Apartment Living and Recording/100 watt heads....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GYBE!, May 4, 2005.


  1. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Hi everyone, I am new here as you can see. I post over at Harmony Central but have really been digging the discussions going on over here as of late. Anyways, I figured there may be a few people who can relate to my situation and maybe have some advice, so here it goes:

    Here is my situation: I was in a band but decided to come to grad school, and therefore no longer have the luxury of having a practice space where I can crank my amp and record some decent tones (oh how I miss being able to have a 4x12 wide open pretty much any time I pleased...). I am now stuck in this apartment (no more 4x12 , but still have a 2x12) and don`t really have a way to get decent sounds to tape.
    I have a POD XT, but at the same time I have a Bogner ecstacy and would like to actually use that $3k paper weight, ya know!!!
    I am currently using my XTC in 1/2 power running into a Dr Z Airbrake and into a Randall IsoCab (V-30 equipped), guitar is a custom shop les paul elegant. The speaker is miced with either a SM-57 or an Audix D3 into either an ART Dual TubeMP (Boo!!!) or my Soundcraft 24 ch board (YAY!!!).
    However, I am getting less than stellar results from this setup (POD sounds much better) and it is becoming frustrating to say the least. I was thinking of getting rid of the Randall and getting a Demeter iso cab (anyone got one/played one??) but there are a few things I am going to try before I do that (i.e., some modifications to the isocab).

    I have thought about a few solutions, like covering one of our closets in this stuff: http://www.soundprooffoam.com/
    so I could go back to micing a standard cab
    Or, as I said above, getting the demeter isocab instead of the Randall one (looks like a better design) but I don`t know...

    Anybody out there have any solutions/ideas??? I hate having this awesome amp that I can`t even record correctly! Moreover, its even more difficult to justify buying another amp (like the Roccaforte 've been gassing after or the mako I was considering waiting my life for) since I can`t really use it for what I want to do with it. Granted, maybe if I ordered a Mako now I would get it around the time that I am moving into a house...
    Thanks for reading and looking forward to your ideas/thoughts/comments!
    -Jesse
     
  2. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    I think in any case, you are going to get your best super low volume sounds from the POD. However, one idea that might work for you is to run the Bogner into a load that captures a line-level signal (like a THD hotplate), run that into a solid state poweramp (like the standard Tubeworks unit people use for wet-dry) then out to your cabinet. This would allow you to bring the volume down as low as needed but run the amp as hot as you want. I don't know how that will sound for recording. In my experience, however, guitar speakers sound a bit funny with so little volume coming through.

    I've owned both the Demeter and Randall iso cabs. Kept the Randall...sounds more open & detailed to me. YMMV, however. Neither of them is blocks out a lot of sound, particularly, but the internal space is nice and quiet for recording.
     
  3. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Between the isocab and Airbrake the volume is plenty low enough, the cab just sounds bad to me lately. Did you do anything to your iso cab to get it to sound better? I have treated the interior with some acoustic foam, as well as dynamat (although, I think the dynamat may be making it sound worse). If you are saying the Randall sounded more natural then I guess I should stick with it...would hate to get rid of it just to have to buy it again if the Demeter sounds worse. I like your line out idea but also must agree that speakers don`t sound natural with low volumes. Thanks again for the response!
    -Jesse


    Any other ideas out there???
     
  4. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    I'm sure there are plenty who would disagree with me about the Demeter vs. Randall--just one man's opinion. I'd get a few more before deciding, or buy used so you can A/B them and re-sell for no loss if you need to.

    Apart from trying a billion speakers and wrapping socks around the handles to keep them from rattling, I didn't do anything. Didn't add foam on the inside. Mine is currently loaded with an Eminance Red Fang and I use it with 20-ish watt amps. I use an AKG C3000B mic as well, which was a big step in the right direction for me. Before that I was using an SM57 and that didn't sound very good in the iso cab. They actually tell you (Randall) to use a condenser mic with the Iso cab, so I should have figured that out sooner rather than going with the standard SM57.

    Again, your mileage may vary.
     
  5. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    I have no issues using, either one of my Demeter iso cabs with a Hot plate, or the Hot plate's line-out to a speaker sim...
    Everything here www.eddegenaro.om/audio is done like that.
    And the volume is less than a POD, and feels better.

    So my guesstimate is that either you have to learn to eq the amp to the speaker and mic. Or just load it down and run it through a palmer, tthe speaker sims in NI's guitar rig or use Waves Q-clone.
     
  6. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Ed,
    Always thought your clips sounded nice, but I didn`t realize they were recorded with an isocab!! How difficult is the Demeter cab to work with? Or, I should ask, was mic placement difficult due to resonances/boominess etc...
    I make no bones about the fact that I am not the best engineer when it comes to micing up a guitar cab, but I seem to be having a difficult time with this particular cab as of late. I am not doing anything extreme tone wise either, pretty much everything around noon (highs and mids a little above, bass a little below, gain a shade above) on the dial and I am getting nothing but a very brittle sound (not flubby or bass heavy...its difficult to describe, kind of like the way that the first pods had a harshness to them). Its just been damn frustrating lately!
    Thanks again for your time!
    Jesse
     
  7. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    If you don`t mind me asking, do you mind sharing any of the details of the highs and lows of your speaker search?
     
  8. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

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    I was mainly looking for a speaker that would sound good with a range of 20-ish watt amps that I use / used with my recording setup (Dr Z Carmen Ghia, Budda Superdrive 2 18 watt, THD Bivalve, Boogie DC-2, Fuchs ODS DRRI, old Supro head, a few others).

    The stock vintage 30 was fairly shrill sounding in the Randall, though it sounded fine if I opened the lid and played out loud. Greenback was a bit harsh. I liked a Celestion blue in there, but it was too low-powered to be safe. Tried a Weber alnico magnet speaker (forget which), a G12H30 and settled with the Red Fang. Has a nice compression to it, but still jangly when it needs to be.

    I imagine you'll want a higher powered speaker, however, even with an attenuated 100-watt rig.

    Ed's suggestions above are gold--just listen to his clips, he really knows what he's doing, and the Palmer is a great idea, too. Actually, you could try using the POD for speaker emulation I think...switch off the amp modelling and just use the speaker modelling. I seem to recall doing that with my THD Bivalve--combining the direct out + POD and mixing that with the regular output mic'd up for a nice sound.
     
  9. bjm007

    bjm007 Member

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    I would try and track down a Palmer PDI-03 speaker simulator/emulator. They are a sought after item since being discontinued years ago, but they come up from time to time. They sound great and guys like Satriani, Petty/Campbell, EVH, etc.... have been using them for years. They have a built in load, but you can use them with any impedance cab or hotplate and they work really well... With a hotplate for example, you can record in complete silence if you want. Worth looking into for sure...
     
  10. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    When you mic a speaker in a small box like an iso cab, the effect the small box will have is that it will add the reverberance of a small space to the sound and perhaps some unpleasant resonant standing wave type frequencies which will be related to the physical dimension measurements of the box. These artifacts will be less prominent than the actual sound of the speaker because your mic is likely much closer to the speaker itself than the walls of the enclosure. Doubling the distance of any source from a microphone decreases the level by 6db, so if the mic is one inch from the speaker but four inches from the wall of the cab, the sound of the reverb is much lower by the time it gets back to the mic than the actual sound itself. The brittle sound you hear is coming from the speaker itself. When you stand up in a room and listen to a regular non iso guitar cab which is below your ears and you get it to sound good to you with the amp eq your ears are off axis from the speakers and the brittle qualities are attenuated somewhat. If you put your ears down where the speakers are you will hear the brittle tones that your mic is hearing now. If you want to get good tones when micing a sound source the best way is to move your ear around until you like what you hear and put the mic there. This is not as easy to do when mic-ing a blasting guitar cab as your hearing probably wouldn't last to long! If you like the way the guitar sounds from above the cab then put the mic there. I get great recorded tones by placing a mic just above a speaker about an inch away from the front of the cab pointing down toward the ground or actually I usually angle it toward the bottom rim of the speaker. This gives you the sound of the speaker as you hear it from above off axis which usually sounds great because you have dialed it in as such. In your case with an iso cab it is more difficult because you are constrained by the small enclosure. If you are able to get this mic placement it may work well with the iso cab but I have not tried it with such a cab myself. Doing this type of mic technique in an iso cab probably get rid of the brittleness but it will cause the artifacts of the box that we talked about earlier to become more prominent so you have to decide if such a compromise is acceptable. Also, you may need a side entry mic to pull it off.

    If you are unable to do this your only other option as pertains to the iso box is to make the on axis sound of the speaker itself sound the way you need it to and that is usually with radically different amp eq than you are used to using when playing normally. Usually much lower treble and mids. Try everything from treble all the way down and all in between. Pointing the mic directly at the center of the cone will be the brightest and most harsh and brittle and that will decrease as you move the mic out to the edge of the cone. Good to have someone move the mic while you listen to your monitors. Of course changing out the speaker and/or mic for something different could help as well once these above points have been addressed.
     
  11. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Thanks all, especially lionsden and Riscchip! I have a renewed vigor to get back to experimenting with my cab again.
    I believe I will also try using the POD as a cab simulator as I had forgot all about doing something like that, should be interesting.
    Thanks again everybody!
    -Jesse

    I also think I may start searching for a new speaker, perhaps a G12H30 will be where I will start. May even be able to get away with a greenback or other lower wattage speaker as I am actually running the XTC in 50 watt mode and attenuating it. By the way, I can't suggest the Airbrake enough, I really think it does an awesome job. I liked the hotplate as well but wanted something I could use at multiple ohm settings.
     
  12. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Ya know if the Randall iso cab is remotely the same as the Demeter ones...which is my assumption. You should be able to sleep walk throug mic placement. Especially with a V30. ANd say a SM57/MD421/E609.
    The only times I come across guys that have issues with it is when they are going in with the expectation that the coffin will sound like their fave 4x12. Never gonna happen. That said you can get a bitchin' tone from it.
    Obvious things...if it's harsh screw with the amps eq and see whether you can get it to where you like it.
    Also if you want to really get scientific about mic placement...crank the XTC gain wise so it hisses like a mofo. The grab some head phones and move the mic until you find the spot that has the loudest hiss. Try it there and then readjust the EQ.

    As for boomy-ness...never had any issues with it. But I try to get the mic way close on the speaker to get as little reflection as possible.
     
  13. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Okay...if the V30 is harsh to you, you're not gonaa be happy with a H30...more top, and less bottom. That ain't gonna help.

    As for the Hot Plate/Airbrake...same if you use an 8 ohm Hot Plate, or any 8 ohm attenuator and mismatch.
    Plus if you still have the Hot Plate I suggest to try that when miking. For all this the Hot Plate is screwing with my tone claims. I use it on everything I record and usually the EQ switches are all I need to adjust my tone.
    But what do I know I work for those evil folks at THD that make those things to screw with tone meisters. :)
     
  14. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Ed,
    Thanks for the heads up on the H30. As for the hot plate, I thought (and I guess I was wrong in my assumption) that if you had a 4 ohm hotplate, you needed to have your amp in 4 ohm and a 4 ohm cab, if 8 ohm hotplate you needed 8 from amp and 8ohm cab (etc.)???
    I had a Univalve a couple of years back that had the hotplate built into it (as you obviously know :D ) which is where my opinion of the hotplate stems from.
     
  15. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Ideally you do, but that's from a sonic preference. I/we do believe a matched load sounds better. That said you can always mismatch 2:1...and any attneuator claiming to be "one-size-fits-all" does exactly that.
    If you have a 8 ohm Hot Plate and want to use it with a 16 ohm cab...set the amp tp 8 ohm. If you have one and want to use it with a 4 ohm load set the amp to 4 ohm...done.

    Now as for the UniValve's Hot Plate...that should be called baby-Hot Plate or something since it really isn't the same as the stand alone version.
     
  16. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    It seems from the pics that I have seen of the demeter that the cabinet is a bit larger in size, and the door to the speaker is definately different. The size issue, of course, could just be a matter of perspective.
    I have no expectation that the coffin will sound like my old 4x12, I recognize it is not physically possible. Even though I have had my iso cab for some time now, I am really just now getting to start to play with it for recording pruposes (computer was down for quite awhile...almost a year).
    I actually don`t find the V30 in the room to be harsh, but it seems that my recorded tone is straight brittleness, as lionsden pointed out.
    Basically, I think what it comes doen to is that I need to play with it some more. Basic case of blaming the equipment and not the pilot:D
    Thanks again!
    -Jesse
     
  17. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    That makes sense, I will now have to look in to picking one up!
     
  18. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Hey you can always gimme a call at the shop and we can talk about how to get the basic **** going...easily.
     
  19. GYBE!

    GYBE! Member

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    Thanks! May just have to do that!
    now though, it is time to sleep. I am responsible for expanding the mind of unwilling undergraduates tomorrow at 8 AM!!!Ahh, the joys of teaching a morning chemistry class!
    Take care
    -Jesse
     
  20. gtrplr71

    gtrplr71 Member

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    100 watts is crazy in an apartment.
     

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