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Author Topic: guitar cab micing  (Read 7480 times)

j.hall

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guitar cab micing
« on: January 13, 2007, 03:36:19 pm »

a lot of my clients have 002, mbox, 001, or mpowered rigs that they do a lot of their own tracking on.  i give a lot of advice and pointers on tracking.  mainly for drums as that is what most people ask me about.

recently, i've noticed a lot of really thin guitar sounds, or really dark.  when i ask, the answers vary greatly in how various guys mic a guitar cab.  seems to me that this is as big, if not a bigger mystery then getting great drum sounds.

so, i'm curious how you guys typically mic a closed back guitar cab, mainly for distortion.

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starscream2010

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 05:05:09 pm »

Lately, my distorted guitar sounds have been a combination of a Beta 52/auditronics pre and an Audix i5/Meek VCQ-1 on the same speaker, right against the grill. I just make sure that the levels & phase match, then bus them down to one track.
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Vladislavs Korehovs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 05:25:45 pm »

Hi,

For me great guitar sound secret is making recording with different heads, thease are: Marshal and Mesa.

Don't think sound is depending much on mic as on head itself.
SM57 works fine for me.

Mic position is dependent on how much room you want to capture..
Off center vs on center is more mellow vs more crisp.

I dont record with more then 1 mic. It is better to doubletrack and pan for me.

1 L Marshal
2 R Marshal
3 L Mesa
4 R Mesa

Good sound for me is more work with EQ and Delays not in Micking:)

I think you hear different recordings because probably players are different not so much micking techniques are different. Player is very important:) Some select good range for playing and play without rumbles, etc, others don't.

As you told about drums i think same secret is with guitars:)
No Phasing Issues, parallel compression, etc.

Was i too technical?Smile))))
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iCombs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2007, 06:11:51 pm »

I tend towards craziness when it comes to guitar amps...but the last guitars I tracked that I really liked I did like this...

1 SM57, 1 BLUE Ball, 1 4050 across the front of the cab, on the same speaker (generally a lower one), and a flipped RE-20 about 2 feet off the back of the cab.  It takes a little wiggling to get everything into something that resembles coherent phase, but it gives me tons of options and ways to control tone without having to reach for EQ, which I really like.  It does take quite a bit of setup and at the mix stage, you are dealing with 4 tracks of guitars, but the sounds I got were definitely worth the work.

The one thing that still drives me nuts is preamps.  I've used my TAB V78's successfully...I've used my Sytek successfully...and i've gotten total clunkers out of both.  I have yet to find that one pre that really screams "electric guitar" to me.
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Ian Combs
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Vladislavs Korehovs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2007, 08:01:44 pm »

iComb may i ask you a question?Smile
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Nizzle

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2007, 09:40:36 pm »

For Heavy distorted sounds:

A ribbon that can hadle the SPL's.(Royer 121,AEA R84, ShinyBox, etc), a SM57 and a good condenser is a great place to start....get the phase right and for God sakes commit to a blend of these mics - don't waste time by recording all  of them to separate tracks.

For cleaner (Fender, small amps) sounds:

The same as above with an additional rear mic(dynamic)and a condenser mic 6-10 feet away and high up from the amp, facing the opposite direction - I like to record the room mic to a separate track....During mix, the room track adds tremendous depth when panning it away from the close mics.

try keeping the close mics about 6 inches off the speaker grill.

Give it a whirl

-t

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iCombs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2007, 02:31:14 am »

Vladislavs Korehovs wrote on Sat, 13 January 2007 19:01

iComb may i ask you a question?Smile


Fire away!
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Ian Combs
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Vladislavs Korehovs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2007, 04:48:15 am »

iCombs wrote on Sun, 14 January 2007 01:31

Vladislavs Korehovs wrote on Sat, 13 January 2007 19:01

iComb may i ask you a question?Smile


Fire away!



Does your nickname have something to Do with phasing issues? (i.e. Comb filtering and Combs)

Don't want to convince you, but it is impossible to make phase cocherent for more then 2 micks (if you place them symmetrically in both sides of CAB), by just placing them, moreover it is not possible to make phase coherent even by nugeing tracks in time domain.

All Books usually refet to 3:1 rule, but this don't work Smile
because your signal comes thru different patches (Early reflections) etc and 3:1 is hard to follow if you have many micks and if you don't want roomy sound.
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iCombs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2007, 11:03:31 am »

Vladislavs Korehovs wrote on Sun, 14 January 2007 03:48

iCombs wrote on Sun, 14 January 2007 01:31

Vladislavs Korehovs wrote on Sat, 13 January 2007 19:01

iComb may i ask you a question?Smile


Fire away!



Does your nickname have something to Do with phasing issues? (i.e. Comb filtering and Combs)

Don't want to convince you, but it is impossible to make phase cocherent for more then 2 micks (if you place them symmetrically in both sides of CAB), by just placing them, moreover it is not possible to make phase coherent even by nugeing tracks in time domain.

All Books usually refet to 3:1 rule, but this don't work Smile
because your signal comes thru different patches (Early reflections) etc and 3:1 is hard to follow if you have many micks and if you don't want roomy sound.


I know that technically I'm not supposed to be doing what I'm doing.  But this is one of those times where I've figured out how to get a really great sound precisely BY breaking 3:1.  Yes, there is some comb filtering (and no, my nickname is actually my last name...it's more an Apple joke...iPod, iTrip, iCombs), but if I spend some time making sure everything is placed well, the comb filtering isn't unpleasant, but rather part of the sound.  I'll drag up one of those tracks and post it, along with each mic track, so you can hear what I'm talking about.
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Ian Combs
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pg666

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2007, 01:45:07 pm »

the only consistent thing i can think of is i almost never put it less than 4-5" away and i almost always aim it dead center. 1 mic on the cab.. usually a nice dynamic mic (senn 421, beyer m88/m201, shure sm7, etc), but i've used ribbons and condensers with good results before. no compression or eq: i just move stuff around until i like it.

what's really struck me lately is how rare it is to find someone with great tone. maybe it's because i've been monkeying with my own setup lately, but i seem to find a lot of '$400 guitar + sloppy playing + JCM 900 in need of a check up' tones with bands i'm hearing. it'd be really nice to record with someone with really great, sparkling tone for once.
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rankus

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2007, 01:45:45 pm »



A good tip I got from somewhere is to place the mic (say a 57) one or two fingers back from the grill pointed dead center at the dome in the middle of the cone.  Then, rotate the mic keeping the position the same, but change the angle, so that the mic points at the intersection of the dome and the cone....   Works great almost 100% of the time.

I tend to use Royers these days though, with the same trick... I used to use royers and 57's together, but usualy prefer just one mic to get a tighter phase.

Sometimes a room mic about three feet back, or even in another room...
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rankus

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2007, 01:51:32 pm »

pg666 wrote on Sun, 14 January 2007 10:45



i seem to be hearing a lot of '$400 guitar + sloppy playing + JCM 900 in need of a check up' tones with bands i'm hearing. it'd be really nice to record with someone with really great, sparkling tone for once.


This is the case in my shop as well.  Drives me nuts when they bring in a CD of Tool saying this the tone I want.. And when i ask what rig they have its Epiphone with some never heard of amp...

I am lucky that I am currently renting my other control room to a pro guitar player with about 20 high end guitars that I can borrow...  We keep a marshal on hand and once I got used to using this one amp for most sessions the tones get dialed a lot faster.  

Moral:  Be prepared to ask the guitarist to play your rig LOL
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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iCombs

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2007, 06:06:58 pm »

Man oh man are you guys on to something.  I've been working with this emo band on and off for a year or so...they have TERRIBLE gear...one has a solid-state crate head (but it's like 300 watts and it has EFFECTS, dude...) and the other has a B-52 (swear to god) head and crate cabs...yecch.  When they come over, i have them use real amps, and even then it's hard because they are terribly sloppy players...and they want to sound like geniuses with their crazy arrangements...

That's another thing that really helps...well arranged and voiced guitar parts.  If you want to to dissonance with distortion, you'd probably do better to use a couple notes rather than a big open gross chord.  These guys don't get that at all.

But yeah...even DECENT gear helps...doesn't all have to be Soldano and McInturff or PRS or what have you...just don't bring me your SS Crate and expect me to make you sound like anything decent.
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Ian Combs
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pg666

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2007, 10:26:45 pm »

haha, i'm not sure what i'd do in a situation like that.. ie. someone brings in a Crate solid state combo + zoom pedal and expects to sound awesome. i think at that point i would just say screw it and go for a 'so bad that it's kinda cool in its own way' sound.. or convince them to use other gear.

what really gets to me is when people get a decent piece of gear and then sort of develop a cocky attitude like they've hit the apex of guitar tones.. then stagnate. i see that a lot with underground bands; you can tell they saved up for their Les Paul Studios and Marshalls, but their technique sucks, their frets buzz, they use too much gain for what they're doing, the amp sounds dull and in need of service, etc.

so, when you record people like that, just make sure you double track them or something to cover up their shortcomings  Razz
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John Suitcase

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Re: guitar cab micing
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2007, 11:54:19 pm »

I actually bought a Line6 Toneport for this very reason. I kept running into bands with godawful amps (crate are the worst, followed by some of the open back solid state Fenders). Now, if I can't get a good tone in 15 minutes, I take a DI to a separate track, and reamp it through the Toneport later.

The toneport doesn't have great tones, but it smokes a Crate! And you can reamp the same guitar signal to two or three setups, to get a nice big stereo sound.

If they're playing through a decent rig, I use a 57 or an e609, close enough to get the tone, but backed off until the mic stops breaking up (I hear mics being overdriven a lot, sounds awful. Put your finger in your ear and listen to the playback. If you hear that high frequency grind, that's the mic being overdriven, usually).

Watch for comb filtering, get small amps up off the floor, if you're micing a 4x12, use one of the upper speakers, again be aware that your mic will be picking up the sound from multiple speakers, especially if you back it off a foot or so.

Lastly, I don't eq or compress while tracking, but during mixdown, I run the guitars through a tape-sim plug, with medium saturation, and I might add a little eq at 1500hz or so, if I want the guitars to be a little edgier.

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