PreSonus Blog

Metal Guitar Attack!

They’re called “power chords” for a reason—that delightful mix of definition, sludge, and hugeness is hard to resist. But can we make them more huge and more powerful? Of course, we can, so let’s get started

This tip gives two options: non-real-time, and real time (using the High Density Ampire pack, although other amp sims and processors can work, too). Either technique also works well for LCR mixing fans.

Non-Real-Time Hugeness

  1. Insert Ampire in your guitar track, and edit it for your ideal sound (the Default Ampire preset is a good place to start).
  2. Right-click in the track’s column, and select Duplicate Track (Complete).
  3. Repeat Step 2. Now you have three identical tracks with identical processing.
  4. The key to getting Total Hugeness is transposition. Click on one track’s Event, open the Inspector (F4), and set Transpose to -12 (fig. 1). Click on another track’s event, and in its Inspector, set Transpose to +12. Don’t change the pitch of the remaining track.

After the next section, we’ll get into panning and EQ.

Figure 1: The guitar power chord track has been duplicated twice. The audio on the track to the right has been dropped an octave.

Real-Time Hugeness

Follow the steps above for non-real-time hugeness, but don’t do Step 4. Instead:

  1. For one of the tracks, open up Ampire. Insert the Pitch Shifter before the amp, choose “dn 1 Oct” (fig. 2), click on the top of the pedal, and then drag up until the pedal’s Tune tooltip shows 100. The audio will now be transposed an octave down. If you don’t have the Ampire High Density pack, the transposers in other amp sims will work, but the one in High Density seems better than average.

Figure 2: The Pitch Shifter processor provides real-time transposition.

  1. Similarly, do the same processing on another track, but this time choose “up 1 Oct.”

What’s Next

Whether you chose real-time or non-real-time hugeness, you now have three tracks: Standard pitch, tuned down an octave, and tuned up an octave. Let’s do panning and levels. Here are some options.

  • Standard pitch full left, +12 center, -12 full right. This gives the biggest sound and is used in the audio example.
  • Standard pitch full left, -12 full right, and mute the +12 track. This is ideal for all you LCR fans. It opens up a big hole in the center for bass, kick, snare, and vocals.
  • Standard pitch full left, +12 full right, -12 full right. Another LCR favorite. The +12 gives a more defined sense of pitch in the right channel, so something else with a strong sense of pitch (e.g., Organ of Doom) can fit comfortably in the left channel.
  • Standard pitch center, +12 full left, -12 full right. This emphasizes the main guitar track with the standard tuning.

This approach also lends itself well to automating mute on the various channels. Unmute the octave below when you want to fatten the sound, unmute the octave higher when you want a more defined sense of pitch.

Applying EQ to the transposed audio can customize the sound further. If you’re doing a duo with only drums and guitar, on the octave below track, boost the bass and trim the highs. Pan it to center, and pan the other two tracks left and right. Another possibility is giving more definition to the octave higher track by rolling off the lows and highs a bit and boosting the mids around 2 kHz or so.

Let’s check out the audio example…remember, it’s only one guitar.