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> Hone Your Tone - Episode #2, get some tips on how to improve your tone
Darius Wave
post Nov 8 2015, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE (krakou @ Nov 7 2015, 08:47 PM) *
Hello Darius,

As you kindly propose it, let's talk about and try to improve my tone(s)....



First of all I would like to get an audio track with your guitar only (no additional instruments)

Your signal chain looks ok - most common tools in use with no not necessary stopms/fx etc. That's a good starting point.

Guitar and pickups do affect the tone of course but the exact issue I've mentioned was not so much depending on those two. It was more a matter of post processing. You need to realize that eq settings from a live amp we hear has nothing to do with what we get through a guitar microphone. Your amplifier settings look ok for a live playing but we need to make them sound god thourgh a mic - doesn't matter if it's real mic or whole thing is done with plug-ins. Rules are basicly the same. If You are not familiar with advanced use of eq, then a tip that usually work for me (considering placement of the mic you showed on the screen - between cap and cone) I would suggest to make a radical boost od middle and radical cut on the treble know of amp sim. For me it worked this way - I wanted to make my recording sound like my amp with a falt/dafautl eq setting (every eq knob on the 12 o'clock). To compensate the way - harsh way) microphone colorize the tone, I had too bosst the middle and almost fully cut the treble. Then it sounded close to what I would expect.

You will also need to find out (I suppose it has to be somewhere in your guitar rig since it's a "must have" tool for mixing guitar tone) where is LPF (Low Pass Filter) I believe the parametric eq you have on your screen should have such an option as "high cut" or "LPF".

Doing those two things (for example middle to 100% and treble to 0%) + LPF set to 5-6 kHz should be a good fix for the tone you have (it isn't that bad at all, only need to get rid of some harshness


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 8 2015, 12:07 PM) *
Hi!,

For me the decision is easy. Plugin time!. With my focusrite I can play realtime with a stack of several plugins without noticiable delay, so, I-m ok {Or I think so...}. I must say I have been using Lepou plugin with a screamer tube for Gab's Anvil lesson and my result tone is not the same. I can confirm plugins are stacked in the same orther in Renoise.

Well I have decided Darius... lets see what we can achieve. Im really excited.

Cheers.



Great! Now I need a screen of your example tone made with plaug-in so I could spot any essential mistakes (if there are any). I would suggest to try to get Poulin HyBrit and LexTac. Those amps will be able to give you tone type close to how your valvastate sounds. Also...Try to get somewhere in the net a pack of "catharsis guitar cab impulses". Impulse called "1on-pres5" is a good choice for less post processing to get descent tone. Alwasy remember to set the mix option to 100% if You use Kefir impulse loader


QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 8 2015, 01:35 PM) *
Hi Darius, this is really awesome of you and I wanted to get some feedback too. I have been working on Piotr's Winter Tune II and wanted to get some help with my rhythm and solo tones. They are my two main sounds and I use them in a lot of lessons. I get good feedback on them, but I still think they have lots of room to improve. The rhythm sound seems to get a bit muddy and the solo tone could use some more sustain, among other things.

Any tips would be awesome, here are my files:


Hey there! Wellcome in the thread! smile.gif

Your solo tone sound a bit thin (sound like there is a lot going on in the high mids instead of low mids where all the "juice" come from)
I would suggest to abandon any kind of POD post eq devices (like those two in your rhythm tone for example) and start from doing a lot of test changin only amps, cabs and mic (type and placement). Your rhythm tone sounda very compressed. Threadplate (MEsa sim) is a good choice but I'm not sure about using condenser mic simulation.


Let's start our work from those particular steps in both cases - solo and rhythm tones

1. Set all know (aside from gain which is a matter of your choice) to 12 o'clock
2. Remove all eq plug-ins from the singal chain
3. Switch for a dynamic microphone in your rhythm section
4. Send me short samples of how does this sound with amentioned above "flat" settings. This way I'll know the direction to lead you further


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krakou
post Nov 8 2015, 06:03 PM
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Hello,

Please find my dry track here.

I've made a rendering with no boost, treble 0, mids 100 and LPF at 5 Khz.
The result is in attachment too :-)

Question: If I want to create a blues sound, a clean/crunch sound, a lead sound, would you stick to the same amp simulation ?

Tnx a lot for your time !!

JL



This post has been edited by krakou: Nov 8 2015, 06:33 PM
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Attached File  Guitar_Piano_HoneTone_Dry.wav ( 19.97MB ) Number of downloads: 28
Attached File  Guitar_Piano_HoneTone2.mp3 ( 1.86MB ) Number of downloads: 27
 
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yoncopin
post Nov 8 2015, 08:38 PM
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Thanks Darius, here's the files you asked for, thank goodness for the ability to re-amp!! I removed all EQing and effects, just so we can focus on the amp tones to start. I think the rhythm already sounds a lot better.

Rhythm:
Attached File  RhythmHone1.wav ( 6.38MB ) Number of downloads: 33

Attached Image
Attached Image

Solo:
Attached File  SoloHone1.wav ( 26.14MB ) Number of downloads: 28

Attached Image
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JohnMathew
post Nov 8 2015, 09:57 PM
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Hi again,

Ok I will do what you suggested tomorrow.

Anyway darius, do you think with such a cheap sound system ( the creative labs pc monitors I have) I could get good results? I though you were going to make me buy good monitors biggrin.gif.

Cheers.
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Darius Wave
post Nov 9 2015, 07:27 PM
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QUOTE (krakou @ Nov 8 2015, 05:03 PM) *
Hello,

Please find my dry track here.

I've made a rendering with no boost, treble 0, mids 100 and LPF at 5 Khz.
The result is in attachment too :-)

Question: If I want to create a blues sound, a clean/crunch sound, a lead sound, would you stick to the same amp simulation ?

Tnx a lot for your time !!

JL


I think those things made a lot of good to your tone. It's still bright and has the bite when you hit hard, while keeps the natural breath of startocaster. Now this one could be considered as already good enough but now we start to go into field of private preferences. I'm not sure that LPF works efficinet enough. I do not see all the settings (info under knobs in your virtual rack is not enough to spot particular values).

I think there are 2 things to test to make sure we can't get even better:

1. See the speaker icon in your virtual rack? Try to move the spot a bit more to the right (like a distance of one more spot width) Show me how it sounds

2. Try to use DAW track low pass filter (it is availabe as an option of track's eq in almost all DAWs) It might be more efficinent.


Now thing to test no matter of you decide to use DAW's LPF or to keep using the one from your virtual rack. Try to set the LPF even lower - maybe 3 or 4 kHz. What you did by far is already very cool but it think it a matter of just a slice and it would be perfect


As for eq there are no hard rules. Boosted mids and cutted highs are just a way to compensate nasty things dynamic microphones do to a natural tone of the amp. Very often this way you can get much close to how this amp would sound if you would listen to it for real.

Sometimes when you find and eq-ing that worked for one of your tones, you might find it work for other purposes as well (no matter what genre) but...it's slightly different story for rhythm playing. For rhythms very often middle know would stay closer to 50% while you might still liek to cut some treble. As I said before - no hard rules here.


QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 8 2015, 07:38 PM) *
Thanks Darius, here's the files you asked for, thank goodness for the ability to re-amp!! I removed all EQing and effects, just so we can focus on the amp tones to start. I think the rhythm already sounds a lot better.



Yes- I think your rhythm tone sound more even through all the frequency spectrum. I would go for a tiny roll off on bass know of that amp but I would verify this in a mix (you have to listen if it does not interfer too much with bass guitar in particular backing tracks/mixes. That tone sound good on a few different audio speakers and heaphones. It's not like "from under the blanket" while it does not hit with a lot of harsh treble. I will stick to it for now.


Your solo tone has just a little bit of "fizzy" trble but I would liek to hear it in the mix since some of those might be a part of specific 5150 tone that you are trying to emulate there. It will not be easy to gey rid of those while not loosing whole clarity of your tone. That's a part of natural "american high gain" amps feature. I think this tone might work in the mix. You might only want to try to operato between a values like + or - 20 % on the middle and trble knobs - adding 20% of middle and cutting 20% of treble for example at the same time

Again...I would like to hear both tones in the mix


QUOTE (JohnMathew @ Nov 8 2015, 08:57 PM) *
Hi again,

Ok I will do what you suggested tomorrow.

Anyway darius, do you think with such a cheap sound system ( the creative labs pc monitors I have) I could get good results? I though you were going to make me buy good monitors biggrin.gif.

Cheers.


Waorking with studio monitors is also something that you have to get used to. Many people (I'm no excpetion here) are used to old cheap PC or Hi-fi speakers and there as particular way we understand meaning of "good sound" buy the professional recording we are used to listen on those cheap speakers. First mixes done on studio monitors usually are like trying to get the sound you know from your old speakers and because they do not sound the same, you might do a lot of mistakes - very often those are realted to much more middle in studio monitors. That leads to way too scooped mixes or adding too muhc bass while studio monitors usually sound quite flat and bass should be present but not dominating the mix. You can keep working with the speakers you know smile.gif


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krakou
post Nov 9 2015, 08:08 PM
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Good evening sir..

Here are the takes with
1. The speaker icon moved to right :-) (nothing else changed)
2. The LPF from Reaper (with the speaker icon back to where it was for my take2 and no LPF from GR5)
3. The EQ from Reaper (with the speaker icon back to where it was for my take2 and no LPF from GR5)

Thanks for all explanations !

JL


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Attached File  Guitar_Piano_HoneTone_SpeakRight.mp3 ( 1.86MB ) Number of downloads: 27
Attached File  Guitar_Piano_HoneTone_LPFReaper.mp3 ( 1.86MB ) Number of downloads: 22
Attached File  Guitar_Piano_HoneTone_EqReaper.mp3 ( 1.86MB ) Number of downloads: 23
 
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yoncopin
post Nov 10 2015, 02:46 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 9 2015, 01:27 PM) *
Yes- I think your rhythm tone sound more even through all the frequency spectrum. I would go for a tiny roll off on bass know of that amp but I would verify this in a mix (you have to listen if it does not interfer too much with bass guitar in particular backing tracks/mixes. That tone sound good on a few different audio speakers and heaphones. It's not like "from under the blanket" while it does not hit with a lot of harsh treble. I will stick to it for now.


Your solo tone has just a little bit of "fizzy" trble but I would liek to hear it in the mix since some of those might be a part of specific 5150 tone that you are trying to emulate there. It will not be easy to gey rid of those while not loosing whole clarity of your tone. That's a part of natural "american high gain" amps feature. I think this tone might work in the mix. You might only want to try to operato between a values like + or - 20 % on the middle and trble knobs - adding 20% of middle and cutting 20% of treble for example at the same time

Again...I would like to hear both tones in the mix


Ok, here's both the new tones in the original mix. Attached File  WTII_Hone1.wav ( 40.31MB ) Number of downloads: 28


The 5150 was what I chose because I like it overall. If there's a better amp choice for getting a great lead tone I'd love to investigate it. We're kinda stripping it down to just the amp to begin with and I just wanted to get a chance to learn from you on develop tones for different scenarios. Thanks!


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Darius Wave
post Nov 10 2015, 05:40 PM
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QUOTE (krakou @ Nov 9 2015, 07:08 PM) *
Good evening sir..

Here are the takes with
1. The speaker icon moved to right :-) (nothing else changed)
2. The LPF from Reaper (with the speaker icon back to where it was for my take2 and no LPF from GR5)
3. The EQ from Reaper (with the speaker icon back to where it was for my take2 and no LPF from GR5)

Thanks for all explanations !

JL



Well done! I would stick to the tone with microphone moved to the edge of the speaker smile.gif I really like that tone. IT stays warm until you really want to show "the bite".

Would you showed me on the screen of reaper os actually not a LPF. Low Pass should lok like right side of this picture (on the left you can see high pass filter)

Attached Image

For this particular low gain tone you made for this lesson I will stick to the tone I've mentioned. But...when you'll add some gain for different type playing, you'll hear some treble coming out. That's why it is necessary for you to find exactly how to set-up low pass filtering in reaper.

at the moment I think your tone could be considered as ready to use smile.gif


QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 10 2015, 01:46 AM) *
Ok, here's both the new tones in the original mix. Attached File  WTII_Hone1.wav ( 40.31MB ) Number of downloads: 28


The 5150 was what I chose because I like it overall. If there's a better amp choice for getting a great lead tone I'd love to investigate it. We're kinda stripping it down to just the amp to begin with and I just wanted to get a chance to learn from you on develop tones for different scenarios. Thanks!



There is nothing wrong with your choice - just need to accept some specific features of particular amps smile.gif

Now when I listen to you tone in the mix I think I would go for that low cut (Hard to guess remotely but I think it would be around 20% of the knob scale)


For the lead tone I would add around 1/4 of gain knob sacle od middle and keep the rest the way it is. Of course you can do whatever you like with reverb and delay - doesn't have to be that dry.

Make sure you do not use to much compression or volume levels in your DAW. I think some of the compression I hear i cause buy a kind of limiter/compressor on a master track...or because a huge volume level of all tracks together. Is this a concious process done by you?


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krakou
post Nov 10 2015, 07:44 PM
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Thanks a lot, merci beaucoup Darius !

JL
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yoncopin
post Nov 10 2015, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 10 2015, 11:40 AM) *
Make sure you do not use to much compression or volume levels in your DAW. I think some of the compression I hear i cause buy a kind of limiter/compressor on a master track...or because a huge volume level of all tracks together. Is this a concious process done by you?


Yes, I have a compressor on the master track. I've heard that I've used too much before. What's a good starting point? A lot of the mixing tutorial videos do the same thing, but I must just be doing too much. Recommendations? I'll get a new mix track with your recommended adjustments later.


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Darius Wave
post Nov 11 2015, 03:53 PM
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QUOTE (krakou @ Nov 10 2015, 06:44 PM) *
Thanks a lot, merci beaucoup Darius !

JL


I'm glad I could help. Remember. Once you get friendly with Low Pass filter you'll see that most often it's the only tool you'll need to fix your tone (aside from amp eq) smile.gif

QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 10 2015, 10:01 PM) *
Yes, I have a compressor on the master track. I've heard that I've used too much before. What's a good starting point? A lot of the mixing tutorial videos do the same thing, but I must just be doing too much. Recommendations? I'll get a new mix track with your recommended adjustments later.



Basicly compression is something that should not be used just because it's been said that "they do something good". In fact compression can do a lot of bad as well. Use it wisely or at the absolutely final touch of your mix...or rather at the mastering stage.

What you do - adjusting the tone and sending me mixdown through compresson at master track is something wrong. Compression should be turned off (I mean master track compression, limitting and similar). You need to watch master track output level and set each track volume the way they all played together won't give you any clipping. With compressor you can than boost whole signal to get best volume to dynamics loss ratio. I think you might be working on too high colume levels for single track. The volumne I usually use is way below published, popular, ready, mastered recordings form CD's or YT. It's so quiet that I have to use high volume settings on my monitors. But...when I think I'm done with the mix, i do start to add some compressors, limiters to the master track but how to wisely use a compression is a topic worth a huge text file (hard to explain in this particular topic).

If you choose to use compression anyway (instead of volume normalization which is totally different story) then you should start from setting limit point to 0dB with very high ratio value and long release time. This way compressor will cut only those really "sticking out" peaks and will keep natural dynamics of the track. Of course if overall level on the master track is high, then yoiu will hear that compression affect your mix much more then it should.

My tip would be to render mix with no compression and then open mixdown file and use "normalize to 0dB" option which is available in most of DAWs


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Phil66
post Jan 18 2016, 09:53 PM
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Hello Darius,

Mertay suggested I post this here, (I think I've finally exhausted him unsure.gif sad.gif smile.gif )

When you get chance could you give me some advice on the tone please, no rush. I can also record using direct emulated xlr output from the amp if you want to hear that wink.gif

Using the SM57, Lead gain 4.75, eq 12'o'clock, Class A/b, master vol 2, HSH Strat, humbucker on Bridge, tone full up, vol around halfway.
https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/assignment-1-take-5

Same amp/mic settings. Ibanez RG1570, neck pickup, guitar vol about half way.
https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/assignment-1-take-6

Thank you

This post has been edited by Phil66: Jan 18 2016, 11:05 PM


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Darius Wave
post Jan 20 2016, 07:41 PM
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Hey Phil! First of all. Flat EQ is a good starting point but...the mic itself is nothing close to flat response. It's natural low cut is something good for recordings...but exactly opposite with boosted highs. When you record an amp with single mic you should not focus that much on the tone you hear from the amp. To get nice lead tones it works great when you interput the balance betweenb mids and highs by boosting mids and cutting highs. My first tip to try would be to add 25% midde and cut 25% treble to make "the sound for the mic" not for the ear in front of amp. You can go even more with that uinbalanced settings. Sometimes for my recordings I use quite radical settings where middle is 100% and treble 0%...especially with MArshall amps a nd v30 speakers.

Oh...and make me a pick of your exact mic placement - it's important


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Phil66
post Jan 20 2016, 10:00 PM
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Hello Darius,

Thank you for your input. For the moment, I'm trying to get a decent basic tone from amp only. I have done what you suggest and recorded two little pieces first played on the bridge then the neck. The first is from the MIC and the second, for reference was from the amp's direct XLR output which is supposed to be emulating a cab with the mic approx 200mm from the cab.

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/bridge-then-neck-darius-mic

https://soundcloud.com/gmcphil-1/bridge-then-neck-darius-xlr

Photobucket is down for maintenance at the moment. I'll post pics of mic placement ASAP.

Thank you for your time Darius smile.gif


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Phil66
post Jan 21 2016, 09:31 PM
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Mic pics.




Cheers Darius


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Darius Wave
post Jan 22 2016, 01:15 PM
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Well here's where individual taste comes in. I personally prefer more open, brigther tones...the "in your face" type so I would go for sm57 close to the grill, straight but closer to the cap (like the black dot on my pic shows). Even if you'll need to take some more treble on the amp eq, it will profit in more juicy, high midrange.

While there are 2 sides to every story I know these days people tend to cut HUUUUGE amount of treble. It's a kind of hype(maybe it's no a best word) but the while trick about good tone is ...the tone that sounds imilar on different devices. It usually requiers some tweaking in all 3 frequency ranges - low, mid and highs separetly. Because many people had issues to operate on treble to remove harshness while keeping it bight, they usually simply cut if off almost totally. But for me it's a kind of "under the blanket" type of tone. If I had to choose for more dynamics kiend of playing I prefer your first tone sample. I think it could work fine in the mix


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Phil66
post Jan 22 2016, 01:31 PM
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Thank you Darius,

I'll experiment over the coming days and repost a mic only track. I put the XLR direct from the amp purely for reference wink.gif

Cheers buddy


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Darius Wave
post Jan 22 2016, 02:40 PM
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Great then! Awaiting your new samples wink.gif If it's not a problem I would like to hear it in the mix as well.


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Phil66
post Jan 22 2016, 10:02 PM
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Hello Darius,

I've just done an improvisation for the Guitar Loves Piano collab. HERE are the files with and without backing. I put the mic central and perpendicular to the grille. I stayed clean because I was trying to get my playing to get louder with the track by picking harder as the backing got louder. I was using an Ibanez RG1570 on the bridge pickup with the volume of the guitar about 3/4 up.
I set EQ to Bass 7, Mid 6, treble 3, reverb 4, using full class A/B mode.
The playing is not very good but this is a tone question so no need to comment about that wink.gif

Cheers Darius.


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Darius Wave
post Jan 25 2016, 11:24 AM
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Phill....I'm afraid we have to consider to make a compromise between picking strength and our guitar strings height. I'm afraid your guitar has a quite comfortabel strings action and there is nothing wrong with this as along as you do not cross some picking strenght level. Otherwise you get that typical "strat fret buzz" that fits more to the funky playing (or RHCP I couls say), than to melodic, mellow moood of guitar loves piano. I think those amp settings cold be fine but I would do 2 things

1. Avoid those sharp notes that do not sound good for the purpose (picking very hard at this point does not do the job
2. IS this your neck pickup tone? I guess not it sound more like 4th position of strat guitar. I would definitely go for neck pickup only. Unless your 24fretted guitar sounjd like this on the neck position
3. Put more guitar volume comparing to the piano...it does disappear in the mix


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