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A big part of Syn's lead tone is...

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I've seen a lot threads on here asking about how people can get a guitar tone like Syn or Avenged Sevenfold. While this tip won't get you all the way there, I figured I'd share this information with everyone since I have it.

Fred Archambault, who engineered on Waking The Fallen, City of Evil, Self Titled, and Nightmare, revealed to me a few years ago that a good chunk of Syn's lead tone is the Boss CS-3 Compressor Pedal. Fred and I also briefly discussed it a few months back when I bought the Bogner from him.

Before you run out and buy this pedal, please understand what a compressor is and what it does. If you go and buy one and plug it in and turn it on, you might be a little disappointed because you don't notice it doing much, unless you're on extreme settings. To put it simply, a compressor is used to control dynamics. The guitar is a relatively dynamic instrument, especially when playing leads. In order to control those dynamics and sort of even out the volume and depth of each note, people will use a compressor. Compression is generally a subtle effect, and most people have to train their ears to even hear and recognize compression, unless it's used drastically.


Here's a description of this specific pedal from Boss:

"The CS-3 Compression Sustainer pedal compresses louder signals while boosting lower signals, providing smooth sustain without degrading the original sound quality. Onboard Level, Tone, Attack and Sustain controls for precise tonal shaping, and the low-noise design allows super-quiet operation. This is the perfect pedal for guitarists and bassists who want to sound their best."



This thread isn't meant to dive too far into the science of a compressor, so please do further research if you'd like. I don't know Syn's settings on this pedal, but to me, his leads sound like they have a fair amount of Attack and Sustain, and not overdoing it on the actual compression. I'm sure he uses the Level as a slight boost in order to make the leads pop out a little. I also don't think he uses this exact pedal live anymore, as the Axe FX has built in compressors he can use. He did use this pedal at one point, and is a great price friendly option.

Sorry for sharing your secrets, @Syn Gates!

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Radu-Cristian Perde

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Yeah thats very spot on!

But to continue on your point, a compressor is not an easy effect to use and apply well. It shouldnt be the first pedal you buy expecting to nail syn's tone. Not gonna happen for a shit tons of reasons so its not a good beginner pedal. But a compressor will definitely make the difference when you are at a point where you want to dive much deeper into your tones.

Fortunately, this pedal is in the cheaper side which is great!
 

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Yeah thats very spot on!

But to continue on your point, a compressor is not an easy effect to use and apply well. It shouldnt be the first pedal you buy expecting to nail syn's tone. Not gonna happen for a shit tons of reasons so its not a good beginner pedal. But a compressor will definitely make the difference when you are at a point where you want to dive much deeper into your tones.

Fortunately, this pedal is in the cheaper side which is great!
Most definitely, you bring up a very good point. It is hard to apply well, and you can certainly overdo it. If you're pretty serious about guitar and music, you should maybe get familiar with compression as it can be a great tool, and this pedal can be a very good place to start especially considering it's price point. A beginner buying this pedal and using it on their Line 6 Spider amp realistically won't be any closer to his amp tone, but this is more of a trick that he has used for years and gives his leads that little edge and consistency.
 

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Another quick note about compression, music nowadays is very compressed. Music has lost a lot of dynamics because everything is too compressed because of what's called "The Loudness Wars". Please look into it when you get a chance if you're interested. Music keeps getting naturally louder and more compressed in order to keep up with competition.

Avenged Sevenfold & Andy Wallace made the bold choice to go against the Loudness Wars when they released "The Stage". The album has a lot of dynamics and isn't completely squashed with compression, and they did that intentionally. That's also why songs on "The Stage" seem more quiet than songs from other artists, and you might have to crank the volume a little more when those songs come on.

 

Radu-Cristian Perde

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Another quick note about compression, music nowadays is very compressed. Music has lost a lot of dynamics because everything is too compressed because of what's called "The Loudness Wars". Please look into it when you get a chance if you're interested. Music keeps getting naturally louder and more compressed in order to keep up with competition.

Avenged Sevenfold & Andy Wallace made the bold choice to go against the Loudness Wars when they released "The Stage". The album has a lot of dynamics and isn't completely squashed with compression, and they did that intentionally. That's also why songs on "The Stage" seem more quiet than songs from other artists, and you might have to crank the volume a little more when those songs come on.


Yeah well, id rather raise the volume of the stage a bit and hear the nuances than have to lower the volume of death magnetic and hear the wall of noise. Its a shame because the songwriting of it is great but they overdid by trying to be louder
 
Synner Endless Summer Collection

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Yeah well, id rather raise the volume of the stage a bit and hear the nuances than have to lower the volume of death magnetic and hear the wall of noise. Its a shame because the songwriting of it is great but they overdid by trying to be louder
I completely agree, I think they did a great thing by being the only artist to really go against the loudness war. And the first thing I always think of is Death Magnetic too lol. Still love that album though.

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It should also be noted that any time a high-gain tone is used, there's a lot of natural compression involved in making it that way, so an external compressor added on top can be even harder to hear and "tune."
Most definitely. Distortion comes as a result of compression. Sometimes good, sometimes bad!
 

Ed Seith

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    I completely agree, I think they did a great thing by being the only artist to really go against the loudness war. And the first thing I always think of is Death Magnetic too lol. Still love that album though.

    View attachment 1065
    The "Guitar Hero version" of Death Magnetic can still be found online, if you own a copy of the album. Just look for "death magnetic moderus." It is a massive improvement in listenability. They were actually TRYING to get that digital saturation, because it was kind of a thing in pop mastering in 2008. I hate it. The Stage sounds unbelievable and often feels a little like something from the 70s, which rules.
     

    Radu-Cristian Perde

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    The "Guitar Hero version" of Death Magnetic can still be found online, if you own a copy of the album. Just look for "death magnetic moderus." It is a massive improvement in listenability. They were actually TRYING to get that digital saturation, because it was kind of a thing in pop mastering in 2008. I hate it. The Stage sounds unbelievable and often feels a little like something from the 70s, which rules.
    Yeah it was a big trend and It was a lot due to Rick Rubin's approach in this case specifically... But yeah I mean Andy Wallace is amazing. I loved his mix on ''Prequelle'' as another more recent example!
     

    Chris Johnston

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    Amazing to hear this confirmed! I was trying to find a Syn like tone and happened across it accidentally when messing around with a compressor setting on my DAW :LOL: However in an unrelated note, I always get a massive pang of guilt every time I see Fred's name - as I may or may not have added him on Facebook in my teens and annoyed the hell out of him asking him loads of A7X fanboy questions 😬 The cringe is real!
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    [DELETED]

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    Amazing to hear this confirmed! I was trying to find a Syn like tone and happened across it accidentally when messing around with a compressor setting on my DAW :LOL: However in an unrelated note, I always get a massive pang of guilt every time I see Fred's name - as I may or may not have added him on Facebook in my teens and annoyed the hell out of him asking him loads of A7X fanboy questions 😬 The cringe is real!
    Didn't we all though? lol. I can't speak for him obviously, but I don't think he minds those questions too much. From what I've gathered from talking to him, he's very proud and appreciative of working on those records.
     

    Chris Johnston

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    Didn't we all though? lol. I can't speak for him obviously, but I don't think he minds those questions too much. From what I've gathered from talking to him, he's very proud and appreciative of working on those records.
    I think it was more in the immature manner in which I sent them and how little I knew about etiquette - 'kInDA LIke ThIS ProBabLY XDXD' - Again *absolute cringe* 😬 You live and you learn though!
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection