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iamgeorge

what actually is 'pre' or 'post' processing?

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So I've recently starting experimenting with Reaper.  I've been recording directly into the Reaper via my Helix, however I think the overall sound could probably be tweaked a little.  BUT I'm not sure how or where to start..  

 

Do I need additional software or programs to be able to do that?  Or can I do that via Reaper?  Ideally, what would be the best way?  (the simpler the better for me!)

 

Thanks. 

 

 

 

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If you're asking what pre and post post mean in respect to recording, things that pre-processing would be effects, EQ, etc that are applied to a source prior to recording. They are kind of baked into the sound, more or less. So in regards to the Helix, if you record the signal from the Helix as you hear it coming from the Helix, that would be considered pre-processed source, even though there's all sort of stuff being done to it. Post-processing is anything done to the track after the fact - adding effects, editing such as cutting and pasting, etc.

 

As far as Reaper, it does come with a pretty large collection of plug-ins that will at least get you started. Many of them can sound OK, but they're generally lacking in the way of UI. Reaper has a pretty active forum, though, so if you do have any questions, people there seem very willing to help people out. Generally,  I think when you're starting recording, it's like anything. You have to learn to walk before you can run. Start simple and add from there. The average person has more tools to manipulate audio at their disposal than many studios did 30 years ago. The key is knowing when, how and if (the if is a big one) to use them.

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Just to add to the above, you generally want to record everything as dry as possible (unless the part in question relies on something like a significant delay that is integral to playing the part correctly... think The Edge). If the raw track has a ton of FX on it, you can't get rid of them, or alter anything after the fact. It's almost always best to add that stuff in the mix.

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50 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Just to add to the above, you generally want to record everything as dry as possible (unless the part in question relies on something like a significant delay that is integral to playing the part correctly... think The Edge). If the raw track has a ton of FX on it, you can't get rid of them, or alter anything after the fact. It's almost always best to add that stuff in the mix.

 

Which is where Native can be handy. If you record a dry track as well as a (Helix) effected track, you can route the dry track to a Native track (or several for that MASSIVE guitar sound) and do whatever you want with it. When you think you've done all you can with Native, you can use "post" processing effects to make your "perfect" Helix/Native track fit perfectly in the final mix.

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8 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

Just to add to the above, you generally want to record everything as dry as possible (unless the part in question relies on something like a significant delay that is integral to playing the part correctly... think The Edge). If the raw track has a ton of FX on it, you can't get rid of them, or alter anything after the fact. It's almost always best to add that stuff in the mix.

Adding to this: sometimes too much choice isn’t a good thing. If you record dry, then of course you can re-amp to do anything, and Helix Native and/or S-Gear are great for this. But when you mix, you can get stuck re-amping forever trying to find that elusive tone. I’d suggest a compromise where you spend the time getting the tone the performer wants and needs to play the part, then record the dry and wet tracks at the same time. Then you can use what was recorded for the performance and if there’s something really wrong, you can still go down the re-amp route. 

 

Getting it right at the source is the first rule of mixing.

 

And one more thing, try to record electric guitar by monitoring though actual monitor speakers so the guitar physically interacts with the amp. This has a significant impact on tone, sustain and feel, and really influences how one plays.

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And even post-effects processing on individual tracks, look additionally into to mastering plugins like Izotope's Neutron and Ozone. Those aren't cheap, but the suite of tools are incredible in their capabilities for producing a great finished product. Even in the hands of a relative amateur they can seriously help with all their "assistant" features. In the hands of a real pro, the sky's the limit.

 

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Thanks for the insightful responses guys, appreciate it. @bsd512 @phil_m @cruisinon2 @rd2rk @amsdenj   That Izotope's Neutron/Ozone stuff is way beyond me man! 

 

Just to add.. here’s a little something I did with the Helix PANAMA amp + GnR IR.. and that’s it.  Straight into Reaper via my Yamaha HS5s. 

 

** DISCLAIMER **  I'm referring to the lead tone that I'm playing, not the backing track.  The backing isn't mine (belongs to the guitarist in my band.. I just used it to jam over..). 

 

I guess my next question is a matter of opinion, BUT, if wanted to sharpen up this tone, or take away some of the ‘nastiness’ or maybe if I wanted to just enhance it a little, what would I do or where would I start?  To me there's a difference between a tone that has had post processing vs a tone that hasn't had any.. the lead tone in this clip is straight from the Helix into Reaper. 

 

I’ve seen lot’s of Rocco’s clips (granted he’s a Fractal guy), and I’ve bought/played/used Glenn’s, Moke’s, Marco’s presets and everything sounds so different.  Some of their tones sound dreadful through my Helix and Yamaha HS5’s but when you're listening to them playing it, it's TOTALLY different and always sounds awesome.  NOW, I realise that's a different topic perhaps, but I'm more curious to know if 'post processing' would make this tone better.  By 'better', I mean nicer to the ear, or cleaner or more rounded off.  Hope that makes sense. 

 

In a perfect world, I'd like it to be as simple as possible, without necessarily needing to buy/download more programs and software if it can be avoided.  Not crucial though. 

 

Here's the patch if anyone is interested. Panama Amp Patch.hlx

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSz__uLmSCs&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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Haven't actually listened to it (sorry!) but based on what you are describing, you probably want to look at a hi-cut (alternatively called a low pass filter). I usually set mine on the Helix cab blocks and generally I have it cut starting at about 7.5k. At first you will probably think this sounds dull and lacking in presence, but it gets rid of a lot of the nastiness of distorted tones and you will find that you don't miss the treble once you hear it in the mix. If you want to bring back a little of the presence, you could try boosting via EQ at around 3k. You can do all of this in Reaper or on the Helix, mind you. I just happen to like to get it right at the source so that live engineers aren't mucking up my tone at shows (based on the principle that if it sounds good to start with then they will leave it alone).

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Hi Iamgeorge. I have to agree with most of the comments so far. Although I’ve been recording on and off for 50 years now, I’ve not done much reamping but with the Helix it looks to be super easy to do. Jason Sadites does a great video on Youtube about setting this up in one of his “getting great tone” efforts. He also goes into a lot of detail about how he gets the tones he likes from the Helix ... ie. getting the sound right at the source. I like to try to get it right at recording time rather than in post processing. Just seems to sound better to my ears.

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