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Monday, 15 December 2014 14:17

Too much scoop can make your sound poop - keep some mids and lower your gain for live metal sounds

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The typical scooped mids graph for metal tone The typical scooped mids graph for metal tone
Getting the right tone for metal in live situations 'Too much scoop can make your sound poop!'
In live environments, especially clubs, pubs and other small venues the 'scooped mids' metal tone can be a problem. Scooping the mids may leave your tone thin and disappearing in the mix.


Scooping mids and gain up to 12 is the standard way of achieving Metal sound nowadays. It creates the tight and dark sound that most new metal maniacs are after. No one argues it is a good sound but in some situations you might need to tame your gain and bring some mids back.


The mids in a guitar, especially distorted and overdriven guitar, is where the tone, character and most of the information is. The mids are also what our ears are used to/or at least best at hearing.

Too much gain also creates a lot of high end fuzz and noise and adds a lot of information into the sound. It fills the spectrum with a lot of 'stuff' that does not really add to the tone.

When you now want your lead or melody to be heard or cut through this mix you have more to get through.

Pubs, clubs and small venues also have a few standard problems:
  • Shite sound guys or people who don't really care
  • Not caring about the sound, just booze sales
  • Shite sound systems
  • Sometimes a lot of reverberation due to lack of sound treatment (these place are usually not designed for live and loud music)
  • Flat walls which can produce standing waves and bass buildup
  • Loud air-conditioners, fridges, punters and so on.

When you add all this up you can understand how many more factors your tone needs to fight in order to be heard. This quick info is about trying to keep detail in your tone, not just being able to hear it.

The best advice is to dial in your typical scooped and heavy tone and then turn your gain, distotrion back a bit. Also bring your mids back a bit until it adds some detail back into the sound.

This might be hard to do in a venue so while doing your soundcheck make sure all band members are playing and take a walk onto the floor or area where the audience will be and see if all the different parts you might be playing can be clearly distinguished.

When you start experimenting with your mids and gain levels you will probably find that you do not need as mich gain as you think to achieve a blood curdling heavy guitar sound. You will also be surprised how much life the mids can bring back to your tone.
Last modified on Monday, 15 December 2014 14:22

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