Nirvana sound on a PC

Recording engineering discussions and questions. Also a great place to discuss software, plugins, and computer based recording/arranging.
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meatcage
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Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by meatcage » June 17th, 2010, 7:41 am

Dear musicians - I'm here to beg for some informed opinions about the following problem...

I home-record guitar through an external soundcard (Focusrite Saffire Pro 24), into my PC. This is fine, and I get a really clean signal, but I want to add some distortion. I'm looking for that Nirvana Nevermind sort of sound.

I was originally planning to get a Boss DS-1, as I read that's what Kurt used, but then I read that for the best sound quality, if you're recording to PC, you should be using a virtual software effects system, like the Line 6 Pod Farm.

So, to record a really crisp, bright, Nevermind-like distortion onto my PC, what effects solution would you guys recommend??????

My first attempt failed miserably when I bought a Boss GS-10 multi-effects, which sounded like absolute rubbish. Through my headphones I could hear really tinny sound artifacts on just about every effect setting.

Many thanks for any advice :))))

Scrybe
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by Scrybe » June 17th, 2010, 2:01 pm

The short answer is....it depends.

The long answer is....it depends.

What software do you use right now? (e.g. are you using Cubase? ProTools? Cakewalk? Audacity? etc) The distortion plug-ins in some of these can be quite good.

How do you plan to use the guitar signal you're recording? Thing is, you can record a clean signal, then send it back out from your computer to an amp, and then record that back in again later (for example, if you want to record a guitar line as part of a band piece, the distortion sound you use might not fit with the overall mix - doing it this way means you can keep the signal clean until you come to mix, and then you can choose an appropriate distortion sound).

A google should throw up Kurt's favoured FX, but he mostly used single coil guitars with Electro-Harmonix fuzz boxes - Big Muff. I think he favoured Marshall amps, too, but I'm not sure. But that's the Nirvana ballpark sound. His sound was actually pretty low-fi, and it's only on the later In Utero that the guitar sound cleans up and sound a bit more defined, so don't worry too much about artifacts - Kurt wouldn't.

Anyway, give us a bit more info about what software, amps, and stomp boxes you have, and we'll get back to you with a more tailored response.

S
Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe

meatcage
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by meatcage » June 17th, 2010, 7:01 pm

Scrybe - you're a dude, thanks for the reply.

I currently use Sound Forge and Acid at the moment. My entire hardware consists of these three things: Guitar -> Saffire soundcard (firewire) -> PC

I have no amp, no mixer, and no effects pedals. This forum post is to decide what my first distortion pedal/plug-in will be.

I imagine you can get distortion plug-ins for the audio software i use, but wouldn't that create a signal processing lag? If so, that wouldn't work. I just wanna make a dirty sound and hear and record it dirty in realtime.

If virtual effects do create lag, then i think that answers my question and i'll just take your advice and get a fuzz box. Or have i got the wrong end of the stick? Can i use virtual effects/plug-ins and hear the dirty version in realtime?

Lastly, you got a favorite big muff?

Thanks again dr brain.

Moonrider
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by Moonrider » June 18th, 2010, 6:00 am

meatcage wrote: I imagine you can get distortion plug-ins for the audio software i use, but wouldn't that create a signal processing lag? If so, that wouldn't work. I just wanna make a dirty sound and hear and record it dirty in realtime.

If virtual effects do create lag, then i think that answers my question and i'll just take your advice and get a fuzz box. Or have i got the wrong end of the stick? Can i use virtual effects/plug-ins and hear the dirty version in realtime?
Even analog stomp boxes have lag, it's just too short for us humans to notice. Audio plug-ins for a DAW can work just fine, just make sure you tune your I/O buffers to the minimum amount needed for your computer. Check your docs for instructions on how to determine and adjust this setting. Every DAW is different.

One of the best amp and effect sims out there is the free Guitar Suite from SimulAnalog. It doesn't have a pretty interface ( which helps keep the processing power it needs low ), and you're on your own for creating presets unless you're using Cubase SX, but it gets the job done in spades. Here a link to the info page for you, where it goes into more detail and you can listen to some sound samples:

http://www.simulanalog.org/guitarsuite.htm
Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

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Ignar Hillström
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by Ignar Hillström » June 19th, 2010, 2:38 am

Just go with ampsims. Guitar Rig4 is great, Amplitube works well and Peavey's Revalver ain't too shabby either. I currently use GR4 a lot, very tweakable, loads of effects and all MIDI controllable if you have a MIDI floorboard.

http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/ ... rig-4-pro/
audio demos:
http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/ ... 8&page=987
Click here for FREE, limited one-time only offer!

meatcage
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by meatcage » June 19th, 2010, 5:16 pm

Cool advice Ignar, Moonrider, Scrybe - thanks. The SimulAnalog samples sounded a little midi-ish to my ears. The Guitar Rig4 samples sounded more realistic and professional, but I haven't got 170 Euros to splurge. More like £80. Boss DS-1's are going for £20-£30 on ebay, and there must be a few fuzzbox's within budget. So until i can afford Guitar Rig4 i think i'll end up getting a stop-gap hardware solution.

I'll google reviews for fuzz-boxes, but if anyone knows of a nice one that fits ma budget, please hit me up with the make n model.

Thanks again for all the valuable advice. Technical dummy's like me would be lost in the jungle of mediocre production values without forum posters like you.

meatcage
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Re: Nirvana sound on a PC

Post by meatcage » June 19th, 2010, 5:26 pm

I think i'm in love:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZTN2gaVGjY
Thanks for the tip. Problem solved :)

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