Suggestions on recording procedure of a few guitar tracks are needed.

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by odibrom, May 13, 2019.

  1. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Hi folks

    So I'm about to start recording some tracks (5 in total) and need your advice/suggestions on how to do so, considering a few limitations. I'm sorry, I'm feeling a bit undecided here.

    Here's the gear list to be used, besides guitar:
    • Audio Interface: Focusrite 18i8 2nd Gen
    • Guitar Preamp: Mesa Boogie Triaxis
    • FX Unit: TC Electronic G-Force (reverbs and compression, only, so far)
    • MIDI pedalboard: Roland FC200
    • PC: 2012, ASUS Laptop with i7 and 16GB RAM (it serves well)
    Regular playing rig for rehearsals and home use is:
    • Guitar to Triaxis (LEAD2 Yellow mode, eventually Green or Red),
    • Triaxis loop out to G-Force audio input,
    • G-Force stereo audio out to Triaxis loop return.
    • Triaxis output
      • Stereo output into 2:Fifty poweramp then cabs for rehearsals or daytime play.
      • Record output into Focusrite 18i8 for draft recording or night-time play.
    Optimally, I'd mic the guitar (using a Mesa Boogie 2:Fifty power amp and 2x 112 home made cabs loaded with Celestions Century Vintage), but since I'm about to do it at night, that is simply out of question, so, no microphones.

    Also, I'll be recording at 44.1kHz sample rate since it't what is setup in the master file for each song. These files are being shared with the other band members through MEGA.NZ so we have everything synchronized and each one of us can do their recordings at home.

    Also important to notice is that the G-Force digital In/Out goes at 44.1kHz sample rate and that it also digitalizes the signal internally at the audio I/O, it is not true bypass...

    Now, here are the questions, how should I manage the signal chain?
    1. Use the rig as is and record like I'd be playing normally at night (using Triaxis' Record outs), having the signal converted from analogue to digital at the G-Force and then again at the Focusrite.
    2. The same as above, however, recording with the Triaxis raw outputs and add IRs at the DAW
    3. Recording the Triaxis directly into the Focusrite:
      1. Bypassing the G-Force completely, using VST FXs (since I'm using only Compression and reverbs...)
      2. Using the G-Force's FX, however, routing the signal through the digital I/O between the audio interface and the G-Force and recording an additional track with FXs (I've done this before).
      3. Using the compensated Record Outputs
      4. Using the Raw outputs and then use IRs at the DAW.
      5. Using a MIX (at the DAW, so separated tracks) of the Triaxis' compensated outs + raw outputs with IRs...
    4. The IRs to be used (if going this route) are some home made that I've done of my Cabs+2:Fifty, that I think sound nice.
    So, there you go, I think I managed to clearly formulate all possible options. Please notice that I'm aware that the Triaxis' compensated outputs don't get much love in the internet. I must say that I like what I hear from my Triaxis unit and I have also heard other units with awful compensated outs, it really left me speechless at the different tones and feel.

    The tones I'm after are more into the RAW kind of stuff and we range from crystal clean to really dirt and heavy, from jazzy to saturated thrash. We're an instrumental progressive heavy rock/metal band, if that means anything.

    Last but not least, I'm (we're) not interested in sounding like this or that band

    So, what say you?
     
  2. NickLAudio

    NickLAudio Audio/Video Engineer

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    To keep tonal options open down the road at the mixing stage, I'd suggest splitting your signal to record one clean DI track and one colored track coming from the Triaxis with a tone suitable for tracking. This way later on, if the tone you tracked with isn't meshing with the other guitars or bass or drums etc.. you can re-amp and/or try different IRs to find a better tone that meshes well.

    For the G-Force, i'd say record without it for now. Then use it as a piece of outboard gear and insert send the guitars to it after. That way everything is still adjustable if needed down the road.

    After all your tones and FX are exactly how you want them and meshing well with the other instruments, print them down to audio stems and you're set!

    There's so many ways and options to go about this lol i guess this is how i'd try to tackle it.
     
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  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @NickLAudio Thanks for your reply

    I didn't remember do track a clean raw DI guitar, thanks for the suggestion on that. The thing is I must be pragmatic with this or it will take forever and it will take lots of disk space (which we don't have much in the shared cloud). I'd like to have all 5 musics with a consistent guitar tone across them, so the method to be used shall be the same for all.

    You have indeed clarify me with keeping things open, so I'll have more room for future editing/reamping... although that's kind of a trap just there, for me at least.

    Anyone with a different take on this?
     
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  4. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    ... oh, I forgot to mention, the band is 1 guitar, 1 bass and drums, instrumental prog rock/metal/whatever...
     
  5. scottbeckman

    scottbeckman Guitarist @ Lightswarm

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    What's the purpose of the recording and what DAW are you using?

    If your recordings just have to be good enough to share with other musicians and participate in writing/composition, you might just get some plugins and simplify your setup by simply running into the laptop and letting the DAW manage the tones. I use Logic Pro X with a couple hundred dollars worth of Neural DSP plugins (Plini and Nameless) and, along with the already-decent tones in Logic, I can accomplish everything I need to from a writing/composing perspective.

    If these are intended to be final tracks for an album you're going to release for people to listen to (and hopefully buy), you might only record the direct signal with the expectation that whomever is producing/engineering the album will simply re-amp it, building the tones however they choose. If you're expected to be recording and producing final takes with final tones, then this is probably a whole different conversation.
     
  6. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Hey @scottbeckman, interesting points there, thanks.
    1. The purpose of this recording is to start publishing the band's musics in Youtube, bandcamp and so on, so we can start to promote the band, get gigs, get the music out and share it with others (isn't it the purpose of all art? sharing?). These are not to be just "good enough" for composition / sharing with the other band members, they have to sound good, which is super subjective.
      • Also, I will not use VSTs for guitar amp, only for FXs, like compressor, EQ, limiter, reverbs and similar for production / mastering purposes only.
      • The composition of these 5 musics is finished... I've used VSTs before for that purpose, which was useful, but not at the present moment.
    2. We're not thinking in the "analogue" album concept. We have 5 musics under our fingers that we think are pretty good, composition and performance wise and we want to start showing our sounds to others, hence the need for a more polished recording. About selling our music via traditional CD or web, we're just not there yet, some day, eventually.
    3. We, as a band, will do the production and mastering, with the added help of a good friend of mine who is a bit more experienced in this than us. This to say that there probably will not be any reamping, also because I use a lot of swell expressions with the Triaxis Drive and Gain settings. Yes, I know that I can record the MIDI input from the Roland FC200 MIDI pedalboard and feed it back to the Triaxis when reamping, but i think it will complicate things a lot more and increase the possibility of making mistakes... which will be very time consuming, even for just the setup alone.
    4. Tones will be final at the production stage after all guitars, bass and drum lines are recorded on all 5 musics and will be adjusted with EQs, additional Compression and that kind of stuff. EQs can make a HUGE difference in the final (guitar) tones...
    5. The DAW to be used will be REAPER with its native VSTs as well as additional freeware...
    ... I guess that's all you asked?... feel free to comment and suggest something more/else...?
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, I never in a million years thought I'd say this... but all the bulletpoints and numbered lists are making this tough to read and to follow, and I've opened this thread a couple times now and just not bothered to reply because it had too much going on. :lol:

    For what it's worth:

    I DON'T record clean DI tracks for this exact reason. If I ever wanted to it'd be super easy to do, my Apogee has a guitar DI input with latency-free passthrough support to then go straight out to my amp, but I'm a big believer of committing to tones while tracking, so I'm not tempted to go back and reamp over and over again. "Analysis paralysis." I like to commit and move on.

    To your original question... You list a whole bunch of different ways you COULD record your guitar tracks. I only have two questions:

    1) Which way are you more comfortable working?
    2) Which one sounds the best?

    I could probably list out about a dozen different ways I could record my guitars too, if I wanted to, but I don't see the point thinking of all the different possible options, because I've tried virtually all of them at this point, and 1) a mic'd up amp, playing in the room while listening to bass and drum tracks, is the way I'm most comfortable working, and 2) it also yields the best results. Because of this, all the countless other possible options are irrelevant.

    If recording by running through your Triaxis into your Focusrite and monitoring through your cab is how you're most comfortable playing, how does it sound recorded? Is there anything you've tried that sounds better recorded? If there is a better sounding way, is it an approach you're comfortable enough doing that it won't mess up your performances or cause a whole nunch of headaches? If so, do that. If there isn't a better sounding way, or if the better sounding way is such a pain in the ass that you don't think it's worth it, then just do what you're comfortable doing.

    I just feel like you're overthinking this.
     
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  8. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Hey @Drew thanks for the reply and sorry for the bullets, thought it was the most clear way to explain the possibilities at hand... guess wasn't.

    Yah, I'm overthinking a bit here. Since I am a little bit undecided, I thought on asking all of you good folks about it.

    Allow me a few corrections, I'll be monitoring with headphones, not with cabs. My cabs will only come into play through the IRs if I eventually use them. I also prefer micing a cab but that will simply not happen this time.

    I'm comfortable either with doing a direct recording using the Triaxis compensated outputs or the uncompensated ones adding IRs latter at the DAW. The first is more immediate and will take a little less work/processing for the set up, but may take some extra time EQing things to taste. The second (using IRs) may (or may not) sound a little better, but will it worth the effort? Truth is I can record simultaneously both compensated and uncompensated outs from the Triaxis into separate tracks... and that's probably what I'll do.

    Question about REAPER to whom might know the answer. When using external files, like IRs and sharing the projects in a cloud, I found that the other band member do not get the IRs loaded when they open the shared reaper project(s). Is it because the IRs are located outside the project? Also, in order for this to work, they need to have the same VSTs installed (obviously) as well as access to the same IRs in the cloud, but does the VSTs installation have to be in the same folders as in my computer? It's a bit complicated to find some time to setup every computer in the same way as we only see each other once a week at the rehearsals. Sad but true...
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    It's because they're loaded as a FX in the track, and unless the person opening the project has the same IR in the same folder loaded in the same VST in the same folder, Reaper won't be able to find it.

    Two things you can do - make sure you all have identical filepaths, or just mix your track down to a new track and print the VST to it, and send that track around. You can still change IRs if you need to as long as you hold onto the original, IR-less file, but again I like to make tonal decisions and move on, rather than continuously go back and revisit this stuff.
     
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