Help! Recording cab with "mixed" speakers

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by mrmojorisin, Jan 21, 2006.


  1. mrmojorisin

    mrmojorisin Member

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    Guys,

    I'd like some help/input. I have a cab with a Weber Silver and Celestion Blue, both alnicos, and it sounds wonderful. Question is, how to best record it to capture its true essence.

    I know I could use a single farfield mic to do this (capture the way the two different speakers harmonize), but the farfield recordings see to lose a lot in dynamics in relation to near field recordings.

    I've tried using two near field mics, one of each speaker, and it works ok, but there are a few problems. First, each mic has different gain due to variations, etc, and if you do not capture each speaker with the same "gain" you are implicitly changing the harmony a bit. However, even when I get the levels right (or think I do), it seems to lose a lot from what I hear when I play the cab.

    I dont have any problems with recording other cabs. Its not the quality of my gear, recording knowledge, etc. My issue is very specific to cabs with mixed speakers.

    Who out there has solved this problem?

    Maybe I'll get lucky and Splatt will see this. Bet he's got an answer (or several).

    Carl
     
  2. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Have you tried miking both speakers as well as a room mic? I know there might be some phase issues but it might help. I recently was in a similar situation. The 4x12 cab i was miking has two pairs of speakers. I did exactly what I will describe to you and it sounded pretty realistic. I would have preferred to just put a Royer 121 or 122 out about 1ft. from the amp but that was not an option. I didn't have one and the budget did not allow. The amps were in a 10x10 room with hardwood floors.

    I used two SM57's close and a Studio Projects C3 placed about 3-4ft. from the cab.
    In this case I had the C3 about 4 feet above the floor pointing down at a 45degree angle. I had to move the mic around till the phase cohearance was acceptable. I used a little of the C3 mixed in. I did however track the three mics to separate tracks just in case I change my mind later.

    I hope this helps a bit.......Good luck........
     
  3. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I'd like to know this, too, for future reference. If you track each speaker separately, then mix....does this work?
     
  4. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Yes it works. The only thing you are not really capturing completely is the effect of the two dissimilar speakers mixing together in the room. The room mic will capture this but how much room mic you use is to your taste.

    Sometimes phasing can be an issue so careful attention must be taken when tracking. A little patience and extra time moving the room mic around to get it right pays off bigtime in the end.:AOK
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    You can also offset the offending track by a few milliseconds to fix the phase issue.

    My first inclination would be to pick the one speaker I like better for the particular song, then re-amp or otherwise mangle a duplicate of that track. When I have two tracks of the same guitar I like them to be significantly different, e.g. one clean, one distorted, or one with FX, one dry, etc. But if you try all three mics as suggested, play around with different combinations as you play them back. Mute them one at a time, two at a time, move the faders around, see what works.

    Sounds like an interesting experiment. Let us know how you like the results.
     
  6. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    I have been doing that this month: Germino Club 40 into a Matchless 2x12. I use three mics for the clean rhythm tracks:

    I put an SM57 onto each of the speakers, close up at the grill. Then I put an Oktava 319 condenser about two feet away from the cab.

    The 319 is bright and gets the attack, plus some air. The two SM57s are darker and get the notes and grind. No phase issues that I can detect.

    I run each mic into a separate track. I pan the 319 dead center, then pan the two 57's R and L. Dab of reverb, and it sounds huge.

    When the lead guitar comes in, I decrease the amount of the 319 track, so the darker 57s fill in the rhythm sound, and the lead sound isn't fighting the brighter 319 track.

    So far, so good ...

    Kiwi
     
  7. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    I believe it. When the phase issues are minimized multiple mics can sound very big. Of course the reason why is because of some of the favorable phase cancellation but think of it as EQ. Like your ears do already :)
     
  8. Bob Savage

    Bob Savage Member

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    As far as I'm concerned, chasing the sound in the room is futile. Plus, where in the room are you chasing? How are you going to simulate the response and directional properties of your ears?

    When tracking, my goal is to get the best recorded tone I can, and not worry about the room.
     
  9. Effect of Sound

    Effect of Sound Member

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    I like Kiwi's method. I would do something similar but maybe also try two seperate 57's at the same distance (right on the grill or two inches away from grill. Just go the same distance for both mics. Adjust the input leves so it is similar read on the meter. When you mix down, if the guitar is sitting in the middle of the stereo field, pan one hard left and the other hard right. You could record a third track using a condenser mic, I too like the Octavas. When you mix down blend in the amount of that third mic that sounds good to you. Yes there might be some phase issues. A good rule of thumb is three times the distance as the other mics. Sometimes phase sounds cool. If it did not sound cool, there would not be phaser pedals.
     
  10. Effect of Sound

    Effect of Sound Member

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    Sorry Kiwi and Justicetones, it looks all three of us are on the same page.
     
  11. Kevin

    Kevin Member

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    For a big rhythm part, I like to put a Senn e906 on one speaker and a 57 on the other, both on the grill. I'll track it twice, one track with each and pan L&R. If your playing is tight, it sounds mighty good.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>When tracking, my goal is to get the best recorded tone I can, and not worry about the room.<<

    I agree completely.

    If you want to chase the sound that reaches your ears, you can really only come truly close with a surround miking technique, since you are hearing the amp reflect off of all the surfaces in the room and reaching your ears, complete with time delays, room modes, the whole nine yards.

    You might try stereo miking at ear level in an X-Y configuration with some condensers, to approximate how your head hears, but really, even the pinnae of your ears and the shape of your head affect what you perceive.

    This is why Neumann and Sennheiser have at times offered dummy heads with microphones in each ear as a recording tool.
     
  13. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    I also agree with the comment get the best recorded tone you can and don't worry about the room BUT the original post was asking how to truly capture the essence of an amp cab with two dissimilar speakers.

    Also by saying room mic in this situation I percieve that as a additional mic placed at some given distance from the sound source. Not always capturing just the room.

    IMHO, The room does now play into that specific scenario. Whether you are mixing in a single mic placed off a foot or five as I had said, or an X-Y as LSchefman stated you will only get some of the picture. As LSchefman stated It is difficult to chase the sound you hear from the amp as the ear hears it. Although if done right a room or mic placed at some given distance is usually enough to capture a bit more of the amps character in this case.

    The two speakers waveforms mixing with each other a foot or two away from the amp is 100% pertinent to the sound of the amp. Phase cancellation, and other additive effects of the two dissimilar speaker signatures will create a different sound from the amp at varying distances. Now whether or not to record anything other than close mics is a preference and also based on the quality of the room that you are recording in.

    The key is to do what sounds best to your ear based on what the amp sounds like to you in that situation. I think there is alot of good advice posted here.
     

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