Well me and the guys are doing a cover of a portion of Metallicas S&M concert. Why you may ask? Because it's awesome that way.

We recorded a portion of Master of Puppets just to test some general settings and whatnot, and I'm having trouble getting a guitar tone that sounds good. Maybe I'm just over prefectionist, people have told me it sounds fine but I dunno...

All dist guitar parts were recorded as follows.

Amp - Mesa Mark IV
Cab- Recto 4x12 oversized

2 Sm57s, 1 on edge of cone on axis, other about 3/4 of the way to the edge of the paper, on axis with the paper. Run into a MOTU 896HD, tracked in Sonar 7.

Cleans were DI.

Recording can be found in profile, titled "Master of Puppets S&M Test". Has no bass or vocals, and many mistakes. Like I said it's just a rough test take. Strings cut out early and aren't complete, oh well.

Any thoughts? Tips? Anything? Also, how do the strings sound? Realistic I hope?

We're going to try to get it all finished over spring break (next week), I'll be sure to post up the end results in Covers.

The guitar sound is a little small!
Its Metallica dude, the guitars need to sound absolutely HUGE!

You've got a great amp there and the cab is pretty good too.
You'll hafta layer the guitar. Get recordings that are in phase (its gonna take ages to find the perfect mic placements to ensure all the sounds from the mics are in phase with eachother, you can use the phase invert thingy if they're badly out of phase, its gonna take time but hey, recording is not easy and its gonna be worth it in the end! Afterall Metallica did take 9months to record and produce the black album!).

How did metallica manage to get huge guitar sounds out of the live S&M set up?
Well, it was the wall of cabinets they've got behind them that makes the guitars huge!

Strings do sound pretty realistic are quite close to perfect. Drums sound programmed or just not crisp and human enough (if they were real drums, then the kick was too boomy, make it more clicky).

But yeah, the track does have the Metallica intensity. Just make the guitars huge.
And Metallica, unlike the modern rock/metal bands like Tool, Killswitch, uses a good bit of reverb on their guitars. Thats why Metallica's guitars are quite back in the mix, compared to Tool where the guitar is right in the front, more like in your face!
Last edited by af_the_fragile at Mar 17, 2008,
Yea, I'm still working on getting nice "massive guitar tones". I do feel that alot of the depth of the guitar, especially on MOP can be attributed to the bass constantly doubling the riff, filling out the lower mids of the tone, but I definately still need to work on the tone itself.

Thanks for the tip on the reverb, I never noticed that until you mentioned it.

Drums are indeed programmed, EZDrummer DFH to be exact. Will work on the kick EQ.

My next plan of action is as follows

Same amp, same cab, the following mics -

Cascade Vin-Jet ribbon, center cone, about 6" back on axis

2 Sm57s, each about .5-1" outside the edge of the cone, about 2" back, set to phase with the Cascade and each other. Slightly off axis, one more so than the other

Apex 435 LDC, either 1.5ft or 4.5ft back, about 30-40* off axis horizontally, approximately 1.5ft above the speakers center.

Mix to taste, possibly mix in a single DI track as well.

Assuming I can get everything to phase properly I believe that should give me the raw tracks needed for a nice big guitar tone.

I just uploaded a newer version with altered kick EQ, added guitar verb, I added another layer to each side, as well as fixed some things in the strings.

Also note that this was all alternate picked, the final will be all downpicking which should help tighten up and thicken the guitars some.

Well, in recording and production a lot comes down to trial and error!

Don't be too mathematical and precise about your mic placements. Use your ear more than maths to place the mics.
Same goes for EQing. When you're learning to EQ, its always good to take your eyes off the screen/knobs and just listen to whats happening and whats sounding good or bad. That way you wont be using any preconceived mathematical ideas in your head to influence the sound rather than just listening to the sound on itself and figuring out whats working and whats not.

One thing i always use for rock/metal is to keep the Kick more clicky than boomy. Now a boomy kick drum might sound good for dance, pop and hip-hop but for rock/metal it starts to mask out the low bass and guitar frequencies. Listen to most metal tracks (Lamb of God is the best example of this), the kick drum is usually very small and very clicky (high mids) with a fast attack and release. Having the fast attack and release gives the fast kicks and double kicks more definition so that they stand out and don't end up blending into one another.

Then most 80's/early 90's rock/metal bands use good bit of reverb on their guitars. Modern 21st century rock/metal bands like to have their guitars more full sounding and more at the front. Same goes for vocals. Back in the days they used to use good bit of reverb on the guitars, vocals, snare and cymbals. Nowdays producers like to minimize the use of reverb in most metal/rock albums.

And one thing to make the drums sound more natural and less mechanical is to slightly off time the snares, hi-hats, kicks and cymbals. i.e. basically slightly off time the whole drums. But usually off timing just the snare and hi-hat will do. It'll give a more human feel to the drums as no matter how good a drummer is (unless its the dude from Fear Factory), he's not gonna hit it all perfectly on time. And that does give a lot more human feel to the drums, or elz they'ld become too mechanical.
Hip-Hop artists use this technique a lot. They call it the groove. Where the beats are all slightly off timed.

So yeah, go on, try out the few things and check out if the results are any better!
okay, the Clean tone is a bitch to get right
go on the clean setting and set drive to 4, bass to about 6, mids are 0, and treble is about 8ish
you'll have to tinker with the chorus til you get that lush tone
I don't need a signature to tell you I don't need a signature!
Why would the guitar be louder than everything else? If the mix has no balance, whats the point in mixing at all?