Behemoth Guitar Tracking and Editing
DI Guitar Tracking
After I was completely finished with the drum editing I did a rough volume levelling then bounced the tracks down to one stereo file that I could record the DI guitar tracks to. In a new session I imported the stereo drum track for the 3 songs, aligned them to the grid, then created 4 new tracks with guitar amp sims on them so I could play with a some form of distorted sound. The amp sim software I used is called Guitar Rig, which I have talked about and used before in some of my previous productions. Even though it does produce a decent Metal guitar tone my gain goal will be to re-amp these DI guitar tracks at a later date. The software allows the user to get really creative with it's use of multiple amps, pedals, and dual amp setups but seeing as I was going to be re-amping anyway I didn't need to produce a very complicated sound setup. All I used was a tube screamer style overdrive pedal and a Peavey 5150 style amp, which is a very common recording setup used by many Metal bands, this tone was used for all 4 tracks, see image below.
Now that I have a basic Metal guitar tone worked out I could then start to record my DI tracks. Like I did with the drum tracking I split each song up into different sections that I would play through, record, evaluate, delete, then record again until I got takes for all 4 guitar tracks that I was happy with. This was no easy task which took a decent amount of time to do, there are still a couple of parts that I would have liked to get a little tighter but that would have taken a lot more time than what I had, but for the most part they sound relatively in time with each other, see image below. A couple of the tracks required some lead guitar parts which followed the exact same process as the rhythm guitars.
I knew from the start that recording 4 guitars and getting them to all be in time would be difficult but I didn't realise just how much of a challenge it would be, but the effort I went through was well worth it to achieve that sonic thickness I wanted from the guitars. After I was finished recording the DI tracks, I consolidated the separate clips ready for the re-amping session, see image below.
For this session I wanted to experiment with a few ideas I had seen other producers use. I wanted to produce 2 different tones for the 2 tracks on each side, a crunch tone and a more high gain tone, so that would look like, Left high gain, Left crunch, Right high gain, Right crunch, I would also slightly change the the settings between the 2 sides as well. I did some re-amping on a previous project so I was mostly going to follow the same ideas I had researched for that, you can view those blogs here, https://www.ryanvaneerde.com/blog/when-metal-gets-heavy , https://www.ryanvaneerde.com/blog/getting-amped .
I used the same microphone choices for the high gain tone that I used in that previous project, a Shure SM57 and a Sennheiser MD421 in exactly the same setup, the 57 facing the edge of the speaker cone and the 421 moved out to the side a little more. As I wanted to produce a distinct difference in sound between the high gain and crunch tones I decided to use different microphones for the crunch to pick up the sound differently to the 57 and 421. I used a Royer 121 and a Shure SM7B because I knew other Metal producers have used those mics to record metal guitar amps, don't ask me where I know from it's just random information that has stuck in my head from watching countless tutorials and interviews. See image below for the 2 different microphone setups.
Left if the crunch tone setup and right is the high gain setup. By luck, chance, miracle, divine intervention, or good setup, the position the mics are in is the very first position that was tried and they just happened to be perfectly in phase, something that I found astonishing when listening to the different setups both times.
Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the routing I did to get the DI tracks to play through the amp but I'll try and explain in anyway. Firstly I sent the DI tracks one at a time out of Pro Tools to an unused channel on the recording console, which was channel 10. To get this to come out of the desk I plugged an XLR cable into the Left main out on the back of the desk and ran the cable out from the control room, into the live room where the amp was, into a re-amping box, then into the front input of the amp. For this to work I need to have channel 10 panned all the way to the left so the sound only comes out of that side and into the amp. This also means that when I monitoring the microphone tracks they would need to be panned all the way to the Right channel as to not interfere with the DI track. If I did send the microphone signals to the Left channel it would produce a feedback look which would making the process unusable.
An easier was to potentially do this would be to use the patch bay, going out of the channel 10 DAW returns, into an unused microphone input, out of the multicore, then into the re-amp box, but unfortunately the way the studio has been setup this process introduces a lot of unwanted noise making it unusable. This is especially crucial to recording high gain, high distortion Metal tones that compresses and amplifies any unwanted noise producing a very bad, unclean recording, because even when recording distorted sounds they still need to be as clean as possible.
After everything was setup I ran through each of the tracks changing the setting for each crunch and high gain tones, after they were recorded I then went to do the lead guitar tracks. I used a slightly different mic setup for these going with a SM57 and Royer 121 combination, unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of this setup so you will have to trust me that this is what I did. After listening back to everything and being happy with how it all sounded I realised that I still had a little bit of time left in my session, so I went a bit crazy. I had a made idea to play each both tracks on each side through the amp at the same time, with using all 4 of the microphones, more the Bass and Treble boosted to the max on the amp and the Mids completely cut out, classic Pantera tone if you was wondering, see image below.
The phase for all for of the mics were pretty much good from the start apart from one which was a little out, the Royer 121 if I remember correctly, which again was even more of a miracle, and because I only had to play the DI tracks for the 3 songs twice it all got recorded nice and quickly. Just to clarify also it was both left DI tracks then both right DI tracks, this was so I could preserve my stereo image. See image below for the finished recording session.
The tracks in red are the guitar DIs, light green are high gain, light blue are crunch, purple are lead, and orange are the crazy extra tracks.
I say guitar editing but there isn't a lot of editing going on, the main thing that I need to get done is the removal of unwanted noise that can be heard when there are breaks in guitar playing, see image below.
The basic process is to remove the same amount of audio from both the crunch and high gain tracks as to not change the tone at the end of the cuts, also not to remove to much otherwise it will sound too unnatural and it will be a lot more obvious that editing has gone on. Which is OK for drums but a lot more noticeable and annoying to hear in guitars. This is just an image of the main rhythm guitars but the exact same process was done for the extra guitars as well.
Now that the guitars have been re-amped I can start doing some rough mixing of them with the drums and work out how the end product might sound and see if anything need to be redone, from here I just have to record the Bass and Vocals, do final mixing and mastering then the track is done. The end is slowly getting closer and I am hopeful that I will get some good results.