Recording an amp with reverb setting

Larry F

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Thinking about electric blues guitar playing through an amp with reverb turned on. I suppose good recording practice is to keep the amp bone-dry and add reverb after the recording, Is this universally a good practice? Are there notable recordings that used reverb off the amp?
 

middy

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If you want that spring reverb sound, get it from the amp. Hall or plate in post sounds way better unless you specifically want the spring sound.
 

telemnemonics

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I'd say the issue is more that the recording often reveals the reverb setting was a little high but in the heat of playing and our less focus on listening to the amp had us miss that, where the mic revealed it.

It's certainly an approach to recording though, just not the only approach.
I've gradually found I need reverb or AD for ambience less and less, mostly from hearing too much of it on playback.
Recording is actually how I determine the right amount, it's like I can't judge as well when playing, as afterward just listening critically.

Playing guitar is maybe cathartic and mood altering?
So our judgement can be altered by the immersive experience.
Unless maybe banging out a rhythm guitar part that's so second nature we can be online doing our taxes with H&R Block at the same time
 

bowman

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If you like the way your amp sounds in the room with its reverb, just focus on capturing that sound with mic placement.
I was going to say this exact thing. I'm not a pro either, but to me it just makes sense that if you like a sound you're hearing, that's what you should record.
 

clayville

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Non-pro who has done a lot of home recording... so: grain of salt. But what I find most frustrating and least flexible is the inability to take something out of what I've captured. Not having reverb in the captured guitar sound allows you near infinite flexibility in shaping the sound during mixing in your DAW and that comes in handy every single time for me - not just in shaping a "good" guitar sound in isolation, but within the mix in the context of the other instruments or voices where it matters most.

Do I want to try a subtle delay here instead of reverb? Do I want the guitar to come "forward" or "retreat" in the context of the sonic space? Do I want it to reverberate near the edges of that sonic space rather than "only" inhabit the stereo field where I've panned the guitar? My approach to questions like that - what I think of as a sort of "space shaping" in the mix back to front (primarily through reverbs or delays), up/down (primarily through e.q.), left/right (through panning) - benefits from having the flexibility to tweak all those parameters unencumbered by things I'm stuck with in the capture, experimenting until I come up with something that "works" in context.

A long-winded way of saying that I record my guitar's signal with minimal if any reverb at the source for maximum flexibility - and add it later. As with something like a too-strong overdrive or a pedal effect that I wish I could tame in the mix, you can't really get rid of or reduce it once it's captured.
 

Timbresmith1

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Thinking about electric blues guitar playing through an amp with reverb turned on. I suppose good recording practice is to keep the amp bone-dry and add reverb after the recording, Is this universally a good practice? Are there notable recordings that used reverb off the amp?
Print it to tape is a Brit’s approach and it presents an economy in work-flow if you’re happy with the sound.
 

matman14

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Typically I record as close to what I want to hear in the finished record as possible. It makes mixing faster and easier, and generally less processing is involved in post, which is good because fixing in post can often kill the vibe of the record, if we're talking about instruments in a space.

If you are uncertain about being able to do that, record DI and re-amp. That way you can learn how to record what you want to hear, by replaying the exact same performance at the exact same levels through your amp until you get what you want. Then next time you can just set up and go.

Recording a speaker and then adding reverb in post after the signal has gone through the mic, the pre, conversion and any other FX, doesn't sound the same as recording spring reverb that is coming directly through the speaker into the mic.
It doesn't necessarily sound better or worse, but they are not the same.

Pro tip: If you want the sound of an amp using its built in reverb, record an amp using its built in reverb.
 
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klasaine

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I record (professionally) with the spring reverb from a SF Princeton all the time. No one's ever even made mention of it. Hell, when I record an amp sim I will print a touch of either Plate or Spring reverb (via plugins). It just makes it sound more "real". Many times I also print a touch of slapback delay. Low in the mix, one repeat, usually at a 1/16th note value (occasionally an 1/8) and I roll off the high end of the repeat(s). Again, no one's ever said anything other than, "sounds great, thanks, here's your money".
 

matman14

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I record (professionally) with the spring reverb from a SF Princeton all the time. No one's ever even made mention of it. Hell, when I record an amp sim I will print a touch of either Plate or Spring reverb (via plugins). It just makes it sound more "real". Many times I also print a touch of slapback delay. Low in the mix, one repeat, usually at a 1/16th note value (occasionally an 1/8) and I roll off the high end of the repeat(s). Again, no one's ever said anything other than, "sounds great, thanks, here's your money".
Yeah, I have a Princeton Reverb in the studio here too. When you want the sound of an amp that is iconic for its reverb, firing up that amp and dialing in the reverb is the easiest way to get it.
 

bottlenecker

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Thinking about electric blues guitar playing through an amp with reverb turned on. I suppose good recording practice is to keep the amp bone-dry and add reverb after the recording, Is this universally a good practice? Are there notable recordings that used reverb off the amp?

No, it's not automatically best practice. If you like amp/spring reverb and think it's part of the guitar sound, then record it. If you want to play wih the guitar spatially in the mix and want to try room and plate sounds, then keep it dry. Or use both.
 

Audiowonderland

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Infinite flexibility is not really the point. You better know what you want before setting foot in a studio. Fixing it in the mix is a fallacy in most cases. I want great vibe, great performances and great sounds. Why would I use a deluxe reverb and turn the reverb off? Do you really think you are replicating that BBD flanger with a plug in? If you have any experience at all you will be close enough. If you are that worried, record a di track too but don't ever sacrifice what is going down in the room.
 
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matman14

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Infinite flexibility is not really the point. You better know what you want before setting foot in a studio. Fixing it in the mix is a fallacy in most cases. I want great vibe, great performances and great sounds. Why would I use a deluxe reverb and turn the reverb off? Do you really thing you are replicating that BBD flanger with a plug in? If you have any experience at all you will be close enough. If you are that worried, record a di track too but don't ever sacrifice what is going down in the room.
I think this is part of the difference in approach between recording at home vs. In studio.

I 100% agree that if you and your band are coming to my studio, you need to be ready to go, songs written, clear vision of the finished song and everyone rehearsed and ready. I've sent bands away to re-book because the label has paid to block 3 days to record and mix an 8-9 song album, and the band is still arguing about the arrangements, the lyrics aren't done yet, they aren't sure if the song is supposed to sound one way or another, etc etc etc. It's just not going to go well and the results are not going to measure up. And I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of unhappy label guys and end up with a bad reputation. Thankfully, demand for studio time is crazy and I can quickly get someone in off the waiting list when this happens.

At home it seems like many use the daw as a writing tool, recording parts to try and figure out what they want for the song with no deadlines. Nothing wrong with that. If U2 showed up at my door and said they wanted to block six months in my studio to write and record an album, I'd be OK with that. But for most bands, that kind of budget is never going to happen.

But either way once you know what the sound you want is, it's usually more effective to try and record that sound, rather than fixing it in post.
 
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Audiowonderland

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TL;DR...I would split the guitar so amp w/verb on 1 track and a dry signal going to another track. You then have options.
Endless options just delay decision making and largely remove character from the track. Everything is vanilla just in case you think of something later. Roll tape and get it down. You can always record the part again if you do come up with a better idea but that actually happens a lot less than people like to believe.
 




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