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PC_DavePC_Dave Frets: 3215
edited May 2021 in Studio & Recording
I have never been able to get a sound I like when trying to record/practice at home with plugins. I have Native, S-Gear and Amplitube, and today I just got a Strymon Iridium. I just can't seem to find the sweet spot that sounds good and inspires me or that i'm happy with when trying to add it to a mix. The Iridium sounds good with headphones, but when I plug it into my interface, it's incredible quiet, and the overdriven sounds are fizzy and not how it is with headphones.

Do I need a new audio interface? Or new ears? Do I send the Iridium back? Do I need to spend more money on plugins?

All advice greatly appreciated   
This week's procrastination forum might be moved to sometime next week.
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Comments

  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 7836
    edited May 2021
    It being quiet at recording stage isn't necessarily a big issue, as long as the quality of the recording is good. 

    You should be able to adjust the input gain in your DAW, or use some other clean boost to get the signal to the level you want after the fact. 

    With guitars, I invariably duplicate my track or record two takes to beef them up with panning. 

    Also, unless I'm directed micing an amp, I generally record everything clean then add drive / comp / fx in my DAW 

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  • MickeyjiMickeyji Frets: 101
    edited May 2021
    Add some compression  to the master track at mixdown, This will help glue the different parts and tracks together and make for a more pleasingly polished and homogenous endresult.
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  • PC_DavePC_Dave Frets: 3215
    It being quiet at recording stage isn't necessarily a big issue, as long as the quality of the recording is good. 

    You should be able to adjust the input gain in your DAW, or use some other clean boost to get the signal to the level you want after the fact. 

    With guitars, I invariably duplicate my track or record two takes to beef them up with panning. 

    Also, unless I'm directed micing an amp, I generally record everything clean then add drive / comp / fx in my DAW 
    Thanks - it’s more not being able to hear it that was annoying me. I’ll have a play with the gain on the tracks etc
    This week's procrastination forum might be moved to sometime next week.
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  • PC_DavePC_Dave Frets: 3215
    Mickeyji said:
    Add some compression  to the master track at mixdown, This will help glue the different parts and tracks together and make for a more pleasingly polished and homogenous endresult.
    Will give it a go!
    This week's procrastination forum might be moved to sometime next week.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 31169
    PC_Dave said:
    Mickeyji said:
    Add some compression  to the master track at mixdown, This will help glue the different parts and tracks together and make for a more pleasingly polished and homogenous endresult.
    Will give it a go!
    It is pretty common (and these days, more advisable) to mix into a compressor, rather than add the compressor at the mixdown stage.

    Mixes are pretty complex since multitrack recording allowed you to keep piling on the tracks and the combination of all the different attack values of all the sounds (drums, guitar, vocals all have different attack/decay curves) can do weird things with a compressor added later in the mix.

    Compression is a bit of a dark art, don't expect to master it quickly, (or ever, without a lot of work).
    I am mostly using hardware these days but if I use a mix bus dynamics plugin it is usually the McDSP ML8000 or the Neve 33609 from UAD.
    Contrary to internet lore I don't like the API2500 on the mix bus- I do on the drum bus.

    But, you rarely need to spend more money on plugins- master the ones you have and try to use them sparingly.
    It is mostly ears, not gears.

    I say this time and time again- look to your room acoustics and monitoring first, before splashing out on plugins.
    Your stock DAW probably has enough.

    Read this: 
    https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/production-expert-1/stock-and-premium-plugin-shoot-out-the-results-and-the-story-behind-it

    One of the Experts team, the esteemed Mike Exeter, did a mix with stock DAW plugins vs fancy high end plugins and the results of the stock DAW plugins is more than good enough for release. 
    Why?
    Because Mike has great ears and knows how to get the most out of his gear.

    Spending money on room acoustics is boring and shiny new plugins are exciting so I full expect people to ignore this advice, but perhaps it will be remembered and acted upon down the line.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 460
    I really know how you’re feeling: how can other tfb members enjoy playing guitar on the computer? How can a digital recreation ever live up to my amps, speakers and physical space in my studio, sitting head on into the blast of amplified guitar? I tried, I did, even using a revival drive. Result? Weak, thin, approximation of a guitar. Does gain and distortion help? Just sounded like a nineties digital fx pedal. 
    Some of what I experienced is considered a tone by some, far from the clean of a 68 Marshall stack.

    so you can imagine my concern when I made the final attempt and bought an ox box.

    I’m sorry. Everyone was right. I can’t tell the difference between playing with headphones or playing from my real cab. I’ve played more this week than the whole of last year. I’ve brought all my amps back into the flat with a safety cab hidden just in case my children or I accidentally open the speaker output on the Ox. And I’m using an old Presonus firestudio mobile sound card. 
    I will give a full report on the ox in another thread. If you can find the money, get it. And yes, it does have an issue but I’ll say more on that there. 
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  • Bungle1Bungle1 Frets: 95
    Its been a good few years since I tried any of the plugin amp sims but never found any that were decent for tracking. The feel / performance is everything when tracking IMO and if something is mucking around with that it isn't usable and tends to suck the life out of what you're doing. 

    Hardware wise - Line 6 Pod XT/X3 / Kemper - used to love tracking with these at various points in the last 15 years, more than the later Line 6 stuff TBH. The natural decay of the notes etc made it feel much easier to track with than trying to play through plugins. While I'm not sure how the old Line6 stuff would compare to today's stuff, double tracking with it used to give some really usable sounds for basic cleans / distortion and lead. My tip when working with the old Line 6 stuff is (might be good for other devices too I guess), even if recording a distorted part, layer in the same part tracked through a clean amp model too with a more bass / low-mid focused sound. I recorded an album with the original podXT and we ended up triple tracking all distorted rhythm parts like this - 2 tracks of our distorted amp model (with different mic settings) and then one clean amp which would normally be just about audible in the mix to fatten things up. The tones weren't ground-breaking but they worked for what we needed so this approach might help you.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1588
    edited May 2021
    PC_Dave said:
    ... The Iridium sounds good with headphones, but when I plug it into my interface, it's incredible quiet, and the overdriven sounds are fizzy and not how it is with headphones...

    Using the same pair of headphones and with your Strymon Iridium plugged into your audio interface, how does the sound of the headphone out of your audio interface compare to the headphone out of your Strymon Iridium. I haven't got an Iridium but if I do that experiment with my Helix LT, I don't notice any obvious difference in sound between the headphone out of my Helix LT and the headphone out of my audio interface, once the levels are adjusted to be the same.

    When you say 'Native', do you mean Helix Native?

    For the same patch, I don't notice any obvious difference in sound between the Helix Native plugin and my Helix LT, when I listen to each through the headphone out of my audio interface or through my monitors. So in theory the Helix Native plugin should sound comparable to an actual Helix hardware device, unless there's a possible issue/fault with the audio interface.

    It's not a competition.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 6262
    Bungle1 said:
    Its been a good few years since I tried any of the plugin amp sims but never found any that were decent for tracking. The feel / performance is everything when tracking IMO and if something is mucking around with that it isn't usable and tends to suck the life out of what you're doing. 

    Hardware wise - Line 6 Pod XT/X3 / Kemper - used to love tracking with these at various points in the last 15 years, more than the later Line 6 stuff TBH. The natural decay of the notes etc made it feel much easier to track with than trying to play through plugins. While I'm not sure how the old Line6 stuff would compare to today's stuff, double tracking with it used to give some really usable sounds for basic cleans / distortion and lead. My tip when working with the old Line 6 stuff is (might be good for other devices too I guess), even if recording a distorted part, layer in the same part tracked through a clean amp model too with a more bass / low-mid focused sound. I recorded an album with the original podXT and we ended up triple tracking all distorted rhythm parts like this - 2 tracks of our distorted amp model (with different mic settings) and then one clean amp which would normally be just about audible in the mix to fatten things up. The tones weren't ground-breaking but they worked for what we needed so this approach might help you.
    I rarely like the clean under distorted thing. Only really if there is something arpy going on. For riffs especially if there are palm mutes it sounds terrible 

    My tip for compression, although obv I'm no where near octatonics level, is that the pros don't typically spend a lot of time fussing with the settings on compressors. They tend to have a couple of generic combinations of ratio/attack/release and then really do all the work with the input gain. 

    I us d to get all obsessed with trying to set the threshold but in reality people don't seem to use it.

    I found this a bit of a revelation and I started getting better results. It also means that presets can be very useful and finding some you like can save hours of fiddling with no real benefit.

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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 6262
    PC_Dave said:
    ... The Iridium sounds good with headphones, but when I plug it into my interface, it's incredible quiet, and the overdriven sounds are fizzy and not how it is with headphones...

    Using the same pair of headphones and with your Strymon Iridium plugged into your audio interface, how does the sound of the headphone out of your audio interface compare to the headphone out of your Strymon Iridium. I haven't got an Iridium but if I do that experiment with my Helix LT, I don't notice any obvious difference in sound between the headphone out of my Helix LT and the headphone out of my audio interface, once the levels are adjusted to be the same.

    When you say 'Native', do you mean Helix Native?

    For the same patch, I don't notice any obvious difference in sound between the Helix Native plugin and my Helix LT, when I listen to each through the headphone out of my audio interface or through my monitors. So in theory the Helix Native plugin should sound comparable to an actual Helix hardware device, unless there's a possible issue/fault with the audio interface.

    Since v3 the helix family uses exactly the same modelsw and processing engine across all the physical devices and native so any audio differences people are hearing are due to physical differences after the units..ie/ playing back through different setups.

    Might do a null test at some point to see if this is verifiable. 
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