Yeah this was recorded with the PodXT, since I got the HD I haven't had enough time to dial in real tones and record with them and currently my guitars are still in Afghanistan while I'm living transient in Qatar & flying all over the place waiting on my apartment in Dubai. The drums are Steven Slate, SSD3.5. I'm not a huge fan of them, but I got them for 20 bucks on sale. I might eventually get superior drummer but don't have 300$ for it right now. The bass was also recorded through the Pod, didn't know about DI recording at the time. I don't play with a pick, tried it for a while when messing with the HD but I think I'll go back to fingers. I spent a good amount of time going for a clankier/grindier/more 'metallic' tone out of the bass but every time I got what I thought I wanted, I still liked the smoother/rounder tone that I've had from the start better. When I get going with the HD I will be recording a dry signal for all the instruments alongside the wet.
Trust me, I'm quite aware of what you're saying in the second half of your post. The guitar tone I have to work with in these recordings is what pisses me off the most. I've gotten to a point with the drums that "I" like them, they have definitely come a long way from where I started. I haven't taken the time (and honestly don't understand drumming technique well enough) to try and humanize the midi at all, and neither has my drummer. So there are SOME velocity changes and things like that, but overall its just a perfect drum machine throughout the track, which adds more to your 'these don't sound human' point. Personally it doesn't really bother me, and by that I mean I barely even notice that effect.
The guitar tones are hard-panned left & right, each double-tracked. The tones are different, but similar enough that they still overlap eachother in a lot of spots. Once I get the chance to build some better tones on the HD and record with my Agile rather than the 7321 with shitty stock pickups a lot of that should be corrected and easier to mix.
Also should have noted, I didn't take a lot of time figuring out where to add & cut bass for the 'way more bass' mix. It was in the midst of discussion at the reaper. There were a couple mentions of not having enough low-end moving around making the mix very flat even it is bright and clear. So I went through and 'rough-drafted' this version with boosted lows. I dropped all the HPF's on my cymbals from around 500 to around 120, dropped the master HPF from around 80 to 60, put a boost right at 60 and also used the HPF to put a slight boost around 60-100 before it slopes off. I reduced the HPF on the bass from around 180 to 80, but boost on the kick around 60, and brought the guitar HPF's up from 180ish to 300ish. Might have done a few other things but you get the picture...I didn't scientifically go about any of this, I just went through the track and adjusted all this shit to whim to see a difference between high-passing everything and having almost nothing going on below 80hz and very little beyond the kick drum between 80 & 160 VS pushing the shit out of the low end all over the track. I personally am divided on the two mixes, but in that it served its purpose. I know I want more low end moving around the track, so now I need to fine-tune it more and figure out exactly where I do & don't want that low end to come from and how much of it I want there to be.
So some god damned REAL TALK, I haven't been in the same country for more than a week at a time in the past 2 months or more. Working on these mixes passes the time and the more I tweak them the more I learn about the process in general. I absolutely know I need to redo the recordings with better equipment and with a different approach to almost all of it. And I can't do much more than come to terms with the fact that my drums are going to sound like a machine and until I'm ready to fork out more money or scour the internet for free samples and figure out how to make them interact with my Kontakt library (or do away with the SSD kit all together and use all free samples, which I don't really feel like dealing with) they really aren't going to sound MUCH better than where they're at right now. The EQ will continue to get tweaked, and I think re-recording the guitar & bass will allow a better drum tone in the mix, but they're pretty much what I have to work with for a while. I AM happy with these tracks in that I've impressed myself with how far I've come from where I started and that I have music recorded that I can enjoy listening to and not be embarassed by the quality when I show other people. However no way in fuck-all would I ever call these a finished product no matter what I do with the recorded material. The pod tones suck way too much for that not to mention I'm still not finished tweaking the material itself to be more interesting. It would be like turning in a rough draft for your final thesis.
defensive post aside, I get where you're coming from and appreciate the input. I'll definitely be giving what you mentioned in the first paragraph a try. For right now I've switched from having kontakt send each drum to a separate track in reaper to leaving all of the drums inside kontakt and editing them there. Limits me a lot on how deeply I can edit each drum, but makes the whole process a fuck-lot easier especially for sending back & forth to the drummer. Honestly I think doing that (which in turn forced me to delete the compressors that I had on every fucking piece of the drum kit, which I'm sure was the underlying issue) was probably the biggest step I've made recently toward a better overall sound. If you go to my main soundcloud stream and listen to the oldest mixes on the list...I think the difference is night and day overall.