I'm constantly experiment with metal guitar tone for years. If I get the amount of distortion/clarity from the ampsimulator, the next stage is much harder: controlling the high frequencies; handling low frequencies seemed easy to me. Problems are the following:
- I've created a decent tone, that sounds great, but it has some annoying high frequencies (almost like a static hissing starting from about 6 kHz)
- After a load of cutting (details below), I can either choose a tone that sounds odd due to much of cutting, or a sound that is dull (cutting brutally kills upper frequencies), or leave it mainly untouched which is too harsh and noisy.
This is how I work currently with Waves REQ:
- I cut out gently some low and high frequencies (lowpass: about 100 Hz, highpass: about 9 kHz)
- Cutting out some frequencies near 2 kHz (I boost a narrow frequency, then I am searcing where it sounds the ugliest - great tip from a guy from youtube)
- Cutting out some 200-300 Hz if it has a strong "inside a bin"-like sound
- Probably I boost around 400 Hz a bit for making the fundamental tones a bit more audible (great tip from Colin Richardson)
- Then the problems arise: I am left with fiddling with the highpass, leaving me with dull or still a harsh, but less annoying sound. Or I am cutting more frequency in the high region (above 4 kHz) and I am left with some odd, unnatural sound (especially compared to the original, which was too harsh, but natural).
What kind of strategy you use for controlling the sound of a heavily distorted guitar?
How do you "debug" the sound?
(Later this day I can upload some stuff if you want to help fix me the stuff, though I'm interested in your setups/strategies).
Some details about me: I am recording guitar at home through a Line6 UX1 for many years now. I'm recording both a dry and a decent wet tone from the card. I am feeding the former through an amp simulator (like Amplitube 3).
Update Since its a broader question and many of you had great tips, I suggest you turn one of the answers to a community wiki and therefore I can accept it as an answer.