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Dull guitars rock

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Ermz, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Wanted to send a shout out to Ola for making me more aware of this, whether he realized it or not.

    Watching his latest 'Recording guitar tutorial' and watching the section on low-passing at 7kHz made me aware of something I've been subliminally doing for a while now.

    After the usual '10 to 12kHz' low-pass most of us do on guitars, I always found myself clamping down on everything above 7kHz with the C4. I wondered why, but I was too afraid to drag the low-pass down, thinking I'd eat up too many of the high frequencies.

    Having finally got the balls to try it for real on a mix, I can just say that it works. It not only is a contributing factor to why you guys like his tones so much, it also brings guitar sounds closer to the crushing variety done by guys like Staub. It even made the guitars closer to the ballpark of good ITB metal sounds, like Gojira's 'TWoAF' which from what I gather is a board favorite.

    It makes the process of de-fizzing guitars ever so much easier, making the notes more defined and crushing, leaving more space for cymbal articulation and for the high end 'air' of vocals to do its thing.

    So essentially what I'm saying here is... don't be afraid. Go medieval on those guitas. Limit the bandwidth, give yourself less to work with and less to screw up. I've never understood the fabled '12kHz lowpass' and now I get a chance to move on from there with peace of mind.
     
  2. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    Insightful. Any clips?
     
  3. iHate

    iHate Member

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    Hell, Bendeth seems to go down to 6khz, at least on the last Breaking Benjamin record he did. With a massive 2-3khz.

    I honestly can't get it to work very well, but then again I am a shitty mixer.

    What other frequencies do you find yourself scooping or boosting?
     
  4. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Interesting...
     
  5. Ola Englund

    Ola Englund Only gay in the village

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    cool man, as a guitarist I know how hard it can be to lowpass to much, clearly getting rid of presence and clarity of the guitar. But it works so much better in a mix.

    I'd like to hear clips as well! :D
     
  6. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    I actually did it to your rhythm guitars in the DBX 160VU test thread. They are a little low in the mix so its hard to tell, and without vocals you don't get the full effect, but it's there. Also may not have compensated enough by boosting some of the high mids back to add enough bite.

    I'll test it more and work with it in full/proper mixes in the near future. As you say it's hard to battle the lack of presence and clarity, but I think this might be where Nebula comes in. It should be able to boost highs in a much better way than any other plug-ins.
     
  7. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    Everytime I posted a clip of my 5150 setup the comment I would always get is that the guitars sounded like they had a blanket over them, but honestly the just didn't have ALL the highs in there. I don't even pass at 12k, its usually 13-14k and while they are bright by themselves, they are pretty warm and dark in the mix. My go to album for determining how dark guitars should be is Trivium's "Shogun" and Evergrey's "Torn", although you could look at the tones of Loomis, Chimera, Slipknot, Machine Head, Killswitch Engage etc.

    I really like clean, but vintage like dark mixes, as they add so much power to the mids, help with the critical mids clarity and make the low end sound huge but tight. You should really try that same approach on the drums, as I am finding that I will throw either tape or a LP @ 16K on the drum bus which makes the kick and snare seem like they have so much more weight to them. During Mastering I like to run a parallel impulse of a guitar cabinet, compress it to fuck and add it up to a likable volume. This is what I would say is a filtered parallel compression and it works great (I also do that for the ambient mics on the drums). For vocals I even like to slam a DeEsser and bring the threshold down so that it is a hair above the average RMS, then set the filter to an extremely low level like 3-4k, which adds a very warm vintage feel to the extreme consonant attacks. Now you are probably thinking that my mixes come out extremely dark, but the highs are there and the mixes have tones of air, but I pull the reigns on them just as hard as most around the forum do with the low end.
     
  8. Harry Hughes

    Harry Hughes   ‬‬

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    I made a thread a little while ago, last month or the month before, can't remember now, but I questioned why we didn't just low pass at like, 8.5KHz or even lower, but pretty much EVERYONE except for you and one other guy disagreed with me.
    I had people saying "Your monitoring must suck", and yeah, my monitoring is pretty poor compared to what some of you guys here have, but I know what I was fucking hearing, what I was listening too.
    I recall you saying in that thread, Ermz, that you had this paranoid fear of losing the 'air' frequencies, but I never had that fear.
    In fact, for quite a while now, I was positively convinced a lot of the 'air' we perceive in guitars is actually in something like the 5.5-7KHz range, and the stuff above that was largely just 'junk' frequencies, not air as it seems to be commonly thought of.
    I also like how getting rid of that high end crap also seems to really bring more focus to the mids of the guitars, because after all, it's electric guitar, fuck the treble, we want lower mids, core mids, higher mids and upper mids providing the bulk of the sound of the guitars.

    I tend to think my opinion/the thread I made was largely shot down just because I'm not a super experienced AE with a big list of credits to my name with fancy expensive gear.
    Yeah, I may not have the general AE chops of some of the guys on this board, but as I said above, when I made that thread, it was because I was totally convinced I knew what I was hearing and listening too and it just annoys me that there's seems to be a general attitude that a guy who is less experienced can't possibly have something to offer on the forum as well.

    While I'm here, one thing I found that dramatically improved the high gain guitar tones I could get with POD Farm was getting out the 4 band semi-parametric EQ, and setting the high shelf to anywhere between and including 7500-8500KHz and then dipping it all the way down to -12.8dB.
    That got rid of a lot of the high end junk, has the effect of making it sound a bit less digital too and also, IMHO, entirely removed the need for any low passing when working with POD Farm guitars, but of course if you still want to use a low pass, go ahead, there are no rules.
     
  9. abigor731

    abigor731 Member

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    that's an interesting idea,
    i sometimes do it on individual elements of a mix, most of the time on synths actually, but my problem is that it always sounds a bit phasy
    but how do you deal with the phase issues?
     
  10. HCL

    HCL Holy Crap! Lions!

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    It really depends entirely on the song, band and gear being used, doesn't it?
     
  11. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    you don't as the phase of the new track cannot line up, if you are getting that sort of volume to where the phase is becoming an issue, use a LP filter @ 5K instead.

    @Harry: The idea of taking control of highs for a darker guitar sound is great, but low passing guitars at 8k with a 20db/oct slope is a bit extreme because there still is important information up the the Nyquist frequency of CD audio, which is about 11K where everything above that resembles more of a square wave will simply sound more of white noise. In Ola's video you can see that even though he used a LP at 7k, the filter has a very shallow slope before finally effectively low passes around 12-14k. We are trying to capture the real sound of the amp, and remove anything that would prevent that, so we are killing everything or most of that is white noise and lowering everything slightly below to tame it down a bit (compensate for most mics particularly the 57's coloration).

    Totally depends on the amp, band, and mix. With my setup, I don't even have to pass anything lower than 13-14K and boost the 10K area up by a fair margin, and it still sounds pretty dark. A lot of the crisp "crunch" definition is in the 8-10K and that is really where the air of the guitars are, everything higher is just white noise that is washing out the in your face characteristic that the guitars should have.

    You have a lot of people shooting down outside the norm ideas from nobody's. Hell I think is was Jarkko that mentioned something about pulling the mic away from the cab about 6-12in and everyone shot him down but then praised it when they found out that was how Adam D got his guitar tones. no use getting worked up on noobs not taking your advice, its their loss not yours.
     
  12. muckypup1

    muckypup1 Sinister Haven \m/

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    I've never tried doing this before because it hurts :D I can't hear my guitars as loud when I try it!

    I remember that thread you made and people just dicked about and said it don't work, well this thread is proving them wrong man \m/ I'll definitely be trying this out on my next song though, because I'm really not a fan of the fizz :(
     
  13. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    I think the only person killing everything higher than 8K is Gareth trying to nail the perfect Sunn O))) tone (sorry Gareth if you read this, I couldn't resist, Slice the Cake FTW!!!). I know that certain characteristics change on different amps, I remember Marcus talking about Rectos having fizz in the 4-5K area and I alway though he was on crack until I really listened to Richard Z's Triple Rec tone and I was like "Holy shit amps can have fizz down there WTF?", because with my experience dicking around with my 5150 has been that the fizz is all 12K+ and there isn't enough of that fizzy crunch characteristics in the mids. What I do know is that with 5150's the whisper/wind rustling in the trees/white noise that is musical goes from about 8K-12K and obviously that will be different with different amps.
     
  14. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

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    Sunn's tone would be nothing without having every last frequency intact in all of its body shaking, bowel movement inducing glory.

    But yeah, honestly this obsession with treble weirds me out. There is very little in that range for guitars that sounds even remotely musical. For SOME mixes it works, some stuff just needs to sound a little bit harsher, but 90% of music could easily get away with being a little duller, a little less trebley, that shit hurts goddamn it.
     
  15. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    what I don't get though is how some bands can actually nail tone with highs in there a fair amount and it not be harsh, as I said in a previous example, Rammstein, on their newest album and all the way back to Mutter, the guitar tone had tons of bite and crunch, but was extremely musical. Achieving that sort of balance baffles me.
     
  16. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Harry, your first post is so dead on it almost hurts. I rarely read stuff here I even agree with anymore, much less as wholeheartedly as this.

    As far as people not regarding the opinion of someone unknown, less experienced etc. etc. It happens, that's the way people are. That's why I think everyone's favourite line in face of adversity here is 'but Sneap does it this way', as if somehow that's the oracle to all record production.

    I think there are some listeners who take more pride in audio engineering than some actual audio engineers do. Your approach, Harry, is very reasoned and I can always tell that you've sat down and thought the fuck about what you're saying before you actually say it. Your comments usually reinforce whatever perceptions I have about something. It's become so consistent now that you've become one of the few people on the board whose comments I read and actually take note of. So many people say things on impulse... or something that's reflective only of where they are at that point in time. You know those guys that grab a new amp and are like 'this is the best shit I ever heard, and I won't ever need to record anything else', then 6 months later they buy another amp and its the same story.

    Anyway I think there are a lot of engineers out there with much to answer for when it comes to giving advice like 'boosting the air on guitars'. This literally took me down the wrong path for years. I was doing this and wondering 'why the fuck doesn't it sound smooth and nice?'. It's because air frequencies on distorted guitars are utter shite. What we perceive as brightness and sizzle is in fact a lot lower than most people realize it is. Exactly as you put it there, Harry.

    My best results on rhythm guitars in my early years were from amps that were tracked really dark. Like a Bogner Ecstasy I tracked with the Excursion switch on 'Loose', which literally was like an in-built 7kHz low-pass. Engineers I'd ask about this would always say 'naw, try to get the tone as close as possible from the amp' etc. And I always wondered WHY when the top-end was so much smoother when boosted with a studio EQ later, rather than a cheap fizzy amp-turd. Then in a conversation I had with Christian here I learned that Nordstrom tracks his guitars super-dark, and boosts the high-end back in with a channel strip EQ. BING, full circle.

    People give wrong advice all the time in this industry. This is one of the greatest problems to somebody learning. One of the best things to develop early on is a filter, and work out who the hell knows what they're ranting about before you take any of it on board.
     
  17. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    In a few hours when the sun is up and its not the early morning hours, I will have to give that a try. Are you refering to the lowere highs, or the extreme (presence) highs?

    In the industry you have extreme opinions of some that have a very narrow minded view on how things should be done, then set rules that you should never break. Then you have the guys that try to act like they know something and clearly are giving out extremely wrong information regardless of how good their intentions were. Either way there becomes some bad habits and bit of information that are a plague in the AE world and over the years it has gotten even harder to filter through all of them
     
  18. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    I'm not abigor!
     
  19. Harry Hughes

    Harry Hughes   ‬‬

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    :lol:
     
  20. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    um, I have no clue how the fuck that happend...the forum glitched the fuck out.
     

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