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POST your RIG !

posted on #1
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Joined: 11.03.15
This may not be your cup-o-tea.
But, I am always interested in how people achieve their sound.
Instruments, Mic's, and their placement / attachement, DAW's or Recording Gear.
Technique for different / alternative sounds. Amps and output devices.

My rig for guitar goes like..
1.Guitar
2.Short 1/4 cord. No more than 11 feet. You loose highs. Or, I believe you do.
Based on Impedence theory. High frequencies don't carry as much power / umph.
Exception is pre-amp'd instrument.
3.Marshall Valvestate 40 watt. Enough for a room, and can get gritty, without high volumes.
-OR-
4.POD HD
-OR- / Steinberg CI2 A/D converter, clean guitar into it. Then add effects.
5.Cubase 5 VST, Steinberg did write the book on VST's. And gave away the SDK, for you to create your own. Something to be said about that. I like it.
6.Track by track, or add to stereo mix like we all do.
7.Listen over and over, to hear blemishes, and correct as much as possible.
8.Final Mastering, and mixdown to stereo track.

Looking forward to reading about new, different ideas. Or Expand with questions for other's to answer, help the newbies understand , etc. etc.

~MasterK
posted on #2
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Do you mix/master blind or do you use reference tracks?
posted on #3
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Joined: 25.03.12
Good point about cable length. This is especially important when using high impedance/low output single coil pickups. The main culprit here is cable capaciance which forma a low pass filter together with the pickup and to some extent amplifier.
Good quality cables have the capacitance/m specified
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #4
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
dannyk wrote:
Do you mix/master blind or do you use reference tracks?


I don't mix blind per se.
1. Set monitor level to 85db. This is important for the human ear.
With your trusty db meter, or Ipone, or Pad. Free ones out there.
Set weighting to C, slow response, hold it one meter from the speaker at ear height.
Then move your speakers into a equilateral triangle with your skull.
The tweeters have to be @ ear height also.
Reason for all this is to get perception of phasing.

2. Listen to major records of same genre.
Match technique of the guys who get millions.
Tweak yours to be like them.
3. Then I always put my twist on stuff, meaning, I add an effect in that may or may not be right for the track. Just like a twist of lemon, or lime in a beverage.
This is like a signature if you will.
4. Listen through headphones also. Yes, no phasing, but mor audible precise mixing.
5. Listen through earbuds, like the ipone. Not pro ones. these are used to 16 bit and will guarantee all listeners will be able to inteli-gise the mix.
6. Do a final EQ on the master track, usually a dip about 300hz. To take out the muddy signals that are aggregate from all the tracks.
7. Run a dithering plug-in, so the output can be played on all devices @ 16bit.
This is important, because not all players / devices are all HD in nature.
8. Listen through 3 types of systems. OR MORE !
a. Car stereo
b. home hi-fi or surround, if you made a surround mix.
c. Ipone device, (yes I know I spell it that way)
d. Blue-tooth speaker.
e. Boom Box type, CD player
ETC.
9. Make a stereo master mixdown, without EQ or Effects, at the highest output without clipping. This is so you could send it to a different mastering system, or another engineer.
10. Make a second mixdown for 16bit CD players, or older devices.
11. Make a third mixdown, highest bitrate, with your EQ and effects, at the highest output level you can without clipping. Somewhere in the -.205db range for high volume track.
12. Make a fourth mixdown, for higher headroom for High-end amplifiers, and or PRO speakers, Like EAW, B&W, and the like. These will show anything to the listener.
This is acheived by lowering the output level. (Who ever heard of that right ?)
But yes tis' true. Lowering the output level allows the input of the amp to breathe so to speak, and give the recover time of tube amps and class A, class A/B and those type amps to work as intended. Not slammed to the hilt, and no break.
A plus side, is your ears will start to hear the dynamics of music again.
Like the 70's and 80's music used to be warm, and responsive. Digital took that away.

Ok, that was the short answer Danny, :)
posted on #5
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
nilton wrote:
Good point about cable length. This is especially important when using high impedance/low output single coil pickups. The main culprit here is cable capaciance which forma a low pass filter together with the pickup and to some extent amplifier.
Good quality cables have the capacitance/m specified


Yes, that is very true, and measurable.
Everything is important in the input side of things.
A lot of people don't research this, and don't know the difference between mic/line level. Or balanced vs. un-balanced. Or Stereo / Monaural either.

Working in the pro-audio business, affords me to make every cable in the A/V world except HDMI. Which is not field make-able anyhow.
So, I know where your coming from Nilton !
Garbage in / garbage out.. :)
posted on #6
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Joined: 27.02.15
Some really useful mixing/mastering tips and tricks here, MasterK. Thank you! The weakest link in my rig at the moment is the speakers which are just hi-fi ones. Their high frequency response is very poor. I need some proper monitors but they'll have to wait until I can afford some. The amp is good though as it's the Alesis studio amp.

I posted about my recording setup and approach [url=http://www.wikiloops.com/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=812]HERE[/url]

My mixing rig is basic:

- MacBook Pro running Reaper 5 and just using the standard line out (my interface is the other end of the house where my drums are - I'm not plugging/unplugging 7 mics every time I move from recording to mixing!)
- Alesis RA150 Reference Amplifier
- Rubbish Aiwa speakers
- Celestion 'Bass Enhancement' speaker
- Pair of cheap USB PC speakers. These are useful for double-checking a mix against something with less bottom and top end - my 'near fields' if you will!

My Reaper plugins consist of freebies, namely the built-in Apple AUs which Garage Band uses, Reaper VSTs and Melda Productions' free suite. Plus a couple of other freebie reverbs and maximisers.

Really need better speakers though.
posted on #7
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MasterK wrote:Ok, that was the short answer Danny, :)


So much better than a simple yes. :)
Edited by DannyK on 17-10-2015 15:37
posted on #8
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
mpointon wrote:

I posted about my recording setup and approach [url=http://www.wikiloops.com/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=812]HERE[/url]


Yes I really appreciated your write up at that time, informative ! :)


mpointon wrote:

Really need better speakers though.


My near-fields are older Roland DS-50A's. Not extremely loud. And I got them on a deal for cheap. But, I have a 2.1 cheap box store computer setup. It is 180watts. 100 to the sub, and 40watts each satalite / mid & highs. 100 dollars US.
They are great and probably what most LISTENERS have.. :)
Maybe your monitors aren't so far off.. haha..

And I like that Alesis amp you have. Workhorse amp with good frequency response.

I had an opinion after looking again at your picture tutorial.. It's the books on the shelves that make your drums sound better.. ! :) Soak up the transient spikes. !

Thanks for your input. I always learn from our conversations.
Edited by MasterK on 17-10-2015 17:50
posted on #9
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
dannyk wrote:
MasterK wrote:Ok, that was the short answer Danny, :)


So much better than a simple yes. :)


LOL, I do get long-winded sometimes.. :)
posted on #10
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Okay.

My rig for bass is quite simple:

I own a Fender "American Special" P-Bass. It has flatwound strings on it and you'll hear me play ballads/jazzy type stuff with it. It blends into mixes quite well with those strings. I also own a S.U.B. series by Sterling. It has roundwound strings and you'll hear that on rock/metal tracks. It has active pups. Both play through a SansAmp "BDDI" (Bass Driver DI box) into a Focusrite audio interface. Any effects come from within my DAW, Logic Pro (I use Amplitube and EZ-Mix for effects. Seldom do I amp model). I have a Carvin MB1515 that I would only use for gigs if I ever had one.

My rig for guitar:

I used to be an exclusive guitar player but that has changed due to physical limitations. I have a PRS SE Custom 24 I either a) play direct into my audio interface through a DI box or b) reamp through a Marshall 40DSL (I have a Rivera SilentSister isolation cabinet in order to not annoy the neighbors.) I mic with one SM57 and that's it; I have no other cab mics.

All of my cables are as short as needed as I mostly sit in from of the computer while recording/playing; it's not an intentional act to prevent signal loss as I find that to be negligble. It's not that I'm not aware of it. I'm an amateur radio enthusiast and am technologically savvy with signals and such.

When mixing I tend to keep my bass levels at 12 on the fader, no higher, and to pan slightly to the left. I imagine a stage band with a rhythm guitarists and bass slightly to the left, soloist slightly to the right, and vocals/drums in your face dead center. Drums reverbed to push them "back" into the mix; to give some sense of depth. Mixing is something I'm learning with each new remix.

For my sparse electronic songs I use Propellerheads Reason and an M-Audio Oxygen8 25-key MIDI controller.

That's it although my mixes are not terribly exciting!
posted on #11
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
Awesome info Danny,

What happend that you are limited on the guitar ?

I have tennis and golf in my left elbow, and that has limited me from being in band situations.
Sad, but it has made me focus on the loops, and recording in general.
More than an hour of playing, and the pain slams me.
posted on #12
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Atopic dermatitis on my fingers. My fingers aren't nimble enough for the tiny strings anymore. I can play, just not play.
posted on #13
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
@ Dannyk

Well looks as if we have another thing in common, besides music creation. :)

Let me ask you how do you monitor while recording a track.
Headphones or Monitors ?

~MK
posted on #14
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MasterK wrote:Let me ask you how do you monitor while recording a track.
Headphones or Monitors ?

~MK


Depends on what time of day it is! I will usually record with headphones; I get better bass response from them. I'll mix down using headphones and monitors. My headphones are ATH-M50s (Audio-Technica) and my monitors (I only have two nearfield) are Presonus Sceptre S6s.
posted on #15
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
Ahh Yes, the ol' time of day conundrum.
I think we all suffer from that. Either by having others in our domain, or neighbors, or both.
I too, have to choose headphones at time of recording because of sound levels. I use the Shure SRH-440's. For quite the opposite reason you use the ATH-M50's. I need the high spectrum for engineering.
I can hear the bass signal, but, it's representation is a thump, not the sound. If that makes sense.
Although most headphones have the 20-20KHz tag, few deliver the 20Khz part. These do well, and help to control the cymbal hits, and splash or after splash. So you don't rip the heads off the listener.
Then I follow-up, with a 2.1 system so I can hear that sub, and low end. Then fix if needed.

Do you find you tend to make your recordings the same ?
Meaning, do you tend to shape the sound of your bass / guitar to that sound you always land on.
Or do you tune it to the song, so to speak ?

~MK
posted on #16
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MasterK wrote: Do you find you tend to make your recordings the same ?
Meaning, do you tend to shape the sound of your bass / guitar to that sound you always land on.
Or do you tune it to the song, so to speak ?


I tend to tune to the song but I'm getting to the point where I'm discovering the best sound for each bass so I will probably be doing less and less tinkering. I found a great Randy Staub bass patch that makes my bass with active pups really shine so I think I'm going to stay with it for a while. It's taken me a long time to find a good tone with that particular bass. For the one with flatwound strings I pretty much record that straight through the BDDI as is. Occasionally I'll add a little more compression but that's about if for that particular instrument. I'm struggling to get a good sound out of my guitar. I haven't found a simulator I like and micing the cab is a delicate process that is difficult to replicate each time since I have to set up/tear down after each session.
posted on #17
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Posts: 56
Joined: 11.03.15
@ Dannyk,

I see, that does bring us to the next facet.
REPRODUCING the sound..

To achieve the sound we are all looking for, "The Holy Grail" so to speak.

Once we have achieved that sound, can we reproduce it ?

After owning approx. 12-13 amps, combo's or otherwise guitar sound devices.
I have found, that it is next to near impossible, to re-create the perfect sound, even if you come across it.
Numerous times I have wirtten down settings, mic placement, room size, ambient temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, star alignment (yes that was a reach).
Never to make the device sound the same as that "ONE TIME".
That is one of the MOST frustrating things in this universe to me. And maybe you also.

What can be done ?

What stuff is able to be set to exactly the sound we want ?

What is the best path for success ?

For me it is processors. I utilize the POD HD.
1. It sounds the same every time.
2. It isn't the perfect sound, but it sounds pretty darn good.
3. Live- easy to control, I have mine on a mic-stand, right in front of me, I can change presets and tweak each parameter even while playing.
4. Compact, lighter than an amp any day, and if it breaks, I can load my presets into a new one, and sound just like the one I had before. And I have 2 just in case.
5. 50-60 percent of the music today has the POD of some flavor running on some track.
6. It is an accoustic amp, it is a blues amp, it is a rock amp, it is every amp.
7. Cheap

I have used POD's since the first red bean. Moved through various versions, floor, XT, Amps, and settled on the POD HD.
It has a higher bit rate, and the sound is amazing to me. I can dial-in sounds that I need.
I am not saying it is a fix-all solution for everyone. Because, it simply isn't.
But I am used to the process on setup, and ease of use playing live is key for me.
I can add delay with the turn of a knob, and get that Floyd slap-back, and dial it off, all while playing live. Try that with pedals.

Anyhow, share your experience's with your equipment, the good, the bad, the really bad. :)

~MK
posted on #18
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My first multi-effects unit was a Digitech RP1. It was awesome. I had presets for each song in the set list. Some Tom Petty? Stomp on preset 1. Def Leppard? Preset 4. You know what I mean. This was the early nineties. I had that sucker for a while. It really was/is a wonderful floor unit. Then, at some point after my divorce, it was lost and I went without. When I moved to California I picked up a POD bean. I liked it overall but was not pleased with the distortions ... sounded like a can of bees, lol. From that unit I graduated to a Boss GT-Pro rack unit. Awesome but, again, distortion tones were lacking. Highly configurable unit. From that I entered the world of Pro Tools with an Eleven Rack. Now this was a serious unit. Rough times made me sell it, though, and I've been using software emulators ever since. I do have my eye on a G-Major 2. I can get the tones out of my Marshall, it just needs some reverb and delay effects. No modeling. But for recording guitar I go direct with Amplitube. I like how the track is recorded dry. It's almost like reamping.

For bass, well, it's terribly easy to achieve good tone with minimal effects - if any at all. Bass is beautiful in its simplicity. I added another 15" cabinet to my Carvin MB15. It can pump a respectable 250 watts - enough for small/medium venues should I ever choose to gig again. (That is if the drummer isn't insanely loud.) My Sansamp BDDI is my secret weapon for bass. Can run direct to the board and give off wonderful tones or run into my amp. Either way it is my Swiss Army knife.

This is typed on my iPad so if English seems like my second language I apologize.
posted on #19
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Joined: 25.03.12
Fractal AXE Fx2. To computer via USB. To monitoring (FR^2) system by line out. That will be either my studio monitor mixer or a power amp in the same rack cabinet as the Fx.
Had it for 5 years or so and it seemed to have cured my GAS (hopefully forever)
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #20
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It's interesting the question about settings being the same. I have a 'template' in Reaper which I use for all recordings. It has all my interface mappings for my kit plus some input effects, namely compression. I have no gates on 'the way in' as it might remove something useful. I have three reverb sends: a gated one for my snare, a general one for my overheads and a third for toms. Most drum mixes I feed to a master multi band compressor - usually one of the Garageband presets. I'd love to get my drums sounding less 'isolated'. But am yet to put my finger on it.
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