Having trouble recording with new speakers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by thorny, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. thorny

    thorny Member

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    Just got a new 4x12 from Avatar with greenbacks a week ago. I have been playing them as often as I can. When I try and record with this cab it sounds very thin and nasally, no matter where I put the mic. The mids are shallow and it sounds very scratchy on the top end. I know its not the amp because it records beautifully. Has anyone experienced this with speakers that arent broken in yet?
     
  2. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    I think you've made the correct deduction yourself: break them in before passing judgment! :)
     
  3. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    I can help you get this sorted out but need to know some additional information. To do so, I need to know what the entire signal chain is (gtr to amp/ mic to multi-track).

    If I were there with you sorting this out, I would first confirm that the amp is performing correctly now. You mentioned that it recorded beautifully in the past. Please tell me what has changed since that positive experience.

    • Get a known good cabinet to plug into to confirm that the new cab it not the issue.

    • Does the new cab sound good when you stand in front of it and play? You described shallow mids and scratchy top-end. Confirm that the new cab is wired correctly (no out of phase issues). There's lots of diagrams on the web showing the proper wiring layout for a standard 412.

    • Confirm that all the speakers are actually wired! If one speaker is "hanging" in the box it can absorb/deaden the punch of the other 3 speakers.

    Hang in there... we'll get to the bottom of it!
     
  4. sled

    sled Member

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    Possibly post a short clip.
     
  5. thorny

    thorny Member

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    Ok thanks.

    Here is the signal chain

    Guitar straight in to amp
    Cab as stated is 4x12 with celestion greenbacks(new)

    Mic is GLS ES 57(slight off center)although I have tried all the mic positions

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface

    Reaper recording software

    Here is a recording of my amp. First part of the clip is through a 1970s marshall cab with greenbacks using an sm 57 and a Lexicon Omega with cubase for software. Second part of the clip uses my setup above


    http://www.4shared.com/mp3/_Zl0Vz7k/comparison.html
     
  6. sled

    sled Member

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    Yeah the new GBs are brighter in the clip but that's not thin and nasally to me.

    Dial the amp around some and surely mic positioning can get a much more balance tone.
     
  7. thorny

    thorny Member

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    It's much more noticeable through headphones.
     
  8. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    After reviewing both sound examples, I think it's safe to say that we are not dealing with a malfunctioning piece of gear. Both sound different but good actually in their own way. I hear differences in speaker cab resonance which typically is attributed to cab material and cab shape (slant vs. straight) and possible differences in the microphone and the microphone placement.

    I'm aware the the GLS mic is attempting to be an SM57 but there might be differences in material density and construction that often go overlooked. A wider or narrower off axis sensitivity can capture a sound that quite different than a genuine SM57. Factoring in the legendary proximity effect of the SM57 (natural compression of the actual diaphragm) and you've got another major potential for tonal difference.

    I'm going to analyze the EQ signature of each example and come back here with more observations in a bit.
     
  9. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Agree. This could easily be a "trouble with mic" thread. Different mic, different cab and speakers =different sound.

    But I do believe there is a difference between a new speaker and a broken in speaker.

    FWIW, I had an avatar cab a while ago. It was vastly different compared to a cab I made to Marshall specs. Also, the Avatar was front loading, my cab was rear loading....big difference right there (although i'm not sure if vintage Marshall cabs are rear loading)

    Anyhow, in general, I agree..... it's not a gear failure, just gear differences.
     
  10. thorny

    thorny Member

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    I was trying to eq the tracks to sound the same to see where the difference was. I really had to boost the low mids and mids and cut the highs a little to get it sounding similar. I would be happy if it was something as simple as the sm 57.
     
  11. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I do think the mic matters, and the breaking in matters, but IMO, the cab could be the biggest difference. The Avatar I had was not as deep (dimension wise) and was front loading. It didn't have as much bass and low mids but it was tight, punchy and in your face. However, I'm not sure what Avatar cab you have or how close it is compared to a vintage Marshall.
     
  12. thorny

    thorny Member

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  13. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    [​IMG]

    1: This indicates around 16dB more of low end "rumble" with the knee starting around 70Hz.

    2: This is a roughly 4dB bump around 180Hz. It looks like the original cabinet had a resonance peak right about here with the remaining spectrum up to around 2.6kHz (point #7) relatively flat (which I think is a good thing).

    3, 4, & 5: This indicates to me that the new cabinet has a higher resonant frequency and there appears to be three nodes almost an octave apart. This is drastically different than the original recording and I don't attribute it to the microphone as it's simply too much variance.

    ---Assuming that both cabs are "closed back," Points 1 through 5 strongly suggest that the new cabinet has a smaller interior cubic volume. You will have a hard time achieving the bump of point 2 with the new cab without adding it back in with processing. If you perform live, it might be an issue because the mic will also "hear" the rumble of the stage and the sound guy is not going to easily comply with bumping the low end.

    6: This is a roughly 4dB dip or null at 1kHz! This could be due to the cabinet as a byproduct of the three previous peaky nodes. I think this null is responsible for the "hollow" sounding mids you referred to. You might be able to correct for this electronically but it's a pretty wide null in a critical frequency range. Too much correction will sound synthetic and I don't think you'll be too satisfied with the result.

    7. This is roughly a 5dB spike in the original recording at around 2.8kHz. This is a pretty significant presence peak and I think this is the "presence peak" you really like from the original recording and that you feel is missing from the new recording. This is a pretty big difference in "same-kind" speaker performance. It might suggest that the resonance modes of the new cab have a combined canceling effect at this frequency. Further, I don't think mic choice or positioning would move this particular frequency down by this much without any sign of other degradation - particularly when you compare both EQ curves at 2kHz and again in the 4kHz areas. Did the original cabinet feature "mixed speakers?" If you had mixed drivers in the other cab their interplay with the V30 you did mic could be responsible for this peak. Different guitars? Different pickups? EMGs vs. passive pups could also have an effect. In any case, this presence peak is in the original recording and you like it so you have to find out how to reproduce it with the gear you've got now.

    8. The original recording rolls off at 6kHz and does so with a gentler slope. The new one rolls off drastically at 7kHz. This is probably a result of the newness of the speakers and a difference in mic positioning (see next point).

    9. This is roughly a 3dB peak at around 10kHz and indicates to me that the microphone was more "on axis" with the center of the cone than the new recording. You touched on this in your original post and I think the EQ curve graph bears this out. This is another presence peak that I think you are really responding to positively.

    Net/Net: Nothing seems to be malfunctioning with your gear. Neither recording is bad. The original recording is a bit peaky at points "2 & 7" but otherwise represents an effective approach to getting a solid early VH guitar tone. The new recording requires too many "corrections" to really nail the VH tone. Aside from replacing your cabinet with one that does a better job at managing the resonance nodes, I recommend more experimentation with mic placement (with the GLS or a real SM57) on the various speakers loaded in that cab. You might find one speaker that has a lower level of the resonance peaks that are mentioned above and a mic placement that reintroduces the presence peaks that you do like. As a general rule, you will find the presence peaks that you seem to like closer to the center of the cone. They drop off dramatically as you move away from that point.

    Best of luck and keep up your quest for tone!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  14. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    The Avatar I had was smaller in every dimension. So my comparisons are not accurate.

    FWIW, and this may be stuff you already know, but cab construction varies, even within the Marshall line. Here is a thread on The Metro forum showing different construction between a reissue and a true vintage Marshall. The baffles are quite different and they discuss differences in tone.

    http://forum.metroamp.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=35438


    Vain, thanks for a really good post! Lots of valuable info there.
     
  15. thorny

    thorny Member

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    Vain thanks a ton. I think I have it mostly sorted. I moved the mic clear out to the speaker edge and wala there were the fat mids missing from my clip.:dude I think I could move it back in a little as I am lacking a little of the highs. But now the clip has the big brown middle that the other was lacking. I think as the speakers break in I will be able to move the mic closer to the center of the cone.
    Have a listen

    http://www.4shared.com/mp3/Q1Y7d27p/comparison2.html
     
  16. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    Thorny - No problem. I enjoyed rolling up my sleeves on this one!
     
  17. thorny

    thorny Member

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  18. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    Thorny - Yep, the tone is filling out nicely. What amp is that? Sounds like it's been properly dialed in. It (along with your guitar and playing technique) is really nailing that early VH tone right now. Good job.
     
  19. thorny

    thorny Member

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    Thanks Vain! The amp is a David Bray 4550 plexi. Even though I have fun doing the VH stuff the amp really does a wide range of sounds.
     

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