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> Improving Recording Tone Quality With Vsts
sammetal92
post Jan 24 2013, 02:38 PM
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Hey Guys,

I posed this question to Todd too, and then I thought I should take everyone's opinion, that'd be better for me. I tried searching for this topic, and while I did find some topics very close to my problem, there weren't any solutions working for me sad.gif

I'm really new to recording, I don't have any audio interface, I just connect my amp to my soundcard via the headphone port on my amp and line-in on my soundcard. I use Reaper. It all sounds pretty decent.

I've been trying to get good quality tone from free VSTs. I've used Poulin amps, Poulin LeCab, Nick Crow 8505 and Amplitube 3 Free. They all sound good, but I just don't know how to get that High quality tone, I manage to achieve the tone I want to, but it sounds like its like too flat, too loud and clipping.

I've seen Ivan's video on youtube for this:



Firstly, listen to the backing track (3:24 on the video). I know it must've been recorded in a studio with awesome equipment, but one can always try achieving the tone. The backing track is really high quality, all instruments have equal volumes, no clipping and no fuzzy noises.

I don't have any clicking/cracking sounds. And the sound of clean guitar is fine for me.

Now listen to his sound at 4:15, that's sounds pretty "over-the-top" and unrefined. I can achieve that tone, but if I try to use it with a backing track, it just doesn't blend in, sounds like a completely different song being played elsewhere.

Now the tone of the guitar till 5:52 in the video, THAT is how my guitar sounds, its kind of unrefined, flat and loud. But then Ivan puts on delay and the sound of the guitar at 6:05 magically changes... That is how I want my guitar to sound.

Any way of reaching my dream tone or nearly as good?

Thank you!

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Jan 24 2013, 05:03 PM


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osiris
post Jan 24 2013, 03:07 PM
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Add a tubescreamer sim in front, gain at 0 and level at max. Just like with a real tube amp this will "push" the amp and make the tone tighter and you can ease off the gain on the amp sim a bit.

These are my best tips for amp sims: http://www.osirisguitar.com/how-to-get-a-g...-from-amp-sims/

This post has been edited by osiris: Jan 24 2013, 03:08 PM


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Sensible Jones
post Jan 24 2013, 04:30 PM
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A couple of vids you might find interesting:-



And just for good measure:-


This post has been edited by Sensible Jones: Jan 24 2013, 04:49 PM


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sammetal92
post Jan 24 2013, 04:57 PM
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QUOTE (osiris @ Jan 24 2013, 02:07 PM) *
Add a tubescreamer sim in front, gain at 0 and level at max. Just like with a real tube amp this will "push" the amp and make the tone tighter and you can ease off the gain on the amp sim a bit.

These are my best tips for amp sims: http://www.osirisguitar.com/how-to-get-a-g...-from-amp-sims/



QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jan 24 2013, 03:30 PM) *
A couple of vids you might find interesting:-



And just for good measure:-


Thank you Osiris and Jones smile.gif I will try everything and post the results soon.

EDIT: Okay, listen to this. Excuse the hurried playing.

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/soundtest-nothing-else-matters

Notice the flatness and how it just doesn't blend in with the other instruments? My FX Chain is: TS-999 -> NRR-1 -> GGate-GJ -> Poulin Lecab v1

I've attached the screenshots of my settings. Anything I can do to improve the sound?

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Jan 24 2013, 06:43 PM
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Sensible Jones
post Jan 24 2013, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 24 2013, 03:57 PM) *
I've attached the screenshots of my settings. Anything I can do to improve the sound?

First thing is roll the Tone back a bit on the TS 999, probably to between 12 and 2 o'clock. The other thing that's missing is some Reverb, which I'm sure there will be a Preset in the LeCab for.
Lastly, just drop the volume of the lead in the mix very slightly and it won't sound quite as 'harsh'.
biggrin.gif


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sammetal92
post Jan 24 2013, 09:14 PM
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Alright, I used some reverb with guitar rig, dropped NRR-1 and went for distortion in guitar rig, dropped LeCab.

How does this sound now?

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/guitar-rig-first-run


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osiris
post Jan 24 2013, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jan 24 2013, 07:36 PM) *
First thing is roll the Tone back a bit on the TS 999, probably to between 12 and 2 o'clock. The other thing that's missing is some Reverb, which I'm sure there will be a Preset in the LeCab for.
Lastly, just drop the volume of the lead in the mix very slightly and it won't sound quite as 'harsh'.
biggrin.gif


I always choose delay over reverb for a lead tone. Reverb sometimes (rarely) on rhythm to glue it into the mix a bit.


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Sensible Jones
post Jan 24 2013, 09:55 PM
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It's getting better Sam! Maybe drop the gain on which ever Distortion you're using in GR, on your sound clip you can hear that buzzing between the 2 riffs.
Another way to build a Tone is to start with everything turned low and turn one thing up at a time and hear what it does to your sound. Sometimes if you start with a lot of things and they're all turned up then they compound the problem of isolating the one thing you want to adjust!
smile.gif

QUOTE (osiris @ Jan 24 2013, 08:46 PM) *
I always choose delay over reverb for a lead tone. Reverb sometimes (rarely) on rhythm to glue it into the mix a bit.

A good point, I was just working with trying to get it to sit on that backing track better.
For creating a Lead Tone from scratch I'm with you on the choice of Delay over reverb.
biggrin.gif


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sammetal92
post Jan 24 2013, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jan 24 2013, 08:55 PM) *
It's getting better Sam! Maybe drop the gain on which ever Distortion you're using in GR, on your sound clip you can hear that buzzing between the 2 riffs.
Another way to build a Tone is to start with everything turned low and turn one thing up at a time and hear what it does to your sound. Sometimes if you start with a lot of things and they're all turned up then they compound the problem of isolating the one thing you want to adjust!
smile.gif


I'm using the simple green distortion thingy in GR (sorry I'm new to all this tongue.gif it says distortion on it biggrin.gif )

And I have no idea what impulses do, in fact they made the quality low for me. Maybe its the wrong way to use them the way I'm using them, but I downloaded a package of impulses and there are a lot of them. I don't know which one to pick or how to use them huh.gif

I know its gotta do with the placing of microphones in front of the amp and recording the response, but I just don't get how they work in a cabinet mellow.gif

I'll try building a new tone first thing tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I'll try understanding how to use those impulses, any help you guys can provide is more than welcome smile.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 25 2013, 01:15 AM
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Cab impulses are great if you now how to deal with it smile.gif I have read somewhere a good article about it, yes, here it is..


How to use impulses

What is an impulse response?

For the guys that don't give a fuck about explanations: what is an impulse response? A .wav file. This is all you need to know.

For the others: what is an impulse response?
An impulse response is the output of a system when the input is a Dirac impulse (for digital stuff). The Dirac impulse doesn't really exist, cause is teorically a signal with amplitude 1 and length 0 (that's why it doesn't exist).
So if you run a Dirac impulse in the input of your system, you'll get the impulse response on the output.
The impulse response contains the linear characteristics of your system (i.e. frequency response) and does not capture non-linear things (i.e. distortion/saturation).
This is just a rough/stupid/useless-for-musicians description, for more informations you can search on the net...
Basically impulse responses can be used to capture frequency response and reverb.
The cab impulses you'll find here are just impulse responses of cab + mic systems (remember also the they contains also the frequency response of the power amp and the mic preamp).
Impulse responses are REALLY accurate. An analog cab sim (like ADA, Palmer, etc.) will NEVER match the accuracy of an impulse response. In this case the digital world fucks the analog world right in the ass. Believe it or not.

POD, V-AMP, Amplitube 2 and Guitar Rig 2/3 cab sims are ALL impulse based. The problem is that the impulse responses used are a bit crappy, that's why I (and a lot of guys here) never use them...

Ok, how to use them?

If your amp-sim does not support an external impulses loader, you'll need a DAW (Cubase, Reaper, Sonar, etc...).
Load your ampsim and BYPASS THE CAB (this is IMPORTANT).

How to bypass the cab?
Guitar Rig: just CLOSE the cab (or matched cab) module. I mean CLOSE, not switch off! This is IMPORTANT. GR cab-sims even if switched off, do change the eq! So, you HAVE TO CLOSE IT WITH THE "X" BUTTON.
Amplitube 2: go into the cab section and activate the BYPASS switch you see in the upper right corner.
Wagner Sharp: you don't need to do anything. Wagner doesn't have a cab emulation.
Dirthead 0.6/0.8: switch off the "CABINET" button on the right of the interface.
BTE Juicy77: select "cabinet disengage" or something like that in the lower bar of the interface.
Simulanalog JCM900: you CAN'T bypass the cab... I know, that's bad...

Now, if you have bypassed the cab correctly, when you play a distorted preset you'll hear a total shitty sound, fizzy as hell, no bass, harsh... it's ok, you're hearing how an amp sounds like without a cab.

Now, after the amp-sim, you have to load a VST that allows you to import impulse responses for convolution.
I'll describe only 2 programs: Voxengo Boogex and KeFIR, cause they're FREE and with NO LATENCY.

Voxengo Boogex
Get it here: http://www.voxengo.com/product/boogex/
Boogex is an amp-sim, if you want to use it ONLY for cab simulation, you have to set all the parameters FLAT, or it will change your eq/sound.
So, open it and set, from the left: Lows Mids and Highs to 0db, Tone to 0%, Drive to 0db, Dynamics to 0%, Phase to 0%, Out as you want (it's the volume control), Dry Pre Cab and Dry Post Cab to "-inf" (knob all the way down).
The "Speaker Cabinet Impulse Response" button MUST be ON, obviously.
Then click on "file" and select your impulse (a .wav file).
An important thing about Boogex: this software features a built in LPF and HPF. They can't be totally bypassed. The best thing to do is to open them to the max. How? Click on the green point in the right area of the graphic section of the interface and move it all the way to the right, then click on the white point in the left area and move it all the way to the left. This will "open" the filters.

KeFIR
Get it here: http://habib.webhost.pl/vst_keFIR.php
KeFIR is a simple VST that allows your to load impulse responses.
Just click on "Load", select you impulse response (a .wav file) then set the "Mix" parameter to 100% (this is important) and set the length as you want (more length = more cpu consumption). Don't set it too short or you'll end up bypassing the impulse. Most impulse responses (like the GuitarHack's ones) have the tail cutted, so set the length to the max is useless. Just leave it as is when you load the impulse.
Set the "Gain" knob as you want.

Play... if you hear a normal tone, with no harshness/fizzyness, you're done.
I have issues with Boogex sometimes... I load it and I have no sound out of it... I don't know why... to solve the problem remove the track where you've loaded Boogex, create another track and reload it. Works for me.

Remember that you can use impulses with real preamps/pedals too.
Just connect the preamp/pedal output into your soundcard, load one of the programs above, load an impulse and play.
WARNING: DO NOT CONNECT THE POWER AMP OUTPUT OF YOUR HEAD TO YOUR SOUNDCARD! USE THE PREAMP OUTPUT ONLY, OR THE FX-SEND. IF YOU HAVE A TUBE POWER AMP, YOU HAVE TO CONNECT IT TO THE CABINET ANYWAY, OR YOU'LL DAMAGE THE TUBES AND THE TRANSFORMER ($$$).


SOURCE

This post has been edited by Sinisa Cekic: Jan 25 2013, 12:04 PM


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ConnorGilks
post Jan 25 2013, 04:41 AM
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Maybe this will help you a bit, it's a guide I wrote on putting together some great guitar sounds using those free plugins you talked about:

http://www.connorgilks.com/apps/blog/show/...ir-s-pc-or-mac-

Things to take note of are using a tube screamer in front (drive at 0, level at full can help make the amp more dynamic without adding much color or gain on top of what you already have), using a low pass and high pass, and using lower gain! I find that when recording the less gain you use the fatter your guitars will sound. And if you're going to be double-tracking your guitars they will still sound just as heavy and distorted as you require when they are put in the mix. Also, midrange helps your guitars cut through the mix and stand out a lot.

Lastly, try opening up an EQ plugin and create a boost (as much as you can boost) with a really narrow Q. Then slowly drag that peak through the frequency spectrum and see if you can hear any frequencies that are making your guitars sound very dull, then cut them out at that point. It's a technique that should be used selectively, but can be extremely helpful!!


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 25 2013, 07:48 AM
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Your tone is improving!!! It really is a LOT about digging in to it and trying different things. There is a TON of trial and error involved. In can be frustrating/tedious, but it can also be fascinating/rewarding. View it like a puzzle of tone. I've been creating VST custom patches for several years and it's taken me that long to really be happy with the results. I"ve shared all of my presets in my person forum board. But don't be in a big rush to dive in to those yet and learning the basics in AMPLITUDE free is a GREAT way to understand the basics of modeling. Much of what you learn will transfer to other emulators like OVERLOUD TH1, TH2, AMPLITUDE METAL, etc. They are all different, but they share certain ideas. You are learning those idea right now. Keep at it and save your presets as you go!!!!

As an example, the solo that you commented on that I did for the BRIT METAL III collab was done entirely using VST software. IN that case, OVERLOUD TH1 which is the starter version of OVERLOUD. smile.gif


Fore
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 24 2013, 04:21 PM) *
I'm using the simple green distortion thingy in GR (sorry I'm new to all this tongue.gif it says distortion on it biggrin.gif )

And I have no idea what impulses do, in fact they made the quality low for me. Maybe its the wrong way to use them the way I'm using them, but I downloaded a package of impulses and there are a lot of them. I don't know which one to pick or how to use them huh.gif

I know its gotta do with the placing of microphones in front of the amp and recording the response, but I just don't get how they work in a cabinet mellow.gif

I'll try building a new tone first thing tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I'll try understanding how to use those impulses, any help you guys can provide is more than welcome smile.gif



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sammetal92
post Jan 25 2013, 08:21 AM
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Thank you Mr Cekic, that cleared things up about impulses! smile.gif

Thanks Connor, that's gonna help me a lot, and I commented on your blog, too wink.gif I wonder why aren't any more people reading and commenting, its very useful information on there mellow.gif

Thank you Mr Simpson, I think patience can be an issue for me some times laugh.gif and I'm gonna try overloud next. And I'm saving the presets I think are GOOD enough tongue.gif

I'm thinking right now how to route all tracks and add some high and low contour to my guitar tracks (like in the third video in Mr Jones' reply on this thread smile.gif

Thank you all so much for bearing with me being new to all this! smile.gif

Also, I have an idea. I have a boss ds-1 distortion pedal, maybe I can use it for boosting the signal from my guitar to the PC? By turning the tone to the middle and distortion completely off?

EDIT: I've managed to achieve an alright tone but its pretty flat and is irritating for anyone's ears... I'd like to know if and how anything can be done to improve the overall quality of the tone? I'm using equalization for high pass and low pass too.

Setup is (Sorry my setup is not as it was written before) TS999 -> Nick Crow 8505 Lead -> Poulin LeCab (Loaded with GuitarHack original center impulse) -> X-cita (for High and low contour -> ReaEQ

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/soundtest-no-3-not-so-good

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Jan 25 2013, 01:17 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 25 2013, 05:31 PM
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Nicely done! I'd say start experimenting with all the modules and setting available in the version you have. Knob tweaking is the key to finding your tone. You can use your distortion as a boost pedal smile.gif Just turn down the distortion and tone like you were saying. The more boost you have, the more noise you may notice and need more noise gate.


Todd

QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 25 2013, 02:21 AM) *
Thank you Mr Cekic, that cleared things up about impulses! smile.gif

Thanks Connor, that's gonna help me a lot, and I commented on your blog, too wink.gif I wonder why aren't any more people reading and commenting, its very useful information on there mellow.gif

Thank you Mr Simpson, I think patience can be an issue for me some times laugh.gif and I'm gonna try overloud next. And I'm saving the presets I think are GOOD enough tongue.gif

I'm thinking right now how to route all tracks and add some high and low contour to my guitar tracks (like in the third video in Mr Jones' reply on this thread smile.gif

Thank you all so much for bearing with me being new to all this! smile.gif

Also, I have an idea. I have a boss ds-1 distortion pedal, maybe I can use it for boosting the signal from my guitar to the PC? By turning the tone to the middle and distortion completely off?

EDIT: I've managed to achieve an alright tone but its pretty flat and is irritating for anyone's ears... I'd like to know if and how anything can be done to improve the overall quality of the tone? I'm using equalization for high pass and low pass too.

Setup is (Sorry my setup is not as it was written before) TS999 -> Nick Crow 8505 Lead -> Poulin LeCab (Loaded with GuitarHack original center impulse) -> X-cita (for High and low contour -> ReaEQ

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/soundtest-no-3-not-so-good



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sammetal92
post Jan 25 2013, 06:51 PM
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Guys I was experimenting and guess what! No wait... I'm gonna let you just listen to it! biggrin.gif I've been experimenting! laugh.gif

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/squeeky-alien-sound-thingy

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Jan 26 2013, 06:48 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 25 2013, 11:38 PM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 25 2013, 02:51 PM) *
Guys I was experiment and guess what! No wait... I'm gonna let you just listen to it! biggrin.gif I've been experimenting! laugh.gif

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/squeeky-alien-sound-thingy



yeah! I heard this on in my Vchat and I loved it! It's cool to find you experimenting with weird tones. I think that your main lead tone still needs some work. For any reason it still sounds weak, like a "line" sound, you still need to work to make it sound more real. I don't think that adding the Boss pedal before your computer is a good idea. I think that you still need to experiment with the different cabs, mics and emulated pedals. One thing that usually works for me is to set the amp with a low drive and adding an emulation of the tube screamer to have gain and sustain. Have you tried it?


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ConnorGilks
post Jan 26 2013, 02:48 AM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 25 2013, 07:21 AM) *
Thanks Connor, that's gonna help me a lot, and I commented on your blog, too wink.gif I wonder why aren't any more people reading and commenting, its very useful information on there mellow.gif


Thanks man! I appreciate that a lot. smile.gif Well, it's a personal site, a business site, so people don't usually think there might be some helpful stuff on there, but there is! wink.gif

Can you post pictures of your settings on the amp, OD and EQ plugins you're using? I may be able to help more that way.


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jstcrsn
post Jan 26 2013, 02:58 AM
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QUOTE (sammetal92 @ Jan 25 2013, 06:51 PM) *
Guys I was experiment and guess what! No wait... I'm gonna let you just listen to it! biggrin.gif I've been experimenting! laugh.gif

https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/squeeky-alien-sound-thingy

what pick up and guitar do you have ?
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sammetal92
post Jan 26 2013, 06:47 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 25 2013, 10:38 PM) *
yeah! I heard this on in my Vchat and I loved it! It's cool to find you experimenting with weird tones. I think that your main lead tone still needs some work. For any reason it still sounds weak, like a "line" sound, you still need to work to make it sound more real. I don't think that adding the Boss pedal before your computer is a good idea. I think that you still need to experiment with the different cabs, mics and emulated pedals. One thing that usually works for me is to set the amp with a low drive and adding an emulation of the tube screamer to have gain and sustain. Have you tried it?


I have tried putting the tube screamer in front of the amp and then using an impulse loader. Getting a lead tone is really hard, rhythm is a bit easier compared to that.

I think it has something to do with equalization maybe? I don't know for sure.

QUOTE (ConnorGilks @ Jan 26 2013, 01:48 AM) *
Thanks man! I appreciate that a lot. smile.gif Well, it's a personal site, a business site, so people don't usually think there might be some helpful stuff on there, but there is! wink.gif

Can you post pictures of your settings on the amp, OD and EQ plugins you're using? I may be able to help more that way.


Yeah, I'll do that when I get home, I don't have them on my laptop. I need to learn more about Equalization and compression smile.gif

QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Jan 26 2013, 01:58 AM) *
what pick up and guitar do you have ?


I have a really old non branded guitar, its a custom guitar wink.gif and since its really old I don't really know what the pickups are, but there's a single coil neck pickup which I never use and a bridge humbucker. The guitar sounded better than my last one and didn't make my pockets go as light wink.gif But I'm gonna buy an Ibanez RG170DX soon though.

EDIT: Here we go, another tone smile.gif this one's better than the ones I tried before (I have guitar rig 4 full version and I know I can make good quality tones quickly with it without much experimentation but I want to do some experimentation, so here I am biggrin.gif )

My setup (screenshots below): TSE808 -> Poulin SoloC head v2 -> GGate Noise Gate -> Poulin LeCab (loaded with Catharsis Fredman Impulse) -> ReaEQ (For performing high pass low pass equalization) -> (After quad-tracking guitar tracks and routing them to one FX channel track) X-Cita with some Equalization

My soundtest:
https://soundcloud.com/sam-ryan-stormrage/iron-maiden-soundtest

Screenshots:
TS808:
Attached Image

SoloC Head:
Attached Image

GGate:
Attached Image

LeCab:
Attached Image

High Shelf:
Attached Image

Low Shelf:
Attached Image

X-Cita
Attached Image

Final Equalization:
Attached Image

This post has been edited by sammetal92: Jan 26 2013, 10:18 AM


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ConnorGilks
post Jan 27 2013, 08:56 AM
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Thanks man, this is helping a lot.

First thing I would do is crank up the mids on your amp plugin to at least 7 or 8. That's what you will need in order for your guitars to cut through in a mix.

Secondly, take out the Xcita plugin for now. It's not necessary to get a great tone, and in my experience you need to start small, get a great tone, then slowly add in things rather than throwing a bunch of plugins on at once and trying to get them all to work together.

Next, turn the volume on the tube screamer plugin to FULL. If it's too loud control your volume elsewhere (your track volume, input level etc). This will give you more dynamics and clarity.

Now, for your EQ plugins you should be using ONE EQ plugin and ONLY ONE EQ plugin on your guitar tracks for now. You should open ONE instance of ReaEQ and it should look more like this:



Start there, simple and straight forward. The way you've EQ'd things is not effective at all. Large cuts and boosts are NOT what you should be doing, especially if you're not very well educated with EQ and recording basics. Some engineers still prefer to do larger cuts and boosts, but these are people who are very well educated and chose this method over the more conventional method of isolating smaller areas to EQ.

Another tip is if you find that there's a frequency you don't like but can't put your finger on it, make a really small Q (area that the EQ point will effect) and boost it as high as you can. Slowly sweep through the whole frequency range until you find the frequency you don't like, then cut it out. You would think that if your tone is just "meh" that a small modification might not do much, but it can do an incredible amount. A small cut like that can bring clarity to muddy guitars, widen up narrow sounding instruments, even fatten up thin sounding instruments.

Lastly, I would pick an impulse that is NOT in the center of the speaker. I almost never see people record with the mic on the dead center of the speaker. Try an impulse that's On Axis, about half way between the cone and the edge of the speaker. Dead center will give you a heck of a lot of harshness. Here's a general reference guide:



Now, you can pretty much get any tone you want with an impulse on a V30 speaker with a 57 half way between the cone and edge of the speaker on axis. The rest can be done with amp and EQ settings really. You'd be surprised how much flexibility you have when you know a lot about EQing and mixing distorted guitars! biggrin.gif

Anyways, hope that helps!

This post has been edited by ConnorGilks: Jan 27 2013, 09:01 AM


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