I'm looking for any insight or comments people might have on high gain metal recordings. Over the years (and lots of research into pickups, amps, mics, etc) I've got a much better ability to hear the electric guitar in recorded mixes. I used to "hear" the traditional scooped sound, and always tried to replicate it with my amp settings (gain to 11, bass to +9, mids to -6 highs to +6), but now it's obvious that the low thump I always tried to emulate with bass cranked is actually the bass guitar doubling the rhythm guitar. In most modern recordings it seems the rhythm guitar is dramatically low cut, probably up at 250hz. And maybe that's fine if the bass is always doubling the low-end anyway. But what's been bothering me is the amount of high-end gain. It seems like the distortion is so high, the lows so cut, that there is no fundamentals anymore, it's just a sea of white noise. If you isolate the guitar track, you can't tell if they're playing an E6 or an E5 power chord. And you can't tell if they're playing an A, E, or G for that matter. The actual "note" is completely lost in so much distortion. What I'm finding is that the only reason I can hear the note and chord is from the bass guitar. The melody is really only coming from bass and keys (if present). The electric guitar is just adding a sea of white noise on top of that. It's so prevalent, I"m just wondering if I'm in a minority in thinking that's audible nonsense. This sound was of course pioneered by things like Justice for All tone, and pantera. But even modern prog that should know better still create this all the highs gains tone, like pagan's mind and dream theater. Of course when the note being played moves up a couple octaves, once you're into bridge rhythms and fills, you can hear the notes better. It's mostly 6th and 5th string based rhythms that get completely lost. Some artists have a guitar tone with more audible lows and not the extreme highs/gains and it creates a rhythm where you can actually hear the notes better, like kai hansen and kiko loureiro. Some trademark 80's metal was definitely a more melodic guitar, still metal and distorted but less gain and highs, like craig goldy and vivian campbell from Dio. Cranking the upper mids and gain definitely creates this wall of infinite sustaining power that is a metal trademark and has it's place. But it seems overused to the point where it's only the bass and keys creating sound in much of modern power/prog metal and the electric guitar rhythm is just this white noise rhythm in the background doubling on top of it. I personally think it's better to create sustain using compression and regenerative effects like chorus, than by using active pickups and cranking the gain. I just feel a breath of fresh air when I listen to an old dio or early gamma ray album and can actually hear the rhythm guitar notes and the lower fundamental frequencies in the guitar. I never noticed how rare it was in modern metal to be able to hear those until I trained my ears to separate the bass guitar from electric guitar. And now I can't unhear it! I also find that the high frequencies tend to be very taxing on the ears, even if they are initially pleasing in the mix. For instance, despite thinking justice for all is an eponymous metal album and the guitar tone is something people will try to emulate forever (like somewhere in time tone), by the time you're halfway through the album the upper mids and high frequencies are starting to fatigue your ears. Similar with Royal Hunt. In that case, the audio is just an incredibly crisp recording. There's a full frequency range from the low bass to the upper highs, and every note and word sounds like a pin drop crisp. But there again by the time you're half-way through the exaggerated high hissing starts to fatigue your ears. There's also the possibility just nobody can hear those high frequencies anymore. Maybe I should start going to concerts without earplugs and in a few years everything will start sounding right. When I record guitars I tend to crank presence down to 0 and tame those highs above 8k pretty well. In the mix, I think the drum section owns the highs. The hi-hats and cymbals need to crash up there, and you can give the vocalist room to have some crispness and air. Bit if you let the guitars go up there as well it starts to sound like an airy hissy mess (like modern helloween) When I listen to the guitar solo, yeah it sounds a bit like i've got earmuffs on. But when I put it in the mix with drums, keys, and vocals, you don't notice the lack of upper highs at all. And I have to ask the question, what's the point of 7 and 8 string guitars at all? It seems like most who are into extended range guitars are all about "tight low end" and djent tone, which is all cutting the lows below 250hz, What is the point of having a low B at 62hz or a low G at 46hz if you're going to low cut at least at 100hz, if not 200hz? Once you've got the gain cranked, you can't tell if you're hitting a G on the 8, 7, or 6th string. We should be cranking that bass! And just make the bass guitar do something other than doubling, and tame that bass drum back to the 80's sound, where it was more of a thud than a boom.