Articles, Blog

06 04 Using guitar amp plugins to modify guitar tones for mixing

November 15, 2019

I like to approach mixing in a pretty organic
way. I grew up in the age of tape decks and consoles
and everything, and if you’d recorded a guitar with a mic through an amp that’s usually kind
of what you were stuck with. You could do some reamping, you know, by piping
it back in the room and remicing a new signal. But generally you’d come to just work with
what you had. It took me a few years, but as plugins got
better at their tones and their abilities the reamping, the guitar amp simulator kind
of plugins started to become kind of appealing and especially when I was mixing tracks that
other people had recorded. If I had felt they had chosen the guitar tones
I’d find myself going, hey maybe I could just change this real quick. One of the first plugins I used for this kind
of work was the simple Sansamp plugin that comes in the Pro Tools suite and you’ll find
it under Harmonic here, Sansamp PSA1. It’s kind of like the rack mount version they
used to have, or maybe they still do. It simulates the sansamp rack mount analog
guitar processor which allowed you to plug straight into it and record your guitar straight
to tape without using an amplifier, and had sort of a amplike tone and controls over it. I find it to be an excellent way to just change
my guitar tones. Let’s check it out on this solo. We’ll start with it bypassed, (guitar track
plays) and drop it in. (guitar track continues) Bypass. (guitar track stops) It’s like a bright tone, give it something else. Push it a little, make it deeper, more guttural. (guitar track starts) Find some magic and
you can even make it sound a little cleaner in a strange way. (guitar track stops) In other sources we have
here, we have Guitar Figure. (guitar track starts) This’ll be fun. (guitar track stops) You can totally change
it to like a shriller, more fuzzed out distorted tone and sometimes in the mix that’s what
you need. You need something to get fuzzy and sit in
a different way and it’s great to able to modify that. There’s a goofy baritone track here too. It has some fun effects on it, and that’s
a fun one to play with and shift around, especially baritone, sometimes they’re difficult to set
in the mix. And here it is. (distorted guitar track starts) Bright effect
tone on the top. Clears that up. (distorted guitar track stops) I really think
of them as like sort of tone control and a lot of times with bass guitar, we’re trying
to find a way to fit it in the mix and maybe having a bit of trouble. So this is something I’ll use occasionally
just to control the bass and get a little more tone out of it or take a little tone
off. (bass track starts) You can here that reverb
that was printed there on the bass for fun. Well, the high is off, you hear less of it. Bypass. (bass guitar track stops) So we can make a
big wooly or bass tone if needed. It’s kind of fun, I’m going to take these
off here. Alright. There’s another amp simulator that I really
like and that is the Softube version here on the UAD platform. Here we have the Softube amp room. There’s a Metal amp room, a Bass amp room,
a half-stack, a Vintage amp room. I actually go to Vintage amp room quite a
lot, and the Stereo version is kind of cool. You sort of put amp into a different space. We can even move mics around, do these goofy
things. Change mics, there’s a lot of parameters,
I get a little lost in this one honestly. But you can change things around in cool ways. Let’s go to where the solo starts. (guitar track plays) Change amps. Really, really different tones. Saturated. (Laughs) (guitar track stops) That sounds
crazy. You can really see how that gives you a lot
of control over the sounds and allow you to do a lot of different stuff in the mix. I use this a lot, like I said earlier, when
I’m mixing tracks for over people and if I feel like it should have been mic’d or done
in a different way I’ll do something really subtle to control the tone and EQ and sort
of essentially reamp the guitar and the box.

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