Steven McNair


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Tech on the GURU sound
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I'm actually a pretty hopeless geek if you didn't know that already. Was gonna answer a few tech questions about the Guru CD, but I thought I'd go further and just talk to the geeky ones about the insides of the CD. I said we were going for old-school bare bones. How bare? look at the screenshot of "mary's little lie".
That's 11 tracks. Nothing is hidden there, thats really it. It's my lowest track count ever for a song with a real drum kit: I think Take the blame was 12, because Chorus and verse lead vocals had different tracks. As you can see on the LV track theres a Microphone modeler. I'm not modeling anything, I'm using the plugin for that nasty tube distortion feature it's got. 3 of the tracks on the CD have the same nasty distortion on vocals. It added to the old-skool sound we wanted. One reason why the CD mastering could be pushed so loud, was because EVERYTHING a lot of the time was so distorted at track level (on purpose) that you couldn't hear the distortion from the limiting as much as you would on something a little cleaner. Actually in the name of trying something new, 5 of 6 songs have a feed from the drum buss going into a distortion! After eq'ing the harshly distorted drums I sneeked them under the dry drums just a bit, and I liked it. It helped give the OH's a really controlled feeling without that "over-compression" sound. I think I'll be doing that again if I ever want a horrible raw sound without it actually being horrible and raw, ha.
The guitars were recorded with a PODxt live with it's output very low, feeding into my Groove tubes brick at full gain for a tad of real tube harmonics in the guitars. Thats the way I've been doing guitars for a while now. I remember when Shun and I first ran the XT through the brick (we read Pro's liked to run the POD through Tubes to give it some balls) The difference COULD be felt. I didn't expect the character of the sound to change much at all vs going into the desk, but really, a real tube pre on a guitar modeler will work wonders. (I'm talking about real vacuum tubes, not an Art-tube or presonus tube-pre. Pretty much anything running from a wall wart isn't really a vacuum tube- but you already know that. Although...You'd still want to use any outboard preamp if you have one when recording an digital effector just for the cleaner output gain, but it won't add the tube harmonics) The amp model we chose was based off the Soldano 100 amp head. Uh...Bass Is Taka's Fender P-bass going direct into the Brick, then Plugin'd up in the box. The distortion on it is actually the old Amplitube1 "Fuzz" amp model.

To wrap it up, here, and here a couple reviews on Distortion religion from cyberspace. Thanks for the write up guys, It's only the Lord.
posted by Steve @ 4:04 AM  
  • At January 22, 2009 at 4:28 PM, Blogger Sam said…

    Wow, I recently sold my T1934 Pre as I was finding I would get better tube harmonics from the little Antares TUBE vst (if you haven't tried it yet, you should) But the T1934 was really not that good of a tube pre-amp least not with the stock tubes. I guess I could DI out of my DeVille's Preamp section into the comp...could be nice.

    I was almost certain about the Soldano head....ALMOST. Is that Amplitube or GR...or something else? :)

    You prbly already know this as well, but that layering you did with the distorted and the clean drum tracks works well with 'verbs and delays as well...keeps the core of the track dry but still wet around the edges.

    Thanks for that post...very enlightening. Cheers!

  • At January 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Blogger Philip said…

    very cool....don't understand much of the Japanese there:P, but I loved how the vocals turned out with that distortion!


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