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Friday, December 12, 2008

Your amp sucks

Former engineer and sound designer tells you the truth

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people who try and try in vain to get a good sound while tracking high-gain, distorted guitar... just don't get it.

What is it that they don't get?

Well, for starters, your amp sucks.

How do I know? Because I'm listening to it right now. And I can hear it with my own ears as plain as day. And it sucks. Get a new one.

I know, I know. You've read about tracking distorted guitar, and it's cool. You found your magical point of cabinet engagement or whatever... you just went and bought a good mic, you found the sweet spot, and you've lifted your guitar cab off the ground and backed the gain off, etc. etc.

And that's all great, but ya know... it ain't doin' ya any good, because I'm still listening, and you're amp still sounds like crap.

Here's a suggestion: Rather than listening to what your amp sounds like in your imagination, listen to what it sounds like in reality. And if you want to know the truth, listen to how it records. Stick a mic in front of it, play, and hit record. Now play it back. That's what your amp sounds like, my friend. That's reality. And if you don't like what you hear, then it may be time to add a better amp to your Christmas list.

Now review with me here:

1) Set up amp and play through it. Get it to sound the way you like it.

2) Hit record. Then play.

3) Listen back. This is what your amp sounds like.

I know, I know I know. It sounds thunderous and fantastic when you play in your rehearsal space. Right? Uh, actually no. It doesn't. It just sounds really bad and really loud. How do I know? Because I'm listening to it right now, playing back over the monitors.

And it's pretty ugly. Forget about what you've read on the internet on getting a new mic or a new pre to make your guitar amp sound better in recording. Instead, get a new amp.

--Keith Ricker

1 comment:

Ben said...

Or better... learn how to play the guitar properly. How many times have I seen a lovely amp, a lovely guitar and it sound like shit? Simply.. learn to play. play the right things at the right time, know your sound and when it isnt working at this point then you can whinge about it.

No royer, 60's fender, les paul, vintage C12, neve or api will make you play any better

ok.. enough said.