Unique Microphne Question.

alivegy

Member
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1,176
Every so often i like to record something that I have written, but the problem is that I live in an apartment. Fortunately, I have some tolerant neighbors, but I still try and be considerate with the volume levels. I'm trying to find a microphone to use to record some decent clean and distorted guitar sounds but played at a reasonable volume. Think really loud tv volume. I have so far only been able to find one that I'm partially happy with.

I've tried an e609 and an sm57 but with the volume levels that I'm working with they just don't work out for me. Waaayyyyy too much proximity effect and they bring out the worst of my tone. The end results end up sounding barky. The best setup that I have come up with so far is a Studio Project B1 set off axis and about 2 feet from the speaker cabinet. This gives me a great representation of the sound in the room, which I like. The problem is that it's too sensitive and picks up everything else in the room as well since it's a condenser.

Has anyone found a good mic that works with distorted guitar at reasonable volumes? So far the sm57 and e609 bring out all the bad bits of my tone. I have a feeling if I was slamming them with volume that they would work great but I can't do that. Right now I'm think about a Heil Pr30, but that's about as much as I would like to spend. So guitar cab mic for low volume?
 

GregoryL

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What amp are you using? At "loud tv volume" most amps haven't hit their sweet spot, so I'm not sure using a different mic will achieve what you're looking for. After all, the two mics you've mentioned are generally the top 2 that people go to for close mic'ing guitars.

You may want to consider the Palmer cabinet simulator, then you can push your amps without bothering the neighbors.

Guitar plug-ins are another option of course, but if you want your true amp sound, then the Palmer is likely the best route for your application.
 

meterman

Member
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8,080
also maybe check out the Ho and/or Ultimate Attenuators.

What preamps are you using for your mics?
 

Terry McInturff

45th Anniversary of guitar building!
Gold Supporting Member
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Job #1 is to have the sound source sounding exactly as you want.

If the proxity effect of a dynamic is bothering you...back it off. There's no "need" to eat the grille with a 57.

Youre right of course that a condenser back around 2ft is going to pick up every noise in the room. So, the room must be quiet.

I am NOT a fan of a solo 57 on guitar cab; in this I am in the minority. Try micing the spot on the speaker where the dust cap is glued to the cone...aim the 57 right at that spot, and keep it 2-3 inches from the grille.

Then place the condenser right next to it and get the two capsules as close to each other as possible. Then check the phase between the two.

And move them around until it works.
 

6789

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2,854
Try blocking extra sound from the condenser mic. Imagine something like an office cube wall partition. Or let the outside sounds be part of the recordings. are they really that noticeable if you are adding drums and bass or other instruments? I record with condensers and let the washing machine or dryer run - dogs barking. It adds another texture to the sound.
 

kludge

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7,108
I like small condensers better than dynamics on low-volume guitar amps. Last weekend, I got a GREAT, huge tone out of a cheap Chinese mic (MXL 991) on a fuzz guitar that was quiet enough for the singer to track live with it - basically just over conversation volume. Sounds about 100 times bigger than it was.
 

alivegy

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1,176
Hey guys, thanks for all of the responses. To answer some questions, I'm playing a 65 bassman with an Ultimate Attenuator. I can get the sound that I'm going for just fine, just capturing it with a dynamic mic has been eluding me for a while. The problem with condensers isn't so much the sound in the room, it's the sound outside. I live on a stop sign, so i get a lot of people on obnoxiously loud motorcycles and squeaky brakes from busses.

I'm using a presonus inspire, and I know that the cheap preamps in it are letting me down. If I crank the gain on it, which I have to do to get a decent amound of gain from the 57 with the volumes I'm playing at, I get a considerable amount of background noise from the unit itself. Other than the preamps, it has been trouble free and offers low-latency, but the preamps are just crap. That said I would like to at least get a decent sound before I start upgrading the interface, the condenser is passable so I know that it is possible. Then when I do upgrade, it will sound all the better. I think I'm going to return the e609 and back the 57 off of the grill a bit and see what happens. I haven't attempted that in a while.
 

meterman

Member
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8,080
Hey guys, thanks for all of the responses. To answer some questions, I'm playing a 65 bassman with an Ultimate Attenuator. I can get the sound that I'm going for just fine, just capturing it with a dynamic mic has been eluding me for a while. The problem with condensers isn't so much the sound in the room, it's the sound outside. I live on a stop sign, so i get a lot of people on obnoxiously loud motorcycles and squeaky brakes from busses.

I'm using a presonus inspire, and I know that the cheap preamps in it are letting me down. If I crank the gain on it, which I have to do to get a decent amound of gain from the 57 with the volumes I'm playing at, I get a considerable amount of background noise from the unit itself. Other than the preamps, it has been trouble free and offers low-latency, but the preamps are just crap. That said I would like to at least get a decent sound before I start upgrading the interface, the condenser is passable so I know that it is possible. Then when I do upgrade, it will sound all the better. I think I'm going to return the e609 and back the 57 off of the grill a bit and see what happens. I haven't attempted that in a while.

Yeah I think something even as good as an FMR RNP would give you better tone from the 57, that's my experience anyway. Also, I haven't heard the 609 but the 906 to me sounds alot like a 57 and is pretty easy to get a good sound from. Sounds like you may have the 57 too much towards the edge of the speaker too? That tip about aiming for the spot where the dust cap meets the cone is spot on, whole new world with a 57 for me when I tried that....
 

alivegy

Member
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1,176
I think I'm aiming it in the right spot. It's just that the volume is low enough that the proximity effect is overwhelming. If the mids and treble were earth shatteringly loud a bit of boost in the lows wouldn't be a bad thing, but since my volumes are pretty low it really works against me. I'll keep the 57 pointed at the edge of the dustcap and move it back 6 inches or so. I'm still tempted to try the Pr30 as well, I've heard some clips comparing it to the 57 and it seemed to have a very neutral, pleasing voice that picked up some intricacies of tone that the 57 missed.
 

909one

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2,197
To be honest, I am surprised you are having issues with the mic being too sensitive... With an amp like that, even with the attentuator the amp should be loud enough for the mic to not pick up outside sounds while tracking.
Honestly, if you are multi-tracking, unless its the 4th of July or there is a jackhammer in the background, you will never hear those outside sounds after you start overlaying a bunch of tracks. If the mic is picking them up while you are recording and you aren't playing guitar, you can always edit them out of the silent parts on the track.
Personally I think the ambient sounds of the surroundings add a very unique quality to the music, as long as its not obnoxious.
I record vocals in my apartment with a room mic that is sometimes so hot that the gain control on my preamp is almost wide open, and in most cases the background noises aren't an issue.
I'd say if you like the sound you are getting, then focus more on mic placement and baffling if the ambient noise bothers youtoo much. You could also get another condensor that has mulitple polar patterns, something with a hypercardiod with help block out some of the ambient noise.
The Heils are great mics, but I don't for sure if that would solve your problem.
 

teleharmonium

Member
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2,551
Honestly I think you may just need to lower your expectations. You like a room sound better than a close dynamic - OK, I can relate - but you have a noisy room. No microphone is going to solve this problem, certainly not another dynamic used for close miking; there are no dynamics you can use close that will sound like a condensor at distance. OTOH I agree with 909one that if you're using a cardioid or better yet hypercardioid condensor, the ambient noise shouldn't be at a high enough relative level to be a big deal considering what is reasonable to expect from recording in an apartment.
 

alivegy

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1,176
I'm sure I have high expectations, but I think with the suggestions that people have made I can get something more in line with what I have in mind. I'll report back.
 

bmcmusic

Member
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87
Try to "tune" your mic response. Put on headphones and turn the amp up and listen to the hiss. Don't hit a guitar note. Ouch. As you move the mic around you will hear the white noise and the frequency being emphasized. Find the center and you will hear a very bright edge as you move it to the edge you will hear more mid and bass. Move it farther away and you will hear a more balanced response. You might find a happy medium about 6-8 inches away, a little off center and a little off axis.

Good luck
 

nbarts

Member
Messages
148
SM7B combined with CAD Trion 7000

or

SM7B combined with Oktavamod Chinese Ribbon as a room mic

and

less gain, less gain, less gain...
 

meterman

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8,080
I seem to recall a thread in the amp forum where Ulysses posted some great sounding clips recorded through a big amp (AC30 maybe?) into an Ultimate Attenuator, and I want to say he used a small diaphram condenser on it, maybe an SM81? I remember him saying it was an unusual choice for amps but worked very well in the very low volume situation and the clips sounded fantastic. Worth digging that thread up if you can, and also Jackaroo posted some very nice sounding clips through a Ho Attenuator at "TV volume" with a JTM45, I don't remember the mic though.

I'm curious though, can you post or send a clip? I recorded a 5w amp very quietly last night with a 57 right on the grill of a G12H-30 and it came out fine, had to crank the pre alot more but I didn't notice an overwhelming proximity effect...



EDIT: here's one of the threads, and what he says about mics:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/410085&highlight=ultimate

"I recorded the guitar late last night with a Beta 58 with the screen off on the grill cloth and an SM-81 about 3 feet away off to the side of the cab. "
 
Last edited:

kludge

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Don't get too obsessive about outside noise that you can only hear when the track is soloed and the guitar isn't playing. You can edit or supress it away, and other tracks will mask and bury the noise. Stuff that sounds terrible soloed can simply disappear in the mix.
 

alivegy

Member
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1,176
Thanks again guys for more good advice. At this point I've returned the e609 and I'm going to stick with the sm57. As far as the background noise, low room background noise isn't that big of a deal. It's more the high pitched squeal of brakes since I live off of a stop sign. Oh well, I love where I live and I'm just going to have to live with that.

I think what I am really fighting is my crappy preamps. The preamps in the presonus unit have far too much noise for the volume levels that I record at. I've been busy at work which has unfortunatly kept me from messing with my setup. Again I like the tone of the Condensor 2 feet back and off axis, so I can get a tone that I like and I can get recorded. The tone is rich without too much room noise. Next I'm going to setup the 57 6-8 inches off the grill as suggested and try to get some useable tone from there. Which should be doable.

If I can get a sound I like I'll buy another preamp which should make it sound even better. If I just go out and buy a preamp I'm just going to be disappointed because it's probably just bring out the detail in the things I don't like about my tone. I think with the advice that I've gotten here I should be able to get results. I still may pick up a pr30 or a sm7b. I think either would just be a good mic to have, especially for killing room reflections in vocals, which is a much bigger problem than with the amp.
 

MichaelK

Member
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6,476
Job #1 is to have the sound source sounding exactly as you want...

Try micing the spot on the speaker where the dust cap is glued to the cone...aim the 57 right at that spot, and keep it 2-3 inches from the grille.

Then place the condenser right next to it and get the two capsules as close to each other as possible. Then check the phase between the two.

I think what I am really fighting is my crappy preamps.

You were given excellent advice by a guy who genuinely knows something, and you seem to have skimmed right over it. This might actually solve your problem and you wouldn't have to spend a dime.

Me, I might put the second mic on the opposite side of the dust cap, also aimed at the seam. I usually position the capsule 1 - 2" from the grill, depending on how close the speaker is to the grill.
 

fuzzyguitars

Silver Supporting Member
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1,642
I think I'm aiming it in the right spot. It's just that the volume is low enough that the proximity effect is overwhelming. If the mids and treble were earth shatteringly loud a bit of boost in the lows wouldn't be a bad thing, but since my volumes are pretty low it really works against me. I'll keep the 57 pointed at the edge of the dustcap and move it back 6 inches or so. I'm still tempted to try the Pr30 as well, I've heard some clips comparing it to the 57 and it seemed to have a very neutral, pleasing voice that picked up some intricacies of tone that the 57 missed.


how about some shelving eq?
 

alivegy

Member
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1,176
You were given excellent advice by a guy who genuinely knows something, and you seem to have skimmed right over it. This might actually solve your problem and you wouldn't have to spend a dime.

Me, I might put the second mic on the opposite side of the dust cap, also aimed at the seam. I usually position the capsule 1 - 2" from the grill, depending on how close the speaker is to the grill.

I didn't skim over it at all. I spent most of the evening yesterday moving my 57 around the speaker and adjusting my amp until I found something that I liked. I have c12n in an openback cabinet, it has a small dustcap so I ended up with the 57 an inch or so farther from the seam and 4 inches back. Preamp headroom is still an issue as my preamp adds a lot of noise whether I have a mic connected or not. But like I said, I wanted to get the sound as good as I could with the equipment I have before upgrading, that way when I upgrade it will sound even better. And with everyone's help I think I'm on my way. Tomorrow I'm going to spend some quality time dialing the condenser in to suit the 57 and get rid of phasing issues based on his suggestions. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can come up with, I've already made a lot of progress. Right now I'm mostly fighting time as I'm busy at work.
 




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