need a mic that sound like what I hear: Fool's errand?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by gdomeier, Jan 17, 2008.


  1. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    I am looking for a mic that captures my amp's tone a close to what I hear in the room as possible. Does anyone have suggestions? My sm57 gets good recorded tone, but it also add it's own strong flavor.
     
  2. nbarts

    nbarts Member

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  3. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    What is an ORTF pattern (for that matter, what is an XY pattern)? Thanks!
     
  4. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Beyond looking for just a mic, you really need to have a good mic pre. You can buy great mics but if the pre isn't good you really aren't getting anywhere near the results you 'could' be getting.
    Most home studio budgets don't include $5k+ for mic pres, so most guys never really hear the difference they can make.

    Aside from pres, a great guitar amp combo is a ribbon and a good dynamic, very close to the grillcloth. Some people use a condenser to get room sound, but unless you have a good sounding room, that may not gain you much.

    Other things to keep in mind are phase issues - if you use more than one mic, you have to make sure they are equal distance from the speaker or you'll get time (phase) problems. You can reverse phase on one of the mics and fix that most of the time.

    Another issue is how different mics react to the transient attack of your speaker. If you stick a really nice large-diaphragm condenser close to the amp, you may think "hey, this is a super-nice mic, so it should sound good.." but it won't because the large diaphragm is going to have trouble reacting fast enough to the air assaulting it, causing crappy tone.
    The effective range of a mic like an SM57 or similar is very short as well, really only about 1 foot or so. Any farther back and the mic totally loses it's efficiency. Even a few inches can drastically change bass response. etc...

    Strategic (correct) use of compression is a big factor in getting great guitar sounds as well, and getting them to sit right in a mix.

    Capturing the sound that you 'hear' in the room with the amp can be a total challenge...frustrating at best! :puh
     
  5. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    JohnM is right about the mic pre making a big difference as well. I've used an AT 4033 from anything from a BlueTube to an Octapre to a Great River. The mic always sounds so much better and I really enjoy it now.
     
  6. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    That's for the tips and encouragement! My current mic pre is an emu 1820m. I will do some experimenting with mic positions and multi-miking. I do have a couple 57's here.
     
  7. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    It's a fools errand....can't be done. Here's why:
    • Your hearing is non-linear...it will compress high volume sounds, and has a frequency response that is a function of volume (Fletcher-Munson effect)
    • Your head, nose, and outer ear shape all act to baffle the sound and create/absorb reflections in a particular manner that give you spatial cues regarding the direction of sounds that you are hearing. In order to get this in a microphone you'll need to a binaural setup that is attached to your head. It will also need to be played back on headphones and will only really work for your ears. Generic binaural heads can be purchased, but again they only work with headphones. Sphere baffled omnis work with speakers and headphones, but aren't as powerful at imaging as true binaural heads.
    So, that said there is no mic that will match the sound that you hear in your head. Instead, I'd suggest that you get familiar with multi-micing techniques....try incorperating a distant mic (or stereo pair) and blending that with your close mic. Try putting a delay (with no feedback, and set to full wet) on that distant mic, and vary it from 0ms to 100ms...this will act like a pre-delay on a reverb. Try compressing your room sound. You'll get a feel for how signal processing, and mic techniques can alter the sound and get you closer to what you're hearing in your head.

    Cheers

    Kris
     
  8. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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  9. ivers

    ivers Member

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    Very cool... thanks for that!
     
  10. meterman

    meterman Member

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    this has become my new favorite forum :)
     
  11. rosscoep

    rosscoep Member

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    Close mic the cab and then check out a ribbon for the room. Royer's sound nice.
     
  12. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    The Royer R-121 comes as close as anything I've used.

    If it's a combo, use one of those on the front and then throw a 57 in the back. Pan 'em out a little and you'll swear the amp is sitting right there.

    Check the phase, tho.

    Loudboy
     
  13. Hiwatt Bob

    Hiwatt Bob Member

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    i agree--ribbons sound the most lifelike to me. dynamics seem to lack the kind of 'space' or 3D quality. Condensers seem to sound far too excited in certain freq. Both sound good--but they don't really sound exactly the way my ears are hearing it. Ribbons seem to come the closest. My new Royer seems particularily good for this. i don't have a ton of experience with a wide range of good quality mics--but the Royer is by far the best i've heard so far in this regard.
     
  14. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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  15. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    Thanks again everyone one. Just to clear up why I want it to sound "like I hear it in the room". I like to record gear sound samples, and they would be more useful to me if I could more accurately capture that sound.
     
  16. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    In my case, I seriously doubt that the sound I hear in the room is the "best" sound for the song I'm creating when taken in context. I never understood the need to literally transcribe the tone you hear in the room to the recorded tone emanating from stereo speakers. Unless the goal is to make clips that acurrately translate the tone in the room. That's another matter altogether.

    EDIT: never mind, I just read the post immediately above. Sorry.
     
  17. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Same experience here. The first session I did with one was an ear-opener. I remember sitting in the control room in awe at the sound that was coming out of the monitors. My thoughts were along the line of, "Wow! That sounds like my amp."

    Bryan
     
  18. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    :) No problem
     
  19. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Iterations of this thread seem to spring up monthly.

    We gotta get us a FAQ or sumpin'.
     

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