Show 213 – Low Volume Electric Guitar Options and more!

This week we have a segment from Michael Reisenhus on recording electric guitars in an apartment. In the comments section we talk about using TC Electronic pedals in a mix and the Toneprint Editor; Shure Beta 57A vs SM 57; bass amps and more.

Big thanks to Michael for sharing the segment with us.

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26 thoughts on “Show 213 – Low Volume Electric Guitar Options and more!

  1. Greatest episode ever!

    I made a video showing off how cool and easy it is to get into the DIY thing with a review of a DIY distortion pedal. THere’s a play thru at the end of the video, A/B-ing the pedal.

    Related to this episode … I had posted my signal chain:

    Jackson RR3 to Line 6 Spider Valve Clean Amber channel with the DIY pedal in FX Loop , amp chorus, amp sweep echo thru amp speaker mic’d with sennheiser e609 to Focusrite Shapphire 6 interface to DAW (Ableton) thru EQ plugin plus Vintage warner/maximizer plugin …panned left

    channel 2 Line 6 direct cab simulated XLR out to Ableton EQ plugins to Vintage warner/maximizer plugin to LA convolver using impulse “Waltham reverb” and impulse “Marshall Cab Celestion G12 + SM57” panned right. Master bus has a tad of EQ and light compression.

    Looking at my channel 2 … one can enhance the speaker emulating XLR line out from an amp, (or from a hot plate, headphone jack) and add in cabinet simulations in the DAW. I usually load 2 impulses responses … a favorite speaker/mic combo and then a reverb impulse which deals with the very direct/flat signal.

    Melding these two signals requires 1 bit of “special sauce.” The two WAVs will sound somewhat phasy. Upon a close-up in inspection one can see how the peaks and valleys of the wavs do not line up. By just nudging the .wav file a tad, one eliminates the phasy-ness. This dis-alignment has to do with the different signal paths. I forget which one is faster or slower … but the key is the nudge.

    This is just one way to combine digital and analog processing in the same channel to deal with the “fake-ness” of free software and the “crap quality” from modest equipment.

  2. T-FAGS!

    Kern is right on the money. Your show is amazing and I’m finally all caught up!

    (insert request for diploma here)

    Time to start at episode 1 and do it again!

    Thanks for everything guys. Donations coming soon!

  3. Hi guys

    Thanks for putting my segment up and for your comments. I learned a lot from it actually. Now I just have to find the plugin that simulates a skype connection through to a mobile in a desert in the middle of nowhere. But kidding aside, it was nice to find out that I have more feasible options than I actually thought myself. Thanks for enlightening me 🙂

    I completely forgot to mention the gear for anybody who may be interested:

    Amp: Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 18 (with the built in “red box” cabinet emulator)

    Speaker attenuator: Weber Minimass (with line out)

    Preamp on mics: Focusrite Trakmaster Pro channel strip, into my interface (focusrite saffire pro 24)

    Guitar: Gibson Les Paul Studio 50s Tribute w/humbuckers

    As I said, any further comments from listeners are appreciated – also regarding the sound and tone of the guitar itself. This is also something I am just starting to learn 🙂


    • Michael 2 Quick gear questions:

      1. Does the Les Paul have the stock pickups still?

      2. Are you pleased with the Tubemeister 18? I have been looking for a new tube head and was thinking about this model. Have you found it to be useful or are there any major drawbacks?

      Thanks for the segment!

      • Hi

        Yeah, the pickups are stock still. As I understand, they are the same as what is on their more expensive guitars. I have considered swapping out the electronics for the RS guitarworks stuff, though. The pickups will probably stay.

        Regarding the tubemeister, I mainly bought this for its features. I knew I probably wanted to swap tubes around, and it does not require re-biasing when doing this. The other features I bought it for are the built-in attenuator (a different one than the one I talked about in the segment). This allows you to set the watts at 18, 5, 1 or completely silent. There is also the “red box”, which I would have preferred was NOT a cabinet simulator, but it is. You have heard the sound of that compared to the other stuff in the segment.

        The tubes, by the way, I have swapped for some JJs.

        It should be noted that the lead channel has some op-ampery going on, which is how it dishes out all that distortion in this channel. “Like having a tubescreamer in front of the amp”, Hughes&Kettner said when I asked about this. This may or may not be your thing.

        I am trying to iron out my tone. I have only recently started working with this aspect of my “playing”, so my ears aren’t really that great yet. I think there is some weird thing going on in the attack of the strings, but whether this is from the amp, the guitar or my playing I don’t know.

        The tone controls are interactive, so when you turn up treble, it has an effect on the bass in some settings and vice versa.

        Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. But it definitely is it’s own type of amp. It’s not a vintage-type amp.

        I don’t think I have found any major drawbacks.

        I think this is all I can tell you 🙂 Ask away if you have further questions.

        By the way, go to Thomann Cyberstore to hear some more samples if you are interested… They have sound samples of this and most of their other amps.


  4. Ok I strayed from my morning routine and I tried listening to another podcast. You know, the one with all the guys fighting to talk over each other and they all have funny accents. Oh and they support that Evil Empire DAW. DarthTools….

    Anyway, what a goat hump that is. It just highlights how good HRS is. HRS’s format, talking points, banter, respect for each others talking space, production etc. Just sets yall apart from all these other podcast. So, great job guys I hope all that shit I bought on amazon (and got in trouble with my slave owner wife) panned out for yall..

    My silent guitar recording technique? I run my Marshall JVM210H out of the XLR DI into my board.. put on the headphones and pretend like the slave owner is being eatn by a gigantic Marshall Monster. ROCK ON.. thanks for all yall do.

  5. Getting a warm, fizzy load that could cause some damage from an under-powered head that’s inline with several trannies… My co-workers are wondering why I’m giggling; and I have to ask myself, are you two trying to get me fired?!

    Best line of the show: the whole, damn show! T-FAGS!


  6. New Monday morning ritual: wake and bake with HRS. Now those shows about capacitors and transformers are making sense!

    Ride the chicken off into the sunset,
    -a faithful listener

  7. Howdy fellas,

    First off, id like to say thank you. Ive been listening for a while and you have dished out a lot of great and useful information. I have two questions for you gents though:

    1 – I’m always hearing how mic placement is key and how it can make big impact on the recording. When i record I try a few different spots just to see which will work the best. Most of the time i cant tell any difference at all. do you guys spend a lot of time on mic placement, or just put the mic in front of the source? Is it different for each source and mic?

    2 – Right now I’m using a digi 002 (insert scary scream here) with firewire into my computer. Could you go through the options of getting audio into your computer? Fire wire, usb? Is that all there is? what do you guys use?

    Hope those make sense, thanks a bunch fellas.

  8. Hi guys,

    Just a quick tip for Logic or Garageband users – The little remote that comes with some Macs is also a transport control. Very cool.
    Had to share.

  9. Following the show on low volume electric guitars, how about a quick recap on HIGH volume guitars? I’m just gonna leave it there. Thanks.

  10. Hey guys, quick question… What are your favorite sites for pro audio news? I’m looking for something that updates daily, in the realm of The Verge or Gizmodo but with a pro audio spin. Any suggestions?


    P.s. I decided to bite the bullet and make the transition to protools… I could pass it up when I found out you could buy the Eleven Rack which comes with PT10 and you’d get a free upgrade to 11… All for the price of PT11. With so many bands bringing in garbage amps to record, this is a very nice piece of gear to have. I have it set to output the pre cab sound to a power amp, the to a real cab, which a mic. It’s the best of both worlds, any head I could need and real cab and mic. The sims for cabs and mics aren’t bad either.

  11. OK, monitoring/room treatment question: my room is a small 9.5′ x 10′ room. For treatment, I have sound 2’x’4 panels of rockwool in all 4 corners, as well as a 2’x2′ behind my PC monitor and a 2’x4′ above my listening position; the floor is carpeted. My monitors are Yamaha HS50’s with an HS10 Sub. When sitting in the “sweet spot”, the balance, especially the bass, sounds perfect, but when I get up, the bass sounds over powering. My main concern is more for when I have others listening: seems like a cop out to say “well you have to sit here for it to sound good”. Any ideas?

    • Hi

      I’m probably not qualified to answer (no room treatment here yet – but it is next on my list)…

      But my initial thought is basically more bass trapping. I’m guessing the 2’x4′ in the corners are of a decent thickness and density (and thus suitable for the application). Maybe some of the following experiments will tell you more:
      – try mounting the bass traps higher in the corners, at least as an experiment, to see if that helps the “standing position”. If so, maybe add to the height (i.e., another set in each corner above the ones you have now).
      – Definitely try treating the corners between walls and ceiling as well. Experiment with different positions with one of your current bass traps (even though this would take away treatment in at least on of your currently treated corners). Also try with a trap straddling the tri-corner (between two walls and the ceiling). I don’t know if the corners at the floor matter as much. Not because of the carpet, that will NOT help your low end – but I don’t know if that area is as critical or not.

      Do you have the problem when the subwoofer is turned off?

      Bass frequencies are not very direction-specific, they tend to propagate in all directions, so I don’t think moving the sub around make much of a difference. But it is definitely worth trying – it’s easy, after all :-).

      Further experiments: Use a tone generator in your daw and really, really slowly sweep the low frequency area. Are there any specific frequencies that really stand out, or any ones that almost disappear? (this can happen within a very narrow spectrum of frequency, so go slowly!). I think this would probably indicate some standing waves. You have almost a square room, so that might be a probable explanation. The treatment for this I would guess is more bass traps? 🙂

      I REALLY am no expert, so others are extremely welcome to tear my post apart (that way, I will hopefully make less mistakes when treating my own room :-)).

      From what I have gathered, bass trapping almost can’t be overdone, budget constraints, build time and significant others aside.

      Look up Ethan Winer. I think he was a guest on both HRS and the Project Studio Network podcasts. Listen to these. he is supposedly the guru in sound treatment.

      Is there any particular reason you have not treated the first reflection points on the walls and behind you (for hi and mid frequencies)?

      Lastly, my guess would be that you would need a LOT of treatment to make the sound really good everywhere in the room. And maybe the room size and monitors come into play here as well. I have an idea that nearfield monitors like yours (and mine) all have a relatively small sweet spot.

      Sorry for writing a book :-). I hope it helps or gives you some ideas to try out

  12. Hey guys great show as ever! Coupla things…

    1. Whenever it comes time to mix a project, I ‘like’ to bounce everything down to individual stems. For me it’s an important step, drawing a line beneath composing stage, but more so allowing me to ditch all the junk that accumulates during the creative process, and the tons of processing required for running virtual instruments or traipsing back and forth from disk where comps have been made.

    What I don’t like is having to spend half a day doing this: Setting up discrete channel routing/figuring out which plugins need to be printed in line and which need ditching/ensuring gain staging and fader levels are optimised… And inevitably after I’ve set everything up and hit batch export, when I come to import everything afresh something’s missing/clipping/dropping out whatever…

    It’s a job that needs doing but surely it shouldn’t be so tortuous… Is Cubase 5 my problem? I’m wondering Reaper might be able to handle this aspect of things any better? Jon?

    2. On an entirely different note, I’m on the hunt for the perfect mic for my voice… I find sibilance a problem and generally just a ‘roughness’ 4K upwards. This is after recording an album using an SE Z5600ii into a Mackie Onyx Blackbird preamp. I’m keen to check out the SM7b, sE RNR1, and I’ve been suggested the AKG414 b-uls… Anything else I should look at? Will a coloured preamp (Pre73?) help? Any other suggestions for dealing with sibilance and for getting the slick high end I hear on the classiest records?

    No more chicken. Really. I’m stuffed.

    Keep up the great work cheers

  13. Hey there John and Ryan,

    First off, thanks for all of the fantastic episodes. I’m working my way through the archives and almost completely caught up. I work part time as a freelance composer, and the knowledge I’ve gained from HRS has proved invaluable, I received nearly no audio production education in school. Donation coming your way very soon.

    I was wondering if anybody has heard of/used Peavey HKS-8 monitors. I found a decent deal for them, but can not find anything out about them, aside from a single post on the peavey forums. If anybody has anything to say about them, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks again, I don’t know what I’m going to do once I run out of archive episodes to listen to and I only get one HRS a week.


  14. Hey guys. I’ve been listening for a few months at work. I found your show on a list of podcasts that musicians should listen to. As a casual musician and somebody with a desk job that allows me to listen to music, podcasts, radio, etc. it was an easy sell. The fact that this podcast is top notch got me to listen to all the episodes. I probably should have asked for my diploma a while ago… Anyway I had a couple of things to chime in about.

    Speaker impedance:
    For a solid state amp (solid state power section) it’s ok to plug a higher impedance speaker into an amp that can take a lower impedance. (8 ohm speaker into a 4 ohm jack on the amp is ok) What will happen? Your amp will put out less power and your output transistors will have less current draw–they’ll run cooler. You won’t blow up your amp but it will be quieter. DO NOT plug in a speaker with a lower impedance than the amp specifies–this will probably overheat your amp and if you’re lucky it will have a thermal shutdown.

    For tube amps I have no idea. I’ve read a few things on the internet. Since everything is true on the internet I don’t see the need to repeat anything here.

    Carving out a space:
    I went to hear Alice Russell perform in Seattle at Neumos just over a week ago. It was clear that the main event had their own sound person with some knowledge because I could hear each individual instrument, including a theremin on one song.

    The person who ran the board for the opening acts clearly needs to listen to this show. Aside from the fact that there was feedback everywhere, the first opener sounded pretty good because it was him, his guitar, and a guy on drums. No real need to carve out any space there. The second opener was a 5-piece group. Vocals, keys, and guitar were all vying for the same real estate and none of them came through. It drove me extra nuts now that I listen to your show. That group had solid musicianship, but they sounded like junk because the instruments didn’t have their own space.

    You guys have said it dozens of times, but I think it’s worth repeating and maybe even worth another segment on the show in the near future.

    Carve out a space for the chicken.

  15. Today I completed my first ever DIY gear mod. After listening to Matt Mcglynn’s interview a few episodes ago, and realizing I happened to have an old APEX 460 lying around the studio, I picked up the mod kit from and decided to give it a go.
    I honestly thought the mic would never produce a god damn sound again, as I hacked my way through the instructions (I may or may not have used super glue at one point, and somewhere Mcguiver is smiling).

    But whaddya know…it worked…and it’s great!

    I had the foresight to record some stuff before the mod, and again after. Here’s a shootout, with the UN-modded mic recordings first, then the modded mic recordings next:

    You’ll hear it for yourself, but there are some notable huge differences:
    – That “anaemic” top end of the original is totally gone
    – The noise floor has dropped considerably
    – More clarity (punch?) in the low-mids
    – The frequency of the tube noise is less “dirty” sounding
    – Same great bass response when you use proximity effect (one thing I DID like about the original mic)

    I did notice the level dropped overall, and I had to crank some more gain out of my preamp. Not a big deal. Also, huge props to Matt for instantly replying to a couple of my frantic e-mails when I ran into a snag during the mod! Thanks for the quality product, Recording Hacks!


  16. Hello guys, GSAA….

    Just listened to 214 and noticed no one has yet answered the question of what is the matching Bass to the Gibson ES335? It’s the EB2D.

    I’m fortunate enough to own one (mid to late 60’s) pictured here next to an Epiphone version of the 335 and some of my other toys…

    It was originally owned by the Bass Player of my fathers band ( who were “almost” the first All Canadian (not to mention All-Newfie) band to be signed to Motown, but youthful ignorance and lack of business accumen lead to them, well, getting fired…. But that’s another story for another day…

    The bass is all original, except for the little plastic circles added, Id guess from a LP, that I haven’t had the heart to remove for nostalgic reasons…

    It’s the pride of my collection, sounds amazing, especially for A FAT bottom sound, although perhaps not the most versatile tool ( ie, you likely wouldn’t use it in a chilly-peppers cover band ) but I digress…

    Keep up the great work,
    Your fan as always,


  17. Ugh, I really should grammar check, let alone spelling…

    The EB2D is the matching Bass to the ES335.

    I typed it bass-ackwards in my comment… Correct as needed

  18. GSAA,

    I was excited my ears picked up on the traveling middle of the desert set up, I might be finally developing some listening skills… as rudimentary as they may be. I also noticed that sparkle in the segment from the mic’ed and the direct in. Moving air is where its at.


  19. Hey dudes,

    Just wanted to share my recording experience with ya’ll. Been listening to the show quite a bit and have picked up a heap of techniques.

    I have a pretty modest set up:

    2009 iMac Running Reaper
    M-audio Fast Track Pro
    M-audio av20 monitors

    For vocals I used a (i’m expecting a lot of disapproval from everyone here) Behringer Ultragain200 Pre with a Behringer c-1 condenser Mic. I moved my setup into a walk in robe and treated it with blankets, towels etc. to get a nice dry booth.

    I setup the mic with a pop filter and took a few steps back as per Jon’s vocal recording techniques show a while back. I comped the vocals from various takes and got pretty good results. I think the mic and pre are pretty cool for the little scratch they set me back and urge listeners to at least check them out even tho they have the extremely tarnished behringer name that gets bagged on this show every episode. (no offence t-fags)

    For guitars I used my Blackstar HT CLUB 40 tube combo, using the fx send going into the interface and running Lepoulin’s LeCab2 with a framus head and cab impulse. I heard in the show that this may be bad for your the amp but after some extensive research I found that blackstar amps in the HT series anyway are designed to do so in standby mode. The tone is pretty decent I think, and the setup is perfect for recording in a house with two kids under 3. I heard jon’s great in the box guitar sounds episode AFTER this so i was a bit unaware of the parametric EQ trick, and have since used it with great results.

    Bass i went direct using the Behringer pre and amplitube 3 custom shop with the ampeg SVT classic head and cab. The bass was a yamaha borrowed from a mate. Can’t remember the exact model, but it held its tuning awesome and sounded pretty cool.

    Drums were programmed using a beat sequencer called ‘doggiebox’ exported to midi and sent to a mate to drop into superior drummer. I used the bittersweet 2 plugin on the snare to get a little more bite and punch as I felt the superior snare was a little papery.

    I tried to separate the editing process from the mixing and I reckon that it worked really well, as in previous times the lines were blurred and workflow was stuttered.

    The recording is far from perfect, but I think discovering your show has put me in the right direction. Your more metal/hard rock listeners will find it interesting I’m sure.

    Please check out the EP online at:

    Thanks again for the tips and tricks bros, I’ll keep listening and hopefully improving!

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