Is mic'ing a cab really a pain?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Watt McCo, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    A (VERY) quick and dirty experiment with mic'ed cab vs. direct recording from my Kemper this morning. The profile is a glorious Matchless Cheiftan by Brian Carl.

    One clip: Kemper powered head speaker out into my 1x12" open back cab loaded with a Weber Blue Dog (30 watt, AlNico mag) mic'ed with an SM57 and a Cascade Fat Head. I paid about $210 total for this pair of mics. The only processing I did was add a 24 db/oct low cut at 60Hz on both mics. The SM57 is higher in the mix than the Fat Head. I was NOT blasting the Kemper through the cab. Not "won't wake the baby" volume, but well within "not bothering folks watching TV downstairs if I'm upstairs" volume. This was done in my "still work in progress" music room which is 12'x12' with just enough room treatment for it to work, but not enough for it to be ideal at all...like, basic bedroom "studio" scenario.

    Other clip: Kemper direct out from the studio profile, no post processing done.

    The point here isn't "which one is better?" "which one is more real". I literally slapped this together in 12 minutes, which included unpacking and assembling a mic stand, finding that second XLR cable I knew I had laying around somewhere, getting the Fat Head set up in the suspension thingy, etc. I aligned the mics by eye (having watched some videos some time ago showing roughly where the capsules are in the two mics) and that first mic positioning is what was captured. And listen to the playing you can tell how rushed I was through this. From "hey, maybe I should finally try that" thought to having the whole thing bounced out to Soundcloud was 20 minutes.

    The point also isn't "mics rule and people should stop being lazy using IRs". To the contrary. The point is don't be afraid of mics or micing cabs or intimidated by the process. Consider making your own IRs. etc. etc. etc.

     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    bsd512, Dale, aynirar27 and 7 others like this.
  2. Lord N

    Lord N Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2018
    No, it's not. And i cringe whenever i see people putting tape on their cab to mark where to mic it.
     
  3. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,011
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    I think I dodged a bullet here :anon
     
    Dale, sacakl, kafka and 1 other person like this.
  4. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,477
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Micing an amp is no pain if you use the TUL G12 mic. You just put it straight to the center of the cone and that's it. No other rules apply. Perfect guitar amp sound for recording or live. Other mics can be tricky. The Sennheiser 409 and 609 and 906 became very popular because they are also no brainers. You just put it in front of the speaker and you are set. However, you still might want to try out different placements in front of the cone and the results can make a big difference. The TUL is still a lot easier to handle because it works and is designed for only one position directly at the center of the speaker with no angle. Best mic for guitar cabs out there. For profiling with the Kemper, this mic makes all the difference.
     
    GreatSatan and Pablomago like this.
  5. Digital Igloo

    Digital Igloo Member

    Messages:
    3,349
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Location:
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Micing an amp really well can be difficult; that is, finding that ideal sweet spot while the thing is ear-shatteringly loud. Some company even makes a robot that lets you move mics remotely from the control room. Otherwise, you're hiring some poor kid wearing airport muffs to poke the stand around, millimeter by millimeter. It's even worse if you're trying to maintain perfect phase between two or more mics.

    But it's worth it.
     
    Madmax25, Aquinas, Guitardave and 4 others like this.
  6. Ejay

    Ejay Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,922
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Ive always comsidered micing as a challange. 2 mics...always phase issues around the corner...1 dynamic close mic, risk of “lack of space”...large diafragma condensors, not enough focus.
    This combined with 1mm change resulting in a very different sound.

    Yeah...pain in the **s pretty much sums it ;)

    Then again...sometimes you get lucky, place mics, open fader..and smile.

    The first clip sounded best to my ears...was that ir or mics?
     
  7. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    I don't think this is true. Like I said, I through these mics up in a minute and the volume was not loud (okay, that's because I was using the Kemper) at all. Sure, I could spend some more time working on mic placement, etc., but that's no different than auditioning a million IRs to find the one where the mic is in the sweet spot. There's certainly no magic to moving the mic around or positioning it...its not luthiery.

    My limited experience is: take classic, known mics and put them in classic, known positions, and you'll get solid tone.
     
    ejecta likes this.
  8. Digital Igloo

    Digital Igloo Member

    Messages:
    3,349
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Location:
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Oh, I'll be the first to admit I don't practice what I preach—been largely all in the box since the late 90s. But most of my rock engineer friends in LA still do it the old fashioned way, and some of 'em are picky as hell, especially about phase.
     
    dmock66 likes this.
  9. John Mark Painter

    John Mark Painter Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,853
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    For your clips, I am guessing that the first clip is mics and the second is direct.

    It sounds like some phasing is going on and the Fathead has a mushy thing going on (or I am totally wrong which is always a possibility).
    I am NOT being critical, but my point is that you can throw mics up and get a cool tone but the devil is in the details.
    If you get your direct tone right, it is always going to be THAT when you turn it on (which could get boring :)

    Putting the mic on the cab isn't a 'pain' but it changes how you work quite a bit.

    If you don't have isolation for your amp, and especially if you are engineering for yourself....it is hard to get your tone in context.
    I have some cab/mic combos that are very sensitive to mic placement.
    I don't tape my grills but I do have marks on the cloth and cab so I can see the center, cone and edges quickly.

    If you are wearing headphones standing next to your amp, you record and listen back in headphones (bad) or take off the headphones to listen back through speakers (while your ears are still confused by the headphones and standing next to your amp.
    If you have one mic combo and placement that you know works for you, that changes things.

    I record at home by myself a LOT and often resort to long speaker cables to get the cab in another room.
    Then I have to play...put down my guitar and walk to the other room and move or swap mics/cabs, rinse and repeat.
    I generally have to lean away and reach for amp controls etc.

    Going direct, I will go so far as to edit sounds on the computer so that I am not even turning away from the monitors while adjusting.
    Aside from noise issues (my amps sound terrible played quietly), this is the biggest advantage for me.

    If I am in a real studio and have an assistant/engineer and don't have to move all of my own gear, I will definitely have my amps as an option.
     
    FokenBusker, yeky83 and Watt McCo like this.
  10. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Sure, I get that. And I imagine folks that are that picky...would likely never find an IR that satisfies their needs. Life in general is going to be a pain for the picky person.

    I guess a better formulation of the question would be "is mic'ing a cab really harder than using IRs?". There's not definitive answer to that, as it will be a little different for different folks. Of course IRs have other advantage/disadvantage of having a huge variety of cabs/mics at your disposal, on-the-fly re-amping, can be totally silent, etc.
     
    Madmax25 and Dale like this.
  11. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,821
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Stabekk, Norway
    Yes it's a pain when you live in a small apartment and want to record a 100w plexi on 10.... :)

    Mic'ing at barely above bedroom volume as you did here is quite something different. If you had the real Matchless there it would have been way louder for that tone! :)
     
    Corvid and Watt McCo like this.
  12. dmock66

    dmock66 Member

    Messages:
    726
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    I recorded a CD with my band from church - original material. I used an Eleven Rack - the other guitar player used different amps/cabs on each song. In each instance, I arrived/setup/recorded/tore down in less time than it took to find where/how the other guitar player wanted to mic his cab. Was it "hard" - no. Was it tedious and time consuming - yes.

    I'm not saying one is better - but in my case I used the same tone I used playing live, just ran it into the recording interface. YMMV - but that was my experience.
     
  13. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    4,828
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    The first clip sounds like it has multipath interference (i.e., multiple mics with no compensation for differing speaker-mic distances). This is evidenced in a "tubby" kind of sound that is absent from the second clip.

    Edit: when the tubbiness is due to multipath interference, your only hope to remove that in a postprocess is to record each mic on its own track and apply strategically chosen delay to the early-arriving track to align the signals. It can be done, but it ain't always easy....
     
    Madmax25, Rod and yeky83 like this.
  14. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Is this different than just phase? Phase sounds hollow, rather than tubby, to me but maybe my ears are only use to listening for really bad phase issues.
     
  15. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    4,828
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Misalignment of arrival times does alter the relative phase of the two signals, but that is not a productive way to think about the issue.
     
    Rod and Watt McCo like this.
  16. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Thanks for the comment. Helped improve my listening a lot.
     
  17. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,821
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Yes, the title probably should be mic'ing cabs rather than amps :)
     
  18. ldizzle

    ldizzle Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Location:
    Tejas
    We're in the digi forum.
    Convenience is key to me with the digi products. Tool for a job.

    Micing a cabinet is not difficult. To do it well can take time and lots of reference. I prefer to mic in context, with IEMs, and a full-ish mix.
    Sometimes that just off the dust cap 57 w/ shrill highs fits a mix like glory... or the edge 45o md421 blubber sounds like gold. When I was touring, I used PDI09s and the JDX products in between tube amps and cabinets... FoH loved me.
     
    Watt McCo likes this.
  19. Laurence

    Laurence Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,526
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Location:
    OK in the CA
    It can take some time to find the best spot for a specific mic type, amp volume, desired tone, etc. but in addition to your ears also look at the graphs you created by recording. The mic graph is more dynamic in volume peaks and valleys, while the Kemper tracks like there's a limiter on it - limited variance. To my ears, that makes a difference. The peaks and valleys make it more lively and musical, and I only compress for mixing purposes.
     
  20. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

    Messages:
    2,155
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Number Two sounds better to my ear, more lively and dynamic. More real even though I think you said it's a direct recording from the Kemper ? So the mic I would guess took something away in the process (it usually does I find).

    Better to trust you ear and go with what works for you, than to just put your brain on auto pilot and either do what everyone else says, or just do what you always did in the past.

    Good job by the way.
     
    yeky83 and Watt McCo like this.

Share This Page