I did this on the POD forum and it's geared to a PODxt user but some have said it was helpful.
Creating a Song from Scratch. A hands on type of demo instruction for new recording enthusiasts and features the talked about Brit J-800 amp with audio sample and patches.
Ok first this is targeted at people new to recording at home and POD users who have never recorded a song before or have always wondered, “how are those guys doing that”.
I'm no expert for sure. But, I've gotten lots of knowledge from people on the internet and so far I have never seen anything exactly like this. Hopefully I can give something back with this. I know I would have like to have seen this type of info when I first started.
Goal- To created a small 8 bar song with mixing and mastering using the PODxt JCM800 amp. We will walk step by step through the process. We will add drums, double track backing guitars, add bass, add lead, mix, and master this project.
Tools Required- Your guitars, the PODxt, a working audio connection to your PC and some recording software (for this demo I'm using Guitar Tracks Pro
2 you can find free similar programms on the net). The Free Ozone 3 demo.
First we are going to assume you have your recording software up and running and can record your guitar. If your not then work that out and come back later.
We need a drum track. My drums of choice are Smart Loops Pro Drum Works so we will go to their web site and download a free drum loop:
After getting past the register form, go to the Smart Loops Dry Studio Kit CD and get the
Load this into you recording software at 110bps or what ever your comfortable with. My demos at 110bpm. Copy it so you have 9 bars. We'll use the first one for count in.
So now we have a basic drum track that should sound like this:
Lets add one of our backing guitars. We want to use a JCM800 so we'll go to the Line 6 Pack Fanatics Bundle under the Amp Setups folder and pull out the stock Line 6 Brit J-800 patch:
(right click and save as)
Take a few minuite to look over this patch for a simple dry amp there is a lot going on here. The gain is set at a moderate level. The bass, mid and treble are backed off and the Pres. Is near 50%. But the tone is tight and cruchy. Next lets look at the mic. A 57 allowing 50% of the room sound in.
Turn the delay and the verb off a second is see what just the room sounds like. You don't really hear the room?
Try using some phones and see if you hear the room. Turn your phone volume up a bit. Now you should hear the room. The rest of this is best heard in phones or good studio monitors.
Move the mic to 0% and 100% and see how that sounds from one extreme to the next. The mic at 0% is much tighter sounding than the mic at 100%. The mic at 100% allows more of the rooms high frequency sounds to be reflected into the mic.
Put the mic back at 50% and lets move on.
Turn just the Tube Echo back on and lets see what in the world a tube echo is doing here. It seems to add a snappy slapback. Sort of tightens up the sound a bit and almost sounds like it added a ceiling and a “back of the room” echo to the sound. Turn it off and on a few times and see. Without it it apears we are just sitting near the front of the amp. With it we are now hearing some room but a tighter room tone than if we just added more room with the mic. Leave it on and lets move to the reverb.
Turn the reverb on and lets see what that does to the sound. Wow did you hear that the sound got wings! We added some width to the sound. The room sounds wider and the tone widened up too. So really someone constucted a room with these effects and placed a few mics in the room and mixed this all together to create one tone. This is magic and someone knew what the heck they were doing when they set this patch up. I have saved this effects setup to use with other amps because this is a real nice sounding studio room to have an amp in IMO.
Step 4 Record the Guitar Tracks.
Ok lets figure out some riffage to play over this double bass drums we have and get it recorded. I looped just one bar to play over to figure out a riff. Keep it simple cause weare going to have to play it again when double tracking. Leave the level alone. Its at a nice sweet spot to leave some headroom for Eq'ing or adding effects later. I came up with this:
Now lets record another guitar track to double the one we just did. Leave the track you just did and try to play alone as close as you can with the first guitar.
Step 5 panning things out.
Ok now you have two guitar tracks straight up the middle. That's not what we want. We need to widen this out to get that “wall of guitar sound” For now lets pan one track 50% left and the other one 50% right or 3 and 9 o'clock. Lets give another listen. Here's what mine sounded like:
Hmmm? What would it sound like wider say at 100%? Lets try:
That's wide and low almost if you still have phones on. Lets try 75% for now and move on. TIP: You can change the vibe of your song by playing with the panning of these guitars. I tend to go with a 50% or so width on verses and then on the bridge and chorus pan them wide so the song really “opens” up and then tightens back up in the verse. This adds a sense of dynamics to todays super brick wall limited mastering.
Step 6 lets add some bass.
I used this patch for my bass:
You don't want room or verb for most bass tracks with this type of music. This keeps the bass tighter sounding.
Ok now you should have your double tracked guitars, bass and drums. Mine sounded like this right now with all faders to zero:
Step 7 Lead Guitar Track.
Yikes, this is were it gets sticky. If your a lead guitar player this is really where you develope part of your “voice”. You can get creative here and really tweak away. Lets load that Brit J-800 patch back up.
I'm gonna add my own favorite tweeks and run with it. I'll explain what and why.
First the Brit 4x12 T75 speaker cabs gotta go too harsh for me. I LOVE the 4x12 Green25's. This is the famous Greenbacks you always hear about. They have a nice “woody” tone to them.
Next the mics gotta go too. Again too harsh. I like the 67 condenser mic because it seems to capture the again..”woodyness” of the cabinet.
Next that tube echo that can be cool and we could play with it but I'm a fan of that wide ping pong echo so I'll select that. My delay Time calculator in Guitar Tracks tells me the delay time for a 110bpm should be 545.5 I'll set this to 545.
Reverb I like that big “I'm in an empty gym sound so I'll select the Large Hall.
Normally I'd add the Tube Screemer but I'm diggin the lead tone so I'll leave it alone.
Hear is that lead patch:
Here's the mix now with all the parts and all levels at max:
Step 8 mixing.
Now we need to mix this mess and hopefully make it sound better. First lets mute the guitars and work with just the bass and drums.
Can we hear the kick and the bass clearly?
I can on mine or at least it's ok. So lets unmute ourbacking guitars and see how they balance with the bass and drums and see if we can trim some levels. Well I like the balance I have. BUT!!! when I looked at my master VU strip I'm redlining. So I'll back the level of both backing guitars, the bass and drums down by an equal amount. I backed them all down to -3dB and it looks safe on the VU. If I were to have more tracks coming in I would have went to -6 on all of them.
Now lets bring the lead guitar in and set it's level so it fits into the track. -2 sems good with the phones. Lets do a speaker check. Man it's too bass heavy for sure. Did not hear that in the cans so lets back the bass off a bit. On my system -6 on the bass seems better So I'll leave that. The lead guitar sounds ok so I'll leave that level where its at. Plus I'll check with phones again to be sure.
In the phones it sound a bit muddy???
Something is the culpret. I can hear everything ok??? I'll mute the backing guitars and listen to just bass, drums and solo guitar.
Seems like the Lead guitars low end if fighting it out with the backing guitars. I could have used a Tube Screemer on the Lead to tame the low end. But instead I'll use the Parametric EQ on the backing guitars. I'll Shelf at 200Hz -6db on both tracks and see it that helps. Well I think it helped but the Shelf lowered the level of my backing tracks so I'll knock them up to -1dB. That seems to have helped so I'll let that go as is. Here's the final mix:
There are a bunch of EQ'ing tricks for massaging those backing guitars here are a few:
There is always personal preference for these things so these are guidelines for equalization.
80 to 125 Hz cut improves the sound if it’s too boomy
125 to 500 Hz boost adds some warmth to the sound
500 to 800 Hz cut for the overdrive guitar
2.5 to 4.0 kHz boost adds some attack for rhythm guitar
4.0 to 6.0 kHz boost adds bite or presence for lead guitar
6.0 to 12.0 kHz boost will add brightness
I could have played with the EQ more but for this project I'm fine with it. Also if I found I always endup recording with a certain EQ curve on this patch I could just use the POD's 4 band EQ and set that up to do what I had to do in the mix. That would save me time in the future.
Step 9 Mastering.
There are a few mastering plug-ins these days. I happen to be partial to Ozone 3. You can down load a real full working copy of Ozone 3 right now and try it out. It will blank audio every 40sec.s but you can try it out for your self. Go here to get it and get the FREE manual too.
It will tell you more about mastering than I ever could.
So I set my little song up to loop over the major parts and tried some of the Ozone 3 presets to see what I liked.
I selected the Rock Master 4 Band with Excitation, Widening. It's a bit too over the top and I would never use it on one of my songs. But for this demo I thought it would give you a chance to see what Ozone does on steriods. The sizzling highs and distortion you hear in the audio are cause by Ozones Harmonic Exciter. I turned the Hamonic Exciter off while the middle of the track was playing but it sounded duller. If this were a song I'd make the Exciter come in and out as needed or I'd use sub bus routing to get all tracks through Ozone 3 but not the lead. That's out of the scope of what we are doing here. It's sound a bit bass heavy on my system but I have a sub woofer so I'll leave it alone. Here's the mastered version:
I hope this is of some help to someone. It was fun to do.