Recording Metal Guitars - too much 4k -ish / fizz


New Metal Member
Oct 23, 2010
I've got an issue when I try to record Metal Guitars: It seems that no matter how I dial in the amp, there is always too much energy in the 4 kHz region.

Here is my set up:

EMG 81 --> Maxon OD808 --> Framus Dragon (lead Chanel) --> Mesa 4x12 --> shure sm57 (slightly off center to the middle of the cone) --> Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Amps settings: bass +1; mids -3, treble -0,5, presence +4, deep +1; chan volume + 1,5, master -1. no EQ.mp3?dl=0

As you can hear, it´s a solid foundation, but the balance is not where it should be. After cutting the 2-5kHz region and brightening at 7 kHz it sounds right, like it should be in the first place: with EQ.mp3?dl=0
1.) The room is acoustically treated
2.) I tried different ESP guitars, with different pickups, some thing.
3.) I tried a different cap with V30, same thing.
4.) I tried a Krank Rev1 and an ENGL Powerball, same thing.
5.) I tried different tubes, they sound different, but still same problem.
6.) I tried different mic positions, didn't worked.

Logically the issue is that I don´t dial in the amp with the proper settings.
If I low down the treble at the point where the 4K region is in the right spot, everything goes boomy and the high mids (1-2khz) lose its presence.

I´m probably doing something fundamentally wrong, could some experienced guy help me out :worship: !
What are your settings on the Maxon? I've often found that 4k fizz means you've got the tone up too high.
I don´t use any gain from the maxon, only from the amp and yeah maybe this take was a little overgained, but again with less gain, it´s the same thing.

My maxon settings are: drive: nothing, tone: 12 a clock, balance: 3 a clock
I find that gain disproportionately tends to impact the highs in that range, so yeah, absolutely back off that. Beyond that, I wouldn't boost the presence at all, since it tends to inject more "crackle" than "sparkle," which is what you're trying to avoid here. Set everything to noon and drop the drive until you have to force yourself to play a little harder and try it again. Every amp is different as well- I've never played through a Dragon, but the Cobra is definitely usable without a boost and tends to sound a little too harsh to me with any significant boost. EMG 81s also have a harsh high end imo. I would also put a low pass filter on around 12k before you draw any final conclusions.
Lower the gain and maybe move the mic a bit further away from the centre of the speaker (I normally aim for the edge of the dustcap)
Even then there's still likely to be some scratchy/fizzy resonances, it's just the nature of the beast when recording distoreted guitars.
Everyone else's suggestions are accurate, but also, this is what a single sm57 through a very clean preamp sounds like. The sm57 fizz at 4-5k is what people use for clarity. I have a love/hate relationship with the sm57 on guitar cabs because I think it sounds terrible in solo, but 90% of the time it ends up in the mix.

Something that you could do is get a neve-ish preamp like a GAP pre73 and run the 57 through that. The harmonic content adds a lot of beef. You could also try putting the mic 45 degrees off axis to get rid of some of the fizz. You could also put up another 57 on a different speaker and put them in phase to add more beef. If it's something that's already been tracked and there isn't an option of retracking, then I would put some distortion on the track in post. I have been really liking the Manny Maroquinn Distortion from Waves. You can pump the 500hz without it sounding like a weird EQ boost.
in my experience this is what works. tone on tubescreamer never above 11 o clock, move the mic a tad further out on the cone, dip a bit of 4k out on the eq, also I hate 57's now. I know all these guys use it for everything, but it's not necessarily ideal for certain sounds. try using other mics/impulses if the above . also, if doing something unorthodox gets you the tone, then don't worry about it, go with it.
That is a lot of gain, but something like this can help.