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Neumann U87 as a close guitar cab mic?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Wizard of Ozz, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    The 121 has been my go-to cab mic for the last 13 years. It really works for me.
     
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  2. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Just try it and learn. It will be perfect for something. Ideally you could A/B it against a mic you are already familiar with.

    A U87 will have more detail than, say, a SM57. You may love it. I typically use condensers on guitar cabs but I don't typically put mics right on the grill. I suspect you are going for a heavier sound than I (typically) do. Play with distance, position, rotation, and pattern as needed. Also try mic combinations with varying levels, panning, and positioning -- just be mindful of phase cancellation when combining sources.

    Yes, U87s are absolutely useful for close micing guitar cabs. As an engineer, you have to choose the best tool(s) for what you are trying to accomplish. And you have to learn these tools. It's a lot like owning 3 guitars and 3 amps and choosing the best guitar and amp for the recording you are making.

    Current U87s will handle 127 dB SPL. You could damage the capsule if you turn the amp (way) up and close mic it. Capsule repairs are very costly.
     
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  3. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    I do like to employ the standard ribbon cautions' -a bit of distance, and/or an angle, for the chance 'hot plugging cone/air excursions. Shoot, they *manufactures) taught us to 'protect from air movement carrying it across the room! :>)
    Home studio only, out of R121, Fat Head, refurbished RCA Var-acoustic (cool- low-end RCA but multi-voiced/ multi-patterns! :>) ...the only ribbon I lost was the Vinjet'.
    And I have no frik'en clue how it even happened.

    Yeah that's right, comes ribbons, I'm a wuss. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  4. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    Some ribbons are indeed more delicate, but the royer is built to endure. I use it in front of the kick drum for jazz and blues all the time. That said, I wouldn't risk shoving it inside a kick for a thrash metal session! Of course they wouldn't want that sound, so it's not a problem.
    I think it's safe in front of almost any guitar rig.
     
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  5. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    Thanks. So you don't worry about the 'kick w/o an angle for example? (with the 121..
    For yhe most part tend to think 'clean guitar -121. So 'balanced seems to end up out a few inches.. Easy, safe.
     
  6. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    I would bet that it is safer to put a LDC mic in front of a loud overdriven guitar amp than a loud clean fender twin (or similar amp).

    If the amp is already heavily overdriven, it's a pretty safe and predictable signal. It will already be compressed into oblivion.

    I would be more afraid of fast transients from a loud, high headroom clean amp.
     
  7. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    Let it rip. Upside down. Right side up. Omni/8/Card. Tight/Loose. With another mic. in phase/out of phase. Angles/Straight on.
    Try not to pad the Mic Pre and DON'T pad the mic.

    At high spl, you're most likely hearing the mic pre stage fold over as opposed to the Capsule and the Fets(as @jmoose alluded to). It takes a special breed of signal chain to hear that fun!!

    None of the recipes are new or taste bad. They just may not have been what you though you were making...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  8. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    I am not sure I understand. Do you mean putting the mic slightly off axis from the sound source?

    I just face the 121 in front of the kick about 12-16" out, vertically centered on the front head.

    For guitar cabs I just put it right where I would put an sm-57.
     
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  9. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    Hmm. Now you got my wheels turnin'. :>)
    Thank you again!
     
  10. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    Right, this. But that far out, I can see no problem lest you caught 'hole air. (I pictured 'close/port!

    add... And yes on the earlier thing. They say 'angle them so they're not square on when there's a chance of 'air puffs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  11. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    Direct air, straight on from a kick head into a ribbon, stretches and tears the element. But at "X" distance, it's fine... depending. You'll hear it **** the bed and off it goes for repair. A KK-87 family capsule is a bit more stiff and has a more fighting chance straight on, but not be the tone you're looking for. So, look for angles to sink the shot.
     
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  12. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    Grins.. And unlike 'clipping a condenser' ,,you don't get a 'second chance. :>)
     
  13. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    Oh, sure, I agree. I just didn't know what he meant by "at an angle".
     
  14. ronzie

    ronzie Supporting Member

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    I figured any angle to deflect the direct hit. This is War of course, lol..
     
  15. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    Did ya'll know the (typical) ribbon has a very wide high freq pattern to one orientation, but very narrow 90 deg in the other?
    Haven't put it to much use often here, but a nice 'trait to have in the 'kit. :>)
     
  16. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Never say never or always but you'd lose that bet in a lot of cases.

    Since I assume we're talking about drop tuned "chugga chugga" guitars that kind of signal can have a HUGE dynamic swing and displacement... far from compressed and safe.

    Most of the swing occurs between palm muted and "open" chugs and mostly on the low mids & bottom... 250Hz and down can often have as much as a 10dB swing.

    That isn't a transient of any kind, not like we might commonly think of with percussion and slap bass.

    Its waaaaaay slower and moving A LOT of air. That's what can kill/overload the mic and the rest of the chain.

    Usually its possible to EQ most of that hash out right at the amp, since most likely you'll hear the speakers giving up and screaming for help before you hang a mic... or maybe you won't hear the cab falling apart..?

    If you can't hear it in the source all bets are off. It can be fairly hard for a novice, even experienced guys to figure out exactly what's getting overloaded... cab speakers, the mic capsule, the mic electronics... the preamp... some or all of the above? It is a multiple choice quiz!!!
     
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