Guide to Tone Pt5

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Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby EasySleazy » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:43 pm

Creating a good mix is a headache, that's for sure. I'm not good at this, so everything I say may not be entirely correct. This topic is mostly guitar-orientated.
As a prologue, we'll be talking about the basic stuff.

The vitals

Of course, a good guitar tone is a good thing to have in a metal mix. But the role of the drums and the bass is quite often underestimated. In order to create a good mix, you should pay attention to everything and not just the guitars.

So the best thing is to create a solid drum track first, insert it to your multitrack (IMPORTANT: insert it to the Stereo channel), and then find a good bass tone and record it. These two may seem easy and not a big deal, but in reality they are very difficult to master.

Also, the usual thing in metal mixes, is the panning of the guitars. By panning we mean that the guitar sound comes from the left or the right or the "center" of the speakers. So when I say "My guitar is panned 100% left", it means that during playback I can hear sound only from the left speaker.

To adjust the panning in Cubase: While you are in multitrack view (this means that you are viewing the tracks in which you are going to record your song), click the "e" button on one of the tracks. The window that appears is called "VST Audio Channel Settings" of the particualr track. On the left of this window you'll notice the volume slider, and directly above, you'll see a horizontal slider the indicates "<C>". This means that if you record something and play it back, you'll be hearing the riff "in front of you". To change this and listen to the riff "on your left", drive the slider hard left. I hope you understood.

In modern metal mixes the usual thing is this: We record four guitars in the "MONO" channels in Cubase (this is also called quadtracking). This means that we play the riff four different times. Then two of them are panned to the far left and the other two to the far right. What I usually do is this: I pan one guitar to the far left (100% left), the second not exactly to the far left (80% left), and I do the exact same thing to the other two, but instead of left, I place them to the right (this means 100% right and 80% right).

THE most important thing when quadtracking, is to play as tight and synchronized as you can. Otherwise it will sound unpleasant (aka like shit). The best way to achieve this is to record with the use of headphones (they provide better "isolation" from surrounding sounds that can be very distracting). Also make sure you don't have tuning problems with your guitar. Here is an example:

This clip is one guitar played in the mono channel and panned exactly in the "center".
http://www.esnips.com/doc/4cae2189-3fb9 ... tar-center


This clip is two guitar played in two separate mono channels and panned 100% right and 100% left.
http://www.esnips.com/doc/808fee49-7e26 ... left-right


This clip is four guitars played in four separate mono channels and panned 100% left (the two of them) and 100% right (the other two of them)
http://www.esnips.com/doc/41c7f4e8-5af3 ... dtracked-1


This clip is four guitar played in four separate mono channels and panned 100% left and 80% left (the first two) and 100% right and 80% right (the other two.
http://www.esnips.com/doc/970901fa-a245 ... dtracked-2


More coming soon...
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Postby ARIBAI » Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:23 pm

im saving this :wink:

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Postby EasySleazy » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:12 pm

Well, I figured it would be better to write down the basics first, since doing equalization to a single guitar is meaningless.
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Postby Art_Vandelay » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 pm

These tutorials are definitely helpful. A question regarding doubling/quadtracking and panning. The approach you've described makes perfect sense when all guitars are playing the same riff, and I have had good success using the approach under those conditions. However, what causes me problems is that I rarely have only 1 guitar part going on at once -- rather, I have multiple (usually two, sometimes more) complementary parts to most riffs. Along the lines of Metallica, MegaDeth, Queensryche, and so on, where each guitarist is not always just doubling the other.

With those types of riffs, I have trouble getting each part to be clear (i.e. getting the mix to not sound like mud). Panning each part 100% Left and Right works to some extent, but in many cases that is a bit too extreme for the parts to sound like a coherent whole. And as I move them to toward the center, things start to get muddy, and it becomes difficult to clearly hear each part distinctly b/c they are stepping all over one another sonically.

How would you go about that kind of scenario? Would you double or quadtrack each part, and how would you pan the multiple takes of each part? Any suggestions on tone-layering that can allow each part to be heard distinctly while still mixing well together?

I'm definitely a novice at recording, but this type of scenario gives me a great deal of trouble, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I can take a single-part riff and double or quadtrack it as suggested here and things sound pretty good, but once I move to multiple distinct parts going on simultaneously, it gets much tougher for me.

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Postby EasySleazy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:13 pm

Could you refer to a specific song from the bands you mentioned, so that I can see this myself? I'm asking this because I haven't dealt with it before!
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Postby Alu » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:30 pm

I usually do the same things, both with doubled guitars and different riffs...
I would suggest to keep the panning hard (100-100 + 80-80) and play tight...

I think that the amount of distortion/tightness is more important than the panning (but is better to pan hard as I said, to keep the riffs separated), so try to use less gain if it sounds muddy, cause using 4 tracks, it will sound full anyway...
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Postby EasySleazy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:53 pm

Well, if you are saying about harmonic sections (ala Maiden), the panning remains the same more or less.
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Postby Flaming » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:24 pm

I ask you something pretty simple...
When you doubling or quadtracking a guitar, do you use the same "rig settings" for all the guitars you record or do you change a little the settings or even more, do you change dramatically the rig that you use for the other guitar takes? ? ?
(With "rig settings" I mean: stomps, amps, Cabs, Mics, Impulses, configurations, eq, compressors, etc)

Thank You for these great tutorials!!!
I'll keep waiting the next one!!!

Saludos!!!

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Postby EasySleazy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:41 am

Good question. I wanted to add this one. Everything is allowed. What I do is this:

I keep the preset the same for all 4 tracks, but I use, for example the centre impulse for the first two tracks (left and right) and the betweem impulse for the other two (80% left and 80% right).

The basic thing is to keep in mind that, usually in quadtracking everything goes in pairs. This means that I apply a certain something to the first Left and Right pair, and then I apply another something to the second Left and Right pair, in order to keep a balance in the song.

Example: Let's name the first Left and Right pair "A" and the second Left and Right pair "B". I use the centre0 impulse for the "A" pair and the between0 impulse for the "B" pair.

Example: I use a mesa boogie for the "A" pair and a JCM900 for the "B" pair.

It's all a matter of experimenting.
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Postby EasySleazy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:43 am

About equalizers and compressors in quadtracking. Given the fact that you use different impulses, you'll probably need to use different settings for each "pair".
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Postby Flaming » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:54 am

Great!
I'll try to record my guitars that way to see what happens!

By the way, you have written your tutorials teaching us to load impulses with boogex... and now I read a message on another thread that you were saying that boogex is the worst impulse loader because you cannot turn off the built in amp simulator it has.
So, you recommend pristine space. I don't have it, but I will "buy" it if you recommend it. I want a simple impulse loader with very low cpu consuming and with no latency issues.
I don't like to use revalver for impulses because it is a hug for the pc!
Can you change that in your tutorials, or if it is not trouble for you, can you teach us/me how to use pristine space to load impulses instead boogex? ? ?

Thank You!!!

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Postby Alu » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:23 am

If you turn all the amp paramters to 0 on Boogex, the amp-sim will become uneffective (I've tested it right now)...
The only sound difference is on the Hi-pass and Low-pass filters that can't be switched off on Boogex... but I think that this is pretty usefull, cause a lot of times I use a Low-pass filter on guitars and so I don't need to load another VST...

Pristine Space has the possibility to use more than 1 impulse at the same time, and to set the lenght of the impulses (could be usefull for some delay issues dued to the impulse's tail) but I think that consumes more cpu than Boogex...

Anyway, to load an impulse on Pristine Space, you just have to open it and click on "file" (the button in the middle of the GUI, left side), and then select the impulse you want... pretty simple!
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Postby EasySleazy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:06 am

Alu is right. Pristine Space and Revalver cosume too much CPU. By saying that Boogex is the worst, I didn't mean "OMG this is a completely useless VST,I wouldn't use it even if they paid me!". It's ok, you'll almost get the same sound with Pristine Space if you follow the instructions of the tutorial.
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Postby EasySleazy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:16 pm

THE most important thing when quadtracking, is to play as tight and synchronized as you can. Otherwise it will sound unpleasant (aka like shit).


Here is an example of how it sounds when things go wrong (not playing as tight as possible)

http://www.guitarampmodeling.com/viewtopic.php?t=1089
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Postby HeadMusic » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:49 pm

Another thing to try that I usually do is to EQ the left and right differently. If you stress the lows on one side and the highs on the other it gives it a more complete sound throughout. You can also stress the high on both of the 100% panned tracks and the lows on both of the 80% panned tracks. It's something to give it a little more body overall.
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Postby Flaming » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:58 pm

Great! So I stick it with boogex then...

Thank You Alu and Sleazy!!!

By the way Sleazy, do you mean that you played "bad" in "Thrash Test B-Tuned V2 EQ.mp3"? ? ?

I've just heard it and it sound really good to me.

Hey HeadMusic, what does it mean "stress the lows or the highs"? ? ?

Saludos!!!

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Postby HeadMusic » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:56 am

Hey HeadMusic, what does it mean "stress the lows or the highs"? ? ?



For instance, on the left track you could apply a low-pass filter to take out anything below say 80Hz. In fact, I'll often do this on all guitar tracks and leave the low end to the bass. Then, rather than boosting the low end (maybe 125 Hz) on both sides I'll just boost it a bit on one side and the highs (around 3KHz) on the other. This way you're getting a more rounded out sound. Plus, since you're not boosting multiple frequencies on both sides you're leaving gaps in that frequency bandwidth for other instruments. So, if you boosted the highs on your guitar tracks on the left side, maybe you can pan your bass track there to boost it's lows without the two fighting each other to be heard.
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Postby Flaming » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:01 am

Really great tip, HeadMusic!
I will use it for sure!

Thank You!!!

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Postby 808 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:12 am

You can cheat too. Say you have recorded a guitar part and really can't be bothered to record another three, as long as a riff repeats at least 4 times in the song, you can chop that track up and use copy + paste to create the other three tracks. The trick is to swap the clips around in the new tracks so you end up with something like this:

Track1: bar1 - bar2 - bar3 - bar4
Track2: bar2 - bar3 - bar4 - bar1
Track3: bar3 - bar4 - bar1 - bar2
Track4: bar4 - bar1 - bar2 - bar3

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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby DeathDealer » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:10 pm

using a stereo imager brings things together nicely also...being able to locate each guitar independently is crucial on differing melodies left-right-center

what you play also has a lot to do with it lol
if you play something that's dissonant (specially with distortion) you're ears will separate them more heavily

a band i analyzed for a while was Necrophagist. the guitars only have 3 tracks, one right 100%, left 100% & center for solos
the harmony in what they play is what makes them sound good as a whole & complete

another good band to analyze is Cynic, also panned hard left & hard right only
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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby cemevin » Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:43 am

:oops: nOOb here...iron maiden's name was mentioned above so i'll stick to it. maiden has some melodic parts in their songs, which are like one guitar plays a melody and the other one plays min 3rd notes of the melody (sorry i don't know the musical terms but i guess you got me :P ). stuff like that.. while recording them, do we have to record 2 quadtracks? or e.g. would the 100-100 panned guitar play one melody and 80-80 the other? what about when 3 guitars play different melodies? thanks :)

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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby EasySleazy » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:11 pm

You can do wjatever you want (of course). I usually record two guitars. One is playing the melody, and the other the "minor 3rd" melody. I pan from approx 30 left, 30 right. I don't know if it is the right thing. You can see for yourself by listening to them Maiden songs with headphones.
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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby Norznorz » Wed May 07, 2008 11:16 am

But in QUADTRACKING I'll record guitar four times? Can be a good idea to record guitar two time and duplicate it?
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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby Brohymn » Wed May 07, 2008 12:33 pm

It depends on your guitar technique. If you can record it "dead on" exaclty like the other track, then record it again is the best choise. Duplicate is the last thing you want. It creates phase problems and its not the "wall of sound" we want to achive.

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Re: Guide to Tone Pt5

Postby Norznorz » Wed May 07, 2008 2:13 pm

Ok, thanks a lot for your answer. I told that only because i was thinking: if I had to record many guitar parts (PARTS, no TRACKS), like 3 or 4, with this QUADTRACKING my sound can become confuse or...you know...similar things...
What do you suggest for recording with this method many guitar parts?
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