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Old 10-04-2017, 07:04 PM   #1
RDBOIS
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Default Another harshness rant - confirm or reject this...

Well... I need to get it out, again. Darn harshness in my recordings is driving me insane!

When I crank the volume up it hurts my ears...

I've blamed the cheap microphone
I've blamed the cheap soundcard
I've blamed the digital format
I've blamed my ignorance of proper usage of EQ

And now...

Can someone please confirm or reject something for me: If I don't mic an amp and plug direct into a rather cheap usb interface, will this automatically create a harsh sound? Is this a given?

Because, it seems like I always need to significantly reduce the mids/midhighs with EQ to get something that does not hurt my ears. The pain freqs are around 2 or 3k (up to 5k).

I think I remember seeing that Fender and/or other amps have a significant dip in the mids; would that mean that mic'ing an amp automatically reduces harshness? I don't own an amp; I'm stuck plugging direct in the box

I've tried using saturation and/or analogue sims...

Does anyone else have to make serious EQ cuts in the mid/midhighs to have something not so painful? I need to do what I need to do, but it would make me feel better knowing that someone else is going through the same issues and solutions. Someone who is also riding the tight rope between massive cutting EQ to remove harshness, but not to much make the sound thin... Pfff

I like smoooooth, velvety, warm sounds...

End of rant.

Anyone?

Last edited by RDBOIS; 10-04-2017 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:41 PM   #2
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Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I tend to end up with mixes that roll off highs at about 3 dB/octave because I like that sound.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:22 PM   #3
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I just found this plugin: I'm probably not going to spend money buying this, but will try to figure out what it is doing, so I can learn a thing or two:

https://www.g-sonique.com/treblecream.html

"G-Sonique TrebleCream - Mid/Treble & Transients softening technology

One of the most annoying thing in sound/music are for sure sharp, harsh and screaming mid-trebles and distorted transients.

From your mixing experiences you probably know frequent situation that everything sounds good, instruments are balanced, good compressed and
equalized but if you want to have clear and significant overall mix then mid-trebles are inevitably very sharp, screaming and distorted - and you don't know how to make them softer and more enjoyable.

Then after mix, screaming/sharp mid-trebles are many times boosted during mastering process (because your record is amplified, compressed, limited
which results in next distortion which is most significant on mid-trebles and transients). Later if this track is played loud in car, disco bar or big concert these sharp mid-trebles and transients are sawing ears of your listeners because power amplifiers are producing next distortion and massive higher harmonics when playing really loud (more loudness = more distortion of amplifier).

Then, music is no longer a pleasure but pain - killing ears of your listeners with screaming trebles/mids and distorted transients on big PA systems at concerts or disco bars.

It doesn't matter if you are mixing jazz, folk, heavy metal, techno or drum and bass ask your listeners - all of them prefer nice, creamy analog sparkling trebles, mid-trebles and intensive but silky transients rather than painful distortion and screaming of these frequencies. Even in hard styles of music.

Do you like sparkling trebles and silky/creamy mid-trebles/transients too? Would you like to have pleasant and soft yet very intensive mid-trebles/transient in your mix? Don't you know solution how to achieve them? We are introducing TrebleCream.

TrebleCream is new technology with special digital algorithms / virtual circuits inspired by analog electronic structures for achieving really pleasant, creamy mid-trebles and transients without loosing any intensity of mid-high frequencies. TrebleCream will help you remove "harshness" from mix within few seconds.

Treble cream was developed in cooperation with Analog Dimension. Senior mastering engineer of Analog Dimension studios says "More than 50% of mixes
that we are receiving has screaming or distorted mid-trebles and or/transients, while rest of mix is relatively good. Sometimes song is 2x louder after mastering because of modern trends and all these negative artifacts (harshness, mid-treble distortion) are logically boosted during mastering, while many people thinks that mastering can fix all mistakes in mix all experienced engineers will tell you that it is not truth. Simply mastering can't save wrong mix. Many people are using low quality digital compressors, coloring plug-ins, limiters and all these plug-ins are producing distortion on mid-trebles and transients if used unduly.
We were always curious what to do with these low quality-mixes when re-mixing wasn't possible, because compressing or equalizing can't help and remove screaming mid-trebles and distorted transients, otherwise song will sound empty and subdued after strong equalizing. So after discussion with G-Sonique engineers and long research we discovered TrebleCream machine. Firstly we made it as real analog hardware and later recreated as digital plug-in for more comfortable work."

TrebleCream is aimed mainly for MIX (used on individual channels) but can be used very comfortable also on MixBuss/Main channel during mixing or during MASTERING if you receive really wrong and harsh mix and re-mixing isn't possible. Sometimes TrebleCream can be last chance to repair wrong and harsh
mix, before mastering."





******

Does anyone have experiences with this type of antiharsh plugins?
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:45 PM   #4
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I find there's a lot of dynamic unpredictability in that high range that doesn't get addressed too often in the mixing. Lot's of making sure the bass end is steady and punchy and all our favourite words, but then neglect the high range.

I was just fooling around with reaxcomp and put a single band from 5khz up, lots of threshold engagement, ratio 2, and boosted 3db on a hihat heavy master, and it has a pleasing effect.

I think I'll reach for this as a preset rather than using shelf EQ for a bit and see how that turns out.




I also have a trick I can't remember where I got it from because I have some visuals about learning it on youtube but I'm blanking on which producer it was... anyway, boost side in the 10k + range and reduce mids. On a stereo system it has the effect of placing different parts of the transient further into two separate speakers, so the smearing effect of your room is more pronounced. In mono, it has an acceptable but not 100% ideal bit of a combing out effect which can either be great or terrible. I find it's essential when fine tuning this aspect (listening in mono) to make small, 10-15 hz movements of the cutoff on the filters to really hone in on a pleasant combing effect.
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Old 10-05-2017, 07:32 AM   #5
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A sort of mid-high shelf frequency dedicated ReaXComp compression? It makes sense to tame the highs rather than a systematic lowering of everything.

It's just so confusing, especially when you see video after video, tutorial after tutorial, explaining why we need to boost the 5K range for vocal clarity and the highs to add "sheen"... When I do that it becomes painful.

Hmmm... EQing MIDS separately? Will try that

Ohhhh I tested the G-Sonique TrebleCream DEMO and a few presets sound really good. Like a magic pill of sorts. However, I don't like magic pills, I prefer to know what and why I'm doing things to the sounds.
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Old 10-05-2017, 07:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
It's just so confusing, especially when you see video after video
Do you have a sample of the problem? I'm also a little confused since you mention blaming the microphone but also mention guitar SIMS and no micing. I don't use sims that much but I don't remember this issue in general albeit SIMs can be brighter I suppose.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:55 AM   #7
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It is true that most guitar amps use a tone stack very similar to the one Fender developed and that usually does tend to cut mids. Most of the time, if you want something close to flat from a guitar amp you have to set the Mid knob to 10 and put Bass and treble around 5. Almost nobody likes that sound for actual guitars. So yeah, that is a thing. Seems like any decent amp sim should have that built in, though.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:30 AM   #8
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Hi RDBOIS,

Harshness is a common problem that needs to be dealt with in mixing.
Here is a video about eq for Guitar sims;

https://youtu.be/_I15_T9npZI

Ampsims are prone to have harshness.

There are many plugins that do some deharshing or that have presets for it.

I think learning to find them with an eq or a dynamic eq is the best way to deal with them. And deciding how much you want to cut.
IMO it's part of the searching for eq resonances routine of each mix.

Some cymbals can have annoying harshness and some strings also.

Good luck.

Last edited by electricthing; 10-05-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Ampsims are prone to have harshness.
I totally agree but if I throw a '57 on my cab and get too close to the center it is exactly as harsh - hence my more used Royer 121 and my ask to hear a sample. I'm not disagreeing but the fact a guitar tone is coming through studio monitor tweeters has been an issue since tape went away. I wouldn't be replying but I'm in the middle of recording guitar tracks for 12 songs and there is very little, if any difference harshness wise between the amps and sims.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:22 AM   #10
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Just a few thoughts that might help.

Harsh can be a single frequency band too hot in the high mids. A cheap mic (think dictation machine or CB radio) that nearly only reproduces a narrow high mid band can almost sound like the recording of just that frequency amplitude modulated to mimic the source. An extreme example.

Sometimes statically cutting this band with eq brings balance. Sometimes you need a dynamic eq to ramp up as that frequency band saturates.


Harsh can be the lack of supporting frequency content. Where there's actually nothing wrong at the harsh frequency but it sounds forward from the lack of lower mids or low end that was supposed to be there.


Electric guitar is a "loaded" situation (no pun intended) because the dynamic range of the stupid thing can really exceed the window most mixes are trying to live in. We can capture that raw with our pristine 24 bit HD digital formats but try squeezing it into a proper mix and it can get tricky. Some of that's on the performer to dial their rig in. But e-gtr is an odd system. The amps are part of the sound creation - not just a turn up the volume thing. And they were made to be the full PA power for the instrument for a big room originally which gets unwieldy in these modern times.

So e-gtr sound has some assembly required!

Sometimes the room sound is more important than you first imagined for a guitar. Got to get the "bouncing off the walls" element right! Reverb is already a mid bandpassed thing but don't be afraid to adjust that eq and further restrict that band. Try cutting out the offending frequency for starters.

Digital formats?
You recording to mp3? Otherwise this is probably not a player.

Cheap pci audio interface?
Could be. Stock pci Soundblasticator cards from back in the day were pretty awful. But today an average $50 USB audio interface is at a pro enough level that it won't be the weak link if you have half an idea what you're doing. So this isn't unobtainium.

Amp sims?
If a mix is relying on that gtr sound to be just 100% perfect or everything is lost, well that's the real root problem perhaps but the day is going to be difficult. But if you have a mix going on where as long as you hit the fidelity/nuance mark at 90% with the raw gtr sound where no one is the wiser you'll get a lot done today.

Similar to how if the lead singer mumbled some of the words it would be glaring. But if one of the backing singers mumbled through a few words they forgot but still properly in pitch, no one would ever notice unless you solo'd that track. (Until you start the 5.1 mix anyway...)
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
...there is very little, if any difference harshness wise between the amps and sims.
In all my years I've never really had (or taken) the chance to actually listen to a cranked Dual Rectifier in person. Of course I've heard them recorded all over, but never really face to face. I've always had a problem with harshness in amp sims of those types of amps, and while I'm all about amp sims and don't much buy the hype about "real amps", I guess I always did chalk it up to "must be the sim" in that case. There was a dude playing one at a gig a couple months back and I took that opportunity to get down in front of the stage and actually listen to what was coming out of his speakers. Guess what!

I'm sure I'm not going to change anybody's mind, but I've done side by side comparisons of my actual Vox tube amp and a couple different sims and the differences are not larger than those you'd get from different amps or mics or placements. I have always had trouble with that nasty spitty fizzy harshness that can come out of a speaker cone, and most of my micing (and mixing) decisions are about minimizing that.

But mix context is always paramount. Sometimes what sounds harsh when the track is soloed is exactly what helps it speak through the mix when everybody else is rocking.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:04 PM   #12
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Guess what!
Yea, that's what I mean I think. I have seen some semblance of harshness with a SIM here and there but it's a similar thing with my ear in an actual cone. But the point is, guitars through monitors always have some of that going on.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDBOIS View Post
Can someone please confirm or reject something for me: If I don't mic an amp and plug direct into a rather cheap usb interface, will this automatically create a harsh sound? Is this a given?

Because, it seems like I always need to significantly reduce the mids/midhighs with EQ to get something that does not hurt my ears. The pain freqs are around 2 or 3k (up to 5k).

I think I remember seeing that Fender and/or other amps have a significant dip in the mids; would that mean that mic'ing an amp automatically reduces harshness? I don't own an amp; I'm stuck plugging direct in the box
Yes, the amplifier tone stack will also shape the sound, cutting mids, or if you prefer, boosting bass and treble, but the high frequency roll-off of the speaker is what smooths our the brittleness of clean tones and the fizzy harshness of OD or distortion sounds.

Guitar amp speakers are an important Lo-Fi EQ element. In general most guitar speakers have a peak between 2k and 4k and strong roll-off higher than that. Look at Jensen or Celestion or Weber frequency response curves. Copy one into your EQ and hear the effect. In fact just doing that alone can be a reasonable poor man's amp sim and smooth out some of the harshness.

Of course the combination of how we EQ and where we position the mic in front of an amp speaker can also produce some ear-piercing high frequencies which is not always a bad thing, as noted by Ashcat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I have always had trouble with that nasty spitty fizzy harshness that can come out of a speaker cone, and most of my micing (and mixing) decisions are about minimizing that.

But mix context is always paramount. Sometimes what sounds harsh when the track is soloed is exactly what helps it speak through the mix when everybody else is rocking.
If you are adjusting mic placement for recording, do so listening to the track you'll be recording to. Listening to the amp/mic signal alone is often not helpful.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:03 AM   #14
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Rolling of the top on the guitar itself, greatly reduces the harshness of the recording. It's almost impossible to dial the harshness out of distorted guitars after the fact.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:37 AM   #15
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Rolling of the top on the guitar itself, greatly reduces the harshness of the recording. It's almost impossible to dial the harshness out of distorted guitars after the fact.
I'm a big fan of the tone knob on my guitar.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:51 AM   #16
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I don't have a tone knob on my guitar. I do have a switch that's like turning a tone knob all the way down, though.

I actually spent some time and made a bank of ReaEQ presets to match the frequency response of some of the amp sims that I use most often in PodFarm. Actually, it's sit into two on the Stash - one for the amps themselves (with tone knobs kind of preset to where they sounded good to me at the time) and one for the cabinets. The amp presets are LOUD because they're supposed to feed into a saturation plugin. I think they've all got some weirdness happening in the plugin pins which I should probably fix someday.

Edit - I did that mostly just to see how close I could get, but also for my live rig where CPU can start to get tight. Two instances of ReaEQ with my JS sin_amp (also in the Stash) in between uses like a third the CPU of a PadFarm amp, and it really is close enough for me.

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Old 10-06-2017, 09:02 AM   #17
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I don't have a tone knob on my guitar.
One of my strats has a switch that bypasses the tone knob if you place it on 10 but can't say I've noticed much difference. It's already bright enough and rarely have it full on anyway.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:54 AM   #18
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It depends on the guitar of course, and if the V pot is still there, it will kind of damp the effect. It's really just a db or two more at the top of the resonant peak right at the edge of the pickup's response. Sometimes that's too high to get through the speaker anyway. I have a bunch of guitars all wired differently, and a couple that I haven't rewired yet. Most of the ones I've done have no actual pots at all. Just switches. I can tell the difference, and I have plenty of ways to change Volume and Tone other places.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:58 AM   #19
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Quote:
It's really just a db or two more at the top of the resonant peak right at the edge of the pickup's response
Yea that sounds about right. Otherwise, the tone knob is right there by my hand it gets adjusted quite a bit mid-performance (even during the same song at times) and often during tracking, just like the V knob does, so other places are of no use to me really for that purpose.
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:23 AM   #20
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Yeah, I use my hands for those things. It's easier for me to just play differently than to reach for knobs. I don't even touch the switches in a live performance cause I too often forget to switch back.
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:33 PM   #21
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I've used knobs for >30 years now so that's as easy as playing, probably as second nature as tying shoes at this point.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:50 AM   #22
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I think a lot of "harshness" might start as a problem of listener-perspective.

In recording, we're starting from the position of an unnatural observer - with mics postioned where ears would never be, and in (optimally) treated (or at least generally) in non-reverberant rooms.

In real experience we hear instruments along with reflections - in rooms, concert halls, whatever.

But recording has evolved to try to separate the instrument from its surroundings - so you get what, imo, is an "unnatural" isolated perspective when you listen back. Of course the character of the particular microphone adds to the filtering.
_

Lately I've recorded two acoustic instruments for the purpose of messing around in a sampler - piano accordion and 5 string banjo. Yeah, you can say those sound horrible to start with

But what I hear from the recordings is a harshness and some very unpleasant overtones.

I reckon the harshness and overtones are really there ... just that in normal listening conditions they are softened by the surroundings; whereas in recording they are isolated and focused.

Maybe.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:07 AM   #23
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Quote:
But what I hear from the recordings is a harshness and some very unpleasant overtones.
Just to add that distance is often one's friend. I had a drummer once who just had to have his toms ringing out like crap when I recorded because that was "his sound" - till I explained to him that his ear being 1 inch from the tom (like the mic), is not his sound.

At times I mic guitar amps as far away as 2-8 feet and acoustic instruments a couple or more. People run into issues and have to usually close mic because they don't have a decent room and the distance causes the bad room sound ruin the holistic nature of an instrument sound that has had a chance to develop (vs being so close it's only picking up part of the sound at that area of the instrument).

Just another one of the many reasons a treated room is so valuable. Then of course there are all those guitarists who think they have ears in their knees.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:17 PM   #24
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Ok.

Thanks everyone for commenting and giving your 2cents. That's a lot to take in and mull over.

Hmmm... So I guess it is sort of normal (whatever that means) to get some harshness when tracking DI. I think I also need some listening perspective...

Sample clips for you all, let's see here what I have this is raw, unprocessed, and represents best the situation. Ok, got it, I put four audio WAV files in my dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pdtvx9csu...tK1DoYBma?dl=0

- I put some acoustic guitar clips (strum and picking, DI, no processing)
- A small bit of vocals recording with a microphone DI, no processing)
- A bit of electric guitar, DI, no processing)

(note: these clips are temp working tracks, very raw, not the final tracks of a song; please don't focus too much on the playing/time mistakes).

Do you hear some harshness in these sample clips, on your listening setup?

Hmmm... how can we actually compare notes here, given we have different monitors and all? I would help me if you could slap a ReaEQ and let me know what kind of cuts you would do, to make it sound respectable on your side of the electronic virtual matrix.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:24 PM   #25
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For the acoustics all I hear is what you get when you don't use a mic and instead use the piezo pickup in the guitar - which I won't rule out as a potential method for recording but it is going to sound far worse (in general) than micing it - so this isn't anything to do really with the interface, SIMs et al.

For the electric, no, it doesn't sound harsh per se but it isn't going through a SIM either no?
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:59 PM   #26
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For the acoustics all I hear is what you get when you don't use a mic and instead use the piezo pickup in the guitar - which I won't rule out as a potential method for recording but it is going to sound far worse (in general) than micing it - so this isn't anything to do really with the interface, SIMs et al.

For the electric, no, it doesn't sound harsh per se but it isn't going through a SIM either no?
No sim, all raw input.

I get that I should record my acoustic with a mic, but I don't have a treated room, don't have a good mic, and no amp. So it would be a DI mic for the guitar. Would that still be better than the guitar pickup?

I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't try a two step process; 1) record the guitar with the mic (DI), play it back through the monitors after having added a virtual amp sim, rerecord with a mic set up in front of the monitor.

Is that heard of, or would it add some weird artifacts?

What about the vocal sample track I provided; how harsh is my microphone DI'd?
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:34 PM   #27
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The electric guitar actually sounded better than I expected. I'd probably still stick an amp sim on there, but you could do a lot with a just a little EQ, maybe some compression. I'd have to hear it in context to give specific pointers.

The acoustic sounds just as gross as I'd expect. On piezo acoustics with built in EQ, I almost always just turn the high frequency control most of the way down. Don't be afraid to shelf down or even low pass that if you want it to sound more natural. In certain genres though, the acoustic guitar is more like a shaker or tamborine, in which case you'd probably high pass it and then mix it back a bit and that nastiness will give you just what you need.

There isn't anything glaring wrong in the vocal. A pretty solid start I think.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:21 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
The electric guitar actually sounded better than I expected. I'd probably still stick an amp sim on there, but you could do a lot with a just a little EQ, maybe some compression. I'd have to hear it in context to give specific pointers.

The acoustic sounds just as gross as I'd expect. On piezo acoustics with built in EQ, I almost always just turn the high frequency control most of the way down. Don't be afraid to shelf down or even low pass that if you want it to sound more natural. In certain genres though, the acoustic guitar is more like a shaker or tamborine, in which case you'd probably high pass it and then mix it back a bit and that nastiness will give you just what you need.

There isn't anything glaring wrong in the vocal. A pretty solid start I think.
Thanks for the listen and tips.

My guitar does have a three nobs (low, mid, high) and a slider called AMF that slides from 80 to 10K. Never heard of an AMF before?! You?
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:29 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDBOIS View Post

My guitar does have a three nobs (low, mid, high) and a slider called AMF that slides from 80 to 10K. Never heard of an AMF before?! You?
Adjustable Midrange Frequency? Probably determines the point around which the EQ curve centers. You'll find it on many mixing boards as well. (Called something different though.)
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:43 AM   #30
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Good article here with ideas to experiment with
http://www.guitarplayer.com/miscella...goodness/23054

When I DI electric, I'm using Waves AudioTrack for HP/LP and the tiniest little touch of compression.

The STARTING point for HP is around 80. For the LP I start around 8K. The more drive I use in the sim, the lower I go with the LP.
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:25 AM   #31
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I would also review the "Why do my recordings sound like ass?" thread.

That thing is a gold mine.

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283

Last edited by jerome_oneil; 10-09-2017 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Now with links to why your recordings sound like ass.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:23 PM   #32
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The big thing about most piezo acloustics is the fact that the pickup is in the bridge saddle. At that point on the string, every harmonic that the string produces moves just about the same distance. When you move farther along the string, the it can actually swing further overall, and you see the lower harmonics swinging a lot further with the higher harmonics "riding on top" of that motion. What we are used to hearing from an acoustic guitar is more like what's happening around the middle of the string motion - it's weighted much more toward the lower end of things. It's very much the same as the difference between a neck and bridge pickup on a guitar, except even more extreme, and a typical magnetic pickup can't possibly pass anything above maybe 8K whereas the piezo itself will gladly vibrate transduce radio frequencies.

It's a very complex system of course (I've described part of the issue) so it's impossible to actually take the piezo output and make it sound exactly like it would in a room or to a mic, but you can get quite a ways by just keeping this in mind. Use ReaEQ for a lowpass, start with a really wide bandwidth and don't be afraid to dig way down even almost to the fundamentals. Use makeup gain to keep things fair and maybe highpass to take out any boominess that starts to take over.

I think it's important to think here more about broad ranges. The problem is definitely not just a couple narrow bands in the 2-3K range.

You asked for like ReaEQ settings and such. I would find it much easier to do that in context. If you were to post a brief project - just a verse or something - with all of these elements aligned and ready to mix, I might poke around at it.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:49 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
The big thing about most piezo acloustics is the fact that the pickup is in the bridge saddle. At that point on the string, every harmonic that the string produces moves just about the same distance. When you move farther along the string, the it can actually swing further overall, and you see the lower harmonics swinging a lot further with the higher harmonics "riding on top" of that motion. What we are used to hearing from an acoustic guitar is more like what's happening around the middle of the string motion - it's weighted much more toward the lower end of things. It's very much the same as the difference between a neck and bridge pickup on a guitar, except even more extreme, and a typical magnetic pickup can't possibly pass anything above maybe 8K whereas the piezo itself will gladly vibrate transduce radio frequencies.

It's a very complex system of course (I've described part of the issue) so it's impossible to actually take the piezo output and make it sound exactly like it would in a room or to a mic, but you can get quite a ways by just keeping this in mind. Use ReaEQ for a lowpass, start with a really wide bandwidth and don't be afraid to dig way down even almost to the fundamentals. Use makeup gain to keep things fair and maybe highpass to take out any boominess that starts to take over.

I think it's important to think here more about broad ranges. The problem is definitely not just a couple narrow bands in the 2-3K range.

You asked for like ReaEQ settings and such. I would find it much easier to do that in context. If you were to post a brief project - just a verse or something - with all of these elements aligned and ready to mix, I might poke around at it.

Great info and tech.

Perhaps i'll mic the acoustic before i try anything with eq. i guess i was thinking that i could get a better sound plugged in seeing that i don't have a studio (i.e. good room) and a have a cheap mic. The mic is a Heil pr22. Perhaps i can even try combining the low freqs of the DI track with the rest coming from the mic?

Once i my project is a bit more advanced i'll post a sound clip, so you can hear the context.

BTW, this is the kind of sound i'm looking for, for the acoustic guitar; see video below

If you crank the volume up you may notice that the guitar sound is a composite; several guitars playing (i wonder if it is not 1 acoustic for the highs + 1 classical guit for the lows), but sounds more like only one... There is sweetness even loud, never too harsh.

How do you recon they created this sound?


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Old 10-10-2017, 06:22 AM   #34
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Hey RD:

I can recommend an excellent article from Sound On Sound magazine's Mike Senior.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...coustic-guitar

I've spent more than my fair share of time dealing with "harshness" issues on guitars and, as a result, have done LOTS of reading and fiddling. I recall an article where a guy was talking about mixing DI'd acoustic guitars in live venues and he was often making HUGE cuts in the 1-5kHz range - like 12dB, in order to remove harshness.

I have found this to be the case with electric guitars sometimes as well. I had a track from a pro live sound guy who'd mic'd the amp of an accomplished regional rock guitarist. I ended up using REAEQ to cut 10+ dB at 2.6 kHz with a Q of 1. (I've always wondered what that guitar must have sounded like in the smallish club where it was recorded.)
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:36 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dug dog View Post
Hey RD:

I can recommend an excellent article from Sound On Sound magazine's Mike Senior.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...coustic-guitar

I've spent more than my fair share of time dealing with "harshness" issues on guitars and, as a result, have done LOTS of reading and fiddling. I recall an article where a guy was talking about mixing DI'd acoustic guitars in live venues and he was often making HUGE cuts in the 1-5kHz range - like 12dB, in order to remove harshness.

I have found this to be the case with electric guitars sometimes as well. I had a track from a pro live sound guy who'd mic'd the amp of an accomplished regional rock guitarist. I ended up using REAEQ to cut 10+ dB at 2.6 kHz with a Q of 1. (I've always wondered what that guitar must have sounded like in the smallish club where it was recorded.)
I'll check out the magazine and author.

Thanks for the comment, that really makes me feel better. I must have some strange mind programing going on, because making such huge EQ cuts makes me feel really strange or that something is terribly wrong with my hearing. Like I said, I've seen my share of "professional advice" saying to boost some mids for guitars, so they won't sound too thin?! I know it's all about context, that perhaps sometimes the guitars need to cut across the mix (like for a solo, for example), but in my own little world I pretty much always need to cut, cut and cut some more in what I now call the "pain frequencies". Plus, doing this makes plenty of room for the keyboard/synth and other instruments. Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone, but I'm also very strange in that I also feel the need to make crazy high pass filter cuts ( almost all the very low frequencies, up to 150-200 at times).

I don't know man, I'm just an amateur trying to make things sound decent in a not-so-decent homemade studio (AKA a cheap PC, with cheap monitors, in my living room with a humming fridge and AC in the back).

Having said that, have you ever pondered the fact that the quality of your audio system may not matter that much, because it's all relative? You hear what you hear with what you got (body and machine), and everything passes through that level of reality.

You know what I mean? As a teen I spent hours, months, years, playing cassette tapes in a cheap Radio Shack player, using cheap headphones, but yet I could tell the difference between a well recorded song and a shitty mix?! Heck, I even remember listening to Welcome to the Machine by Pink Floyd for the fist time and thinking: "holy crap the stereo soundscape of this song is out of this world, like nothing else". Or any Fleetwood Mac song, I can hear every single instrument very well no matter the quality of the system.

Now, I bet if I was to listen to these same songs in a really expensive system, I'd be WTF?! I would realize that I'd been missing out on a great deal of sonic experiences. But, after a while, the good songs would still be better than the crappy recorded ones, and I'd be back to square one.

And this bring up the fact that most of my friends listen to my songs using the speaker of their smart phone or laptop. Those that have real speakers probably have very unbalanced, bass bias, and/or a quasi-mono setup (two speakers side by side in the back of a room). But that's their reality and they must judge my mixes relative to everything else that comes out of their system. This worries me more than should I use ReaComp or pay hundreds of dollars for a brand name/ state of the art compressor.

You and I may not even hear the same sounds the same way (biology/damage of the inner ear), but we'll never know. I guess that's why I'm freaking out on harshness; thinking perhaps my sonic experience is somewhat different/bias than most people out there. I like loud music without the pain, if that makes any sense...
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:16 AM   #36
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:40 AM   #37
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You're going to have trouble getting a sound like that Pellerin track via the DI. You might be surprised how "good enough" you can get with a mic though. Get it in close and play like you mean it in either the biggest or the deadest space you can find.

The guy that nightscope posted, I think you might could get with a DI and some very careful EQ.

There is, though, a noticeable difference in the right hand technique of these two guys compared to the track you posted of your own playing. I'm sure that's not a representative sample of what you play, but it's worth keeping in mind. In the end, especially with a bare acoustic like that, the tone comes from your hands.

Which is also to say that if it's worth recording, it kind of almost doesn't matter if the recording sounds like your favorite artist or meets industry standard or the mix is kinda wonky. If it's actually a great performance of a great piece, people will thank you just for capturing it.

Which is also to say that sometimes when we embrace or limitations and actually listen to what we're getting without comparing it to what we think we want, and spend some time figuring out what part of it works, rather than what doesn't, we find that we can actually get closer to what we thought we wanted than we thought we could, and maybe we'll discover or develop some unique little quirk that makes it distinctly our own.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:53 PM   #38
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Ok I tried mic'ing the acoutis guitar (got up close - 1/2 foot from near the end of the fret board, just a tad pointing the hole):

I have two clips (yeah did not focus on left or right hand technique (sloppy playing...):

A raw (nothing added): https://www.dropbox.com/s/357qx7z8xv...c_raw.wav?dl=0

Added an EQ and comp: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3zv9d9hmeb...ffect.wav?dl=0

Picture of the EQ: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dbjiz1w9zw...1guit.png?dl=0

EQ idea is this: a dip in the mids to cut harshness, a dip ear 300 to cut mud, a boost in the low to get more boom, and a notch near 5k because some weird whistling annoying harmonic was living there...

What are you hearing on your side? Any recommendations? I would have to say that I think I like the mic'd acoustic better than the plugin dI.

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Old 10-11-2017, 05:38 AM   #39
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As previous posters have stated, the treatments you apply to the acoustic guitar track will depend on their context in the song.

I have some pro stems from a big name Nashville guy and can confirm that their unprocessed acoustic guitar tracks don't sound significantly better than what you've recorded.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:15 AM   #40
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Here's a ReaEQ and ReaXcomp FX chain that I kinda like the sound of (bearing in mind that it's all a matter of personal taste.)

RDBois guitar.RfxChain
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