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Advice needed (early to mid 80's metal sound)

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by \m/Antisocial\m/, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Hey guys \m/\m/ apologies in advance for being yet another irritating n00b!

    I'd like to capture or recreate that classic 80's heavy metal and thrash sound with my band. Can you help?

    I'm new to music production but because we're broke we're having to learn how to do everything ourselves lol I studied sound engineering for a little while at a local college but they were teaching us how to produce pop music so I quit. I want to learn how to produce metal (but can't find anywhere that'll teach anyone)

    I'm talking about the raw tonal character from the early WASP records up to Megadeth's Rust in Peace album (I know that was a 90's album but I think it's their best sounding album)

    I'm determined to have that kind of sound and feel to my bands recordings.

    I'm not happy with the way modern metal sounds, it sounds like it's trying to hard to be heavy and loud instead of just being naturally heavy and loud. Those 80's albums are full of character and atmosphere, how did they pull it off?

    What amps did they use? How did they mic them etc

    I'd really appreciate ANY help!!!
     
  2. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    Marshalls (modified) and Mesas (Mark IIc & III). For guitar amp, my advice: ADA MP-1. It just screams "80's metal". Mic's used, Shure 57's and Senheisser 421's were very popular even back then. Passive pickups (for the most part). Don't be afraid of reverb, especially on drums and vocals. And snare samples used in a lot of today's metal just won't cut it. They're too thin and high pitched. You need something with a little more beef in it.

    There are actually a few of us 80's lovers around here. Some are old timers, like me, that were actually around during that time. Then there's other youngsters :)lol:) that have good taste in music and love it/play it as well. :)
     
  3. jimwilbourne

    jimwilbourne I try.

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    I've tried a couple of things to get that sound.
    1: get some room in your guitar tracks. maybe set up a room mic and a close mic.
    2: using the Haas effect technique instead of quad tracking. that can help too.
    3: lots of modern metal's sound has to do with editing. if you don't track/edit too tight, that'll help give a more natural 80s sound.
     
  4. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    I know you're a proponent of using the Haas effect, from your other post. I'm not though, except for certain circumstances. I'm not saying it's wrong, just...to each his own. ;)

    Good point about editing. There really was no "editing" like today. You just punched in. That's not to say you can't edit your stuff at all. Just don't go overboard with it.
     
  5. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Wow thank's for your replies guys!!! Modern metal recordings dont sound aggressive or atmospheric to my ears, it sounds like they're trying to be but are failing miserably.

    They sound sterile and tame. Everything is all neat and tidy, I dont like that at all. The guitars sound bad, the drums sound bad, I dont like it. It sounds like pop music.

    I'm DETERMINED to recreate the rawness and brutality of those 80's albums, like those old Anthrax recordings.

    I found my big brothers record collection and everything has changed. I now know what real metal is.

    My band has a DAW, would we be able to do this kind of thing in a PC? (probably a stupid question)
     
  6. jimwilbourne

    jimwilbourne I try.

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    I find that Haas give is a weird depth that sounds much different than quad tracking.
    I still do it.
    however, one of the projects I'm working on now is quad tracked. no haas. taking a different route this time.
     
  7. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Thank you bro, would it be possible to route the ADA MP1 into a soundcard and use it with amp impulses at all??? In fact, is it possible to route any preamp of this kind into a PC for use with IR's??? I'm just trying to save money, we're broke!!! lol
     
  8. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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    Yes. Though I'd get a better interface of some sort than your computer's sound card. But that's a different issue. Yes, you can use the ADA MP-1 with cabinet impulses. I do. :) I wish there had been such thing as speaker impulses back when I first got my MP-1. :lol:
     
  9. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Thank you for your generous replies! I recently routed an amp-head into our DAW and tried some amp impulses, I was very pleased with the results so we'll be using that method to record (it's just so much cheaper lol)

    I even tested an old Marshall G50 (I routed it into the PC via it's FX SEND) and captured some great tones too.

    I dont like VST plug ins or POD XT's because they just dont give me the feel I need as a guitarist. Could recommend some other cool preamps to use with IR's? Do you have any sound samples at all bro? It's cool if you dont! There's no pressure, I'm just eager to record my band
     
  10. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    We tried a local studio and asked the engineers to give us the 80's sound I described above but their methods were too modern for our tastes. So we tried a few other studios and met with the same results. It's really frustrating because I'm proud of the songs we've written and I'd hate for them to sound like that over-compressed pop-music-metal out there. You're right in what you said too, modern metal drums are weak sounding, to my ears they sound like hip-hop drums or something.

    Modern metal guitars sound toneless, they just have an ugly uniform sound so every guitarist sounds exactly the same as the other.
     
  11. grywolf627

    grywolf627 Member

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  12. Robert W

    Robert W Member

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    80s metal must haves,

    JCM 800s

    Tube screamer

    DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups

    Kramer and Charvel guitars
     
  13. RUJoking

    RUJoking Member

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    Antisocial, I think I understand what you mean by the 80s metal sound vs the modern metal sound. Like grywold627, I'm a child of the 80s and I grew up on Metallica, Anthrax, Exodus, Voivod, Destruction etc., and I really miss the days when every single thrash band had its own identify and its own sound.

    Things are much bigger and tighter and heavier now, but there is precious little to separate the bands from each other.

    It's interesting that most of the modern metal bands that I find to be most creative and unique are bands that have production quality that would be considered "poor" by this site's standards. Necrophagist, recent Psycroptic and The Faceless come to mind. Those bands all have guitar sounds that most here would consider "weak," but maybe that lack of ferocious head-crushing brutality leaves those bands more room to be interesting and original.

    I dare say that if I put something from those bands I mentioned above on the "Rate My Mix" section, people would tell me the guitars are weak, the kicks don't have enough click, and I should probably just abandon what I've done so far and start all over again.
     
  14. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Absolutely bro!!! Music's subjective so if they like their metal to sound like a Britney Spears album that's their bag, personally I like atmosphere and character because it sounds even heavier and brutal to me. Those 80's thrash albums are like horror movies you watch with your ears.

    I just dont like polished sounding metal. If they do that's cool I'm not attacking them. To each their own. Moderm metal sounds like it's trying too hard to be 'metal' rather than just being metal. It sounds safe and tame and predictable and corporate.

    I dont like the way the new Megadeth albums sound (I'm not attacking the songs they're GREAT!!!) but Dave Mustaine has the same crap uniform tone as every other guitarist right now. Drums sound like drum-machines, there's nothing organic sounding or human about metal anymore.

    I want my bands album to sound like my older brothers record collection. I dont want to sound identical to those bands but merely capture that tonal atmosphere
     
  15. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Every studio we've tried can't give us what we want. I can't find any learning sources either because these days almost everyone is pursuing that pop-metal production tone. I hate that tone so much. I want nothing to do with it as a musician. I dont want to over compress everything, we dont need to hide behind fake-loudness as a band.

    Surely it's easier to do things 80's style? I'm extremely grateful for your replies and any advice that may come my way too.

    We'd be willing to pay-pal a knowledgeable sound-engineer for professional guidance/assistance. We dont have much money but it's better than nothing!
     
  16. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    We recorded in a studio once and by the time the engineer was done with our drummer his kit sounded like a drum-machine. He was really offended and so was I. The engineer was telling us that's how things are done these days, well I dont want my drummer to sound like a VST plug in! Why spend hours tweaking a real drum kit just for it to sound like a keyboard at the end? How is that metal? That isn't metal it's pop!

    We demanded a refund. Now we're not allowed to record there anymore. I actually can't even tell the difference between real drums and VST drums anymore (in modern metal) because they sound identical to my ears. All drums sound the same, all guitars and basses sound the same, it sucks!!! It's boring and it sucks.
     
  17. Loki Laufeyiarson

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    Man, you make me laugh. In a positive way though. I agree with you. Making things sound '80s shouldn't be too hard when you have a proper room. You could ask if you can record somewhere and take the tracks home with you so you can mix it yourself or get someone else to do the mixing for you. I'd be willing to give it a shot, but I'd probably just ruin it, since I'm a newb as well.
    When recording, record room mics as well, use real tube-amps (marshalls preferably), no editting, just punch ins and don't punch in every other note, but parts of a song (verse, chorus,bridge etc.), so you actually capture a performance (does any engineer nowadays even know how to do that?), make sure the snaredrum sounds heavy on its own and not like someone is hitting an empty cookie-bin.
     
  18. RUJoking

    RUJoking Member

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    When you're calling engineers, you should ask them if they could listen to a particular album as a reference. You'd need to talk to him/her about the specific aspects of that album that you want to capture. This may be a weird conversation, as much of what you probably love about the sound of that album may be hard to articulate.

    The bands that I mentioned above: you would hate those sounds too, but I just think it's interesting that some of my favorite modern bands have less than ideal modern production.
     
  19. Robert W

    Robert W Member

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    I can really understand where the OP is coming from. I grew up on 80s metal and hardcore, so I know pretty much what he's getting at when he refers to the sterile/homogeneous sound that seems to be the norm for most metal albums these days.

    The problem is that the guys who engineered all that stuff from the 80s are in their late 50s to 70s by now, and have probably either moved on the other things or have retired from the business altogether.

    Maybe trying to contact one of these older guys and getting their advice might be your best bet.
     
  20. \m/Antisocial\m/

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    Thank's guys \m/\m/ we told the engineers we hired outright what we wanted but they couldn't pull it off. I gave them some of my big bro's early Anthrax albums and a copy of Megadeth's Rust in Peace but they scoffed at them like they were inferior sounding.

    They think Slipknot and Korn produce good sounding albums, man those bands sound like pop music to me. We were furious.

    I mean no offense but every studio we found (and wasted a great deal of money in) produced music the gay way, well I want our album produced the metal way. I want it to sound human and real.

    We're a thrash metal band and I wont settle for any of that gimmicky fake-loudness production bs. Like that new Metallica album.

    Sorry guys I just get angry thinking about what happened I'm not attacking anyone. I'm just very frustrated. No one can give us what we need
     

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