Show 162 – Distortion revisited and more

This week we talk about various types of distortion and uses for it. Also, how to record a podcast on an iPhone while on vacation.
Our guest this week is Brandon S. Hire from the Metal Shop Podcast.

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19 thoughts on “Show 162 – Distortion revisited and more

  1. Hey guys

    First – I can’t thank you guys enough for putting out HRS. Heroes!

    I, like quite a few others, only found your show a few months ago. However, I’ve managed to catch up, listening to an average of 4 a day while doing my soul-destroying day job.

    More importantly, I’ve been taking notes using google docs the whole time, and thought I’d share it with the rest of the HRS class… (I know, I know, I’m a teacher’s pet – I’ll probably get wedgied by some HRS bullies later).

    A disclaimer: I started as a home recording newb (porbably still am), so some of the info might be pretty basic, but it encompasses all the main points made during all 162 episodes. I didn’t think I’d be sharing it, so it’s not particularily well organised. The vague sub-headings are… Mixing, Recording, Promo, Live, Save Time, Shortcuts, Plugins, Mastering, Computer and Equipment. I also got some additional info from other places, but I swear she didn’t mean anything – HRS has always been my true love.

    Whenever you guys do a step-through guide (e.g. how to do a parametric sweep) I reference the specific HRS show number.

    Hope you, and the HRS community, find it useful. Please feel free to use/share as you see fit.


  2. After listening to Brandon discussing recording on his iPhone I have one question- what smarthphones/apps would you guys recommend for musicians?

    Personally, I recently moved from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy SII, purely because in the default voice recorder on the Android you can re-name your recordings, while on the iOS the recordings are given the time and date as a name. If you’re constantly recording little music ideas on your phone like I do, being able to name them is a life saver.

    Any further tips/tricks?

    Ride the headless chicken


  3. Another thing to take into consideration with EQ’s and channel strips…is the overall processing of the signal.. as with the Pultec- the filter section is PASSIVE, which is a very tasty type of processing.. If you also reference the User Manual-It suggest to not BOOST and CUT at the same frequency…which is FUNNY cause we all know, that is the sweet spot in that EQ!

    Eq’s with active filters sound very different, and very clean…Also how the signal is treated inside the EQ- In the Pultec, it utilizes a (6X4)rectifier Tube..It does not use a Diode which most common equipment utilizes today.

    The jury is still out on tube sounding gear…another color in the pallet- I would want to use what ever makes the source sound even better… Joe Marsh

  4. OH and by the way…I have a Job where I can listen to HRS for 6 to 8 hours everyday…I have listened to everyshow…More then a couple times of over the last few year…Can I get a diploma too? Thanks guys…ride the lighting into the rabbit hole, where the chicken is hiding… Joe Marsh

  5. Final question (for this week) – will you be sending diplomas abroad (specifically London, UK)? If so, count me in!

  6. TFAGS,

    Its embarrassing to admit as a guitar player for many years but i did not know the explicit difference between distortions until I listened to show 17 a while back… (The fail is strong with this one)

    Along the lines of distortion, Have you guys ever used or looked at the LePoulin plugins? ( Im trying them out on my current project. I would review them for yall but i would have no idea what i was talking about.

    Also one thing yall might want to add to your lofi bag of tricks is a smokey amp (

    Ride The Lightning Chicken

  7. Dan, in the iPhones voice recorder app, you can rename the audio files after they’ve been recorded. It’s not so obvious, but it’s actually very easy to do. I only found it by accident though, and I use the iPhone’s voice recorder to capture songwriting sessions. The quality of the mic in the iPhone compared to the mic’s on my friends droid phones is night and day. In fact, it handles high SPL’s very well, of which I was shocked. It gives a great clean mix live.

    Not to go pimpin my home town, but here’s a video I shot with the iphone, using it’s built in mic, of Curse Icon (local to Columbus Ohio).

    • Great episode. Regarding podcasting from the road, you might also like the Mobile Podcaster iOS app which lets you record, rename, add meta data and then publish to WordPress, FTP (eg, Libsyn) or email. It creates the blog post too.

  8. Geese, so many Dans these days..

    Anyways, that tape deck, or whatever it was Ryan was running the guitar through, distortion is gnarly. You mentioned getting distortion using a walkman; how would you go about getting signal through that? Or maybe I missed the point of what you were saying.
    Great show again guys!

    Ride the …

  9. Please put me on the list for one of those certificates. I’ve listened to it all, recommended it to friends, even made copies of the guitar mod shows for a friend to listen in the car. I’ve been working in video and audio for 25 years, but once I started collecting mics, and preamps and made some gobos 3 years ago, I also became addicted to podcasts, I listened to everything I could find, HRS, IHR, Recording Revolution, Home Studio, Big Al, all of ’em. I listened to all of your shows while my iPod while was vinyl siding my house or in the car to keep me awake after long days at work…

    Even though I’ve applied a lot of what I’ve learned to my recordings, and I can’t seriously charge for my work yet, I decided to invite a small group of musicians to come over every Tuesday for a total of 18 weeks. I offered everyone 1 to 3 songs for free and in return got to learn a lot, hopefully a win-win for all. I was able to expand beyond my voice and guitar and record all sorts of instruments, styles of music and mixing challenges. It was a commitment but worth the time… I called it “Phil’s Collision Shop.”
    Thanks for all your work and willingness to share with us all. Great show.
    I’ve made some cool mobile sound treatment – 7 2ftx4ft 5in hinged together boxes with 703 and also a so-so triangular bass trap (18″ front and 14″ sides)from two 2″ (24×48″) pieces of 703 for under $60, if anyone one wants to see pix, let me know.

  10. Phil, The under $60 was only for the somewhat successful bass trap not the other gobos, just to clarify.
    Ride the Chicken Mc… by the way what show has the comment link to the monster rooster sound?

  11. Hey guys

    Awesome of you to post your notes, Dan. I won’t give you a wedgie (as long as you hand over your lunch money too – J/K ;-))

    Finally I’m caught up with the show. Eater holidays helped alot… Looking forward to the show on outboard gear for dummies (that would be me…)!

    I had a question that apparently drowned in the rest of my comment to show 160 (and I don’t blame ya, it was quite a long one…). I’ll post it here again (more or less cut’n’paste) in the hopes that you will answer it this time ;-):

    “I will be looking to upgrade my drum plugin sometime in the future, as EZDrummer is fine for quick songwriting, but its limitations are becoming more obvious the geekier I get. I can’t wait to start fiddling with more knobs than my current program offers (and any misinterpretation of that sentence would be purely a product of your own imagination). I hear a lot of praise for the Steven Slate stuff, but I’m wondering if any of you have experience with some of the other stuff out there like Superior Drummer 2.0, Addictive Drums or BFD2?

    I’m interested in ease of use, the number and quality of the included kits, abilities to combine different drum sounds, library of midi grooves, effects and ability to tweak the individual sounds. Overall, it would be nice to have something that sounds great out of the box, but also something that can be experimented with and tweaked – so flexibility without having to buy expansion packs is also very desirable. Boy, I’m not asking a lot, am I?

    I can read the specs on the product descriptions, but it’s pretty hard to determine from those how the programs are in actual use, and how to weigh my individual needs against each other as I don’t have much experience with such programs.”

    That’s enough of me…

    Light the chicken

  12. Fuzz on bass is REALLY outstanding. I also like adding it to keyboard bass as well. The Tubescreamer, however, is one of my least favorite overdrive boxes. Once I learned about some of the hand-built boutique pedals I never went back. I’ve got several that I always get compliments on – the TIM by Paul Cochrane, Disnortion by Pigtronix, and the Varidrive by SIB. Instead of flat, boxey, and boring drive sounds, I get rich, complex, 3D tones with a wide range of use.

    One of the things I always work on with guitarists in the studio is trying to help them get a “signature sound”. If you can pick out a piece of gear that isn’t used by the majority of guitarists, it gives you a better chance at creating your own unique sound. It can still be done with those mainstream boxes, but your options are limited.

    Once you’ve experienced boutique pedals it’s really tough to go back to the stock mainstream models. I’d encourage everyone to look outside of Boss and Ibanez for their distortion and overdrive needs, I think you’ll be amazed at the difference in quality.

    Of course, a really great amp plays a large role as well. Amps with the ability to be set right on the edge of breaking up tend to react really well to drive/distortion/fuzz pedals. Perfectly clean amps can take pedals well too, but I’ve found that you don’t get quite as much character as that on-the-edge amp does.

    You briefly touched on “stacking” sounds in the podcast. That can be one of the best ways to create unique drive sounds. A drive pedal into a fuzz, overloading the input, can create some pretty wild sounds. Take a few of your pedals, start with lower gain levels, and play with the different flavors of drive and distortion you can get.

    Thanks dudes, good show as always, and I think you should get an “airball” sound for every joke Ryan tells that Jon doesn’t laugh at. Maybe just a crowd chanting in the background?

  13. Hey guys, great show as always. It took some time but, I have finally listened to every show! There is a lot of great information in there! I also just finished a huge studio wiring project it my studio. I acquired a soundcraft ghost 32 channel console that I incorporated into my set up. Everything wired into patch bays ect… I even left a space open on my wall for a HRS diploma! That would totally complete my room.
    I am curious what your thoughts are on using in the box techniques then sending everything out into analog land for further processing with outboard gear and summing. Or at least, having a big console with the meter bridge lighting up all over the place looks absolutely killer.
    Keep up the the great work, this is my favorite podcast now!
    Ride the flaming chicken,

    Rack back

  14. Another fun and informative show. On distortion, I had the biggest smile on my face when you talked about plugging your guitar into an old cassette deck’s mic inputs. For years, I used an old broken Lafayette deck because nothing else could create that trashy distortion. I called it the Distort-O-Matic. It eventually died, so I’m on the hunt for another deck soon – hello Goodwill!
    It was also good to hear about Brandon using his iPhone voice memo app to record his voice for the podcast. I’ve done that a couple of times for my podcast, The Box Of Sound. Did some tracks while driving, and once when I needed to record an interview, it saved the day. Just popped the voice track into Logic when I got back to the studio and began editing.
    I’ve also made recordings with 2 iPhones on two people, and later lined up the two recordings for stereo.
    Ride the Kentucky Fried,

  15. TFAGS!.
    Hey I meant to post this before the latest show, but anyway, at 13.47 on this show-#162, Jon is talking and Ryan reacts to something said and starts goofing around with it, but Jon just totally ignores him and keeps on talking without missing a beat. It was great!.

    Please let me know if you could use some sound effects such as crickets, or a tumbleweed blowing down the main street of an abandoned town out west, for when-not if, Ryan tries to crack a funny again.

    Keep up the great work!


  16. TFAGS.
    I believe it was Jesse that noted Robert Plant’s Band of Joy as one of his fav pics way back when. I concur, and add that it’s nice to see a major label still putting major money and major effort behind a major artist to get a major sound. To my ears, the mix is incredible.
    Anyways, my actual point blank question is, what the hell do I need to do to get that awesome old school bass distortion on the track “You Can’t Buy My Love”? Yes, please be blunt, and lash me with 50 wet spaghetti noodles if necessary. Bending over the chicken as we speak. Thanks.

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