So recently I have been experimenting with recording tracks with a different sound to that which I intend to have in the final mix. The reason for this is that I'm trying to separate my concerns when it comes to the sound versus the performance. When I record guitar I like to record with a very bass heavy, muddy, oversaturated tone. Why? Well quite frankly because I play better with that sound. I grew up playing guitars in my bedroom with no other instruments and I got used to the sound of the guitar taking up all the frequency spectrum because I had no other instruments to play with it. When I play with that type of sound I get a really good performance because it feels natural to me. The problem I have been finding though is that this isn't always the best sound when it comes to mix time. In particular I struggle to get the drums and guitars to gel without muddying up the entire mix. It occurred to me that what I really want to do is record with the tone I like but have the actual tone be something more fitted to the track. The way I handle this is to record a dry version of the guitar input to the daw and then re-record the amp tracks, from this dry tone, later. I monitor through my usual guitar setup so what I hear while i'm recording is my familiar tone. This is re-amping as we all know and love and nothing spectacular. What to me was the revelation was the idea that I didn't have to actually record in anything like the tone I planned on having in the end mix. For a start the tone I like to record with is a Marshall and the track I was working on ended up using a Mesa Boogie. This got me wondering if other guitarists have this same problem of hearing a good tone as something that is virtually unusable when it comes to mix time, or whether this is just a very peculiar affliction on my part?
I remember listening to an interview with Celldweller and Blue Stahli where they both talked about making demo versions of tracks, and then changing them later. They use crappy sounds to begin with to get the idea down and then work on the better version later. I find this really interesting because it is exactly what i'm discovering as a way to work, you are treating the different stages of the process as separate. Writing is writing and producing is producing.