• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Recording advice please: recording guitar

born_hard

Member
Messages
294
Hi fellows,

all i want to do is to record a more or less professional guitar sound / mainly overdriven electric ( i have Logic 9, Apogee Duet and an Audix i5 dynamic and Rode NT1-A condenser microphone). I have a very nice collection of amps, too.
Now, here it comes: I built an "isolation booth" for the guitar cabinet (4x12). The cabinet is surrounded by lots of mattresses and pillows so that i can crank the amplififier somewhat. The size of this small cabinet-room itself (where the cabinet sits) is about 30"W x 35"H and about 70"D.
My mixing/monitoring place is in another room, so that i can crank the amp really good and i am using headphones for monitoring.
In the next step, i was experimenting with the 2 microphons i mentioned above. I testes different positions, i also blended the 2 Mikes, but the results are, well ...not that good (there is some degree of phasing issues which i wont cure with time aligning of the signals in Logic. For that i need a Redeye IBP).

I just need some inspiration from you, what can i do now. Which direction should i take? My goal is to capture the sound of the cab in the room onto tape....!

1)Shall i buy other microphons (like SM57 or a Fathead ribbon..)?
The Audix i5 which is on axis on the grill is not bad, but i miss body and 3D. Also the attack on the strings is hollow. The condenser captures the whole 4x12 sound better, since is about 15" in front of a loudspeaker but then a miss girth and somewhat agressiv sound. Its more "bluesy" and smooth

2) Shall i change the 4x12 to a 1x12, so that i can crank out the **** of this 1 loudspeaker? Loudspeakers tend to loose efficiency at higher db`s so they seem to be quiter and I mean, i cant crank a 100Watt top, so my idea was that an 1x12 with a Celestion V30 will yield better results = little more speaker breakup.

3) A better mic preamp. I`m just buying the Chandler Germanium Preamp, btw.. we will see.

4) Other ideas?

I know, a good room is all i need for recording a guitar and multiple mics and blending them. But i dont have a good room and im convinced that even with 1 mic, i shall get some good results.

Thanks Aron
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
Don't make assumptions. Try removing the "amp cabin" if you want "the sound of the cab in the room". Mattresses and such are LOUSY soundproofing. They might muffle the highs, but the lows pass right through them. To control lows at all, you need proper bass traps, preferably tuned to the room. If you can't crank the rig where you are, you need to take it somewhere that you CAN crank it.

Also, try moving the cabinet to a different spot in the room.
 

Steve Dallas

Member
Messages
8,321
I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but after years of struggling to get good mic'd guitar tone in my recordings and do it consistently is less than stellar rooms, I gave up and started using modelers. I have used them ever since and have never looked back. Before you spend a bunch of money on mics and preamps and ISO boxes and all that stuff, think long and hard about putting it into something like an 11R or an Axe-FX or Guitar Rig 4.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but after years of struggling to get good mic'd guitar tone in my recordings and do it consistently is less than stellar rooms, I gave up and started using modelers. I have used them ever since and have never looked back. Before you spend a bunch of money on mics and preamps and ISO boxes and all that stuff, think long and hard about putting it into something like an 11R or an Axe-FX or Guitar Rig 4.
There is wisdom here. IMHO, you can NEVER truly reproduce the depth, impact, and detail of a real guitar amp on a pair of iPod earbuds or some crappy little speakers with a ten watt solid-state amp anyway. Modern modelers sound good enough that even the golden ears have a very hard time telling the difference between a model and a real amp (even more so in a mix context), and sometimes, the model sounds better!

Personally, I use both. I've gotten tones from modelers that I can't reproduce with a miked amp, as well as modeled tones that were pretty darn close to real amps and a lot less hassle. But I like miking amps too.
 

Moe45673

Member
Messages
6,020
Practically speaking, the modelling solution is best. I use it (Amplitube 3) and it sounds fantastic.

However, it sounds to me like the OP would like to learn the process and have the experience of mic'ing an amp and having it sound good. If someone came up to me with their guitar amp, good mics, preamps, etc, and said "Record me!", the sound would probably suck. I don't have that experience, although if I ever got to learn how to do it in a proper environment, with the ability to experiment, make mistakes, etc, it would be invaluable to know.

Having said that, it seems the industry standard is to record guitar amps with a Shure SM-57, at least according to Practical Recording Techniques by Bartlett and Bartlett (a well respected resource).
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
11,881
Dump the mattresses, put the amp about 2/3 of the way back in the room, and 2/3 from one wall. Make sure that it's firing at an angle to the walls to minimize standing waves. Close mic with the Audix, and put the LDC on a stand at about vocal mic height. Get both mics in mono at equal volume in your cans and mess with the LDC placement until it sounds right.
One Jimmy Page trick for multiple mics is the rule of 3. One mic should be a multiple of 3 times the distance from the source as the closer mic. It works for me.
 

born_hard

Member
Messages
294
well, what can i say? I own the Axe Fx already, and i´m still convinced that micing the amp is the real deal. The sounds in the Axe Fx could be my Plan B if i cant get it right with the real thing. I mean, the clean or metal sounds are maybe more than ok, a crunchy guitar tone (think hard rock/classic rock) with the right feeling (you guitar players know: the interaction between fingers - guitar - amp) is just not there in this box. As i said, i have superior amps (Metropoulos, VHT deliverance 60 and so on) and i have the opportunity to blast them through the 4x12. So why not try to get them on tape?.
And in my original thread, i was more asking what shall i try in my given situation, i was asking for some ideas from guys who tried this before and went that route already....
I know that there is modeling, i know that a recording room with nice reflections is better then my cabinet booth which is a kind of a "bigger isolation box".
But i`m convinced that there are some tricks or some things i didnt try yet, i just need some inspiration (like try different dynamic mikes, or buy a good preamp or forget the good preamp, it makes no sense cause the Duet is not the main factor in the sound chain, or blending a dynamic with condenser and so on).
Anyway, it makes fun and can learn a lot, thats true.
 

born_hard

Member
Messages
294
Flogger59, i cant dump the mattresses, i have neighbours. even now is rel. loud (the low frequencies go through). And the 3:1 rule is -as i know- not really applicable cause:
1) it is meant for 2 sources with 2 mics (like 2 singers in a room)
2) if the dynamic is 1 inch from the grill, the condenser shall be 3 inches away? Thats not enough for the condenser i think, the condenser need to capture more of the whole cabinet and room. And also the sensitivity is very high, so that 3:1 i cant really understand. Anyway, i was trying to blend the 2 mics but something was still not right. ..well
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
11,881
I should have said a multiple of 3, 27 times the distance will work as well. I think that the problem might be that there is too much sound in the room with a 4x12, kind of like an outboard motor in a bathtub. A lot of my favorite recordings were done with single speaker amps, like Zep. Page used a small Supro to great effect on LZ1. It's tempting to close mic with a dynamic due to the proximity effect making it sound big, but I find that I dump a lot of bottom end on the guitars during mixdown so that they sit right in the mix. Sometimes I set the high pass filter as high as 500hz. I believe in the "horses for courses" maxim. If I had a church to record in a 4x12 might be just the ticket, but in a 10x10 spare bedroom it'll be too much. Remember that recording is all about creating an illusion, and what something is sitting next to affects our perception of the sound.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,615
I know this from experience....matresses just kill the sound...everything i recorded using matresses as sound proofing just made the sound dull cause they sucked out all the high end....and the high end contains all the sparkle and presence...if you want it to sound like it was recorded in a bedroom, use matresses and pillows...personally i prefer the sound of wooden floor with not a lot around the guitar cab but the mic's...or in some cases i just put down a piece of wooden floor board in my garage...

So this means there's really only a couple of ways you can go from this, if you want to spend money, get some good insulation, even if its only in the room you're using for the recording, and possibly treat it a little on top of that. Not so much to deaden the sound in the room, but so that the sound doesn't travel out into your neighbours. Another option is to go to a rehearsal studio or something and record there...somewhere you can just crank the amp. Third possibility?...move? haha...
 

born_hard

Member
Messages
294
any other suggestions?

Due to my situations with my neighbours, i cant dump the matress-cabinet, thats fact. I know that there are good recording boxes (like Rivera Silent Sister) and the matress cabinet which i built is 10 times bigger, so i will experiment with smaller cabinets first (1x12 or 2x12) and wont crank the amp too much...
Thanks
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,615
Well maybe get a smaller wattage amp? I'm in a very similar situation to you actually in that respect...so i bought an orange tiny terror...can get a good tube tone when its set to 7 watts...its loudish, but not enough so that my neighbours are likely to purchase a gun, its quieter than a lawn mower...try one out, if thats still too loud, there's some 5 watt amps out there as well...). It's also easier to get good results with a 1x12 vs a 2x12 or 4x12 btw....less phase issues. Some of those "big" guitar sounds you hear over the years were actually done with a 1x12 speaker.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
Every time I read one of these "Why don't my guitar recordings sound {great/full/like the record}?", my first inclination is to think, "OP is solo'ing the guitar tracks and wondering why they don't sound full. He thinks that 'solo'ed guitar' should sound like 'guitar in a mix' and that's just not how it works."

Is that you, OP? Gear doesn't appear to be the problem IMO. You definitely don't want to dump the dynamic for a condenser or a ribbon. You might want to record w/ two mics but, if so, expect to spend no less than one month on learning phasing and placement. And just so I'm clear: that's time that you are not recording - that is pure learning time. Two mics = far more complex than single mic.

Perhaps kludge will help out with his box analogy which I think is quite nice.
 

EastCoastRocker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,499
Just a quick note to all on the term "sound proof the room".... To sound proof, you keep inside noise out, and you keep the sound of the room in, which is great. But then you must "tune" the room, to reduce unwanted reflections and nodes.

An extreme example of this would be to "sound proof" by using two foot thick concrete.Sound wouldn't get in or out, but it wouldn't sound too good! (although it could, if the room was designed/used for reverberation) So you would need to tune the room with traps, baffels, diffusion and such even though the room was sound proof.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
Since Scott asked for it, my box analogy... I think of a recording as a box. It has height (frequency range), width (stereo field), and depth (volume and dynamics). Everything in the mix has to fit in that box. It can't leak out the sides. And the box needs to be small enough to fit through iPod earbuds or car stereo speakers.

Because the box has limited volume, the "bigger" a sound is, the less space there is in the mix for anything else. So in a well-crafted, complex mix, if you listen to any individual track solo, it can sound small, thin, weak, narrow, choose your word. That's because it makes space for everything else! It's a good citizen.

When guitarists track guitars, they expect those tracked guitars to sound like a guitar amp in the room. This is wrong. Why? Because a guitar amp in a room is a MUCH bigger box than a recording needs to fit in. It is not possible to get the sense of weight and authority of a good guitar amp through a $10 pair of earbuds. It don't fit! Now, our favorite live guitar amp tones tend to be pretty compressed - that's what guitar amps do. They sacrifice dynamic range for a sense of presence, which is a Good Thing in the big box of a live show. But in our little recording box, you want a more dynamic sound to make it seem "bigger". That means WAY less gain than sounds right through the amp! Turn down the gain. Find the spot where you say "Not enough gain!" and go a little below that. Then it'll sound closer to what you expect when recorded.

The classic guitar amp recording technique of a SM57 crammed up on the grill is all about size management. It's popular because it makes guitars sit well in a mix without a lot of fuss. It also makes the solo'd track sound like something other than what you expect. Want it to sound right? Play same damned drums and bass, add a rhythm guitar and a piano, a vocalist, and MIX. Then it'll sound right.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,615
Haha, Kludge, i love that box analogy, i told it to my mate who was having a little bit of trouble with his live mix after you posted it like a week ago in some other thread...helped him straight away as well haha. Like thats more or less what i've been doing for a couple of years, but thats the first time i'd seen anyone explain it in such clear terms.
 

KCWM

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,800
The box analogy is, indeed, really great.

Learning to record, especially in an apartment/bedroom environment has been a challenge. The biggest one I've faced was trying to get the biggest, "in-your-face" sounding guitar. Bad thing is, I did that and filled up the metaphorical box with that guitar. Sounded great by itself and like a big, muddled, and muddy mess when I added drums, bass, and the second/third/fourth guitar.

I like what I'm getting when I record now, but I am facing the issue that Scott mentioned about trying to get two mics to cooperate. I recently used a combo of an MXL 990 (replaced with a newly acquired Sterling Audio ST55) and SM57. I like the sound I'm got, but ran into a phasing issue that I have to work out. Couple that with having to keep the volumes at volume levels and there's a new twist added to the complexity that Scott talked about.

Living in an apartment, my biggest thing is keeping the noise from leaking outside of the walls. While we live in an apartment complex that has pretty good walls (I've yet to receive a complaint), I want to increase the volume a bit when I record. The guitar is on a stand of sorts, similar to this chest (but was much cheaper). It'd be easy to fill the cabinet with foam, blankets, or something else to dampen the sound. However, the wall that the amp sits against is a different story. I'd love to find an easy solution.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,615
Getting the right mic placement between two mic's takes some time...i think i've mentioned this before, but try getting yourself a pair of noise cancelling headphones, unplug the guitar, turn the amp up loud...it will have a kind of white noise/hiss to it...this is good, its actually covering a LOT of frequencies...put the first mic where you want to put it, then start moving the 2nd mic around. Don't try to find a place for it yet, just listen to how the sound changes. You'll hear the hiss...and then you'll hear like a seashell sorta sound that gets stronger until it gets to some kind of peak...and if you keep moving, it starts to get weaker again and then that hiss again. Get used to this kind of sound, there's two ways to go about placing the mic, you can find the round abouts area you wanna put the mic, and move the mic around a little bit until you hear that peak in the seashell sound and leave the mic there...this is perfectly out of phase...so flick the polarity switch...whether it be on your recorder, or in your software...most software has a phase switch...some more hidden than others...the other way you could go about it if this isn't an option is to do the same thing, but instead of looking for the peak of the seashell sound, listen for the peak of the normal hiss sound. This is when they are perfectly in phase, so leave the mic there. Recording one thing with 2 microphones is a very complex thing indeed, and its just a matter of being patient and giving attention to detail, cause once its in there wrong, its really hard to fix...at least not as easy as moving the mic 1cm...
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
Want to save 50 hours a year? Buy a phase alignment tool like the Little Labs IBP or Radial Phazer. I don't even have to think about phasing any more and I've only had my IBP for 1-2 months. It takes a few hours to really learn it but, once you do, it'll save you hours and hours. I'm literally finished with phasing issues in 5 mins per session now when using two mics
 




Top Bottom