Amp sounds bad mic’d

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by amdowell, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. frthib

    frthib Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Québec, Canada

    Will try since I find the "fredman" technic SO bright I end up messing way too much with post eq.

    (fredman : one sm57 on the cap edge +- 1" from the grill, one another sm57 a 45 angle from the mic, almost touching the first mic, pulled a -little- back so the phasing cuts out the fizz". I'm not sure if the second mic is closest to the rim or the center)
  2. tubetonez

    tubetonez Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    What speaker is in that combo? As others mentioned a different mic may work better - the SM57 is great for a lot of amps, but not all IME. The Sennheiser "flat" type mics have a pretty even response, I prefer them for combos. FWIW, a few sound guys swear by putting mic in the back of combo, which I haven't tried.

    The cheap Behringer "red" DI box has a pretty good cab sim and has pad switches to allow connecting to speaker output. IMO, it's worth owning as a useful backup tool, it can be used as a regular DI for acoustic, bass, or keyboards. The first time I tried the DI cab sim, I didn't realize that my actual amp wasn't turned up very loud. I thought I was hearing mostly my amp, till I lowered the PA volume. The PA and amp tones were very similar, this was using a 4 x 12 cab, which the sim is based on.

    Final thought, I've noticed that a lot of sound guys concentrate so much on getting the kick drum and vocals as loud as possible, often the guitar tone suffers - high end is the only thing that cuts through the mush.
  3. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    A lot of good info. I am picking the you aren't really hearing the amp answer. Yes aim it closer to your head and you are going to find your sound is in fact thin, harsh, bright and buzzy. And you don't need to stick your head in the speaker. Just aim is at/near your head at a reasonable distance. You might want to try dialing it in so it sounds good on the mic. After you get mic placement sorted of course. Moving the mic across the cone will make a noticeable difference in the mic'd sound but it won't make thin , harsh, bright and buzzy sound fat.

    Norjef likes this.
  4. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    I live on the east side of metropolitan Detroit
    This is good advice, once you've found the sweet spot on the grill cloth of your amp, mark it with some gaffers tape in an L shape so the house FOH guy can find where to put the mic... or look into a Mesa Cab Clone speaker sim box that goes between your amp and your speaker out, that will send a cab signal to FOH and you don't have to mic it - I use the cab clone built into my Mesa Mark V:35 on the vintage setting and FOH always sounds massive and very good - for my non MV:35 amps I use a Palmer PDI03 direct cab sim box, it sends an open-back 2X12 cab sim to the FOH and that too also has proven to be a great sounding easy to use DI speaker sim for live use. The Palmer is less $$ than the Mesa Cab Clone box. I prefer a Direct cab sim to a mic any day, less spaghetti on the floor in front of your amp on stage.
  5. jmoose

    jmoose Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Earth, NYC metro
    Micing an amp isn't rocket science though in all fairness there are a TON of soundmonkeys out there who have just enough knowledge to be dangerous... maybe they can plug in mics and turn them up and down on a good day.

    I've had the pleasure of working with some really excellent players over the years...

    Great lesson is the first time I ever worked with Warren Haynes I asked if he had any preferences in mic choice. He pointed at the speaker and said "my job ends here use whatever 'ya want!"

    Guys like that? All 'ya gotta do is stick a mic somewhere near the speaker and its going to sound great. Gotta really work hard at screwing things up.

    Whenever I'm using combos either as a player or producer I like to get 'em off the ground, up on a milk crate at least. Even 4x12 cabs.

    Does a few things. For one gets the speaker closer to ear level so its "truer" & translates to mic better.

    Also eliminates boundary effect. Boundary effect dictates that you get an additional 3dB of low end for each boundary the amp is near and/or in contact with.

    Floor adds 3dB of low end. Pushed up against a back wall? That's another 3dB so now we're at 6dB of "false" low end... you hear it in the room but it ain't coming from the speaker.

    All hail Satan if you get pushed into a corner, that's 3 boundaries x 3dB each = 9dB of low end floating in the room that isn't coming out of the speaker. Not insignificant!!!

    Someone dials their amp in like that, on the floor in a corner and yeah... what the mic hears is very likely going to break glass and shred your ears clean off your skull.
  6. Norjef

    Norjef Member

    Jun 27, 2004
    Illi-noise - governors making license plates
    My fave live amp mic - got exact one too.
  7. Norjef

    Norjef Member

    Jun 27, 2004
    Illi-noise - governors making license plates
    annnnd if Your amp is pointed towards your ankles and EQd when you're standing above it, the ray-gun effect of guitar speakers will be picked up by your poor mic. Try Mitchell foam ''Donut" and aim amp at YOU, or at least split the difference.
  8. skinvoyager

    skinvoyager Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Have you considered this?

    We spend so much time and money perfecting our tone, only to let sound guys destroy it. Even the ones that try hard don't always succeed. This device from Suhr was made for people like you (and me). With this box, you can play your amp on stage, or even run it with no speaker, while sending an IR to FOH, eliminating the need to mic completely. I think the Suhr load is the best in the business, but there are certainly other options.

    If you don't need a load, there are now tons of options for taking your amp's line out into an IR loader. I've found that using Its is a much better and more importantly consistent way to get a great sound in your monitor and FOH.
    amdowell likes this.
  9. amdowell

    amdowell Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Would keeping an EQ in the loop still be beneficial for fine tuning?
  10. TheSchwartz

    TheSchwartz Member

    Jul 28, 2015
    Maybe, but just pay attention to what’s coming out of the monitor as opposed to the amp. Overall it might be better to have the sound guy handle eq. Another thing you can try is getting a little loop pedal, and listening to yourself in the crowd during soundcheck. Then you can adjust mic position if needed.

    Here’s another thing to consider: mics of the same make and model won’t necessarily sound the same. An SM57 you use one night might sound a lot different than one you use another night. Before I switched to amp modeling, I used to bring my own 57, because I knew what to expect from it.
  11. Tone Meister

    Tone Meister Supporting Member

    May 1, 2010
    This should provide a solid starting point. If you're trying to get the best mic'd sound out of your amplifier you cannot simply cram the microphone into the grill cloth arbitrarily and expect it to sound like a record label quality guitar tone. You can spend a little time experimenting with mic placement and once you find a spot that sounds good out front, you can put tape on the grill cloth to make it easier to duplicate next time
  12. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, Ca
    (Climbs up on the soapbox...)
    When I was still gigging in clubs we checked our sound three ways.
    1) I stood in front of the amp with my ears at cab level and adjusted EQ, etc.
    2) The other guitarist in my band played my guitar at those settings, I stood out about 40-50 feet, and listened, then made adjustments. Same riff, chord progression each time.
    3) The sound man listened, then we placed the mics on the cabs. Then he adjusted the mic, EQ, etc so that it sounded right out front to him and the other guitarist, then the other guitarist played while I listened.

    I realize my old touring band had quite the PA system, 2000w tri-amped through a 3 way crossover and matching JBL loaded cabs, 16 channel mixer, sound man, and we didn't have to play at mouse fart volumes. I had a 1x12 combo with a 412 hooked up as well. Granted this was the early 80's when club owners weren't wimps and the bands got to turn up to reasonable volumes. By reasonable I mean a JCM 800 with the master volume on 3-4 (more at the bigger venues), and then the PA took over.

    What passes for gig volume these days is roughly 1/2 or less of that. Keep in mind that the speaker tone changes as you turn up, and EQ adjustments are necessary for your pedals, etc. You can't play at home or at practice levels & EQ's and expect them to work in a different room with different volume ranges.

    (Ok, I'm off the soapbox, hope that helps!)

    amdowell, PLX, nickm57 and 2 others like this.
  13. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    OKC, OK
    I’ve personally always preferred using a DI like a H&K RedBox to get guitar tone into FOH, because it’s easier for most amateur sound guys to dial in than a live mic into a cab. Just my years of experience gigging. I’m sure many have their own opinion
    skinvoyager likes this.
  14. Wyatt Martin

    Wyatt Martin Member

    Nov 21, 2018
    One just has to experiment if you have your own PA.

    We always have to provide our own PA so I have my set up down. In my experience if I mic up properly I don't have to add additional eq at the board. I can leave that channel flat as it should be.

    If we do have to use another sound system I still carry my own mics and little stand and use my setup every time.
    AceBSpankin likes this.
  15. nickm57

    nickm57 Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    sydney oz
    Point the amp at your ears not your legs. And not at the sound guy/girl.
    You then get a better picture of the sound the coming off the cone. The other band members will also appreciate this method. EQ the amp accordingly before putting more pedals in there.
    Be aware that the guitar sound alone is different to when in the ensemble.
    So bass and high frequencies that are used by other instruments suck up what the guitar is doing.
    A more focused mid range tone can work better and sound fuller even if it sounds smaller on it's own.

    609e are a good mic for guitar roll off from 100hz down if you are not doing the detuned 7string thing. Move the mic around to get the sound you like the best (heaps of instructions on line)
    Try to use as little guitar as you can in the monitors.
    Stand out front and listen to your FOH tone.
    No longer are we trying to fill the Albert Hall with stage sound.
    Most modern PAs are significantly better than even 10 years ago so see the PA as the another amp that fills the room, not your rig.
    Smaller gigs no with mic you may need a sightly different approach, like an extension cab to get a bit more spread.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  16. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

    Oct 8, 2010
    Walking the Earth, like Cain in Kung Fu
    Easy fix- follow these steps.

    Step 1. Get a Z bar mic bracket and throw it in your gigbag. ($20)
    Step 2. Get a GREAT mic like a Sennheiser 906. ($125)
    Step 3. mark the exact spot on the cabinet where the mic sounds perfect.
    Step 4 understand "Live Tone"- (try the "step down" settings for starters)
    master 8
    presence 7
    treble 6
    mids 5
    bass 4
    gain 3

    Tweak based on the room, but these settings are a great starting point with Fender-style circuits
    (I think Mesas are)

    Never use compression with OD.
    Place modulations after OD pedals.
    Roll the bass WAY down on pedals. (like nearly off)
    Kill all reverb on OD sounds. (slapback is ok)
    Think "clarity, definition, attack".
    Minimize the use of "wooley, warm, fat" tones. They destroy a live mix.

    This is exactly how most touring pros dial in a rig within 2 minutes. You know you're doing it right when a Gibson guitar sounds like Angus and a Fender guitar sounds like KEEF.

    Life principle: if you ain't gettin' compliments, you ain't doin' ít right!
  17. beej

    beej Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2005
    +1 to the suggestion of using a DI/speaker sim rather than micing.

    I've been using a Blubox with a greenback IR into the PA for quite a while. It's quicker and more consistent than futzing with a mic, and there's never a question of how to EQ it.

    There are so many great tools for players these days.
    amdowell and buddaman71 like this.
  18. ontariomaximus

    ontariomaximus Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    I did a lot of experimenting and found a spot that recorded wonderfully, all the time. It was about 1.5" off centre and 5.25" from the cone (Audix i5 typically). Play with mic placement!
  19. tele_jas

    tele_jas Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Mt. Vernon / Springfiled, MO
    I used a SM57 for 20 years.... No issues, but wanted to "upgrade", so I traded for an e609 and used that for a couple years.... It took a while to realize, but I wasn't happy with my tone with the 609...... I eventually traded back for a 57 and like it much better.

    I think it had to do with my speakers being too hi-fi (Celestion Golds or Blues) and the 609 really made that present out front. I actually liked the 609 with my other cab (V30), but rarely played that and the 57 worked fine for that.

    I also like the fact I can move the 57 around to adjust for the room (or speaker/amp)... Towards the cone for a brighter tone, towards the edge for a darker tone. To each his own though.

    I think everyone had a perspective idea of how their amp "should" sound out front, but it's usually a little different than what you are hearing from your amp.
  20. Hugh_s

    Hugh_s Member

    Mar 25, 2013
    I played a festival last summer on a side stage with all the other little people like me. Put my amp on stage, connected my stuff, turned it on all that. Sound dude walks around, micing stuff.

    I turn around and see he's put a E609 on a shorty stand to mic my amp, we're going through the quick line check and i see the "front" on the mic. He put it on backwards; had already checked my line too, he was happy with it.

    Lots of high-quality support out there.
    jmoose and crazyneddie like this.

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