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Finalizing Amplifier Tone

Lesson 31 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

Finalizing Amplifier Tone

Lesson 31 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

31. Finalizing Amplifier Tone


Class Trailer

Intro to Bootcamp


Purpose of Pre-Production


Technical Side of Preproduction


Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map


Pre-Production: Importing Stems


Pre-Production: Click Track


Creating Tracking Templates


Intro and the Tone Pie


Drums - Lay of the Land


Bearing Edges


Wood Types


Depths and Sizes




Sticks and Beaters


Drum Heads


Drum Tuning


Drum Mic Placement Intro


Basic Drum Mic Setup


Cymbal Mic Setup


Touch Up Tuning


Microphone Choice and Placement


Drum Tracking Intro


Getting Tones and Final Placement


Primary Tracking


Punching In and Comping Takes


Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking


Amplifiers - Lay of the Land


Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out


Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement


Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain


Finalizing Amplifier Tone


Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin


Intro to Rhythm Tracking


Setting Up Guitars


Working with a Guitarist


Final Guitar Tone and Recap


Guitar Tracking with John


Guitar Tracking with Ollie


Final Tracking


Tracking Quads


Intro to Bass Tone


Bass Tone Setup


Bass Tone Mic Placement


Bass Tracking


Intro to Clean and Lead Tones


Clean Guitar Tones


Lead Tones


Vocal Setup for Tracking


Vocal Mic Selection and Setup


Vocal Mic Shootout


Lead Vocal Tracking


Writing Harmonies


Harmony Vocal Tracking


Vocal Warm Ups


Scream Vocal Tracking


Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction


Vocal Tuning and Editing


Routing and Bussing


Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels


Setting Up Parallel Compression


Setting Up Drum Triggers


Gain Staging and Trim


Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ


Drum Mixing - Snare


Drum Mixing - Kick


Drum Mixing - Toms


Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms


Drum Mixing Recap


Mixing Bass Guitar


Mixing Rhythm Guitars


Basic Vocal Mix


Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Mixing - Automation


Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


Lesson Info

Finalizing Amplifier Tone

So, we've been here for a few hours, working on the guitar tone. We originally found the speaker that we like the best on the oversized cab, but we were not happy with the tone we were getting just out of that 157. It just sounded... Lame, to me. Yeah, there was no real, like, hate. Yeah. In tone. No hate. You need the hate. So, we spent the past couple hours changing up the entire miking scheme. Now we've got a 57 straight on, as well as one at a 45 degree angle, which is called the Fredman technique. We also got a 421 coming in at the opposite 45 degree angle, we've got a D6 on there, and an SM7B. At a 45 degree angle from the top. Yeah. Yeah. And we feel like it sounds pretty damn close, at this point. So, I think, at this point, really, it's just a matter of dialing in the last little bit of hate. And maybe, once we dial that in, we can actually quantify what "hate" means. Yeah. Yeah. But we just mean, really, that it needs that aggression, that makes guitars po...

p. So, it could be an issue just balancing the mics, it could be an issue of something else. So, we'll see. We went ahead and we recorded the same riff as before, with the new miking scheme. So, we'll play that once through, and then we'll go back and we'll start leveling them out. So you guys can hear. (heavy guitar riff) You know what I'm gonna do? I am going to make a VCA track. So that we can just turn down all the guitars at once. Okay. So, basically just making a Guitar All group. And nothing is going to be enabled in that group. There's that. And then Guitar All. Now, actually Gonna disable it right here. And this will just... (heavy guitar riff) It's kind of like a groove, but there's no actual audio coming out of that VCA. So it's just like a fader for the whole group. So, yeah, that's all. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. That's a lot better than it was before. So, let's start listening to what we've got. Do you wanna play something? Or do you wanna do it through this? It's up to you. I think- We should do it through this to begin with, and then we'll see where we're at. Yeah. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) I'm going to put this stuff actually down the middle, while we do this. Okay. So that people aren't hearing it out of one ear. Okay. So this is the straight on 57. (heavy guitar riff) And that's like, right on the cone. Pretty much. So, just notice that real straight on 57's do get a lot of that high end fizz. Here's the angled one, though. (heavy guitar riff) Not so much fizz. Here's the 421. (heavy guitar riff) Lot more high end. Let me make sure that that's not doing anything yet. Okay. This is the D6. (heavy guitar riff) And this is the SM7B (heavy guitar riff) So, first thing I actually wanna do, is take a look at the waveforms. Look at that. They're all in phase. They're all in perfect phase. That's great. We're doing that because when you have multiple mics on a guitar cabinet or speaker, multiple speakers, anyways, when you have multiple mics, you have to get the phase just right, or your guitar sound's gonna sound like it's in a hallway with a flanger on it. We just try to get it, them all at the exact same distance, away from the speaker. But it's something that you always need to check with. Get it right the first time, so... That's cool. All right, so let's see, what do you wanna do with this? Which one's your favorite? I kind of like what I'm hearing at the bottom of the D6, and I like the angled 57 one. Yeah. What are you liking? I like this, I actually like the first four. So, the straight on 57, the angled 57. They all have something quite cool about them. I think that the angled is the most balanced out of all of them. And then maybe one of the straight 57's or the 421. Would probably add the top end that the angled 57's missing. Or, the "hate," as we've- Yeah. Come to know it. My only issue with the 57's is, I don't feel like there's enough beef there. Yeah. And that's what I think the D6 can add. Okay. Or, we can get it with EQ, as well. Yup. But, I just, I'm not hearing the beef. Which, obviously, you don't want too much, because there's gonna be bass guitar, on this. But, so... I agree with you. I feel like we're gonna have to choose, as far as the 421 and the straight 57- Yeah. Which one's gonna be prominent. Yeah. In the high end, because, if not, I think it's going to get built up and super harsh. Yeah. So, why don't we start with the angled ones, since we both agree that that's the best one. Yup. And maybe blend another one in, and see where we are. Okay. (heavy guitar riff) Up a little. I would just EQ some of the harshness out of it. Definitely, yeah. All right, let's now blend in the 421 against the angled, and see what that sounds like. I feel like there's more harsh stuff on the 421. Yeah. Than on the straight 57. I also don't know these speakers too well, so... Exactly, yeah. There is that. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah, you see what I mean? Yeah, it's too much of it. It's too much. But there's also a massive 300 hertz, from that room ,that we're also hearing. Yes there is. I think that maybe I will dip that out on a bunch of these tracks. Okay. Just to do it. There's like 257, wasn't it? Yeah, it was. Yeah. Let's see, I've got it right here, I believe. We'll leave that one out. Yup. But, yeah, I'll just move this. This EQ over. To here. (heavy guitar riff) Let's redo this EQ. If you don't mind. Yeah. I just wanna find these. (heavy guitar riff) Okay, yeah. Maybe we should up that a little bit, so it's not quite as dipped. Sure. (heavy guitar riff) And, just a note, when you're EQ'ing things, you should always bypass, after you've made a move, to see if you made it better or not. 'Cause, sometimes, you can be EQ'ing things for a while, you think it's good, and take the bypass off, and you realize you completely ruined the sound. So, we should see if it's the same with this, it probably will be. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah. Yup. All right, let's check in on the 421. It's ridiculous, this ruins insane. It's like that. (heavy guitar riff) Wow, yeah. Makes such a big difference. All right, let's hear it on the D6. (heavy guitar riff) It's absolutely everything. I think it could come down, be dipped even more On this one though. Yeah. 'Cause there's a lot of flow. (heavy guitar riff) Yup. Crazy, that ruins insane with that. All right. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. And that's clearly not like the final EQ. I'm actually just gonna put that very first in the chain for everything. And obviously, that's not the final EQ that would be taking place on these guitars. But we just need to get that out. 'Cause it's making everything sound worse than it should. Okay. So back to where we were. We're deciding on 57 versus 421. (heavy guitar riff) (heavy guitar riff) I'm gonna try rolling off on this one. So that it's not contributing any highs. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah. Just giving it a little bit of beef. All right, and then, let's figure out which of the high end we want, 421, 57, or a lower blend of the two. (heavy guitar riff) See what this one sounds like. (heavy guitar riff) Which one do you like? So the 57 straight one has a little bit more pick attack in it. And the 421 sounds a little bit nicer. In terms of the actual tone. Maybe a blend. Well, maybe, try 421 again now. (heavy guitar riff) I quite like the 421. There's something in the top end that I don't like, though. In the 421? Yeah. Yeah, it's harsh. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah, maybe we cut a little bit of whatever that is from the 421. And see. (heavy guitar riff) Sounds like 3, 3 to 4k or something, doesn't it? Yes, it does. One of the enemy frequencies. (heavy guitar riff) Narrow it, maybe, narrow it. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) I think it hurts my eyes when I bypass it. Do you like that better? Yeah. Yeah, me too. Do you think there's anything else- Yeah, maybe a- That's plugging it? Maybe we could wipe, filter off the top end a little bit. Yeah, maybe a shelf? Yeah, not necessarily a shelf, maybe just a low pass as well. Okay, sure. And just down to like, 12, 15k or something. Just to get rid of that. Nasty. Yeah, nastiness, there. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah. Yeah, 'cause we do want some of the highs coming from this. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Alright, now let's hear it with the, with the angled 57. I'll blend it back in now. (heavy guitar riff) I can still hear that 300 on something. I think it's on the angled 57. Oh, yeah. Wonder if we're ever gonna be able to get totally rid of it. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Effects. Yeah. Yup. With the other guitars or with the drums? With the guitars. (heavy guitar riff) So that low end definitely needs to be filled out. Yeah. But maybe you should put the D6 instead of the other 57. Yeah, I agree with you, yeah. So maybe up to like, 60 to 80 hertz or something. Maybe a little bit higher. Completely agree. To get rid of that. The rumble. The rumble. (heavy guitar riff) Much better. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) I'm curious to hear that with drums. Yup. I'll just play it down the middle. Okay. (heavy guitar riff with drums) I'm missing some of the high end that was in the 421 now. Now it's got the drums in it. Yup. It's lost the aggression on that place. So maybe we should add some of that frequency that was taken out. I agree. Maybe this. This needs to be unfilled a little bit more, yeah. That's kinda why I was thinking maybe a shelf would be better than just a straight roll off. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Let's try bringing in the straight 57 a little bit, as well. Yeah. Just some extra top end, because- Sure. I think it doesn't sound quite aggressive enough. I completely agree with you. Even that sounds good now. But it sounds very balanced. Yeah, it's getting there. Yeah. And just for, I mean, just in case anyone didn't notice, we haven't boosted any frequencies. All we're doing is just playing with volumes and getting rid of frequencies that hurt or bother us. We have not boosted anything. Let's take a listen to this 57, real quick. (heavy guitar riff) It does have a little nastiness I don't want to add, but who knows, let's just bring it in and see what happens. Yup. (heavy guitar riff) No, it's got a little, this like little papery sound I wanna get rid of. Yeah. Yup. We're gonna bring it in. And we'll find it. It's kind of similar to what the 421 had. (heavy guitar riff) That was just painful. That was awful. (heavy guitar riff) Maybe bring that a little bit more again, just that last one. Yeah. You mean bring 5- Yes, a little. Up a little? Yeah, a little bit. Yeah. Less, less cut. It's not bothering me nearly as much as it was. Yeah. This tone. (heavy guitar riff) Maybe just push out from the top a little bit by like one DB. Just a couple of those top end frequencies- Yeah. That aren't really- That whole, the shelfing thing, I picked up from Kurt Ballou, actually. Okay. 'Cause he doesn't like to just low pass the guitars. Okay. 'Cause he feels like there's a lot of, there's a lot of good stuff up there that you just get rid of. So he just, he puts like shelves up top. That's where I got that one from. (heavy guitar riff) It's a little much. It's crazy, how different it sounds. Like, when we bypass this, it becomes so painful. (heavy guitar riff) Sounds pretty good to me. Sounds pretty good. Yeah. Somethin'- Something's missing. Something's missing. Well, let's... Let me copy the settings onto the other side. And let's hear it with two guitars. And I'm gonna try to figure out what's missing. There's like a texture that, I don't know what it is. We'll figure it out. Any thoughts? Well, obviously, when the bass is added, that'll add quite a lot, obviously, the sound. Yeah, because, distorted bass, especially, it helps give lots of teeth to the guitar tone. Yup. (heavy guitar riff) Do you want me to bring in the bass? The scratch bass? Yeah, bring in the scratch bass, just so we get a bit of context, yeah. Okay. I don't think that's a bad idea. But I feel like, I feel like it needs more teeth. Yeah, it's more the top end, this rhythm. Yeah. Maybe we cut those repeaters a little bit too much. Possibly. Maybe the, maybe 7. That we didn't put out there, could be a thing. Yeah, maybe, yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Still think there's something missing in the guitars. Yeah, maybe try taking that frequency, take off the 421, up a little bit. Yeah. Just add in that darkness. Maybe not quite as much as that spike. Yeah. Six. (heavy guitar riff) Do you think there's anything with the amp? Maybe, yeah. Maybe we can just boost it a little bit or something. I think it's a little bit, not enough gain, actually. Yeah. A tiny little bit, not too much, but- Yeah. I don't mean like, blast the gain, or anything like that. But, why don't you knock the gain up a little bit, and let's try it again. Like that literally could be it. Yup. And I'm just gonna make a new playlist. Just keep note of where it was. Okay, yeah. Do you want a grease pencil? No, it's okay. Okay. Just like that. So, it was on about 11 o'clock, and I've now turned it to 12. Okay. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. Well, we've got it- It's a tiny little bit too much gain, though. Yeah, but it already sounds meaner, yeah. Yeah. Turn down the gain just a hair, but- Yeah. Split the difference. Yeah. Okay. (heavy guitar riff) How far up did you go with the gain? Literally, like half of, half of a clock turn. So, literally, the tiniest amount. From 11 to half 11. It does sound better, in my opinion. Yeah. All right, so let's try that again. (heavy guitar riff) You know, I'm gonna reserve judgment 'til we do the other side, but I already feel like that sounds cooler. Ready? Yeah, ready. (heavy guitar riff) I don't want to trick myself, because you're playing right next to me, but I really do think that's probably better. Slightly. Let's have a look. (heavy guitar riff) Do you want to turn off the bass, as well? Off, or on? Off. It is off. All right, okay, cool. Yeah. And, you know, I just want to point out, that, you know, I've said it before, but the whole cliche about, a great record is the sum of a thousand little good decisions. That's like one of them, right there, like turning up the gain, like half a clock turn, I think helped the guitars out tremendously. Why don't we listen to the way they were before? And the same vice versa, as well. Like, if you have too much gain, you lose the clarity, as well, so- Yeah, exactly. Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) So, that was before. And this is now. (heavy guitar riff) Subtle, but I think- Very, very subtle. Big difference. I think so, too. To me it makes a big difference. Especially if we're gonna be compressing these after, anyway, a little bit. Yeah. And then that'll bring it all in together a little bit more, as well. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, we took a ten minute ear break. Because, when you're working on high gain guitars, your hearing is gonna go quickly. And we have a few ideas for what we can do to get the last, maybe five percent of this tone. Really dial in the hate. And, you know, the very first thing we're gonna try is just to put a limiter on the guitar buzz. And see what that does. We got a couple other ideas. And, you know, just see if it helps. It might, might be terrible. You never know. (heavy guitar riff) Pushes it. Which was the one you wanted to try? I like 3A. All right, let's see it. Get the waveform. Probably- Probably gonna be in dynamics. Yeah. Yeah, there you go. Okay, CLA-3A? That's it, yeah. Yeah. Any settings you like in particular? Literally just touching it, but definitely turn the analog off. Oh, yeah. Literally just touching it. Okay, let's see here. (heavy guitar riff) You want to turn the gain down. Sure. At the same volume as it is on the channel. Then, use peak reduction. Actually never put this on guitars before. Curious. You want it comp or limiter? Comp, yeah. (heavy guitar riff) Bring it up a little bit. Little bit too much reduction on it, as well. Little bit too much reduction. Yeah, I think so, too. (heavy guitar riff) I think it definitely helps, a little. Yeah, it gets rid of, like the... I guess transient of the guitar makes it a little bit more together. Yeah. All right. Well let's try a couple more things. Why don't we switch guitars, too? Yeah, we can try that. Okay, yeah, 'cause you know that could be a major difference. What kind of pickups are in this one versus that one? This one is Juggernauts, in the one that's in your hand. This one. And this is a Nailbomb Cold Sweat. Ooh, I like Nailbombs. Yeah, I do, too. All right, I'm making a new playlist. (heavy guitar riff) All right. This one has got more gain in the pickups. Yes, it definitely does. Okay. All right, let's do the other side, real quick. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. Do you want to go grab his guitar, real quick? Yup. So we can just keep on this trend. Yeah. All right, let's check that out. (heavy guitar riff) All right, let's get the other side. Okay, ready? Yup. (heavy guitar riff) I like the way this one sounds on those slides. For me it's between your original guitar and this one. Yeah. I want to hear them back to back. Okay. So, what I'm gonna do, in order for us to hear them back to back, is I'm gonna go to the playlist with the original guitars, and I'm going to copy them onto this new playlist. Okay. And that way, you know, it'll go back and forth. Between the guitars. Okay. Okay. And then, here's a new playlist. And now we'll really... We'll get to hear old guitar into new guitar. Okay. (heavy guitar riff) I kind of like that second one, a little more. Which one, this one? Yeah. Funny, I like the first one. I thought it had more attack. Well that's funny. But, all right, let's listen again. (heavy guitar riff) I agree with you on the attack. Maybe we can go with the original, but do something to sweeten it a little more. I feel like the other one, I don't know, has like this, a little bit, kind of sweet thing. Yeah. Happening. Maybe it's a slightly higher gain. I don't know. We said that the last thing we were gonna try is to tweak the amp a little. Yeah. So maybe we can tweak the amp on the guitar you wanna use a little bit more, to try to add a little bit of what that guitar has. Okay, definitely. Unless, of course, you think this guitar is better. What's that? Unless, of course, you think this guitar's better? I think they're both really good. Here, let's do this. I'm gonna just record you. Can you just give me, like, some chugs? Like "dun dundundun" kinda stuff? Oh yeah, what, like a- I'll give it to you to a click. (heavy guitar riff) Something like that, yeah? And palm muted and stuff. Okay. And power chords and dumb stuff. And then double it, and then we'll do the same thing with this guitar. Okay, cool. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. Okay, double that. I guess, it's okay, we don't come in right away. In the right spot, but- Okay. Okay. Yup. Ready? Yup. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. Now let's try- Same thing? Yeah. With that one? Swap. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. Ready? Yup. (heavy guitar riff) Pretty good for no click. All right, let's hear them back to back. (heavy guitar riff) Your guitar's better. Agreed. Yeah, listen. Yeah. Ollie's sounded muddy, and kind of boomy. And yours just sounded good. Full and bright. I still think that one sounds really good. It's got something different to it, hasn't it? It's got a nice load. Maybe we can use it when we do layers, like on the chorus, or something like that. Yup. Though I do, I wonder if maybe, we can get it slightly more in the low mids or something, on yours. (heavy guitar riff) I like yours better. Okay. Do you? Yeah. Okay. Cool, so we're on the same page. Yeah. They both sound good, they're just different flavors. Yeah. Yup. Well, I do think that this could be used for something, too. Yup. More background stuff. Yup. So, what's left? Is there anything more we can do to yours? Yeah, we probably do need to make it a little bit more aggressive towards the high ends- Yeah. So maybe we can do some treble or the presence- Okay. On the actual amp. So... The presence is around 1 o'clock at the moment. Is it, all right. And the treble is about noon. Okay. So. (distorted guitar chord) Okay, let's hit the treble in the same way. See. Okay, the mid's around 1 o'clock, as well. I'm gonna try turning that up, Because that affects- Sure. All bands on a Mesa, so... (distorted guitar chords) Funnily enough... (distorted guitar chords) It's not making that much of a huge difference to it. No, it's really not. Which is crazy. (distorted guitar chords) Little down. But now we've lost that low end bite from it, as well. Yeah, I was about to say. (heavy guitar riff) Just quite strange. (heavy guitar riff) Is that coming through with the EQ? Yes. Do you wanna play the same riff? Yeah. Yeah, let's do it. Okay, ready? Yeah. (heavy guitar riff) (heavy guitar riff) All right, let me just put them back to back. With a, you know real tone. Yeah, just a tiny boost at the tiniest little bit on the treble and presence. Okay. Less than half of an hour on a clock. Do people even know what clocks are anymore? I don't know. (heavy guitar riff) That's made it sweeter. What? It's made it sweeter. Yeah. Interestingly enough. (heavy guitar riff) Maybe split the difference. Maybe. Yeah. Maybe. Okay, let's try that, then. (heavy guitar riff) Okay. (heavy guitar riff) Let's hear them back to back. (heavy guitar riff) The latest one we've did sounds best. Yeah, cool. So- All right, great. That's cool. Even though it's just a tiny- Yeah. Probably like quarter of an hour, on an hour clock. Higher. Yeah, I think that the rest of the way is probably gonna be like a processing thing. I think so, too, yeah. Yeah, cool. Yeah. Well, good job. You, too. Yeah, all right, well, album done. All right, do you want to do a quick run through of this riff? Yup. So we can just test against the original? (heavy guitar riff) Now let's do the other side. (heavy guitar riff) All right, let's hear the difference. (heavy guitar riff) So that's the latest one, right? No, that's one of the first ones. Okay. (heavy guitar riff) This was the original one that we did on this setup. (heavy guitar riff) Gain, wasn't it? Yeah, lower gain. Yeah. I like the higher gain. I think the slightly higher gain is better, yeah. This was, I believe, when we raised it a little. (heavy guitar riff) And then, here it is with a slight boost in the highs. (heavy guitar riff) All right, which one do you like better? Do you like it better with the high boost or not? I think I do, yeah. Okay. I think it's gonna cut better. Cool. In the final scenario. All right, well let's roll with this, then. Okay, cool. Awesome.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Eyal Levi Bootcamp Bonuses
Drum Editing - HD

Ratings and Reviews


I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.

Student Work