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> Hone Your Tone - Episode #2, get some tips on how to improve your tone
Darius Wave
post Oct 11 2015, 10:38 AM
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Hey there all you guitar maniacs!

Wellcome to the second part of "Hone your tone" series.



Main purpose

...is to get feedback on your current tone - tips how to improve it, where to search for tweaks, how to match to the backing track etc.


How to enter

Post your sound samples (raw guitar part and the same part in the mix). Make it downloadable so I could import it to my DAW, have a while for analysis and post some possible tweaks that could have been done with quite simple tools (for example free plugins or buil-in eq from the DAW). Quality does matter. For simpicity of import and potential playback on different systems I recommend 16bit 44.1 kHz wave files. It would be most "universal" but of course do not hesitate to post your samples, even if you are not able to deliver recommended quality.



Subjective

...things are anytime we speak of tone or music itself. We all have particular expectations and we might not agree on some changes, but you risk nothing. See what I might suggest to try. You can get some tweaks ideas and approve it or not. Sometimes those could be very tiny tweaks that will not change your tone so much in your rehearsal conditions, but might do a lot of good for people listening to your recordings on different gear, in other places. Because...


Your tone is yours...

...but only in the place and on the gear you adjust it on. World's finest sound engeneers are the ones who spend a lot of time to make recordings sound very similar on different playback devices, spekaers etc. Of course part of this job is on the mastering guy side, but some tweaks has to be done already at the recording and mixing stage. Very often we reasonable quickly achive the level, where we are able to get satisfying tone on the stuff we use at home. But how many times have you experinced disappointment, when your friend has played your track at his place? Are those thoughts familiar to you?

1. "It wasn't sounding that boomy at my place"
2. "Guitar should not stick that much above other instruments
3. "I thought I've removed all the ahrsh treble"
4. "Why the guitar hurts my ears while listening on high volume? It wasn't like that at my place"

If any of above does happen in your life, you can try to get some feedback here.



Why me?

I've been through all this many times (more than 15 years now) and I've learned some solutions that will help you at least to get closer to perfection. What I mean by perfection is to make people hear your guitar the way you want them to hear it. I think there is no perfection in any other meaning on the field of music production. Even a lot of top notch
sound engeneers keep repeating "MIX IS NEVER DONE, IT'S ABANDONED". What they actually mean is you can never get to the point you can say everything sounds perfect, everywhere. Usually it's just a deadline you have to finish the job or the moment you keep tweaking things so hard that you loose the sense of what you've wanted to achive. List of similar reasons to abandon mixing (tone shaping) is much longer. Recording electric guitar does involve all those issues as well, but it's worth to keep developing and being able to get better and better with this as much as with playing skills.



AWAITING YOUR SAMPLES! smile.gif

No genre limitations - post whatever style you like
You can use a backing track from a lesson of your choice if you like, or your original composition


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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 11 2015, 03:13 PM
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Here you can see the previous one:
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=54212

Darius' initiative is cooler though, because you can use a backing track of your choice. + Darius is amazing at tweaking guitar tones (he is one of the the go-to guys for Seymour Duncan etc.) - you don't want to miss this opportunity!


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Darius Wave
post Oct 12 2015, 06:01 PM
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T be clear - I will not try to make your tones sound the way I prefer. I would only like to help tweak some details that will help to make your tone even better smile.gif


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petr
post Oct 13 2015, 06:31 PM
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Hi Darius,

You might remember you noticed my tone is strange in this lesson take
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry717059

Also recently when I was showing my guitar teacher this take
https://soundcloud.com/petr-14/fwbt20151006
he said "that sounds like distortion applied over another distortion"

And sure - that was it. I found out only now after so long what im doing wrong.
I followed Gabs advice to aply in DAW Amp simulator and then some response loader, but I did not realize Im sending to my souncard already distorted signal.
I have discussed it here https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...53701&st=40
with Gab but I think he did not spot it there

My setup is
guitar goes to Blackstar HT5,
from there from Speaker output 1x8Ohm to Steinberg UR12 external soundcard
from there to PC USB

Now my question is - Am I correct assuming that it is better to send to the souncard dry signal, so I can apply AMP simulator in DAW to get better flexibility?

And second question is - is there a way how can do that with my current equipment?
If not what do I need to buy?

I think I can do it by not using the combo at all, connect my quitar directly to soundcard and then listen to the sound which is result of DAW after all plugins.
BUT for me it seems easier to listen to the sound from my combo. The problem is I think there is no way how use the combo and at the same time send dry signal to soundcard.

Here is the HT-5

Attached Image

I hope all that makes sense. Thanks for any help
Petr
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Darius Wave
post Oct 13 2015, 08:22 PM
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There are a few possibilities to solve this:

1. Record direct signal from guitar and use plug-ins. DAw should have "monitor" option on each track so you can actually listen to processed tone just like playing through a real amp. In this case latency (delay between your playing and processed sound) can be an issue and it's a totaly different story for separated topic. If you are not able to get comfortable (low) latency then....point 2

2. You have a quite descent amp and there is nothing wrong if you want to stick with it. From what I see there already is a cabinet simulation on line out. We can try to mess a little with eq in post processing to match it to your needs. In this case you will hear your amp and feel comfortably while recording. The thing is...guitar speakers or their software simulation are a kind of filters that cut particular frequencies. Line out of your blackstar already do this, so it is not recommended to plug any other amp or cab simulation in your software - you can use any other effects like chorus, delay, reverb etc...but nothing that has to do with emulating guitar amp or distortion.


3. You can record your guitar direct signal + use the amp as a monitor. You will need a di-box to split the signal - guitar into di-box and then from the outputs you connect both -blackstar and interface. In this case you'll hear the amp but you'll record raw, direct signal from guitar to your PC, and you'll be able to do anything you like later, in post processing.



There is one thing that has to do a lot with playing and it's a difference on how each amplifier responds to playing dynamics. I think it would be best to use direct out from Blackstar becasue you will record exaclty what you hear - you will not experince a surprise on how different would you record sound on a plug-in while you thought it was great on the blackstar. What you hear from the amp definitely affects the strength of your playing for example so Blackstart line out would be my choice.


Also notice that adjusting the eq for what you hear from the amp is a something not objective. You need to prerecord a few licks and set up eq on your amp the way it sound good in the recording....do not be afraid even if it will sound horrible from the amp ...like all low end lost or totally harsh - it has nothing to do with what you'll hear in the mix...lket the mix be priority here.

I can try to give you some tips for simple post processing (eq) for your direct tone of blackstar. You only need to deliver a sample. This could be another take of the lesson you mentioned smile.gif


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ChrisGLP
post Oct 15 2015, 05:52 AM
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Hi Darius,

I don't want to miss the opportunity to hone my tone smile.gif For me as a beginner it is really a fantastic chance to learn more about sounds...

Enclosed you can find three sound files, produced with my favourite patch for the POD HD500x:

1. The tone of the patch with examples (raw guitar) "ex_1.wav"
2. raw guitar without backing "raw_guitar_2.wav"
3. guitar with backing "guitar_with_back_3.wav"

The problem I have with this patch is, how can I explain, the patch "produce too much unwanted noise" (see 1.). The patch is very "sensitive".

Is there any possibility to reduce the "sensitive" of the patch without loss of the "full" sound?


Setup:

Guitar directly in the POD HD500x.

Amp simulation via POD.

POD directly in the computer.

Recording with the software "Audacity".


There are two jpg-files with the settings of the patch.

Many THX Chris
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Darius Wave
post Oct 15 2015, 06:51 PM
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Hey Chris!

Thanx for joining the thread wink.gif

From what I hear your noise problem is unfortunately more the muting technique thing than actuall tone set-up. I do not notice a lot of typical noise (noise gate seems to work properly). What I do notice i more of an unwanted, open strings noise. This particular thing is highly related to gain stage. The more distortion, the harder to keep things perfectly clean.

Try to switch off the "Screamer" and add some gain in "Angel" amp settings. I know all kind off "screamers" make playing easier (amp becomes more sensitive for your picking) but at the same time they add additional compression and pull out unwanted noises.

Using boost effects like additional distortion in front of the amp is something risky. It might make you feel more "easy to play" but in real life, could also cause a lot of feedback and coudl even make you have to turn it off. Not boosted sound from the amp or the amp sim will alwasy be "most round sounding". Playing guitar in a live situation teaches us to highly increase our right hand strength and descrease all gain in the singnal chain. I know it's hard to explain but actually the less gain you have and the harder you have to play to make is sound good, the better guitar player you become.

Of course you have your right to keep your signal chain they way it is, but then you'll have to accept the way it affects your playing and solve the nosie thing with your hands (mostly left one)


Now If You mean the "his" noise in the background it's probably related more to overall signal levels or the pod hd device itself. Try to boost pod software output as much as necessary vefore you'll start to see clipping in the Audacity.

Just curious - plugging your pod through USB or thourgh analog line out ?

Here's my proposition for your tone tweak possible to done in DAW eq for example. You can get rid of some of that "hi fi his" by low passing the track (eq point 4). You can cut some lows because you guitar still has a bit to much of "body" that will interrupt bass or other instrumenst in the mix (point 1). Poin 2 and 3 are nasty frequencies worth cutting with very narrow Q.

Here's the visal:

Attached Image



Now here is an audio file with 3 samples:

1. Your tone
2. Slightly tweaked tone
3. Nasty frequencies boosted so you could actually hear what I have removed


Attached File  chris_tweaked_audio.mp3 ( 3.94MB ) Number of downloads: 124


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ChrisGLP
post Oct 16 2015, 06:50 AM
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Wow Darius, many Thx for this detailed analysis smile.gif

Fu**, at the moment I sit in the office and can't test your suggestions... but in a few hours it's weekend cool.gif I should quit my job, then I have more time for the guitar biggrin.gif

"...your pod through USB or thourgh analog line out..." My Pod is connected via USB with the computer....

"Try to switch off the "Screamer" and add some gain in "Angel" amp settings..." Ok, I will make different trials with the screamer and the amp gain....

"...You can cut some lows because you guitar still has a bit to much of "body"..." OK, I will make some trials with the EQ....

"...Slightly tweaked tone..." unbelievable....

"Thanx for joining the thread"... Don't worry, I will "nerve" you a little bit more with "hone my tone" tongue.gif but seriously, it is absolutely exciting for me to experiment with the tone cool.gif

Thx Chris
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Darius Wave
post Oct 16 2015, 11:00 AM
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awaiting your thoughts after tests smile.gif I was asking about the usb or analog connection to reduce the number of possible causes of that annoying his smile.gif


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petr
post Oct 18 2015, 07:28 PM
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Hi Darius,

the option 1)
"Record direct signal from guitar and use plug-ins and listen to PC speakers during playing"
I was not able to use it, I think it was the latency you mentioned

the option 2)
"emulated output from Blackstar"
Darius please can you explain what is the difference using "the emulated output on the front panel" and the "speaker output on the rear panel". Do I understand that if I use the speaker output, I can apply some Impulse in Cubase, but with the emulated output I should not do that? So using the speaker output seems to be more flexible for modification of the sound later in DAW.

I just uploaded a REC - https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...c=55088&hl= , i know this palm muted lesson is not best to demonstrate sound, but it takes me ages to do a lesson ...
I used the "speaker output on the rear panel" and added some Impulse.

Attached Image

Thank you for any suggestion

Petr

This post has been edited by petr: Oct 18 2015, 07:34 PM
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ChrisGLP
post Oct 19 2015, 07:00 AM
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Hi Darius,

here is my "Hone my Tone" weekend report.... smile.gif

After testing 5 hours my patch my wife is gone I have thrown the patch out of the window inklusive the screamer biggrin.gif laugh.gif

I have made a lot of setups with and without screamer, amp distortion and EQ, but I haven't got a good result. I don't know why...

So I have decided to make a complete new patch based on my patch for clean sound. You can find 3 examples for the clean sound in the file "clean.wav". This clean sound is without any amp-simulation. It is built only with effects.

For the distortion-sound I have added an amp-simulation "Angel F-Ball" without a screamer. The distortion is only with the distortion of the amp. You can find 3 examples for the distortion sound in the file "distortion.wav".

I want a great "Epic" sound for my favourite Iron Maiden songs and for the lesson

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Epic-M...-Beginner-Solo/

Ben must say "I am 10000 times the better guitarist, but Chris has the better sound" laugh.gif laugh.gif

And therefore I need your help. Please don't say anything to him cool.gif laugh.gif

What do you think about the new patch and what could be better? I am really curious about your opinion...

Many THX Chris
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Darius Wave
post Oct 19 2015, 07:36 AM
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QUOTE (petr @ Oct 18 2015, 06:28 PM) *
the option 2)
"emulated output from Blackstar"
Darius please can you explain what is the difference using "the emulated output on the front panel" and the "speaker output on the rear panel". Do I understand that if I use the speaker output, I can apply some Impulse in Cubase, but with the emulated output I should not do that? So using the speaker output seems to be more flexible for modification of the sound later in DAW.


Speaker out on rear panel and emulated speaker line out are totally different things! Never plug a signal cable to a spekaer out on rear- you might damage your amp! This one is only for external speaker connection. Emulated line out on the front is an opposite - it's NOT MADE for speakers connection. It's for P.A, PC or any kind of recorders and you can basicly call it "Line out".

"Emulated" means that there is a circuit that simulates miced guitar cabinet. If you will ever have a chance to try some other amp without a speaker emulated line out, then you'll hear how ugly distorted guitar sound is, connected straight to your PC (P.A or any recorder). Electric guitar speakers are very special type of speakers - they're focused on the midrange (cut some low and high frequencies). That's what makes our distortion tones pleasant to ears.

Impulse responses for DAW are particular cabinet, speakers and a mic placement parameters, captured in a very small wave file. Impulse loader is sort of translator of those short waves. It "listens" to the impulse you've loaded and adjust your input signal to match it with this impulse. It's a kind of advanced curved eq.

There is no need to use impulses when you already have emulated speaker line out. Filtering of your tone will go too far. It's like recording electric guitar and playing this recording through another guitar amp (instead of Home Audio Speakers for exmaple). We do not need to have the same thing done twice.


If you want to see how a "not speaker emulated line out" would sound, you can load any of poulin plug-ins (just the head/amp...do not lanuch any impulse loaders).


Using amp's line out with PC guitar impulses is possible when you do not have speaker emulation in your line out.

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Oct 19 2015, 07:47 AM


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Darius Wave
post Oct 19 2015, 06:08 PM
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Chris....


I think your tone was a quite good "raw piece" for tweaking. I think ther was no reason to put it into garbage - you could try to add just a little eq fix. Print screen of my eq suggestions was having all necessary information - db cut level, frequency and Q width. You can copy set the same parameter in any 4-point parametric eq and you'll get simialr results.


As for your new tone:

1. Be carefull with reverb mix - for me it's too much of it. It makes you guitar sound a little blurry. How you judge your level of reverb depends on the volume your listening at and the type of device you use for playback. Very oftne headphones say the truh about too much reverb. It's worht giving jus ta slice less than you think would be ok just for to sake of good fit with the mix

2. Low end....to much low end - guitar is not a bass biggrin.gif It sounds cool when we listen to it a s "solo track" almost like being there in front of the amp but....imagine the proportion between bass drum, bass guitar and electric guitar in a real world. Playback any kind of backing track you like. Try to ad donly as much lows as will keep visible difference between bass guitar and electric guitar. Avoid the feeling that electric guitar is covering some parts of bass guitar track. That's a tricky thing (you might not be able to hear reference bass amount in your guitar sound unless you have proper speakers - sometimes cheap 2+1 pc speakers with subbass are better for this purpose than studio monitors (sound flat and it's easy to overdo the lows until you get used to how they sound).


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ChrisGLP
post Oct 19 2015, 06:34 PM
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Hi Darius,

ok THX... I try it again with the "old" patch and "Play" a little bit with the Controllers of the EQ.... rolleyes.gif ... smile.gif

Sorry, but I don't know what "db cut level and Q width" is?.... Please have Patience rolleyes.gif
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Darius Wave
post Oct 19 2015, 09:55 PM
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When You look at the screen you can write down all necessary settings smile.gif


Q - is a width of cut/boost. It's the third from the top, individual for each eq point (1,2,3,4)

dB - decibel - is sort of and "inch" or "milimietr" for measuring volume level smile.gif

frequency - the point we wiill cut or boost - it's the very first paramater

Most of DAWS have individual parametric eq for each track. You can apply those settings anywhere you like smile.gif


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Darius Wave
post Oct 23 2015, 10:54 AM
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Sooo...Who else would like to get some feedback on his tone ?smile.gif


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ChrisGLP
post Oct 23 2015, 05:25 PM
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Hi Darius,

I have made some little changes in my "old" patch. I have reduced the bass via the eq and changed the settings of the screamer and the amp distortion. I think it is better now with "the unwanted noise" and sounds good.

"When You look at the screen you can write down all necessary settings smile.gif "... Yes I can, but I don't know how to Transfer this in my eq of the pod... sorry rolleyes.gif But what I have seen is that the bass was too much.

Please be so kind and check the Sound files again. I am really curious about your opinion of the new "old" patch... cool.gif

Thx for your help, that helps me a lot creating my sounds... Chris
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bleez
post Oct 23 2015, 08:55 PM
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hey Darius, very cool thread smile.gif Ive been trying to get a half decent 70's bluesy rock type of tone. Id appreciate your thoughts and any suggestions.
It actually sounds a bit better 'live' in my headphones than it does when I record it.. unless that is just in my mind!

with backing
[attachment=43238:tonetest_2.wav]
guitar only
Attached File  tonetest_2_go.wav ( 13.07MB ) Number of downloads: 114



this is it playing rhythm
Attached File  jamminchords.wav ( 7.95MB ) Number of downloads: 112


Im using my Les Paul with the pickup selector in the middle position and Im using Reaper as a DAW.

Attached Image

Attached Image

This post has been edited by bleez: Oct 23 2015, 09:24 PM


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ChrisGLP
post Oct 23 2015, 09:04 PM
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Wow bleez. .. great Sound. ... awesome!!!
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Darius Wave
post Oct 25 2015, 05:38 PM
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Chris - congrats on Your tweaked tone! It sound better now - great job! smile.gif

Bleez - my very first impression is that it's a kind of thin...does not distract with overloaded bass (that's what you probably wanted to achieve and ok..) but at the same time it lost a bit of wanted low mids that are the body of our tone.

First thing I would change aside from any further tips is the eq position. I'm far from saying "never do it this way" in case of music production but some solutions are ok only if you are 100% sure of what and why you are doing. One of those things is eq before the amp simulation. Distortion acts like compressor adn eq plugged in front of it, will loose part of it's magic. It can also add unwanted noise. Make sure to alwasy put your eq at the very end of the chain (does not apply to reverb and delay effects that usually works best after you've done with all the tone shaping process (pre-stomp boxes, amplifier, cabinet, microphone, eq).


Another tip has just came to my mind while watching your screens. You have a solid body electric guitars (mainly Les Pauls right? smile.gif. To get more bluesy tone you can sort of "cheat" your amp and get closer to a Single coil response and brightness. I saw you use a distortion Device in front of that Plexi simulation. I would advice to put the treble to 100%, drive to almost non and out level from 75 to 100%. I would then decrease the gain on ampo until it delivers "bluesy" amount of distortion yet does not kill with too much nosie at the same time.

This process will autamatically cut off some bass and add some treble - you might want to change the eq on the amp.

Huge advantage of using distortion pedal in front of already distorted amp is...you can get great amount of attack while treble level on your amp can be quite low. That means less harshness in overall guitar tone spectrum while still being agressive and responsive for picking strength changes.

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Oct 26 2015, 11:03 AM


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