Life Like Guitar Recording?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by leond, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. leond

    leond Member

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    I recently tried recording my guitar. The signal chain was guitar into amp, miked with a Shure SM 57 into a Digidesign MBox into Pro Tools LE running on a G4 PowerBook. I placed the mic next to the speaker grill in the center of the speaker.

    When I played back the recording through my PA, the guitar sounded very thin compared to the live sound. I also listened through a set of AKG K241 headphones. It sounded thin through those also. It didn't sound anything like it did live.

    I spent the next hour trying different mike placements. I found that close miking, off center filled out the sound somewhat but it still wasn't nearly the sound of the guitar live.

    So, is it possible to get a true recording with this setup? Do I need to try locating the mike differently or try different mikes. Or is this something that's normally handled with some EQ in the software?

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    LeonD
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Leon, it's hard to capture the sound of the entire rig in a room, because the room is so much of the sound.

    When you close mic, you mostly get the sound of the speaker; some cab resonances are lost, there's no room effect.

    By close miking, you eliminate the effect of everything reverberating in the room, and causing various room modes, etc. So you miss the "bigness". You do get a good track for a mix that way, but, sure, there's a tradeoff.

    If you want to capture that "big" sound, you can set up a condenser mic 5 or 6 feet from the cabinet and mic it at whatever height seems like a good perspective; also mic the back of the cabinet if it's open backed, and the speaker cone. Blend all three, and you have...

    soup!

    Soup doesn't sit well in most mixes, but solo it sounds pretty good.

    Or, take two condenser mics, and mic the cab in stereo from a few feet away. This may give you a picture of what you're hearing as you play.

    On a personal note, I hate being in the studio the way a heroin addict hates the drug but can't stop taking it.

    I think there should be a 12 step program for musicians who are addicted to the studio.
     
  3. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Les has forgotten more about recording than I'll ever know. That said, I have a cheapo MXL condenser that I put 15-18" in front of the cab and find that the resulting track sounds pretty similar to what I hear in the room.

    Your mileage may definitely vary but that's what I'm doing at the moment.
     
  4. leond

    leond Member

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    It NEVER ends, does it? First the guitar, then the amp, then the computer and I'm also thinking of getting a drum kit. And out of the blue, some microphones. What else would I spend the money on, the kids college education? Or paying off loans? Nooooooooo. More microphones! :p

    So, can you guys offer a few recommendations for decent condencer mics? I wouldn't want them to be the weakest link in the signal chain but they don't need to be much better than demo quality.

    Thanks for the replies,,
    LeonD
     
  5. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Dunno if they're "decent" but I've been using the 991 from this $100 mic set. They're the same price at Guitarget.
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Try the 57 about four inches away from the grill, aimed directly at the seam where the dust cap meets the cone. I've found that works very well for me.

    If you put the the cabinet in a highly resonant room like a tile bathroom it works even better, I've found.
     
  7. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    I've always gone for the natural sound rather than a close mic sound.

    I use an AKG C3000 about 1 or 2 feet away from the amp at a 45 degree angle to the speaker cone.
     
  8. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Leon-my advice is to forget trying to capture the sound of the amp in the room, it can't be done.

    Anytime you put a mic in front of an amp you are changing the sound drastically.

    To get a recorded sound that's close to what you hear from your amp will usually mean altering the amps sound to counter the effect of the mic.
    Generally this means less gain and lowering the treble.

    These days, when I record I don't even listen to the amp direct. I listen to what's coming out of the mic and adjust the amp/mic position accordingly.

    One thing to remember about '57's is that they are very directional and positioning is key. They can sound good but they are not the easiest mics to get a good sound out of if you are not experienced with them.
    A larger diaphragm condenser will be easier to deal with but I like the way a '57 sits in a mix so I still use it.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Actually, I got an uncanny sound from a Blue Dragonfly mic, set up about five or so feet from that Bogner 212 I had.
     
  10. Boogs

    Boogs Member

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    i really like the very-reasonable ($200) AT3035 large-diapragm condensor on guitar cabs. about 6" away or so, and 1-2" off-center seems to be a safe bet, though i've put it up to 2" away as well.
     
  11. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

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    I strongly second this approach!!! AT3035 is quite capable of picking up the SOUND of the guitar largely as you are hearing it in the room, but the resulting tracks when using this mic still sit very well within the mix. Keep in mind the FEEL of the guitar in the room though is going to have mostly to do with sound pressure level's rather than the actual tone/sound of the guitar.
     

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