Help with recording death metal

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Member Since: Aug 27, 2011

I have MANY a question about death metal recording as I am a noob.

1. what is a guitar supposed to sound like before it is mixed if I want tones the likes of bloodbath, aeon or cannibal corpse? and what should my gain/treble/bass/mid/mid frequency knob be set (approx)

2. How do I eq the guitars once done. (what should I eq them to?)
same question for drums bass and vocals

3. how many tracks should I have?

4. Is there a very helpful specific guide video or text to help me out?

5. any other tips I dont really even know what to ask?

6. if I were to record drums using 6 mics, how should I set them up?

7. I need a good solid state head for metal, what should I get, and what pedals would be a good combo with it, I dont want a tube cuz I dont wanna have to turn it up loud to get good tone. plus they are DAMN expensive. under 600 for head and cab please.

8. I just need a lot of help as I am completely new at this, here is my gear:

Schecter hellraiser c-1 fr (emg81/89)
MXR fullbore metal
kirk hammet wah
2 sm57's with stands
4 drum mics with clips

I gave you my gear so maybe you could base all the answers off of it that are relative.

also what software is the best?

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MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Aug 28, 2011 11:59 pm

1) It should sound as you want it to sound. The knobs need to be where they need to be to give you the sound you want (assuming the guitarist / guitar / amplifier chain is capable of actually producing that sound).

2) If they're recorded well and they fit the mix properly, you may not have to EQ them at all. If not, you use the settings you need to get the sound you want (assuming the sound you're after actually fits the mix reasonably well).

3) As many as necessary.

4) Geez, I hope so...But this isn't really something a book or video is going to teach.


6) How you need to, depending on the sound you're after within the parameters of the player / kit / room. Most likely the kick, snare, 2 overheads and hopefully only two toms and you're good. More than that, no idea.

7) No idea anymore on that stuff. I've had some awfully decent luck with a Line 6 POD Pro once you dig into the MIDI controls.

8) Nothing for overheads... "Drum mic" is awfully open-ended (as SM57's are great for snares & toms)... What sort of preamps / converters / interface are we dealing with? Monitoring?

Software is in the "whatever" category for the most part. There are a few highly exceptional programs out there depending on your budget, but there are things that are a LOT more important than the program you're using...

Sorry to not really answer any of your questions, but someone had to illustrate just how unanswerable they are.

Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Aug 29, 2011 05:20 am

if u want an amp just for recording, then i would suggest goin with dBs suggestion and just bypassing it all together and getting an emulator plugin or interface like a POD, itll save u heartache from having to mic it and the MXR fullbore is really all the metal u need.

if u really wanna get one, i suggest something from Peavey, i relaly like their solid state stuff, they have some kind of tube emulation circuitry that actually works really well, even on their small practice amps.

if u want ease and sound quality, id really suggest going all line in, even using drum triggers or pads or something. I dont know wat exact sound u want for ur style of Death Metal but it seems nowadays metal is so heavily processed that its actually a shorter path to go all line in and midi, i dont think u lose alot of the feel either with the newer technology.

would save u money and time.

Since: Aug 27, 2011

Aug 29, 2011 12:05 pm

so if I use mixcraft and I just mess around I should get something I like? problem is, nothing ever sounds good OR heavy enough, I like bloodbaths tone on eaten, that is some heavy *** tone. I just cant get it to sound any better than too mid sounding without cutting it out but then it is too fizzy, I hate mids, they sound too fuzzy...... and for a mic setup, all I am going to have is this:

TASCAM US-1800 USB 2.0 Audio/Midi Interface
2 sm57's
A CAD pro-4 drum mic pack (4 mics, kick mic etc)
some mic cables
a usb cord (to hook it from my interface to pc)
A custom built pc to these specs:
3.2 GHz intel dual core processor
EVGA 9800 GTX+
8 gigs ram
500 gig hard drive
windows 7

and besides that my gear is as specified.... all I can get is this terrible tone.......

that is guitar and bass only took five minutes to record and video-ify.....

None of that was miced all line in... dont have the mics yet.....

and by drums triggers and pads do u mean fake drumn software? like beatcraft?

and for monitoring I use skullcandy earbuds and good computer speakers.....

is there somewhere I can send my recording where they will mix/master for like... 50 bucks a song and do a good job?

Since: Apr 10, 2009

Aug 29, 2011 02:26 pm

I second the pod interface.

Rockstar Vatican Assassin
Since: Mar 20, 2009

Aug 29, 2011 03:12 pm

Unfortunately with recording, there's really no clear path to doing anything. So I can only offer up what I tend to use as a baseline.

1. what is a guitar supposed to sound like before it is mixed if I want tones the likes of bloodbath, aeon or cannibal corpse?

If you want to sound like CC or bloodbath, then you would need the same guitar, pickups, and amps they use. Clearly you want a lot of crunch so I can only advise you to Mic your cab (whatever it may be) with the SM57 (pointing at about a 35 degree angle towards the cone's center) and record a track for about 30 sec. Repeat steps for all 4 cones and then listen to all of them (on playback in your multitrack recording program) in order to find the loudest, crunchiest speaker. Then fine tune with EQ.

2. How do I eq the guitars once done. (what should I eq them to?) same question for drums bass and vocals

There are TONS of articles on this on the web. Generally though, you're merely just trying to get rid of the bad tones by sweeping the EQ at different Low, Mid, and High points and reducing that Hz, Mhz, Khz. You'll actually find yourself boosting a bit of mids for guitars and reducing the mids for Drums and Bass to get you that punch to break thru the mix.

3. how many tracks should I have?

At least two tracks per guitar, one for bass, all 8 tracks for your drums, and possibly 2-5 tracks for vocals.

4. Is there a very helpful specific guide video or text to help me out?

Check out Rules to live by!!!

5. any other tips I dont really even know what to ask?

Read... and then read some more. The more you take in, the easier this work becomes. Mic'ing techniques in death metal really don't have as much weight compared to other styles of music, so don't get too bogged down in that. Focus more on the EQ stuff, panning, and Instrument placement in your recording space before recording (example, working with square rooms and some cheap treatments for corners).

6. if I were to record drums using 6 mics, how should I set them up?

You need 8! You have the inputs on your interface, use them ALL!!! SM57 on snare, tom mics all around (typically 4), a good Kick mic, and 2 overhead Condenser mics (usually require phantom power) for cymbals. The condensers are the most crucial because those control your "stereo" and give your drum mix more presence. Triggers/Pads (rather than using mics) are very beneficial because they record a consistent sound with no bleed-in from other mics. Think of triggers as turning your acoustic drum kit into an electronic kit. But you would still need Condensers, just the same!!!

7. I need a good solid state head for metal, what should I get, and what pedals would be a good combo with it, I dont want a tube cuz I dont wanna have to turn it up loud to get good tone. plus they are DAMN expensive. under 600 for head and cab please.

All I ever hear people talk about in ENGL Heads; I'm guessing that would be your best bet for super awesome crunchy deathy brutal metal tone. Bundle that with a KRANK cab and who knows!!! Other than that, just read what the pros are using and find whatever bundle works with your budget. As the saying goes around here, you can't polish a turd!! If you buy cheap gear (*cough.. CRATE....**), it will sound like cheap gear no matter how much you EQ it!! A good cab plus the SM57 will do all the work for you!!!

also what software is the best?

Ardour GTK2 is free, but you'd need to learn Linux. I use Sony Acid Pro 6 (as well). Pretty simple to use and has lots of great features/plugins/etc. I think most would swear by Protools out here though.

Since: Aug 27, 2011

Aug 29, 2011 08:20 pm

Hey that post above me is great thanks Hippie! and also, what is considered cheap? I can only really afford 600 dollars for the amp and 800 for the recording setup....... any advice based around that? I was thinking:
Ibanez tone blaster extreme head, and footswitch of course $300
B-52 ls-412 extension cab $250
mxr m-135 smart gate $120
ibanez ts9 tube screamer $100

and I might try to get some of this stuff used to open up my budget for recording a little bit, but what gear do you recommend for an 800 dollar budget? I need just enough to get a good enough recording so I can send it off to get mixed profesionally and have it sound pretty damn good: I have so far:

2 guitars: schecter hellraiser, and a nameless custom scavenged guitar (hahaha) with a pretty hot passive pickup.
A kirk hammet wah.

everything else sucks, I am getting rid of it lol.

so ignore everything I said I have up top.

and also, I dont want bloodbath or cc's tone, I just want SUPER in your face growl, balls and heavyness but I dont want a tube amp because I need to be able to play it on low volume

I may just get a tube head to go with my cab along with my ibanez head so I can have the best of both.....

If so I would get a peavy 6505.... along with everything else.

I can probably spend 1500 total on everything though so......

Rockstar Vatican Assassin
Since: Mar 20, 2009

Aug 29, 2011 08:46 pm

Dude... wish I had more advice on the amp/cab stuff, but I'm a drummer!!! I mean, I don't have a preference because each band I record shows up with their own stacks/own sound. My own band uses a Johnson Head/Peavey Cab and a Laney Head/Krank Cab! But if you were to plug their guitars into either of them, they'd sound different.

I always thought Kataklysm had a real beefy sound; I think they use 5150s in their older stuff and are now using Randalls. Maybe this is the website you've been looking for!!

Regarding budget: eBay and Craigslist will be your friend!!

Since: Aug 27, 2011

Aug 29, 2011 10:36 pm

Cool I just discovered (thanks to hippie) a new awesome band, but anyway, this is probably my favorite tone ever:
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Aug 30, 2011 12:11 am

those guitars are from cabs, maxed out, inherent cab noise, the whole bit.
The bassy throbbing sound, is from the cab being shaken to ****,
not added bass freq.

The trick with guitars is not to be going for an awesome sound by themselves.

what makes things a littel harder for you with these guitars is, they are very heavily distorted and then had the fizz rolled right back. the fizz is what overkill dist gives you.

so you would have to fart around with that side of things till you get it right. dont read too much into copy cat generic suggestions on how to mix heavy guitars from the internet, if anything you need to find people that "do" Death or real heavy, and ask them,

You wont get that major kill cabinet noise from Pod, but doesnt mean you cant get it sounding killer, i use pod and it does the job, you can even mix real guitars with pod guitars for contrast.
Dont conceren yerself too much also about the presence of everything in the mix, once its mastered everything will come out more to the fore front. When i say mastered i mean squashed, but thats death.

But again, forget going for that awesome git sound to "your "ears as a soloed instrument, its doesnt wrk that way, and you never get em to sit right with too much of the wrong freq in them.

Dont be afraid to roll the **** out of the top end on yer gits when you eq in your software till they no longer interfere with the drum top end.

Since: Aug 27, 2011

Aug 30, 2011 09:29 am

Is rolling off the same as cutting, if not what is it? I dont know any recording/mixing/mastering lingo. like I siad before, I have read a little bit, but I am still an EXTREME noob at this.
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Aug 30, 2011 11:11 pm

yeah rolling off is kinda like cutting, cutting is more a abrubt cut, where as rolling off is in a kinda arc so its less aggressive.

For example, when i rec guitars i end up for whatever reason, rolling off a ****load of the high end anywhere up to 6k. I let the drums take over with their top end after that 6k. I find guitars with too much high end sound like **** when its ll finished. I dont want constant fizz that just annoys the hell outta everyone after 1 song.

You'll just have to play man. There's no tried n true ways to do it, there's so many variables that you'll just have to work out whats best for you with the gear you have right now. Just remember, dont go wasting your money and expensive items thinking thats what it is coz it isnt man.

Mics are the only thing i would suggest are worth looking at, at this stage. (if you are going to be micing cabs) sm57's are ok and not too expensive, i just bought an Audix I5 which should be here any day now, which are apparently good also for micing cabs, i will let you know. 99 bucks AUD, so again not expensive and can be used along with the 57 to get a great im told anyway. hahaha. will find out soon enough

Not to say too much about this topic, but in all honesty, FME you can have some pretty horrid layerd guitar sounds tracked, and they come out sounding good if you know what frequnecies to cut. In other words you can polish a turd fair bit in this case.

Since: Jan 30, 2011

Aug 31, 2011 10:33 pm

Just curious, is it recording in general you wanna get into or do you have a band that needs to record? Cuz it takes a while to get good at recording/mixing/and especially mastering. It took me years and I'm still learning (mostly from messing around, you won't learn much by googling metal lol. I can attest to that)

And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD do not go out and buy a bunch of expensive gear and hope that it will make you sound better. I used Audacity for yeeears (its free and very limited). It's like using weights while you practice a sport, when you take them off youre better cuz you had to work harder. If you just use what you have and learn how to get ok sounds from that, move on. A crappy guitar tone sounds exactly the same in any DAW.

By the way I use all software in my productions. Superior Drummer 2.0 for drums and Pod Farm (or a couple free amp sims that sound really great) for guitars. So if youre just starting out, I would focus more on trial and error than trying to build your own studio.

I hate long posts, sorry :P

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