How does Steve do it?

The name says it all! Discuss Steve's studios, your studios and gear set-ups, amps and effects here. This is not for discussing guitars (Steve's or otherwise).
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How does Steve do it?

#1 Post by LightWithoutHeat777 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:42 pm

I've been watching Steve forever. I've noticed whether its live or studio, there is literally no feedback or buzz from distortion. Like when you have your volume down on your guitar, but you still here some distortion through your amp. I feel like Steve doesn't have that! How does he do this?!?!?!

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Re: How does Steve do it?

#2 Post by Jeries » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:05 pm

I think there's a few things worth mentioning a few normal/not special things and one last very profound thing...

1- In recording/in the studio there's tons of compression/limiters/noisegates/etc-so the typical WOOSH of an amp just being on isn't there and at times that stuff is/can be edited out so you don't hear it on recordings

2- Live he does have a little bit of it- not much but there's likely some front of house gates/noise suppressors being used on the mics

3- Vai plays pretty loud on stage to get his tone so his amps are fairly loud and at times do have a little noise

4- He uses good shit. TC electronic g force/g system/etc- he uses good/high quality stuff

5- With the Axe Fx- it has a noise gate that can be dialed in

6- Overall i'd say the ambiance of an audience/the venue/etc washes away any of the noise you'll hear from the amp

7- he stands far away from the amp- if he was super close it would prob squeel or the speaker magnets would be humming through the pickups into the amp

8- Don't use recordings for examples- recordings aren't real world- Take a world famous trumpet player or sax player- they have to breath to play the instruments but soem players remove all the breaths from their recordings and you never hear that stuff


Vai's tone- is not as distorted as most think it is.
People maybe crank the gain/distortion/saturation to sound like him on their own- but you'd be shocked how mild and not crazy distorted Vai's lead tone is... that's what makes him such a great player- with minimal gain/distortion he has a HUGE sound and such great/full tone it requires all of us to blast the hell out of our gain knob- does that make sense?

So that helps cleanlyness too- his sound isn't as distorted as most thing

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kyle am I
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Re: How does Steve do it?

#3 Post by kyle am I » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:52 am

sometimes he does have hum. If you watch the youtibe video of andy secretly videotape Steve (but gets caught) you notice he has a fair amount of hum. This may be due to the camera interference, like when you get a text message and a ditting humming sound goes through the amp. I would say that overall Steve is just a clean player too.

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Re: How does Steve do it?

#4 Post by pamplemousse » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:56 am

kyle am I wrote:sometimes he does have hum.
I agree with you, i've notifyed it. You can ear it on this video for example" onclick=";return false;

In his Sex & Religion live gear, he used a noise suppressor also, but now, he doesnt use it anymore.

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Re: How does Steve do it?

#5 Post by dc27 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:36 am

Easy - Pro Tools.

Its standard practice to both gate or simply automate the track to mute at certain points.
You'd take a DI from the guitar for reamping in the studio. This way you can either gate/automate the amplifier without the effects (Steve apparently records dry, without effects) or modify the original DI signal. I regularly do both with great success.

As for live..

Believe me, there is a fair bit of noise. Its inevitable that white noise would be an issue, but its an easy fix; simply put a volume pedal in the loop. This stops any signal flowing to the speakers, eliminating the problem between songs or at dropout points in songs.
Buzzing and Hum can be fixed through ensuring everything is grounded and shielded properly (and a lot of other electrical hoohaa I won't bore you with!) and through quality equipment. Steve's FTLOG Universe has a fair bit of hum on the Stillness In Motion DVD, as you can hear at the start and end of Weeping China Doll.

Its all just experience and know-how with equipment :)

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