Q: Tell us about your experience with GTR3.
A: I’m a big fan of Waves products, so I wanted to give it a go. We’ve all used guitar amp modelers, you know. The thing is they all tend to take you only so far. You can mess about with mics etc. and they’re OK up to a point, but they’re not a replacement for a real guitar amp. Whereas, when GTR3 came around, it really made a difference. Not to mention being able to adjust phase, mic placement, all the stuff you’d do in a studio. And that’s the key to getting great sounds, being able to experiment with mic placement and other things. There’s no set way to “put a 57 in front of it and you’re good.” You’ve got to experiment depending on what works in the song. Sometimes you’re out there moving the mic around just a bit and that’s what makes all the difference.
Q: What do you think makes GTR different?
A: With GTR, they’ve really thought about how an amp is recorded and how it sounds, whereas some of the others, it’s just a plug-in that makes distortion. I think when Waves sets out to do something, they really try to do it the best way they possibly can, and that’s why they have such a great reputation. With GTR, you plug it in and you’re thinking “Wow, it sounds just like an amp.” It sounds quality.
You can take a convolution of a speaker, but modeling all the circuits of an amp, combined with all the other components involved, they all interact to make the amp sound the way it does. That’s what captures the amp’s behavior. That’s the hard part. They’ve really gone to town in capturing that. With the high gains, the dynamic range, that’s where some modelers fall short, and that’s what they’ve captured in GTR3.
Q: How do you usually use GTR?
A: I don’t really have a set routine. I may record a slightly distorted part and then lay GTR on top of it. Sometimes I use it to record parts into the DAW since it’s really easy to choose sounds. So it’s either pre-processing or as a part of mixing.
The cool thing about GTR3 is being able to use the Stomps separately. That’s fantastic. I did a remix of a Depeche Mode song a couple of years ago, and all it was, was a Boss pedal, a delay, and I was sweeping the delay time and it made these crazy sounds which we just love. A lot of engineers like to use guitar pedals for effect; they produce a different sound than traditional studio effects. It’s great to have this rack of stomps and route stuff through them.
Q: Just guitars?
A: Not necessarily guitars, it can be anything. If you have an effect, you can add an amp to it to add some dirt. If you have a loop, you can crunch it up with some of the stomps. Maybe add phasing or a bit of extra crunch. GTR’s delays sound different than traditional delays. Sometimes on a vocal, I’ll add a bit distorted eq’ed vocal under it to add some tonal color to it.
Q: So you’ll duplicate a vocal track or bus it, then drive and tuck it under the main vocal?
A: Yeah, overdrive it with an amp, mess about with the cabinets and mic’s, even Ribbon mic’s, which seem to be all the rage all these days. You know, we used to hang some old headphones over a 57 in the studio and distort a vocal through them. So I’ve borrowed an old technique and am re-using it. Adding it underneath another vocal to lift the chorus or something.
Q: Do you have favorite stomps or cabinets?
A: I do quite like the Doubler. Buzz and Distortion are cool. Metal is a bit over the top for my taste (laughs). It’s really nice to be able to change the order of Stomps in a chain.
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