Jeff Waters, “I got the guitar ‘sound’ for the next ANNIHILATOR cd”



Jeff Waters: “So… I got the guitar “sound” for the next ANNIHILATOR cd now (that will make 17 STUDIO CD’s! Ouch!). To keep options open, when getting the “sound” this past week, I first tried my collection of tube amps/cabs… but when i found what i thought was something real good, then i turned on the Line6 Helix again and tried to get same or better with it. This time around, it wasn’t even close. If i can explain it, I would say I got the Alice In Hell record’s guitar sound with a bit more low and power… yes! Now to write some riffs and songs that live up to that! 🙂

“One thing that is pretty interesting if you are into studio stuff (in other words, the following will be extremely boring to read unless you play guitar or are into music recording!): Back when the digital era came into studio production, we had these revolutionary Alesis Adats that changed the recording industry. For the price of a vhs video tape that you could get later at night at the local corner store/gas station, you could now record at low cost compared to the mega-expensive 2 inch analog tape reels. Big and medium-sized studios started closing down, mainly because musicians and engineers could now open up nice home studios and record most tracks, except drums, at their house! The catch, and most of us didn’t realize it at the time, was that the analog to digital converters in them and the Tascam, Fostex versions, etc… were bad sounding. Enter companies like Apogee who started to make better converters… now we had a way to get the sound from analog into digital and it sounded damn good, if you had a good chain to get into the system first. Then plugins happened. Most were horrible and sounded no where near close to as good as a “real” compressor or eq, etc… Waves and UAD led the way in that area. After all these years since plugins arrived, finally, for a few years now, these companies have been able to model and NAIL most all areas of recording and mixing tools/gear. You have the biggest mixers in the world, who own millions of dollars in real, high-end analog gear, who (most of them!) are mixing in the box or sending it out to a good console but using plugins for mixing instead of “real” gear. At a fraction of the cost but with almost or better quality, as most of those classic units had worn out by now. (but yes, of course your chain INTO the digital realm still benefits from a killer Avalon or Manley pre/comp).

“So, too, did the digital guitar “amp” come in when the plugins were startin out… Line6 were the driving force with their Pod, Flextone, Vetta amps. I owned and used all of those and used the Flextone 2 on our 2002 tour and record. The clean sound that they had brilliantly produced (think Mark Tremonti’s live clean guitar sound with Creed-brilliant “sound”) was second to none and they always had great fx. However, for me personally and a lot of older school metal guitarists, you either liked the digital, gritty sound of the down-tuned new-metal with an EMG pickup-type bands or you hated it. I hated it! haha! I wanted that classic Marshall/Boogie tube amp tone without the digital crunch… I went back to amps with tubes… Fast-forward to recent. Kemper Profiling and Fractal leading the way. I watched and listened. Both great systems. A few years back, you couldnt go on a metal festival tour in Europe without seeing a pair of Kempers in everyone’s racks. I was watching and listening. I saw the price of them and thought “for a pro who tours a lot, this is definately a great thing…. convenient, you can get your live sound “close” to your studio sound and it would be the same sound every night for your FOH (sound tech). Line6 had obviously been working on something… i am guessing that they knew to either stayed out of that market or, if they jumped in, they were not going to make something that was for home use only! The Helix rack/floor/LT was born and i wondered how they were going to compete. I think I know how. When I signed with Epiphone guitars, I didnt have to. I had an offer from Gibson and a few other well-known companies to make a signature guitar to have for sale. I passed on the others because they guitars they wanted to build were super expensive and almost no one could afford them… so i went with the idea to build a lower-cost model with Epiphone (2 of them) and make it good enough quality to actually use myself. When The Helix came out, they wisely made sure that the cost of this thing was LOWER than the others but clearly they wanted to make sure that there was no compromise; had to be the BEST sounds out there. Now they recently introduced the Helix LT… bring that cost even lower but without cutting any corners that the more-expensive versions have… all Helix versions have exactly the same “guts”. So bottom line: Line6 crept up and came up with another gem. Old-school, non-digital crunch is in this machine; you just have to spend time to find it but the unit is totally user-friendly. With a house and studio full of guitar-related stuff (pedals, amps, cabs, mics, etc.), I am now likely fixed on using this thing until I am finished! sure, i will always put the Phase 90/EVH flanger infront of it all, but now i can throw this little board into my suitcase, fly overseas and play at some of the biggest festivals and shows in metal… all with only one small and light pedalboard at the front of the stage… nothing else. Nothing else! Man, has technology sure came far since i had only a Fostex 4-track” cassette player, 2 guitars and a Marshall!

“(if you made it this far, I love ya! hahahaaha!)”

Annihilator released their sixteenth studio album, For the Demented, on November 3, 2017. The album peaked at #73 in Germany and #42 in Switzerland. The official video for “Twisted Lobotomy” has been embedded below.

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