Greetings all, I'm a big fan of Ermz's Systematic Guide to Mixing which has really helped me understand my mixing and its goals for metal much more than any other stuff I have read. In the majority of cases however, crap in = crap out and without ensuring that the tracks being mixed are of good quality, mixing can sometimes amount to polishing a turd. I'm looking for an equivalent guide for the tracking side of things. Personally, I'm particularly interested in ensuring that I can produce great quality guitar and bass DIs because I mainly use VST sims and cab emulation and I want to make sure that my DI tracks are as good as they can be. Micing techniques for guitars and drums would probably fill another book, so my intention isn't to cover those in this thread - I'm just after a best practice guide for tracking for bedroom warriors who cannot necessarily mic up loud cabs or don't have the gear to do so. I'm looking for your best tips on the following areas: Instruments (Quality, Preparation mainly) - what should we be doing here? New strings, good setup, tuning and intonation etc...... what about use of quality pickups etc? Do cables matter much? Preamps / DI Boxes (specifically seperate to audio interface) - should you use a dedicated outboard preamp if possible regardless of an interface's preamps? Are DI boxes a good idea ahead of an interface? Can you emulate this ITB? (thinking Nebula preamps here) Audio Interface - are some *much* better than others? Can this become a weak link in the chain with other decent equipment? Do other factors ultimately affect sound quality more than the interface? Tracking Itself - any guidelines on signal levels? what do you consider to be too 'hot'? Do you apply any pre-FX such as compression to the tracked signal? Looking for a focus here on sound quality - there are plenty of threads discussing the merits of things like double tracking vs. quad tracking, so I don't want this thread to venture into that territory Post-Tracking Treatment - how do you prepare your tracks before mixing? Noise / hiss removal? Removing / adding silence? Any filtering? Not looking to go into specifics about things like slip editing here - again please focus on how to ensure sound quality of the DI is perfect before applying VSTs like amp sims, and before mixing. Look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences on this!