Guitar Direct Recording Techniques with Line 6 Pod Pro for Death, Black, and Heavy metal.

Home  |  About Me  |  Images  |  Guitar Recording  |  Links  |  Guestbook  |  Email Michael

 Line 6 Pod Pro Direct Recording Preamp

Peavey Triple XXX Tube Head

ESP FB-200 Baritone Guitar

Mackie SRM450 Active Monitor

Joe Meek MQ3 Microphone Preamp

Alesis DM PRO Drum Module

This area deals with heavy metal, death metal and black metal, direct guitar recording - mainly the Line 6 Pod Pro guitar preamp.

Sample : Here's an old MP3 recorded with the POD PRO.

Since I wrote this page I have changed views on how best to get a good tone with the POD PRO. Ideally connect it to a power amp and some vintage 30's. Mic it with an SM57 and maybe a Sennheiser MD421. But if you have to use it direct...Run your guitar straight into the Pod. You don't HAVE to EQ it before-hand. Then pick your amp model. I like the Marshall ( British Hi Gain ), Rectifier Head, and the Soldano ( Modern Hi Gain ). And then select the Vintage 30 Cabinet simulation ( the one at 3 O'clock ). After that you're going to need an EQ. Boost somewhere around 8 or 10 kHz. How much or how little depends of which amp model, the Soldano is darker than the Marshall and the Mesa. And that's pretty much it. Don't scoop the mids out, you'll need them. I'm my opinion  the cabinet models cut out too much 7 kHz and up. Maybe they were just trying to ensure a "warm" sound.

Notes on above MP3:

The guitar sound was obtained by the following chain of effects: Guitar>EQ>POD>EQ. The guitar was doubled with one track hard left and the other hard right. The EQ varies slightly between the two to give it a little more depth. The music is a "cover" of another guys guitar recording sample. I had read an article of his on mic placement and other guitar recording techniques. He included an mp3 of his recording technique in action. I thought it'd be funny to remake it. I hope he thinks so...

While EQing my guitar in the final stage I compared it's frequency analysis to my favorite guitar sound of all time. To do this I took a sample of the isolated guitar I wanted to emulate (a part with no bass, drums, vocals or any other sounds) and used the frequency analyzer in Cool Edit. I recorded a wav of my guitar playing the same thing as the sample and compared the two. Then I just kept tweaking my EQ little by little, re-recording and re-comparing each time, until it was close enough for me. A very anal way to do things to be sure... You'll never get it exactly identical to anyone else's tone but you can get really close.

note: when using the Cool Edit Frequency Analysis make sure both samples are close in volume. Also make sure you have each wav completely selected, or at least the part you want analyzed, and press the scan button. This will give you the frequency range of the entire wave, rather than just at the point of the cursor. Also as I mentioned before, you need an isolated guitar sample.

When I was in the market for an amp, decent MP3's of heads were hard to come by, especially portrayed in the death or black metal genre. Just in case anyone was in the market for a Peavey Triple XXX I thought I'd post an MP3 so they could actually hear how it sounds.

This Amp has brutal distortion. You don't ever need to turn it past 7. Really 5 is plenty. 7 at the absolute most. Otherwise the thing feeds back , sounds like ass, and then feeds back some more. Also the EQ knobs boost a shit-load. Go easy on them, slight tweaks are most likely all you'll need. Remember: Less is more. When recording, leave the mids at around 5, but if you must scoop them don't rape the midrange knob down all the way. Frequency range for the mids is centered around 700 or 800 Hz. The low frequency knob seems to be centered lower than most amps. The high knob is HUGE. Boosting and cutting a massive swath from 1 k to 10 kHz. The damping switch controls the damping of the tubes. The looser the damping the louder the amp will get and the brighter it will sound. Tighter makes the amp less efficient and darkens the highs as well.

The Ultra is more of a Mesa Boogie tone. It is voiced with more of a "rounder" tone. That is to say there's not a lot of midrange boost and more bass is left in the signal before it hits the distortion tubes. After distortion there's less high end and low end roll-off. Also is has way more gain than a real Rectifier. Not that you'd need that much gain...

The Crunch channel is more of a hot-rodded Marshall tone. It's the opposite of the Ultra--mids are boosted before distortion, extreme highs and lows and rolled off after distortion. Again the amp has 3 times the gain of a Marshall for no good reason.

The best pickup I have tried on this head is the Seymour Duncan JB (bridge). Pickups can really make or break this thing. But with the JB you can't go wrong. Ask anyone who has one in their guitar.

Sample : Peavey Triple XXX MP3

I apologize for the horrible recording if this amp in the above MP3. It is capable of really good sounds. I will soon make a new clip.

This guitar is made of basswood. Basswood sounds pretty good but doesn't take very well to be banged around like a coked-up whore, which is of high concern to me when I buy a guitar. I like maple bodies more. And a close second would be Mahogany, or adamantium. Also EMG 81's are picky about what amp they're plugged into. An 81 into the Crunch channel of the Triple XXX is a bad combination. It's way too much grind. But into the Ultra channel it's very nice. Or into a dual rectifier or Engl as well.

Sample MP3 : ESP FB-200 Bridge - EMG 85

Sample MP3 : ESP FB-200 Neck - EMG 85

Decent active monitor. The JBL's are now better than this though. It has active EQ, so it adjusts the frequency response as the volume changes to keep it flat at all levels. It also has protection built-in. If it gets too loud where it could possibly get damaged, it will take low-end out to prevent it from blowing. Of course, if I hear the low-end cut kick in I'll turn it down. I wouldn't want to fry it. The horn seems to be pretty harsh. It's louder in the upper-mids than anything you could consider "flat". It's also noisy at low levels. I guess it was only optimally engineered to punish eardrums. It was made in Italy. Does a Lamborghini idle very well? Probably not...

Eh, I used to like this thing a lot. Now I've found it's flaws. 

The good: EQ sounds nice. It's super quiet and super accurate. Has a mic-line switch and a mix-in input in the back so you can run in any signal into it via 1/4 and blend it with you vocals. There are compressor and EQ bypass switches. Has two outputs in the back witch is something you wouldn't expect on a mono unit.

The bad: Needs input, output, and compression meters. The compressor is worthless--good they included a compressor bypass switch.. You will need it... 

Sample MP3 : Joe Meek MQ3 Microphone Preamp with Shure SM57

I got the the Alesis DM Pro at guitar center to trigger my kick drums on my Tama with - it was on sale. The sounds are pretty good I guess. But the unit is damn hard to figure out. Not only that but it needs a decent mic to trigger properly. I had to use preamps on some of my crappier mics to hit this thing hard enough to get it to trigger. I didn't want to use my nice mics just to trigger a kick drum. Especially when you're not going to hear what's coming out of the mic anyhow. Also I'd say 99% of the sounds in it  are a compilation of different drums mixed together. I guess they were trying to make the unit sound thicker, and more complex than even a real drum sound. But all it sounded like was a mix of 4 snares, or 3 kick drums and a click. But if your strip down the samples to the individual sounds you'll be better off. Navigating the MIDI, trigger setup, and effects is a nightmare. I'm sure there are better drum modules out there than this. A really nice feature would be individual EQ for each sample. You can hear the Alesis DM Pro on this previously posted MP3. Also the unit freaks out and the triggers stop working every now and again when I turn it on. Not hard to fix it just needs a re-initialization. Also I now have standard triggers running into it, it likes those a little better.

Home  |  About Me  |  Images  |  Guitar Recording  |  Links  |  Guestbook  |  Email Michael