I'm looking at recording DI guitar and I have a few questions regarding setup input levels and dealing with noise.
My current setup:
- Ibanez RG321MHE (EMG h4 passive humbuckers)
- Behringer UMC204HD audio interface (I have tried a Steinberg UR22 with similar results)
- Cubase 11 LE (I have tried ProTools and Reaper with similar results)
- Bias FX 2 (though I've tried Pod Farm and Amplitube with similar results)
- Windows 10
After reading countless articles on impedance, DI boxes, gain levels for DI, avoiding clipping, noise floor, audio interface setup I'm left with a setup that generally do not sound accurate to amps / effects I'm trying to model, they either have way too much bass and lack clarity, or they have excessive noise.
I have done the obvious, such as ensuring the interface is set to instrument levels (impedance), and that
I have been trying to target a maximum of -3 DBFS to avoid clipping the guitar, below is the frequently analysis for my neck pickup.
No strings muted and no equalizer:
With the strings muted:
With a high-pass filter of 60hz and muted strings:
Immediately strumming open strings with the high-pass filter of 60hz
For the above samples, I ensured that I reset the peak Db levels on the meters to show the ambient noise being generated.
I typically play high-gain amp models as I like to play metal, but either there is a lot of noise on the output level of the amp-sim, or if I turn down my interface's gain then clean tones lack volume or even high-gain tones have different tone characteristics (i.e. distortion sounds flat / less punchy)
The actual questions
- Is the gain / noise setup in my configuration typical for recording guitar?
- Is it fine for the meters to read ~-75dbfs while not playing?
- Is reducing the 60hz necessary? (I just did this to make the graphs look better and because other people have said they do it, I haven't heard a tangible difference from doing this)
- Should I be targetting -18 dbfs average for my levels as other articles / tutorials instruct, or record as "hot" as possible without clipping, or some other magic numbers?