Friday, August 20, 2010

Qs from V

V asks,

“Hey Jimi,

I've been curious for quite some time on how you feel about analog vs. digital signal flow, especially during lives. I know you've stated previously that you guys use Line 6 wireless sets; do you feel that it makes any difference from being plugged in directly? (Does CP try and focus on making the lives sound as close to the mixed/mastered recording as possible?) Also, do any of you guys use digital effects processors and/or have experience with them enough to have formed a solid opinion on the pros and cons?

I've also been curious how you manage levels between each member during lives and just plain rehearsal.

Thanks C:,

(P.s. You are amazing!)”

Playing through a wireless, whether it be a digital or analog signal, is noticeably different from playing plugged straight in, even to a rube like me. However, the nature of a visual kei live show pretty much demands use of a wireless.

We try to make our live shows as entertaining as possible while playing what we’ve recorded as accurately as possible, but sometimes this means having to sacrifice things. If Joe’s flailing about, he can’t play the more difficult sections. The Line 6s have been great. Analog wireless means you have to make sure another wireless with the same number isn’t being used, and they tend to have way more connectivity problems from what I’ve observed. The tone difference might be a little more noticeable with the Line 6 but it has never, ever had a problem that wasn’t caused by me directly!

We would like to avoid having to use a backing track, but with songs like Bellamy and My Harlot Broker, it’s pretty much necessary. We layered so many guitars on all the recordings that we pretty much have to stick a guitar track on there or it’ll sound really anemic.

As for digital effects, Joe is a pedal nut and links it all through a regular analog switcher. In contrast, lots of guitarists use a Roland or whatever and do all their effects digitally. In the end it comes down to personal preference, honestly. If you’re super into acoustics and sound and electronics I say go for a bunch of pedals, but it gets expensive fast and seems complicated to hook up and diagnose a problem if one arises.

When recording I typically just use plug-ins after I’ve recorded everything with a basic sound, even though I could replicate, say, a good slap sound or distortion with my Sansamp. It’ s much easier if I adjust EQ within the track later on with a filter. The only thing I did manually, to my recollection, was turn the gain to 0 on the rear pickup of my jazz bass to approximate a precision bass sound.

In rehearsal, we’re just in a rental studio, using their amps and drum set and monitors. It’s a little room, so we just sort of set up, tune up, listen for a little bit, play through a song, adjust levels, and we’re fine.
For lives, all bands run through a sound check before the show starts and we can make lighting and monitor requests before the show. Our mixes are usually pretty different; Shiun usually wants nothing in his monitor (since he has to listen to the click for the backing track most of the time), I don’t need to hear my own voice in the monitor but Joe needs to hear his, etc.

Hope that answers your questions, let me know if it doesn’t!