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Cutting highs in high gain tones


Paulzx
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One of the running battles I have with helix high gain amps, single or dual, is that the stock cabs all sound a little bit lifeless to me but they are a bit toned down on the high end which is useful. The IRs when you first hear them sound bigger, fuller and more lively but also quite fizzy, which I find hard to tame just by cutting the highs because it ends up sounding like a transistor radio if you go too far, even then the high strings on the guitar sound too thin and treble.

 

I find it quite hard to tame that even using the eq blocks. It just seems quite difficult to me to eq a great high gain sound so the highs are not thin sounding but I will admit I'm no sound engineer! If anyone has any suggestions I would be eager to try them out or if anyone has discovered a really good method to eq the high gain  sounds I would love to know.

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When I hear some isolated guitar tracks from recordings I'm usually surprised at how much "fizz" is often there. I also find that when I prep a tone at home I hear the artifacts I don't like but they serve a purpose in a live situation and help the guitar cut through. Perfect, sweet tones are not always the answer :) 

 

That said, I hate fizz and tend to try and get rid of it myself. This is my experience, YMMV.  

  • Presence often adds more fizz than treble so I will tend to use treble to shape the tone, and add presence only as needed. 
  • Stay away with anything with a bright cap..... 
  • If using IR's, lean toward the ones with the mic position "off center"... FWIW I usually prefer a position about half way between center and edge. The center of a speaker is "all fizz" to my ears. 
  • Ditch the big EQ's and go simple. Add the TILT EQ after the cab/IR block, then dial it back toward the dark setting. It's actually a fairly subtle EQ, so don't be afraid to get aggressive if required. 
  • Throw the "Rochester Comp" near the end of the chain... anywhere after the cab/IR. The default setting is really loud so you might need to turn the output level of the compressor down... then set the gain reduction so it is barely coming on. This is a great studio style compressor that adds some magic sauce to the signal, and really tames artifacts such as fizz. 

* Disclaimer: I am not a high gain player so our experiences with fizz might be quite different. 

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Start with the stock amp+cab. Use the amp's tonestack to get close.

Regarding the stock cabs - try different mics and distances.

Once you've gotten close and know what works you can use separate amps and cabs for different placements in the signal chain.

Here's a link to an excellent primer on mics and placements:

 

DialingInYourTone.pdf (redwirez.com)

 

All IRs are not created equal. What sounds good is subjective.

Most IR creators provide a free demo version.

The free Redwirez Marshall cab IRs are a good place to start.

If you want to ultra fine tune your sound with virtually every mic and placement option known to man, Redwirez is the way to go.

Also try the free York Audio Mesa 212. His single IRs and mixes are much easier for a beginner to work with (less options).

York Audio IRs are currently my faves, much less fizzy overall than many of the others, and I've tried all the major players. Justin has a great ear.

 

After you've done the above beginner steps, use EQs to fine tune the sound.

 

Lastly, consider your playback system. Guitar amp? FRFR? Studio monitors? They all sound different.

 

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8 hours ago, codamedia said:

When I hear some isolated guitar tracks from recordings I'm usually surprised at how much "fizz" is often there. I also find that when I prep a tone at home I hear the artifacts I don't like but they serve a purpose in a live situation and help the guitar cut through. Perfect, sweet tones are not always the answer :) 

 

That said, I hate fizz and tend to try and get rid of it myself. This is my experience, YMMV.  

  • Presence often adds more fizz than treble so I will tend to use treble to shape the tone, and add presence only as needed. 
  • Stay away with anything with a bright cap..... 
  • If using IR's, lean toward the ones with the mic position "off center"... FWIW I usually prefer a position about half way between center and edge. The center of a speaker is "all fizz" to my ears. 
  • Ditch the big EQ's and go simple. Add the TILT EQ after the cab/IR block, then dial it back toward the dark setting. It's actually a fairly subtle EQ, so don't be afraid to get aggressive if required. 
  • Throw the "Rochester Comp" near the end of the chain... anywhere after the cab/IR. The default setting is really loud so you might need to turn the output level of the compressor down... then set the gain reduction so it is barely coming on. This is a great studio style compressor that adds some magic sauce to the signal, and really tames artifacts such as fizz. 

* Disclaimer: I am not a high gain player so our experiences with fizz might be quite different. 

Thanks mate, I like the sound of these suggestions.

 

I have a love hate relationship with the presence control. Like you say it definitely adds fizz, I went through a period of time of putting that to zero on all my tones which to be fair, did sound more authentic but then I started adding it back in, in small doses because I was losing a bit of aggression in the tone.

 

I'll try the TILT eq.. Great idea, never really tried it.

 

Like the sound of the Rochester compressor, never used that either

 

Thanks for the suggestions!

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