eliminating an amp rattle from a guitar track

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heatlamp
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eliminating an amp rattle from a guitar track

Post by heatlamp » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:07 pm

Last night I tracked an electric guitar whose amp had a really annoying rattle. I knew it would be too distracting to leave alone, but we didn't have any other amps to use.
With a parametric eq, I've decided that the rattle lives right around 3400Hz, but I'd rather not cuta huge notch out with eq. It takes the life out of the track when I do.
I was thinking a deEsser might work, but I can't seem to hear it doing the trick when I switch between bypassed and not.

Anyone have tips, or do I need to further explain something??

- David Barrett

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Post by ??????? » Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:26 pm

that's a tough one.

Next time, the answer is to figure out where the rattle is coming from, even if it means taking the whole amp apart. Usually it's either a cabinet rattle, the amp rattling against whatever it's sitting on, the chassis rattling against the cabinet by not being screwed in tight enough, the speaker rattling against the baffle by not being tightened enough, or occasionally, a rattle inside a tube (most common in EL84 amps).

For all but the last one, you can spend a little time and make it stop rattling. Make sure you tighten things up all around the best you can. Tighten every screw you can find (and find some more that you can't find!) and that will fix most of it. There's also a chance it could be a voice-coil rub, which means a bad speaker. It's hard to tell without hearing it. In that case, there's no helping it and you have to accept that you have a blown speaker amp to track with and try to work with/around that.

I realize none of this helps you right now but it might help you next time or someone else. As you're figuring out, living with a problem with hopes to "fix it in the mix" rarely works very well.

I hope that you find a solution. Perhaps in extreme circumstances, you might try re-amping the track through another better amp and some sort of effect like a good distortion or overdrive to hopefully mask most of the rattle. I'm not sure it would give you what you want but I'm pretty much at a loss for anything else to do.

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Post by RefD » Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:22 pm

it also may be the case that there is no fix except to eliminate the rattle from the amp and then re-record.
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darjama
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Post by darjama » Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:56 am

How constant a rattle is it? You could try using the ReaFIR plugin from reaper to take a noise profile, then expand the areas outside the profile.

The free VST plugin is available separate from reaper here:
http://reaper.fm/files/reaplugs.zip

I did a quick walk-thru of how to try this here:
http://www.cockos.com/forum/showpost.ph ... stcount=24

On the preventative tip, brad's list is a good one. Often when I've encountered raffle it's the way the screen is being held on the amp. Another area to check, and an easy fix.

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Post by Smitty » Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:57 am

we were dealing with this when tracking guitar a few weeks ago. in the middle of recording the lead guitar parts for the song, one of the tubes developed this sympathetically tuned rattle that made it's way onto some of the recording.

can you just swap out the tube to fix this, or is it indicative of a bigger problem?
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heatlamp
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Post by heatlamp » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:37 am

I don't know quite where it's coming from, and in the future, I'll certainly be tightening things up on the amp. One other thing to mention as a sort of a twist on the story is that we had 2 of the same amp (fender hot rod deluxe) and both actually made the exact same rattle. To describe the sound a bit more, I almost think it sounds like something is loose in the spring reverb unit, although if you turn the reverb control down it does nothing to the rattle.

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Post by Smitty » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:40 am

no shit! we have almost the exact same situation. we've got two Hot Rod Devilles, a 410 and a 212 (only one rattles). it kind of rattles in the same way a snare drum in the room does when you're playing certain bassy notes?

i think we narrowed ours down to the tubes... it's definitely not coming from the reverb tank or the speaker housing.
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Post by ??????? » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:01 am

Those Fender hot rods always seem to rattle like that. Usually it is indeed the tubes, and the tubes are indeed the culprits. If the tubes have 'retainers' on them, sometimes those will affect/change/increase the rattle (in other words, try removing them) but often it's just the cheap stock tubes. Sometimes it's a preamp tube and sometimes it's a power tube. You just gotta swap around and see what stops it, unfortunately.

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Post by Mankinda » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:46 pm

heatlamp wrote: as a sort of a twist on the story is that we had 2 of the same amp (fender hot rod deluxe) and both actually made the exact same rattle.
Dude, I can wait till Line 6 comes out with that great new "Fender Tube Rattle" emmulation.... try a little bump around 10kHz to bring out that classic "sizzle"
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Post by logancircle » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:45 am

Lots of time tediously tweaking...OR... try to make it sound like part of the mix. Add a track of square wave synth that doubles the bassline and play it through that same rattling amp, way over-do it, and pan it with the rattly guitar track. Then at least it sounds like it's coming from somewhere else. THis is if you CAN'T retrack the guitar. If you can, retrack.
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Post by Rodgre » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:53 am

logancircle wrote:Lots of time tediously tweaking...OR... try to make it sound like part of the mix. Add a track of square wave synth that doubles the bassline and play it through that same rattling amp, way over-do it, and pan it with the rattly guitar track. Then at least it sounds like it's coming from somewhere else. THis is if you CAN'T retrack the guitar. If you can, retrack.
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heatlamp
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Post by heatlamp » Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:05 am

This is all made extra tricky because we're talking about jazz musicians. They're real touchy about adding in anything into the mix.
If only the ratlte did live up around 10k. That'd be alittle easier.

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Post by ??????? » Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:09 am

oh a jazz thing. That totally changes it. Re-tracking the guitar is out. Adding anything is out. Adding distortion is (probably) out.

You're maybe sunk dude. Sorry. :cry:

Most jazz recording is what it is, a document of a moment. If the amp happened to be rattling in that moment, you either accept it as part of the moment or capture a different moment.

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Post by logancircle » Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:47 am

Yeah, you're screwed.
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kayagum
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Post by kayagum » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:38 am

You can try using the spectral editing feature on Adobe Audition- I've been able to edit out squeaks, coughs and other incidental noise on it. You can probably download a trial copy to see if that would work.

Otherwise, yeah, read my sig.
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