (according to the manual) you're supposed to keep adding gain until it turns red (clipping), then back off a little so the red goes away. I do this with palm muting so the interface is tested with the hardest signal I'll ever send it.

To get the dial just before the clip stage, I have to put it basically at 5:00, which is just short of the max. The only way I could avoid this would be to crank my amp to 'cops are on the way' volume so I don't need as much gain on the interface.

I'm thinking the fact I have to have the gain dial so high on the Focusrite could be the source of my crappy recordings. Is this possible or could I be screwing something else up?

I'm also getting good results with the Focusrite recording direct from Amplitube on my computer, but still it would be nice to record the old-fashioned way.
Last edited by PB26 at Apr 2, 2015,
#2
What's it sound like when you have the mic close to your amp?

You could be using too much distortion, which the mic will pick up and it'll sound harsh and fizzy when it's close, but a little better backed off.
#3
What do your waveforms look like in Reaper? I feel like you may think your tracks need to be hotter than they actually do.

Try recording with your focusrite gain lower, then turn your monitors up to compensate. You'll probably find that you got a better track this time around.
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#4
Quote by DiminishedFifth
What's it sound like when you have the mic close to your amp?

You could be using too much distortion, which the mic will pick up and it'll sound harsh and fizzy when it's close, but a little better backed off.


I've got it about an inch away from the grill cloth, was just following what I saw on YouTube. I do have a lot of gain going but I saw others get good recording with those settings so I figured it was something else. But I will try your suggestion, thanks!
#5
Quote by Sid McCall
What do your waveforms look like in Reaper? I feel like you may think your tracks need to be hotter than they actually do.

Try recording with your focusrite gain lower, then turn your monitors up to compensate. You'll probably find that you got a better track this time around.


Now that you mention that, I did previously think my waveforms were smaller than they should be; that was one reason I upped the interface gain. That could have been my mistake! Maybe if I record with less interface gain, then use use the software to increase track volume, I'll get what I need.

Basically I feel I have gear that can produce good recordings with high gain tones, just need to get the setting right, it seems. Thanks again for the suggestions!
#6
Quote by PB26
Now that you mention that, I did previously think my waveforms were smaller than they should be; that was one reason I upped the interface gain. That could have been my mistake! Maybe if I record with less interface gain, then use use the software to increase track volume, I'll get what I need.

Basically I feel I have gear that can produce good recordings with high gain tones, just need to get the setting right, it seems. Thanks again for the suggestions!

Precisely. The process is called 'gain staging' so look that up and learn a little about it.

Basically, crank your monitors for now and then by stacking instruments and eventually pushing the mix through the mastering process will bring everything up to a commercial volume.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#7
Quote by Sid McCall
Precisely. The process is called 'gain staging' so look that up and learn a little about it.

Basically, crank your monitors for now and then by stacking instruments and eventually pushing the mix through the mastering process will bring everything up to a commercial volume.


Very cool, thanks.
#8
Quote by PB26
I like to record myself every once in a while mainly so I can assess my playing. But I'm getting some wonky results:

Method #1
[...]

Result: Sounds like crap. Overly harsh and distorted.
Problem is here that you are dialing your amp to sound good to you in the room and not through the mic.

What you're doing is comparable to setting the amp to work well with your particular cab and then wonder why it doesn't sound good when you play it with the exact same settings through a 1x10" mounting a Jensen P10Q.

Good for you if your headphones are closed, so you can set up the amp the way it sounds good through the mic when you're playing instead of having to record one part, change stuff accordingly, change something else, record something more etc...

First off, lower the gain.
Quote by PB26
To get the dial just before the clip stage, I have to put it basically at 5:00, which is just short of the max. The only way I could avoid this would be to crank my amp to 'cops are on the way' volume so I don't need as much gain on the interface.
But why would you want to avoid this?

Scarlett's simply don't have much input gain, there's nothing that you can or should change about it.
Quote by PB26
Now that you mention that, I did previously think my waveforms were smaller than they should be; that was one reason I upped the interface gain. That could have been my mistake! Maybe if I record with less interface gain, then use use the software to increase track volume, I'll get what I need.
Unless you're overloading stuff somewhere (aka if the leds around the knobs on the scarlett aren't turning red) then that cannot have been the cause of any problem.
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#9
So I'll also try dialing in the amp settings wearing headphones plugged into the Focusrite. Fortunately I have some decent Audio Technica phones so I should be in good shape on that score.
#10
The other thing to note is when you record you will need less gain on the amp than you usually do for a live sound. The EQ and processing you do in the DAW, as well as things like double tracking will make it sound plenty heavy and high gain. Using too much gain when recording can make it sound a bit harsh and will lose a lot of definition. I almost always drop the gain back at least 1 notch (usually more) from normal the instant I go from a live sound to a recording sound.
#11
Cool, I'll try that as well -- I was just using the same settings, with the gain dial at 3:00