Dudes who record a lot of metal

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KilledByAlbany
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Dudes who record a lot of metal

Post by KilledByAlbany » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:41 pm

I have a pretty important session coming up this weekend. Some very intense metalcore stuff. I am just a simple man who spends most of his time recording country and indie pop, so I would like to pick your brains for anything that might help me get this stuff to tape in a flattering way.

No specific question, I'm just hoping to get some interesting tips and good advice. Especially on capturing that awful metal "clicky" kick that all of those dudes seem to adore so much... mic suggestions, weird compression tricks, etc. I'm all ears.

Thanks!

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Post by theBaldfather » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:18 pm

I record piles of metal. I envy your country/indie pop ways somtimes....
Almost all metal drum sounds are replaced. To properly mix modern metal you should forget everything you've learned about making the kit speak as a whole and start making drums sound like they came out of nowhere. If you don't have that option, I guess you can try to make your drums actually sound good. :-) Alot of metal guys really like the audix d6, because it gets that attacky sound, but I've had great luck and more natural sounds with a sennheiser e602. I use a remo powersonic head with a heavier plastic beater (which some guys don't like cause it slows their roll too much) I like it because it gets a nice solid feel and doesn't make your drum sound like you're hitting it with a wiffle bat. I have a 4" hole in the front head and put the mic inside about 6 inches back from the beater pointed slightly below where it actually makes contact. Add 5-8k to taste. Scoop much low mid.

For overheads, take alot of the low end out, and really rely on the close mics. the kindof metal I record apparently dictates that you crash the ride and every other available cymbal. This will insure that you keep the overheads and room mics volume to a minimum, and is another reason for replacing drums due to insane bleed.

For bass I always run direct and usually compress it pretty hard, sometimes twice. There is no room in mixes for random sub-bass, so a lot of times I'll high pass at 50-70 hz and make the tone carry it. I do this so the kick drum has a place to speak down in the 50-55hz range, but some guys carve a hole in the bass up toward 70 or so and put the kick there. That's a preference thing I guess.

guitars carry metal and can suck up alot of room. I'm seeing alot of hard hi-passing and doubling every available part with a hard pan. I do this too :-). I personally only compress the guitar buss and high pass around 150hz though. Solos go to a seperate treatment so they can stick out if they need to. watch the 500-800 hz area and scoop accordingly.

I tend to crush screaming vocals so that you can hear the back of their throat. I think this is standard practice. I compress tracks individually and at the buss as well.

Sorry for the book. I'm home early and still everyone is sleeping. Just trying to avoid buying out ebay in my boredom :-) Best of luck!
@studioquotes "producer: turn the gain up just a tad" "guitarist: is that the same as volume?" "Producer: actually the last take was great!"

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Post by 8th_note » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:49 pm

I record quite a bit of metal and theBaldfather is right on the money. I even use an Audix D6. Here's a few more tips:

I don't replace drums. It's just my dinosour nature, I guess. If you want to work with actual drum sounds here's some advise.

Mic all the drums. Use a top and bottom snare mic plus resonant and batter head mics for the kick. The batter mic is what will give you that click that will cut through. Bring the overheads in as close as you can. Try to remove all the room sound and record the drums as absolutely dry as possible. I use from 10 to 12 channels micing a metal drum kit.

If you literally mean you're recording with tape then this won't work but I've had good results time shifting the overheads to match the snare. Remember, dry, dry, dry. Gate the toms - remove any extraneous resonant sounds from the tom tracks. Don't be a pussy with eq. Eq the indiividual drums till they sound the way you want. Be prepared for some radical eq curves.

I record two bass tracks - one through a Sansamp BassDriver DI and another one passing straight through the unit going direct. I love that little box.

You have to double the guitar parts - it's just part of the genre. I double mic each guitar part too. I put a 57 on the grill and I use an Audio-Technica ATM29HE about 6" away. I'll then pan those two parts at 100 and, say, 70 to give a wider, fuller sound. It's pretty common for me to have 8 guitar tracks running at any given time in a song.

It's tricky to high-pass the guitars so that you leave some crunch but also leave room for the bass. You just have to experiment with this.

Don't be afraid to try non-vocal mics for the vocals. Depending on the singer (if you want to call it that), it might surprise you which mic will do the best job.

And last but not least, before the session practice jumpting around the room swinging your arms wildly to get yourself in the proper mood.

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Post by jakeao » Thu May 01, 2008 5:17 am

And last but not least, before the session practice jumpting around the room swinging your arms wildly to get yourself in the proper mood.
This also works well before a night with your special someone :wink:
..."Look lady it's real simple. You slip me the cash, and I slip you the wiener."
" But I don't have any cash"
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Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu May 01, 2008 6:54 am

Hope that the dudes are good players, cause otherwise you're going to be pissed. :lol:

No one likes editing 32 bpm kick drum tracks and blast beats.

As much as you probably want to avoid using sampled sounds, there's a good chance that, when they describe the sound they're looking for, that'll be what they mean.

Brett's been swearing by using coated heads on the drums lately (Remos), and having helped him a tiny bit with the new Recon stuff, I can attest to their effectiveness. I think they were ambassadors on his toms and an emperor on the kick. Sounded tight as hell. Really, tell the dude to get new heads on ALL his drums. Top and bottom.

57s and 58s seem to do well on toms, but you'll probably want to edit out the bleed in between actual hits.

An SM7 on the kick with the prescence boost turned has been working really well down there. You'll probably end up sucking more of the low-end out of the kick than would seem logical, and adding more high-end than you normally would.

If you don't trigger, compress the shit out of the kick and snare, so the hits are even. For the snare, the Massey CT4 compressor (free download) rules. I just finished mixing Death Is Easy's new stuff and it worked awesome on Krak's snare.

The OH's will probably end being more like cymbal mics. Spaced pairs are good IMO because metal sounds awesome with the wide cymbal spread.

If the drummer isn't doing any stuff where he needs to open and close the HH, just loosen the clutch so that the top lays flat on the bottom. that'll keep the HH from being all washy and ridiculously loud in the OHs. He'll probably protest, but once he hears the difference, he'll agree.

If there are blast beats, micing the ride might help. Especially if it's a really thick, non resonating type.

For guitars, I'd say an SM7 or 57 is good. This is the one genre where I don't feel ribbons work too well, just because they're not bright and in your face enough. I've generally found that the way people set up their amps for gigs, sounds not-so-great for recording. Generally there's too much gain/treble/bass. Try to avoid that "sizzly" frequency range. If there's a lot of palm muting stuff, a teeny tiny bit of compression can help the "woof" of bass that happens when you stike the chord.

For bass.... attacky, trebly, little bit of distortion.... Do it D.I. for definition. If you have a SansAmp or access to one, you're golden. compress the shit out of it.

For vocals... with clitorture, i always just handed our singer a 58 and told him to do whatever. If you do that, make sure they're not cupping the mic to sound all brutal. haha. other than that, I swear by the SM7 for that type of stuff. And use a pre-amp with tons of headroom and that breaks up in a pleasing way, should you exhaust said headroom. I used the Massey Tape Head simulation (another free one) to distort Jay Krak's vocals a bit and it was awesome. Worked great on the OH's as well.

Oh, and if you can, take a D.I. of the clean guitar so that you have the option of re-amping them later. Always a good backup plan incase they have some shitty line 6 or crate or something solid state. Then call me and borrow my marshall. haha.
Ryan Slowey
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theBaldfather
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Post by theBaldfather » Thu May 01, 2008 7:43 am

I record two bass tracks - one through a Sansamp BassDriver DI and another one passing straight through the unit going direct. I love that little box.
For bass.... attacky, trebly, little bit of distortion.... Do it D.I. for definition. If you have a SansAmp or access to one, you're golden. compress the shit out of it.
+2 for all of that. Apparently great minds think alike :-).

My favorite guitar tones have been with a marshall 4x12 cab, and a framus cobra head that I have just for the metal dudes. They will invariably have some sort of amp/cab that will make your life hell if you try to get good tones out of it. I use an audix i5 and stick it a little off center, straight at the cone. (a little outside where the cone meets the center cap) the i5 gets kindof boomy up close though, so hi pass is required.[/quote]
@studioquotes "producer: turn the gain up just a tad" "guitarist: is that the same as volume?" "Producer: actually the last take was great!"

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu May 01, 2008 7:50 am

theBaldfather wrote:
I record two bass tracks - one through a Sansamp BassDriver DI and another one passing straight through the unit going direct. I love that little box.
For bass.... attacky, trebly, little bit of distortion.... Do it D.I. for definition. If you have a SansAmp or access to one, you're golden. compress the shit out of it.
+2 for all of that. Apparently great minds think alike :-).
I remember one session I helped with, where we put the bass through a vintage ampeg B15, because the bassist rig was terrible. It was such an awesome classic rock n' roll sound. The bassist hated it! :lol:

I was saying things like, "just wait til' it's in the mix more, you'll love it".
Ryan Slowey
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scott anthony
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Post by scott anthony » Thu May 01, 2008 8:11 am

I used to do a fair bit o metal...

Put a second mic on the kick and route it directly to a bass amp or monitor right behind the drummer. Turn up the volume to the point where the kick is nicely balanced with the cymbals in your OH mics (you'll also have the benefit of sounding more compressed and having a bigger thump.) I used to do this with a ddrum trigger and Alesis D4 sampled kick, the drummers love the feel of 60hz pumping up the backside...

Back when I messed with such things, I personally preferred Marshall JCM 800s over the newer stuff, but the JCM 900 had the buzzier top they wanted most of the time.

Good luck!

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Post by Brett Siler » Thu May 01, 2008 1:30 pm

I haven't used triggers yet on a metal or hardcore album yet. Not that I am opposed to them, just never had access to them. The clients and I have been happy with the drum sounds so far. Like everyone says close mic all the drums. I like the a mic on the inside of the kick pointed right at the beater and pretty close to the head also (as opposed to as someone earlier suggested on the outside). Also have another mic on the front head to get alot of the "meat" or "boom" of the kick. I have in some instances highpassed the inner kick mic pretty extreme to get the click almost exclusively then used the outside for the lowend and mixed it till it sounded good. Toms I like the Oktava MC012s, very thick and heavy sounding. Overheads I usually just do a spaced pair or ORTF. Most metal recordings the drums are panned pretty wide. Some people close mic the hi-hat and ride, I have yet to do that though, they are usually loud enough. I still like to use room mics even with metal. I think it would be cool to do stuff like use just the close mics during blast parts or real fast parts but then add the room mics in on the breakdowns or maybe chorus even and have it open up some.

Bass like other suggested to Sansamp and compression is the way to go. It's quick and easy and they are usually happy with it. If you don't have a Sansamp there is other stuff you can do. I would get a clean DI track (and either do this reamping later or you do when you record also), a signal going into a bass amp and one going into a low watt tube amp or some sort of guitar amp. That will give you lots of tonal option. Blending all three can sound awesome.

Guitar, again, you will want to at least double everything. I like to track everything live, and get a dry track from the guitar and then reamp multiple times later. Then you can mess with all sorts of different tones. One thing is for sure don't use as much gain as you think you should. Use some gain but probably less than they are use to. Once you start adding doubleed, trippled, quad etc. guitar tracks they will thank you for it sounding so heavy yet so clear. Mix and match different amps, mics, amp sim a settings. The bass you generally don't wanna turn up too much and you may even wanna turn it down. Sometime the palm muted chug stuff will start sounding floppy and undefined. Some people like to use a tube scream, not to overdrive the amp but as a compressor and sounds good in the mids.

People seem to like dynamics a lot with screamers. I have done it before and liked it. I have also used a condenser and liked it as well. One of my favorites that I have done was of a hardcore band and this dude was loud as hell. Just screaming his head off into a sm58 and it sounded awesome! I think he was so loud he was kinda distorting the mic and it sound gnarly as hell. Sometimes I like to overdrive the vocals either through an amp or an amp sim.

Damn this is by far the longest post I have made on here. I am tired of typing ha!

\m/etal!!!

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Post by Sloan » Thu May 01, 2008 3:10 pm

Listen to a lot of metal shit to get a good idea of what your aiming for!
Ask them what their favourite records and sounds are and borrow some albums from them.
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Post by tomberdude » Thu May 01, 2008 6:01 pm

Try recording with triggers on every drum (the GOOD ddrum ones, not the redshots...), but don't reach for a brain or replacement samples. record the triggers straight into your pre's. then use each track as external keys for gates and/or compressors on their associated mic tracks. Fucking sweet (for metal/thrash).

Unless you have a Mode Four laying around, i'd try to opt for tube guitar amps whenever possible. Tube pre and power is great, but amps with solid state pres will suffice, cuz the distortion metal prefers will come from saturation in the power stage. LDC!!! RIBBON!!! If there are two guitars, try tracking them simultaneously with a divider/gobo between them. Fucking awesome.

DI bass for lowend, mic an amp for highend, LPF the DI track and HPF the mic so combined they make one range. time align the tracks if not recording to tape, or use a delay on the DI to match the mic track.

Do whatever works for the "vocalist". Some puss out when faced with a nice condensor or ribbon, while some are so intense you don't want to risk anything other than a 58. Still, there's nothing wrong with a 58 for metal vox. It's not like the genre caters to fidelity in this situation.

-rl

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Post by blackdiscoball » Fri May 02, 2008 7:40 am

eat ram meat. Metal is all about the raw meat. I know for a fact the baldfather consumes at least a pound of raw meat before each session. Thats how you get metal sounds. If your vegetarian raw veggie burgers are a close substitute.

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Post by clintsteele » Fri May 02, 2008 8:20 am

blackdiscoball wrote:eat ram meat. Metal is all about the raw meat. I know for a fact the baldfather consumes at least a pound of raw meat before each session. Thats how you get metal sounds. If your vegetarian raw veggie burgers are a close substitute.

It has also been said that tacos will provide the super powers required to get a good metal sound. I worked at an atlanta studio as an assistant back in the early 90's and was impressed when COC's drummer actually wore a viking helmet (complete with horns) while tracking.

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Post by hobbycore » Fri May 02, 2008 8:34 am

blackdiscoball wrote:eat ram meat. Metal is all about the raw meat. I know for a fact the baldfather consumes at least a pound of raw meat before each session. Thats how you get metal sounds. If your vegetarian raw veggie burgers are a close substitute.
If you're vegetarian, then a pound of raw meat has triple the effect.

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KilledByAlbany
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Post by KilledByAlbany » Fri May 02, 2008 11:18 am

This is what I'm talking about!

Thanks dudes. This will all be extremely helpful in keeping me from strangling one or more of these guys...not to say that I still won't, but hey...

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