Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

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markjazzbassist
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Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by markjazzbassist » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:35 am

Backstory - I work a day gig and so my recording time is at night, after my wife and kids go to sleep. This means everything i record is direct. Not a big issue for bass, drum machine, synth, etc but for the times i want to record guitar or electric piano or something, does anyone have any tips to liven it up?

The main thing i do is run electric piano or guitar through an analog spring reverb, i feel it gives it some room sound and vibe. i record to tape and am all analog here, so i don't have any computer options (and don't want any frankly).

Thoughts on speaker simulator DI? Sansamp type stuff? I get a nice sound through the reverb and pedals and stuff but i'm trying to see if there is something i'm really missing that could help.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by kslight » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:44 am

Two notes wall of sound works well for me (with or without amp). It’s free with paid add ons so you may find yourself wanting to add more cabs to it.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by losthighway » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:05 am

Sometimes the gentlest tap from an overdrive makes anything sound less sterile, or fuzz in parallel blended to taste with an almost subconsciously subtle reverb,

Reamping is often helpful.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:56 am

Buddy of mine uses a Two Notes Torpedo. He says it's cool for this sorta thing. Not a fan of direct guitar, with rare exception, but I haven't tried any of the speaker simulator type devices. I would get a re-amp and just do that at a time when it's convenient. Any time I've done the late night / quiet thing, that's what ends up happening.

An exception is that sometimes I'll run direct into my Hamptone preamp with the channels daisy chained... crank ch1 into ch2. Really good fuzz sound. I like to just blend that in a bit to the amp'd tone for certain parts.
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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:36 am

It's amazing what a really short stereo delay will do to give super dry sounds a sense of space. Anywhere in the 15-30 ms range with different times for each side. Be sure to check in mono. There will be some comb filtering but if you play with the times you can usually find a spot where it's pleasing and not gross. I used to have a super cheap Yamaha 1/2 rack reverb-delay that I used for this in my analog days. It was mono in - stereo out. Anything will work though.
On the spring reverb side the Peavey ValVerb is killer. It's basically a fender deluxe without the power amp and speakers. It's a tube pre, trem and spring reverb. Works great as a clean spring but is also fantastic for dialing in some life in direct keys (and guitars I'm sure). You can drive the shit out of the spring which is really fun on synth tracks. Nothing like having the spring totally freak out on certain frequencies. It's almost like playing guitar feedback.

In my early tape days I had a spring, a few 2 track machines for slap back and a dbx 163x. When I listen to that stuff now I'm still amazed at the sounds I managed to wrangle with such limited equipment.
Last edited by A.David.MacKinnon on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by drumsound » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:37 am

Some parallel processing with compression, and/or distortion might work. My first thought was reamping on the weekends.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by kslight » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:31 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:56 am
Buddy of mine uses a Two Notes Torpedo. He says it's cool for this sorta thing. Not a fan of direct guitar, with rare exception, but I haven't tried any of the speaker simulator type devices. I would get a re-amp and just do that at a time when it's convenient. Any time I've done the late night / quiet thing, that's what ends up happening.

An exception is that sometimes I'll run direct into my Hamptone preamp with the channels daisy chained... crank ch1 into ch2. Really good fuzz sound. I like to just blend that in a bit to the amp'd tone for certain parts.
I've got a Torpedo Live and its super cool, for the home studio at very least. This is how I record all of my own guitar parts...just plug my Mesa right in and don't have to deal with the volume. I also record a dry track simultaneously which can be put into Two Notes Wall of Sound...which will also load all of my Torpedo cabs/etc so I can layer or continue to tweak the sound if necessary.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by markjazzbassist » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:52 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:36 am
It's amazing what a really short stereo delay will do to give super dry sounds a sense of space. Anywhere in the 15-30 ms range with different times for each side. Be sure to check in mono. There will be some comb filtering but if you play with the times you can usually find a spot where it's pleasing and not gross. I used to have a super cheap Yamaha 1/2 rack reverb-delay that I used for this in my analog days. It was mono in - stereo out. Anything will work though.
On the spring reverb side the Peavey ValVerb is killer. It's basically a fender deluxe without the power amp and speakers. It's a tube pre, trem and spring reverb. Works great as a clean spring but is also fantastic for dialing in some life in direct keys (and guitars I'm sure). You can drive the shit out of the spring which is really fun on synth tracks. Nothing like having the spring totally freak out on certain frequencies. It's almost like playing guitar feedback.

In my early tape days I had a spring, a few 2 track machines for slap back and a dbx 163x. When I listen to that stuff now I'm still amazed at the sounds I managed to wrangle with such limited equipment.
thank you, i will try the delay trick.

thanks to everyone, there are some great ideas here.

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Re: Any tips on how to liven up stuff recorded direct?

Post by I'm Painting Again » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:43 pm

i always wanted to try a tiny little amp in an air sealed tiled box - basically building a little live room

i think sealing it well might fake the air pressure of a larger thing ?

no idea how well it would go but there's my idea

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