High quality Amp Mike

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by jduv, May 29, 2008.

  1. jduv

    jduv Member

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    I did a bit of searching and didn't find a relevant thread. If there's already one out there, then please point me to it =D.

    I have been miking my Orange AD-30r with my little SM57 for a while now. I am going through an Apogee interface into Logic Pro. I was wondering if there is a better mike out there to capture my amp a little more clearly. The 57 always sounds like it's a little muddy and doesn't pick up the highs of the amp very well.

    Of course, I could just be positioning the mike incorrectly. I have it centered up on the cone of the speaker, about 1 inch from the tweed of the amp face. I have also tried miking it at the outer circumference of the speaker cone, which sounds a little different but no better than miking it dead center.

    Any suggestions on a high quality mike amp?
    Also, do you have any techniques to get a better sound out of what I have?
     
  2. guitardr

    guitardr Silver Supporting Member

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    Off-axis, distanced miking, and rear miking are all various ways of miking in the studio to hear the various freq's and the air being pushed. So many mikes are capable of being swapped out or used to get different tonal shades too. The sound man years ago for Blues Busters (Paul Barrere, T. Lavitz, Freebo, Catfish Hodge, and Larry Zack) wanted to buy some EV PL96's I had as if they were better than 57's. Another session where I used a Vibratone box had the engineer use a Sennheiser 421, which I thought more for vocals/acoustic use. Go to EQ magazine and sleuth out their archive for ideas and directions in mikes & techniques.
     
  3. jduv

    jduv Member

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    Thanks for the magazine recommendation. I'll be checking it out!
     
  4. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    If an SM57 isnt giving you everything you want then try adding a second mic like a Large Condenser or even a cheap Ribbon like the Cascade Fat Head.

    The 57 close really gets the sounds that you want but sometime you need something paired with it to get that full body. A LDC mic alone would might sound as if it were missing the SM57 up close too.

    An SM57 solo does great things but if you are looking for more I would add a second mic to the SM57 first over changing it out.
     
  5. mbetter

    mbetter Member

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    The Sennheiser 609 is a nice mic too.
     
  6. gitman

    gitman Member

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  7. jduv

    jduv Member

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    I use my SM57 for live shows as well as for recording. I'm not opposed to using a different mike for each application given I'm convinced that I'm actually getting a benefit in the situation.

    I'll check out the electrovoices.

    I also noticed at a dream theatre show last night that several of the guitar cab setups had dual mikes. It appeared that there was an SM57 dead center of the cone (on a Mesa cab) and another condenser looking mike at the outer rim. I thought it was an interesting setup, so I figured I'd mention it here =D.
     
  8. jduv

    jduv Member

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    Here's another question:

    If I were going to buy another Mike to mix with the SM57 (my apogee has two inputs after all), what would anyone recommend? What are the shortcomings (frequency wise) of the SM57?
     
  9. jduv

    jduv Member

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    I'm going to try the SM57 + a large condenser (thanks for confirmation shawntp).

    I talked to a GC guy--this guy seemed to know his stuff but since I'm a recording noob I probably couldn't recognize good advice from sales pitch at this point, and he recommended the E609 (thanks mbetter). I might check one of those out and see what sounds I can get from mixing it with the SM57. There's also the MD421 (500 bux tho) that I can consider swapping the SM57 out with if I get a large christmas bonus or something.

    Thanks for all the input!
     
  10. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

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    If you have it your budget for "high quality" mic as you say, the next level up from a 57 would be to the ribbons like a Royer 121 or a Coles 4038. Along with the 57 both are studio standards widely used on major label recordings.
     
  11. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    AT4047 is a well know LDC that pairs well for cabs (its a good quality all around mic to have for vocals/others).

    If you are just doing guitar cabs there are probably cheaper options too but the 4047 is a good price/performer on the used market.

    I would also say the Ribbon option might fly - I hear lots of people are loving the Cascade fat head for guitar cabs with a 57 to balance all the low end of the ribbon.
     
  12. jduv

    jduv Member

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    I run the amp relatively loud because this particular strain of AD-30 doesn't start sounding good until the volume is at around 12 o' clock or higher. I am very careful to not overload my Apogee, so I don't think the issue is there either--good question though!

    What you say makes perfect sense, and I'm glad I didn't plop down the cash for the sennheiser. I'm going to take your advice and mess with the placement of SM57 until I get a decent sound out of it and then worry about getting a condenser to mix with it.

    I was also looking at the Rode NT1A, any people familiar with this guy in a guitar miking application? I was also thinking about a ribbon mike too, but I don't know the difference between that and a condenser (thx for the suggestions Ulysses and shawntp).
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Try aiming it at the seam where the dust cap meets the cone, and also try placing the rig in a highly reflective area, like a tile bathroom or an empty closet. Adding a LDC farther away is also a good idea (but not in the bathroom or closet). Someone mentioned the AT4047 as a good mic for that and I agree.
     
  14. jduv

    jduv Member

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    Apologies, I forgot to highlight the type of sound I'm going for. I mostly play mid gain rock, and sometimes dabble in the realm of harder stuff (as much as my AD-30 can handle). I like to hear the tone of the guitar more than just fuzz, and my recording guitars range from a highly modified Telecaster to a Les Paul R8 (see my sig for a full list).

    I just want to pick more of the dynamics of the amp. Jump on iTunes and check out Foo Fighter's newest album (Echoes silence patience and grace) and listen to track 8 (Summer's End) or track 4 (Long Road to Ruin). It blows me away how alive Groel's amp sounds. You can hear all the upper register harmonics perfectly.

    I know my little AD-30R can reproduce those tones, and I know that my own tweaked amp tone is much more complex than what I'm getting from the SM. I just need to figure out how to capture that complexity =D.
    Yeah, its a 2003 model, single channel, AD-30R. I like my amps simple, and this is as simple as it comes. Jack the volume, dial in the pedal board, and you're ready to rock. It also has tesla tubes all around, so it sounds fantastic and is less grimey than your typical AD-30. It's basically a vox with more balls.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Start saving up for a Royer... <g>
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Not to slag Orange amps, I truly love 'em. But they sound nothing like a Vox to me, not even close. JMO.

    I dunno what speakers you're using, but if they're those awful Vintage 30s then the first thing you might want to do is grab some ToneTubbys (ToneTubbies??). Then any mic you put on it will sound 100x better.

    Amazing, what good speakers will do for a microphone!
     
  17. jduv

    jduv Member

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    Hah maybe it's just me wishing it sounded like an old 60's AC-30 ;).

    It's definately much darker than a Vox, but the Tesla's brightened it up a little and reduced the standard Orange grime that comes with this line of amps. It's one of the better sounding AD-30's I have heard, and I'm not just saying that because it's my amp. There's also an interesting story behind it.

    I played this amp at Atlanta Discount Music in Spring of 06, but being a broke college kid I didn't have the cash to procure it. Plus, I wasn't completely happy with the sound--too dark and muddy. But, I had performed some studio recording with an older 80's AD-30R so I knew that this line of amp was capable of good tone when properly tweaked. A year later, I got a decent job, saved up some moniez, and started surfing TGP for an AD-30R. Lo and behold within a month, I find a local Atlantean selling an AD-30R for an amazing price (with Tesla Tubes). Turns out, it was the _exact_ same amp I played a year ago, but it sounded loads and loads better. It amazes me what a simple tube upgrade can do. Pretty freaking cool how that worked out =D.
    I have a set of greenbacks in an old Marshall cabinet that I bought in the early 90's. I may pull those out and experiment. I think the AD-30R comes with Celestion vintage 30's and I haven't changed them out.

    Anyway, before this turns into an amp discussion I'll shut up now and get back on topic =D.

    This album is a little different than your standard Foo + Groel release. There are an abundance of tracks where you can tell he's layered the hell out of it, but there are also some tracks (the beginning of Summer's End) where I believe it's just a single track, and his tone is monstrous =D.
     
  18. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    is it a matter of the recorded amp not sounding like you're used to hearing it? or is it a matter of the track not fitting into the mix? I ask b/c these are two completely different things.

    A mix is a sum of the parts--and often the most wonderful sounding, pristine, wide-range, full-spectrum amp recording will NOT be what you want b/c that takes up way too much sonic real estate in the mix.

    this is one of the reasons that the sm57 is so widely used is b/c it takes EQ so well. it's a VERY easy mic to sculpt into a tone that works inside a mix. and rarely when listening to an album, are you hearing the "naked tone". you're hearing a tone that's been eq'd, compressed, limited, reverbed, echoed, possibly harmonized and god knows what else in the mixing process.

    anyway, just a word of warning/wisdom when recording guitar--going for the best recorded guitar sound in history may end up working against the overall mix.


    cheers,
    wade

    PS--that said, depending on the amp and desired sound, i've found that the shure sm57, sm58, shure 545, sennheiser 409, 609, md421, EV RE38, MXL V77, MXL 603, and even sennheiser e835 can all turn out excellent amp recordings. lots of people like the Royer 121/122 and the neumann km184/km84 on amps too.
     
  19. jduv

    jduv Member

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    Understood. I'm not really tracking anything seriously as of yet. One of the first things that I learned when doing guitar work on a pop album a year back is that my tone really wasn't that big of a deal because the guitar was so down in the mix. What I want to do is tweak until I get a unique recorded sound out of my amp that I enjoy listening to =). Everyone here has given me a plethora of different factors that I can think about and play with--thanks =D.
     
  20. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    cool. here's another thing to think about. how does your recording room sound? is it acoustically treated? that will also go a long way towards improving your recorded sounds. we throw a LOT of money at mics and mic preamps and converters and clocks and all that......when the first thing we need to be doing is "fixing our room".

    also, get the amp off the ground. put it on a couple chairs or bar stools or something. it's amazing how much tone the ground sucks out of an amp. plus there's the whole initial reflections off the floor issue when the amp's sitting on the floor.

    as for mic positioning, with an sm57, i find a good spot is often about 1/2 way between the edge of the cone and the middle, with the mic angled towards the edge of the cone about 45 degrees (off axis). YMMV.

    and don't disregard the mic sitting loose in the back of the amp. :banana


    cheers,
    wade
     

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