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 Create dual-band distortion for more flexible sounds


by Craig Anderton


Splitting a guitar signal into high and low bands, then processing each one individually, can give a more defined sound by reducing intermodulation distortion. This is also a useful technique for interesting effects, such as adding tempo-synched delay to one band and adding a delay synched to a different tempo to the other (for what it’s worth, I generally prefer shorter delays on the low frequencies, and longer delays on the high frequencies). Another cool techniques is choosing a chunky distortion for lower frequencies, and a more intense, sustained distortion for higher frequencies.


The key to do this is Guitar Rig’s Crossover Mix module, whose purpose is to split an input into two separate bands. Start by clicking the Components tab, then choose Categories > Tools. Drag the CrossOver module into the rack (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1: Add the CrossOver module to the rack.


Click on the Amps tab in the component section, and drag over the Amp that will process the low end (Gratifier is a good choice). Drop it between the CrossOver Low and High modules (Fig. 2).


Fig. 2: Drag the Gratifier into the low crossover section. Minimizing the Matched Cabinet a shown saves space.


Set the CrossOver crossfader to 100:0 (all lows) and Frequency to taste (try 400-800Hz). Now tweak the Gratifier controls for the desired low band sound; the controls shown in Fig. 3 give a punchy, raw bass timbre.


Fig. 3: These settings are a good point of departure for the Gratifier low end sound.


Next, drag the Amp you’ll use for the high band Amp between the CrossOver High and mix modules. Lead800 (Distorted preset, with Boost enabled) works for me.Set the Crossover Mix Crossfade control to 0:100 (all highs) and tweak the Lead 800 amp for the desired high band sound.


Now it’s time for the finishing touches. Adjust the Crossover Mix’s crossfade slider for the desired balance of the high and low sounds; also experiment with the Frequency parameter, and you might want to spread the two bands a bit in the stereo field using the Pan controls (Fig. 4).


Fig. 4: The final preset. Don’t forget to save any presets you like—you may want to use them again.


Note that patching the Tube Compressor between the CrossOver High module and the high band amp can give a smoother, more sustained high end. Finally, remember to enable High Resolution mode (the button just to the left of the NI logo in the upper right corner). This doubles the CPU hit, but improves the sound quality and is worth doing if your computer can handle it. Rock on!




  Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.



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