Techniques for recording with iso cab.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Steve1216, Dec 6, 2017.


  1. Steve1216

    Steve1216 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    537
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Im recording guitar with a bassman head going into a close miked, 1x12 isolation cab (1 mic). Not optimal, I know. But necessary. The sounds im getting are not terrible. Im just wondering if anyone has any other techniques with miking or splitting the signal to maybe get an even better tone out of an isolation cab rig.
     
  2. GravityJim

    GravityJim Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,543
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Can't help with this. My "iso cab" is half a closet, which keeps the loud guitar from bugging the wife, but still has lots of air to move and allows me to place the mic 12-18" away from the cone. It's like a giant iso box, so it doesn't sound "boxy." In fact, it's the best recorded guitar sounds I ever got.
     
  3. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Location:
    South Florida
    There are a million different ISO cab variations. I sort of approach it from "what sound am I going for" rather than "what sound am I getting".
    I've used an ISO cab a few times, and I didn't like it. It sounded too small and 'fake' to me. I narrowed it down to the fact that not enough air was being moved.
    If I were to build my own ISO cab, it would be an 8ft square box with ventilation for air to move (to let the speakers move the air). Obviously, that would be a ridiculous ISO box, but I'm just trying to make a point.

    When I used the pretty much air-tight ISO cab, I was using a Heil PR20 mic (very similar to SM57). Depending on what sound you are going for - that's what will determine where you place the mic. In an ISO cab that's air-tight - I'd place the mic closer or right on the grill. Closer to the cone means more pick detail (brighter), farther (darker). However, if I were using, say, a 5 x 7 ft closet with clothes hanging in it, etc. - that [to me] is a way better situation. I'd mic the amp further away (6-12 inches or even more) to let the sound develop 'cause there's plenty of air.

    For an ISO cab situation (and I am just referring to my own experience), I'd really play with the mic placement and the mic type. Also, (this is my own opinion - so don't shoot me), I've gotten better guitar sounds mic'ing smaller amps (4-15 watts) than bigger amps. At least that's how it's worked out for me. I wish that I had a better room to capture the room sound, but most of us have to make lemonade out of lemons.
     
  4. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

    Messages:
    9,562
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Encinitas, SoCal
    I find them to be pretty harsh sounding, so one thing I recommend is a ribbon mic. Placement of the mic is also so critical. Point it at the cone paper (not the dust cap).
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  5. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

    Messages:
    3,576
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    SL,UT
    i'd use a DI box, and split that signal to the amp and iso box.

    put a LD close to the paper, and have it turned low, for proximity effect only.

    use the DI as the main source,
    and blend in the close mic track.

    otherwise, anything recorded inside that box,
    is going to sound like it is inside a box.
     
  6. Mario C.

    Mario C. Member

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Location:
    Mexico City
    Someone here modified his iso cab with studio foam to eliminate internal reflections (the foam was installed behind the speaker baffle not in front which is already padded with foam) that caused comb filtering and the comparison he posted sounded a lot better than the stock iso cab in my opinion, more of the speaker, less of the iso box.
     
  7. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

    Messages:
    3,576
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    SL,UT
    you talking about this?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Mario C. likes this.
  8. Mario C.

    Mario C. Member

    Messages:
    340
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Location:
    Mexico City
    Yes, I don't remember if it was exactly that iso cab but it was something just like it, if I remember right the mod was done on a Randall Isolation cab. From what I remember the added foam mod added more clarity to the sound, the stock cab was a bit too "diffuse" sounding for lack of a better term, I guess internal sound refelections were affecting the overall sound.
     
  9. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,006
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Location:
    North Carolina
    ISO cabs have been the bane of my existence. With the Exception of bass guitar
    I do not think they are a solution. I have a couple of work arounds - that make
    the overall sound passable - but not ideal.

    The microphone used and position of the microphone are critical. I can not emphasize
    this concept enough. Ribbon and Condenser Microphones work best - and in cardiod
    or if you can find one - super-cardiod.

    Also the type of speaker(s) is very important. I got the best results with a 4 x 6
    configuration. They develop faster and actually moved a tiny bit of air - enough
    so the sound was much livelier than a single speaker.
     
  10. Dubious

    Dubious Member

    Messages:
    1,977
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    I use my DIY ISO box all the time for recording and don't get the "sounds boxey" complaints many others do. Some of this could come down to mic placement - no matter the situation I ALWAYS mic my cab in the same spot - basically touching grill cloth and split the difference between edge of the speaker and the cone.

    if you're used to open back cabs, micing from further away etc then an ISO may not be the best option for you.

    mine has evovled over the years to it's latest incarnation. It's an eminence texas heat built into a box.

    [​IMG]

    It might be hard to tell from the picture but the speaker "cab" is closed (its open in the pic on the top left, you can see the lid on the pic on the right. This box is lined with acoustic ceiling tile. There are additional pieces I added to the back wall the speaker fires into to create an uneven surface.

    Box is sealed tight and then it sits on a bed of foam in a roadcase where there is about a half inch air gap around the sides.
     
  11. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

    Messages:
    3,576
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    SL,UT
    this is a Demeter SSC-1U Silent Speaker Chamber
     
    Mario C. likes this.
  12. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,721
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsboro NC
    I'd suggest buying a high quality used 4 band parametric EQ and learn how to use it. EQ the mic "going in" before it hits tape. You'll be happy with what you can do to relieve the boxiness.
    - Use the EQ via the insert, post mic preamp as usual
    - Use a broad Q when you can, shelving filter for the highs...but don't shy away from radical settings!
    - Used units from Klark-Teknik are affordable and are built to a pro standard. Ive had luck with a mono Klark-Teknik 31 band graphic eq as well (if you do not need really narrow q). Also look for Furman, Rane, and Symmetrix EQ's in good shape. I also love my White Instruments 4700
     
  13. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

    Messages:
    3,576
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    SL,UT
    the sound of 'inside the box' is a sonic fingerprint.
    you will never get rid of it.

    there is a sweet spot...
     
  14. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,006
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Location:
    North Carolina

    To my point of view that's a crapload of work to do just
    to get a useable sound. So much easier to dump the iso
    cab and go with the sims in Logic.
     
    Terry McInturff likes this.
  15. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,721
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsboro NC
    -With respect, it's really no work at all....working EQ on something like that going-in = maybe 5 minutes max?
    -I do agree that the amp sims in Logic are fun and useful for quick capture of an idea. I suppose it's matter of what one hears in the musical imagination as regards what will be best for a final set of tracks to be mixed and sent out for mastering.
    -In any case, working on ones recorded guitar sound presents an incredible learning opportunity as regards the art of sound...engineering skills are there to be learned...and ultimately can be the best way to present one's unique approach on the instrument to the world at large.
    - There's one heck of a lot of satisfaction to be had by crafting and capturing your own sound.
    - Everybody has their own needs. For me, the amp sims in Logic...while fun, very useful, and convenient for laying down a scratch idea...are of demo quality at most....as regards my needs. Can only speak for myself!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  16. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,006
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm am old school - I feel when I'm EQing the snot out of things
    something is wrong at the source. And I agree the Logic Sims
    are only suitable for Demos - unless of course I put a lot of
    work into them - tweaking, using a compressor, reverb, cab IR
    on the channel strip etc...Then I'm back to working really hard
    to capture a useable tone.
     
    Terry McInturff likes this.
  17. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,721
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsboro NC
    Agreed 100%. Was suggesting the parametric as a way of crafting an iso cab....which is obviously a challenging source...
     
  18. marshall2288

    marshall2288 Member

    Messages:
    982
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Fl
    This design is very similar to mine with the only exception being I have about an extra foot of length behind and in front of the speaker. I don't get "boxy" tones.
     

Share This Page