The Passion and Warfare tone challenge - prizes up to $777 USD

eugtone
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The Passion and Warfare tone challenge - prizes up to $777 USD

Postby eugtone » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:30 am

It's simple: PAW has been one of my favourite albums for 25 years and I love the engineering and guitar tones. Some find it overcompressed with too much verb and delay, blah blah, but there is something magic about what Vai did in 1989-1990 that not even he, in my opinion, has matched since (amazing playing aside, I'm talking about buttery tone and engineering here).

To emulate his tone, I need your help. If you help me I will reward cash prizes to you via paypal, of $7, $77, or $777 USD, depending how close you help me get.

I don't have a studio to make a ton of noise, so I'm limiting the hardware that I'm willing to use to just guitars and pedals. Everything else needs to be digital emulations. Maybe that means it is not possible to sound just like Vai, but I want to try, and I've not yet heard anything close.

RULES: How the content works:

I have recently purchased two guitars:
1988 JEM77FP
UV77SVR 25th anniversary Passion and Warfare Universe. Hopefully these are close enough to the JEMs and Universes he used on the album.

I will record short snippests of (poorly played) segments of PAW songs, with aligned .wav files from the Naked tracks release. To compete in the contest: you need to turn these two .wav files into a final mix (wav/mp3) that sounds as close as possible to the final mastered PAW album. This includes not just amp and cabinet tone, but Pultec EQ, API EQ, compression, delay and L480L verb, plus mastering. Every detail.

Allowed hardware:
Based on Steve's list of gear used on the album I have also purchased:

classic Cry Baby wah
Boss super overdrive SD-1
MXR distortion+
Digitech Whammy pedal

For DI, I have several options available, but I doubt the subtleties here are what is keeping me from Vai tonedome:
Focusrite Liquid Safire 56
Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB
SONIC CORE A16 Ultra
Kemper Profiling Amplifier
Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II XL+

If you need new recordings of the raw guitar tone with any of the above hardware, tell me the exact settings and I will rerecord and share a .wav file.

Everything else I'm hoping to get from emulations. Hardware I have available for helping this:
Focusrite Liquid Mix
SSL Duende
Universal Audio Apollo Twin

I'm hopeful that these, together with VST plugins, will cover the Pultec, API, Neve, Urei and Lexicon processing Steve used throughout.

You can use any VST software (32 or 64 bit) that runs on WINDOWS (I will not likely reward Mac-only or protools only stuff - but if the tone is good enough, you might tempt me). I will purchase any Kemper profile, or cabinet impulse, or VST plugin needed, so go nuts.

To win cash prizes: you need to provide exact details of how to reproduce your Vai-like tone using the above. If you better my current-best attempt, you get at least $7. If you really bring it to a new level, $77. And if I really can't distinguish any part of the final tone from Steve's masterpiece, you'll get the $777. I will make all details of all prize-winning submission public so that everyone can also sound like Steve.

I've only had the Axe FX for a week and the Kemper for 2 days and I'm very impressed with both. If there is other hardware out there that you convince me to buy, I'll consider it. If you match Steve's tone with real amps, cabinets, mics and outboard HW, I will consider prizes as well, if you reveal very precise details of the entire process so that is can inform my simulation-driven quest.

SteveHimself is welcome to compete. ;)

I'm intending to run the following independent competitions - each qualify for the cash prizes (but any insights I can transfer from progress in one, I will use to hold the others to a higher standard)
-intro to The Riddle
-FTLOG segment
-The Animal intro
-Erotic Nightmares intro

PART 1: The Riddle intro - playing on a Universe (must be)

naked segment:
http://www.eugenedeon.com/wp-content/up ... _Naked.wav

raw guitar tone: UV77SVR, Kemper -> Liquid Saffire 56 - bridge pickup, volume and tone at 10:
http://www.eugenedeon.com/wp-content/up ... V77SVR.wav

(also attached together to this post as .zip)

Parts 2-4 coming soon.

Good luck and thanks! Looking forward to this!

eugtone
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Re: The Passion and Warfare tone challenge - prizes up to $777 USD

Postby eugtone » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:54 am

This is my first crack at the Riddle tone - an Axe FX preset with Studio Comp, Super OD, Brit 800, and a custom cab impulse I created from blind deconvolution of Erotic Nightmares.
PuigTec EQP1A, API-500B, VEQ4 and CLA-76 after, with Echoboy for delay and LX480Complete for verb.
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eugtone
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:12 am
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Re: The Passion and Warfare tone challenge - prizes up to $777 USD

Postby eugtone » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:22 pm

I just don't get how he gets so much energy in the 800Hz - 1.8khz range, especially for the low notes, without being too much. I had to apply extreme EQ here. This is using UberKab-T75-R121-CapEdgeOffAxis-3in. Still miles off...
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eugtone
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Re: The Passion and Warfare tone challenge - prizes up to $777 USD

Postby eugtone » Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:50 pm

Adding three Q10 eqs to the last version and doing precision fine tuning I'm able to get this, which is exciting. Have only tuned < 2khz in detail so far. Feel like the closest I've ever come to Vai's PAW tone.
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