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Why does everything I play sound muddy?

Discussion in 'Rigs and Routing' started by GotMetalBoy, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. GotMetalBoy

    GotMetalBoy
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    I've been getting frustrated lately trying to get tones that sound clear and have good definition between notes. I have many different guitars and basses with different pickups but always seem to get muddy muffled tones. I've tried different cables, pots and electronics, audio interfaces, picks, speakers, headphones and strings.

    A good example is recently I was trying out Positive Grid Bias AMP 2 and came across a YouTube video that Ola Englund did where he's trying out the factory presets and he gets great clear tones out of them but when I play through them, they sound like there's a pillow over them. I'm playing through the same sound card and speakers that I'm playing the video through.

    I have the same issue with the Axe-Fx II MK I and XL+, even when using it as my audio interface. If I boost high end to make the tone clearer, then I get way too much string noise. I've tried boosting the high end both pre and post amp block.

    I've also tried Waves GTR, PRS, Line 6 POD Farm, Helix and Overloud TH3 and get the same results.

    How do I get clear tones with good note definition but without string noise like @ML SOUND LAB, @Marco Fanton, @Burgs, @Mark Day, Misha Mansoor, Ola Englund or @Mitch Baker?
     
  2. Tom Morris

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    You didn't mention what Fractal product and what your playing through, studio monitors headphones a real amp and cabinet?
     
  3. Tom Morris

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  4. Marco Fanton

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    Can show us your layout?
     
  5. chris

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    Based on the gear details given, no idea.
     
  6. GotMetalBoy

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    * FAS Axe-Fx II XL+
    * FAS Cab Pack 1 Wellspring Sound
    * FAS Cab Pack 2 Mad Oak
    * FAS Cab-Pack-Obot-the-Robot
    * Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 1st Gen
    * Line 6 POD Studio UX2
    * M-Audio BX8 1st Gen
    * Fisher STV-884
    * Pioneer TS-A6975
    * KRK Rokit 10S 1st Gen
    * Drawmer MC2.1 Monitor Controller
    * Samson C-Control
    * Livewire Advantage TRS and XLR cables
    * D'Addario Planetwaves Classic Series XLR cables
    * Monster Rock 10ft cable
    * Monster Bass 21ft cable
    * Yamaha DXR10
    * Yamaha DXR12
    * Crown DriveCore XLS 2000
    * Marshall 1960AV
    * AKG K 240 Monitor 600 ohms
    * AKG K-44
    * AKG K-55

    * Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH HT w/ Seymour Duncan Full Shred bridge and Jazz neck pickup
    * ESP H-207 7 string w/ DiMarzio DP704 Evolution
    * ESP H-207 7 string w/ Seymour Duncan SH-5 Custom
    * Gibson SG-I All American Series w/ Carvin M22SD
    * GTX 33 w/ Carvin M22T
    * Ibanez RG370AHMZ
    * Dean Dime O Flame ML w/ Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker
    * Dean Razorback X-Ray w/ USA DMT DimeTime BKBK
    * Dean SpiltTail Floyd w/ Dean USA Time Capsule humbucker
    * Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Plus w/ EMG-81/85
    * Epiphone Les Paul Classic 7 string w/ EMG 707
    * Epiphone Flying V 7 string w/ Seymour Duncan SH-8b Invader
    * D'Addario Strings
    * Fender Strings
    * GHS Boomer Strings
    * Ernie Ball Strings


    * Ibanez SR505 w/ Bartolini MK1
    * Schecter Stiletto Custom-5 w/ EMG 40HZ
    * Fender Jazz 24 w/ Seymour Duncan Basslines
    * Epiphone Thunderbird PRO IV
    * D'Addario Strings
    * Fender Strings
    * GHS Boomer Strings
    * Ernie Ball Strings
    * Elixir Strings
     
  7. chris

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    If all that gear produces the same results, it’s either how you are perceiving things, the actual room, or something else fundamentally common. There’s no way all of that stuff has a problem when used in different setups.

    Record a tone you think is muddy and let us hear it.
     
    dr bonkers likes this.
  8. yek

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    Another proven approach is to get together with a fellow Axe-Fx/AX8 user near you, and compare.
    Just to get your reference right.
     
    WhiteSpace likes this.
  9. Dizzy Fingers

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    You have some fantastic gear! Definitely post a recording of a sound you think is muddy , and one you think has excessive string noise.
     
  10. gigawatt

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    This ^
     
  11. FractalAudio

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    Too much gain and/or too hot pickups. Personally I'm a fan of low output pickups, more clarity. Most of the tones that are considered "iconic" were created with low output pickups: EVH, EJ, Gilmore, Bonamassa, etc.
     
    BillyZeppa, NeoSound, DLC86 and 4 others like this.
  12. Brucegregori

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    For sure...
    Although I have to say the Pickups in the EBMM JP models are very nice and clear for pickups in the 400 range. I always like good sounding PAFs but these are really clear and bell like for the output..not super distortion like at all.
    On the amp side it comes down to better legato technique and using less gain.
     
  13. lqdsnddist

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    Transient bilateral conductive hearing loss resulting from otitis media, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or maybe make plain old build up of wax/debris occluding your ear canal, is usually the diagnosis I see all day long when folks come in saying things sound muffled, and they don’t report ear pain or other symptoms.

    You’ve got a massive amount of great gear so the one common variable I can see is the way your perceiving sound.
     
    Mark-B and Brucegregori like this.
  14. Brucegregori

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    Yup...ask eric johnson
     
  15. Mark-B

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    Eustachian tube dysfunction ..common with my allergies ..every time my allergies kick in - about twice a year those tubes get blocked, my eardrums come under tension and, like you say, gone are the highs.

    To the OP. Nope, ..It ain’t the gear. ...Not been much help, I know, but, all the best, and best of luck getting it all figured out.
     
  16. gigawatt

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    Where do you keep all this, Wrigley Field? There's something amiss at the Circle K today...
     
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  17. gigawatt

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    It would seem that what you consider low gain pickups I would consider medium, and what I would consider low would be most single coils. Gilmour would fall into this catagory, but he's been using EMG's so they don't really count. Not sure who EJ is, it's not ringing a bell but surely I'll be embarrassed when somebody tell me. EVH wound his own pickups to be hotter than the norm at the time, what they were...? NOBODY KNOWS. ;) But his tone would be considered muddy by speed metal standards. Bonamassa will sound good thru anything, hell he'd turn mudd into apple pie. I was listening to Dream Theater's "Images and Words" and "Awake" albums this morning, and on one particular lead section I was paying close attention to his tone, I think it was "Scarred." When he got down in the lower register the tone was very muddy, but mid to high sound warm and thick. I'm sure it's different than his rhythm tone, I do the same thing. The hard part is balancing the two so your audience doesn't notice a sudden huge change in tone.

    There are a lot of amps in the Axe Fx I've noticed that can get muddy real quick once you start taking that gain knob past 12 o'clock, as well as the bass getting out of hand. Pre EQ will help a lot here, do a forum search, plenty of info here about it ;). A drive pedal in front of the amp also helps getting rid of mud, turn the gain no higher than 12 o'clock and turn the output of the pedal all the way up, and use the pedal's distortion or overdrive knob to set the level ar gain boost you need. If all else fails, sell everything and get the Axe III, the last processor you'll ever need. ;):rolleyes: ;)
     
  18. unix-guy

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    I never heard that before... I know he wax potted his own pickups.
     
  19. gigawatt

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    Yeah he had the winding machine and the whole nine yards, was quite ocd about it. I guess it was a little hotter than an average PAF, idk... He was always so coy early on about his gear like it was a huge secret.

    Of course. :rolleyes:
     
  20. unix-guy

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    I did some searching after posting, and found a quote from Seymour Duncan saying that Eddie told people he was winding his own but it was Duncan... No idea the truth ;)
     
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