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View Full Version : The weakest link....but where?


Schaff
02-02-2011, 09:30 PM
Hey guys, here's a question that's posed some problems for me recently. As many of you know im running a Bogner Shiva. Anyways, I love the drive that im getting "face to face" with the amp (with my head on the speaker level). However, when my amp gets mic'd to play, I have been told by multiple people that it sounds like im running a fuzz pedal. I have an sm57 off axis at about 30 degrees. Any quick ideas on what it could be?...maybe something with my ear perceiving it differently? maybe something simple to be done at the board? any ideas would be great.

cbguy
02-02-2011, 10:04 PM
First thing that comes to my mnd is that the gain/input on the mic channel is set too high. Do you have a sound man? Is he/she running the preamp signal too hot?

That may not be it but if it sounds OK in front of the amp and the question is "Why does it sound fuzzy out of the PA?", then that would be the first thing I'd check. It only takes a little twist of the knob to overdo the input signal.

clintb
02-02-2011, 10:30 PM
I'm curious. Did you ever get to hear what it sounds like through the PA? Did the people who said it sounds like a fuzz box get to hear the amp directly?

Schaff
02-02-2011, 11:11 PM
Ya I've heard it first hand through the PA...The Shiva is a high gain amp no question but it is wayy more fuzzy and sounds awful coming from the speakers. and yes we do have a sound guy and he seems to know what he's doing too. I have the amp turned up a good bit to get the good tube tone so I doubt that the gain is too high...it makes me wonder if maybe my amp is more fuzzy than I actually hear.

Schaff
02-02-2011, 11:43 PM
Here's kind of an example...it's a crappy example though. In the first video, notice how the amp sounds dirty but good...in the second video in the first minute or so when he plays chords it sounds very fuzzy. Im sure it sounds great in person but the recording sounds terrible and there is no clarity to the sound...aka it sounds like fuzzy dead tone
video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv6HfKmwZRQ

video 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqk_epp0ydU

Citizen_Insane
02-03-2011, 12:04 AM
The sound you're hearing in the 2nd clip is the camera mic clipping. Sounds like maybe your sound guy isn't getting it quite right.

lkft
02-03-2011, 03:29 AM
Ya I've heard it first hand through the PA...The Shiva is a high gain amp no question but it is wayy more fuzzy and sounds awful coming from the speakers. and yes we do have a sound guy and he seems to know what he's doing too. I have the amp turned up a good bit to get the good tube tone so I doubt that the gain is too high...it makes me wonder if maybe my amp is more fuzzy than I actually hear.

The Shiva a high gain amp? :huh Not to my ears...mid gain maybe but not high gain ala triple rec/Uber/Powerball/etc. Are we talking head or combo? Combos are a completely different animal. I have an older (2004) 34 Shiva head and the drive channel is what I would describe as raunchy/open/complex/ but not fuzzy/fizzy/etc. You should be fine w/the 57s I think it's just a matter of finding the sweet spot on the placement. I mean after all...if you're happy w/the tone in front of the amp it should be miked up as neutrally/naturally as possible.

elvezrulz
02-03-2011, 07:34 AM
I have a Peavey MSDI, which is a direct box that simulates an SM57 lightly off axis. They originally had it in their JSX cabinets. I was sceptical at first because I used to have an H&K redbox, and my sound guy hated it. The MSDI, however is awesome, it does exactly what it says it's supposed to. It isn't exactly the cheapest thing out there, but I wouldn't part with mine. Check it out...

http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117104/MSDI%26trade;.cfm

Endr_rpm
02-03-2011, 09:13 AM
I have a Peavey MSDI, which is a direct box that simulates an SM57 lightly off axis. They originally had it in their JSX cabinets. I was sceptical at first because I used to have an H&K redbox, and my sound guy hated it. The MSDI, however is awesome, it does exactly what it says it's supposed to. It isn't exactly the cheapest thing out there, but I wouldn't part with mine. Check it out...

http://www.peavey.com/products/accessories/power/index.cfm/item/117104/MSDI%26trade;.cfm


Huh, never knew Peavey had one of these. I have a Redbox and a Behringer GDI that both work well for me, though I prefer the Behringer, as it's a little brighter.

Schafrocks
02-03-2011, 12:57 PM
Is it possible that there's something wrong with the mic? If not then I have to agree that the sound guy is overdriving the preamp on the board. The 57 gets a pretty realistic sound. However, most people don't realize how much gain they play with because their speaker is hitting them in the butt, not the ears.

I'd say isolate your channel with headphone, mess with the preamp gain on the board. Maybe try a different mic.

Schaff
02-03-2011, 01:47 PM
ya im gonna let get the sound guy to come back stage and listen to the amp and then let him litsten to what he is putting out of the speakers...hopefully he will be able to hear the difference haha...Ill definately try a different mic. However, i also noticed this, when I am listening through our in-ear system (aviom) it doesn't sound nearly as bad and that is pre-fader. Maybe that helps??

pgissi
02-03-2011, 02:34 PM
it doesn't sound nearly as bad and that is pre-fader. Maybe that helps??


well you may have just answered it right there, if its pre-fader and you like it, then what is not in the pre fader send? :rimshot.... the channel strip eq and the dial in being used by your sound dude which includes the dreaded mid shift eq feature which confounds many and must be destroying your tone. I am guessing he has the freq center set at 3 to 5k (maybe higher) boosted too much possibly

worse if the console has dual mid shift on the chan strips (low/high mid), all bets are off and beyond this there is the issue of what is happening post console, foh eq pre power amp, type of foh cabs etc..variables we cant account for in this context but

the good news is that its most likely the trim setting is correct on your chan because pre fade is still gonna include the mic chan preamp

a quick test in the foh-
if your console chan strips have a switch to pull out the shelving eq on each chan, switch the chan strip EQ out, if its what you want or at least closer then the problem is all within the chan strip shelving eq dial in but this may not be a good test, once again there may be other things happening

But if you suspect it is the shelving eq dial in and the console does have mid shift or dual mid shift then the freq center settings for each will be the key to your tone even if you leave the level at unity, the freq shift pots are bandpass filters, they can be like adding a wah wah (when not done right) to your tone, they can be used for emphasis or demphasis

My mackie onyx has dual mid shift and my philosophy is to go for a neutral dial in, if you want I can give you some sort of baseline dial in, I will check my console since its been 5 years since I set it and whatever amp is mic'ed, ends up sounding like itself be it clean deluxe, overdriven tweed, marshall midrangey od, dark woody jazz, I wanted minimal coloration

I arrived at my dial in by mic'ing several amps in another room and spent a few hours with my foh cabs/console/rack processors and power amps in a seperate room to hear the tone solely in the foh

it may or may not work for you but it is a quick change to 4 pots on your channel strip and if no good, you move on

the low shelving eq is typically fixed to 75 or 80hz and the highs are typically 10k so there is not much to screw up there and there is not much guitar there and that leaves your tone to the mid shift('s) and their levels, a huge amount of tone sculpting happens there

it is like a compressor, it can make or ruin

Schaff
02-03-2011, 04:28 PM
Pgissi...Wow thanks for that input. That why I come here haha. however, I have no clue what you just told me lol because Im not THAT familiar with running a sound board. I know this one is a high dollar digital board though. Basically, what should I, in a very polite way, advise my sound man to try :)

xtian
02-03-2011, 05:45 PM
Short answer: try backing off the gain.

The idea of the fuzz box is that it's a fully overdriven, heavily clipped signal with little dynamics, right? This might sound ok when you're standing close to the cab, but might not sit well in a mix. Possibly good for a singing lead tone, but not great for rhythm work. Think of AC/DC; very low gain, but super great crunch sounds.

pgissi
02-03-2011, 10:54 PM
Pgissi...Wow thanks for that input. That why I come here haha. however, I have no clue what you just told me lol because Im not THAT familiar with running a sound board. I know this one is a high dollar digital board though. Basically, what should I, in a very polite way, advise my sound man to try :)


Ok so its a digital board and some digital boards are menu driven in order to get to each channel's shelving eq but it will no doubt have at a minimum, a Mid Frequency sweep control and Level if not a Low Mid and a High Mid.

go to page 10 and check out controls 7, 8, 9 (note there are 2 pots labeled 9)

http://www.mackie.com/pdf/onyx1640_om.pdf

that is what I am talking about, more tone destruction is done right there

Some consoles have only a single Mid EQ FREQ and LEVEL, some have as you see in the doc, seperate Low Mid and a High Mid for finer adjustment

They perform emphasis or demphasis and it would be as if you used a pedal to alter your guitars eq but in this case it would be similar to parametric eq and not graphic which is more forgiving. Parametric can drastically Alter the original signal source to be tonally different than what it is, dramatically


The Mid controls are necessary to fine tune each source in each channel of the console and using them is easy but knowing how to set them is not and notice the Freq range of both the low mid and high mid FREQ control. 100hz to 2k and 400hz to 8k. They overlap which can be a problem and the High Mid tops out at 8k, add too much boost to an Overdriven electric guitar above 5 or 6k where not much really exists in an distorted electric guitar signal and you have the potential to be emphasizing unnaturally -

Emphasis- select the freq you want to emphasize, adjust its corresponding level to be above U (Unity) so that the signal is boosted at that frequency

De-emphasis- select the freq you want to de-emphasize, adjust its corresponding level to be below U (Unity) so that the signal is cut at that frequency


If your band does its own sound, have a dedicated tech who you are friendly with you can work this out. But if your using a rented system and tech, house system etc. it will require a different approach because the sound tech may not be too receptive to your criticism. Approach them with your concern and be sure to relate you have been told by trusted ears.

I just checked my console and like I said before I cant say it will work 100% since the proper setting depends on other settings elsewhere but I will tell you, cutting instead of boosting is best practice, cleaner, less noise, smoother, especially with overdriven electric guitar being reproduced by the mid and high freq drivers in the main pa cabs.

On the Low Mids I cut 300hz and have that level set at 9:00
High Mids I cut 4000hz and also have that level set at 9:00

YMMV but you may find this to be a starting point and hopefully any post console - pre power amp eq you have going in the pa is set properly


Lastly, an easier mic to use, the Sennheiser e906 or 609, the less expensive mic of these 2 is fine, it just does not have a built in filter, you wont miss that

it is a larger cardiod capsule type of mic which is easier and more forgiving to position on a speaker, hard to make it sound bad and does not require as fine of a position/angle adjustment on a speaker like the sm57

I set it up against the grill cloth and halfway between the dust cap and the inner speaker edge that meets the dust cap, I then angle the mic towars to outer edge of the cone a bit to prevent the highs in the center of the speaker form being overbearing and the angle also prevents one freq from dominating

between using an sm57 and mid shelving eq, many a tone has been mangled live if one does not have time to work with the sound tech and dial things in at the club, hopefully an empty club hours before the show where you can bring things up to near show levels

but that sort of thing does not happen in the vast majority of clubs and halls, bands come in, plug in then play and are expected to sound all dialed in:rotflmao

Schaff
02-03-2011, 11:02 PM
I actually just got back from a practice session and I spoke with the sound guy about the topics mentioned above. He was very appreciative for the input and appreciates my dedication to getting a great tone. We are gonna meet a few hours early the next time we meet and we're gonna try and figure out the problem! Ill keep you filled in and thanks so much for the detailed help! I owe ya!