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Topic: How to make Prominy's LPC sound awesome.

  1. #1

    How to make Prominy's LPC sound awesome.

    Hello all,

    Warning! Long post ahead. I think it's worth it, though. I want a complete newbie to understand my ideas as well as an experienced user, so that's why I'm being long-winded.

    There wasn't a whole lot of noise over on the Prominy forum when I made my discovery, so I thought I'd post it here where it's bound to get more exposure.

    First off, here are demos of the sound I'm getting from LPC:

    Demo 1 (initial tone): http://www.ridiculosity.net/lespaul_newtone.mp3

    Demo 2 (final, tweaked tone): http://www.ridiculosity.net/lespaul_progriff2.mp3

    I think this sound rivals any of Prominy's official demo's (just the sound! not the composition, as these are not full pieces of music). Now I want to tell you how I did it.

    I'm not a narcissist or anything. I just think I've discovered a heretofore unmentioned or at least undiscussed (is that a word?) technique for working with Prominy's LPC. I'm just trying to give back to the community, after all the advice and knowledge I've garnered on these forums.

    Okay. Onward.

    All the rhythm guitar I hear in contemporary rock, metal, and alternative music is double-tracked. It's the standard recording technique for producing loud, obnoxious, in-your-face electric guitar. The idea is this: you play the rhythm part all the way through, and hard pan the track all the way to the left. Then play your rhythm part again, and hard pan that track right. Play 'em together, and the subtle differences in timing and tone between the two signals coming in from two opposing channels creates a big, fat, wide stereo rhythm guitar.

    So, if you're going to use sampled e-guitar for rock, metal, and/or alternative music... you should probably double-track it. That's what real guitarists do in their recordings.

    How do you do it?

    Bela D uses two totally different sets of samples in their Lyrical Distortion guitar library. Both sets feature the same articulations, but the recordings are different. This is literally how double-tracking is created in real life, so it becomes easy to emulate the technique. Chris Hein Guitars, likewise, features two sets of samples for double-tracking. Prominy, however, advocates a different approach. Akihito Okawa - the producer of the lib - has advised users on numerous occasions to use a delay to create double-tracking. That is, pan your track hard left, and then use a delay to off-set your left track into your right track.

    This is an inadequate technique, to say the least, and I've never been content with the results, which is why I never use LPC for rhythm guitar even though I've wanted to. First off, your right-channel track will always be off in timing by the same amount as your left-channel track, because the delay is a consistent reflection of the left channel into the right channel. This isn't realistic. Second, you get a weird sound from off-setting identical tracks like this. I can't quite place it, but many of Prominy's demos suffer from this strange sound in the rhythm tracks that utilize this technique - such as the pick scrapes in "All About Love." It's like a kind of phasing. It's flange-ish and sounds weak.

    LPC, though Prominy never advertises it, does feature two separate sets of samples - if you bought the clean and distorted libraries, that is. These samples were recorded simultaneously, but in different spaces and with different gear (mics, amps). Thus, while it's the same sample being performed twice, the raw recorded data is different and therefore you can use them for realistic double-tracking without the phasing.

    You should ideally match the tone of the distorted and clean signals through an amp simulator (I use Guitar Rig 2), otherwise it'll sound weird.

    If you're careful, you can build a tone for the clean samples that can simply be modified to compensate for the additional fuzz of the distorted samples, which are only slightly distorted and have thus proven quite flexible.

    For the way I like to work, I'm not a big fan of EQ's in the middle of the ampsim signal chain. I like to EQ my guitars before the ampsim, and after it. So for maximum tonal flexibility within the ampsim itself, I stuck to those amps and pedals with three-band EQ's (as opposed to two). Use the higher resolution 24-bit engine of GR2 because the distortion is much warmer and smoother. I found, generally, that no matter how I configured my EQ's and distortion pedals, the trick is really just shaving off some of the high-frequency "sizzle" with an external EQ, placed after GR2.

    I find that it's best to aim for a darker, warmer sound. Even with a good EQ, if the clean samples are too bright, the distorted samples are way too trebly and are rather unsalvgeable. Meanwhile, the warmer sound helps the cleaner samples to mimic the pre-existing tone body of the distorted samples, whereas a colder tone leaves the clean samples feeling a bit "empty," which creates more noticeable discrepancies between the two sample sets. But I'm sure if you fiddle around endlessly, you can get any kind of tone to work.

    I experimented with turning the distortion down on the distorted samples, but even with heavy compression they'd lose too much of their power and create imbalance between the two tones. So I simply rolled off 6.5 db's worth of trebs, starting at about 3500Hz. And voila. You almost have to do nothing to glue together the two sample sets - as long as you take preventative steps with your clean tone, you should have to do minimal work to make the distorted tone match up.

    Use your ears and experiment. If it sounds good enough, it is good enough. It certainly sounds way better, in the end, than the rhythm tones on Prominy's site (which still sound good, but can be vastly improved through real double-tracking, in my opinion).

    Whew! Done. There are tons of little things I've learned for making big, powerful rhythm tracks with this library. I can further elaborate, if anybody's interested.


  2. #2

    Re: How to make Prominy's LPC sound awesome.

    Hi Tom,

    Just wanted to say thanks for this informative post! I appreciate you sharing your experience, as I have my own quest for sequencing Guitar.

    I was wondering if you might be able to comment on a few other things:

    Have you had any experience mixing the different Guitar libs that you mentioned in your tracks (eg Prominy for rhythm, Chris Hein for lead - or some other combination)? As I have many of the same libs, I'm curious how well this works for you.

    Also, I was curious if you use something like Guitar Rig 2 to add distortion ON-TOP-OF the (already) distorted LPC samples. Is there any technique that works for this?

    Do you have other general techniques for the other libs (Chris Hein, Lyrical Distortion)? Do you have any method for choosing between these libraries for various musical contexts?

    Thanks in advance, Regards
    Kevin L

  3. #3

    Re: How to make Prominy's LPC sound awesome.

    Tomdini, excellent info.
    It's just that i've done everything you've suggested in the last 40 odd years live.
    using even the best dsp will not simulate the double trkg effect.
    it never did and as yet with digital, never has either.

    your post nails it to the ground.

    david r.

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