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Thread: Sm57+MD421 Mic combo for Amp

  1. #41
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    Direct sound from a close mic is going to give you a detailed and articulate capture of the guitar, but it's dry and a bit unnatural. Not necessarily "big". Getting the core sound you want (the source) and the mic placement correct so that your monitors are making the sound you want is critical, but the sense of size usually comes from having some space. A mic placed farther away from the amp can help as it starts to pick up room reflections, but that might start to take away from the better qualities of having a close mic.

    One idea is to use a nice room mic like an SM57 or something, and have it a few feet away from the amp aiming the null of the microphone at the speaker. You want the business end of the mic pointed the other way from wherever the amp is, so you're capturing the reflections off the walls, not the amp. I probably wouldn't try to time align something like this. The distance from the amp will create phase issues and comb filtering, but also a delay. Severe phase cancellation from near coincident mics wouldn't be the issue. It can work as a very natural ambience generator and a size control of sorts. Even small amounts of this kind of signal blended with the close mics should have a fairly obvious effect. There are fun things you can try on this type of signal like smashing the living daylights out of it with a compressor, and using high and low pass filters to control the frequencies of the room reflections.

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    snow lizard - I honestly think this is the missing key for me though, room mics in general. I only really started moving in a better direction on my lead tones once I started placing an LDC some distance back from the amp. I'll say that I really don't like room sound on my heavy rhythm guitars though, not for metal. I did leave a room mic up recording I believe and chose not to use any of the signal in the blend. Some great tips snow lizard. I'm enjoying checkin in on this thread for more ideas and hearing others experiences. Is not recording a room mic but instead using an impulse response real room verb a legit way forward do you think? Something to play with on my next tracking session perhaps?

    GoodTimesRec - I have some basic treatment to the left and right of me but I don't really think it's doing much, just some acoustic tiles. I want to get some proper broadband absorbers with air gap. I was toying with the idea of building my own, I can't really get OC703 over here but there is an equivellent RockWool RW3 which is cheap enough. I am unsure of the black fabric material also, you are supposed to be able to breath through it. I am not sure if to DIY, or buy ready made panels yet. As soon as I put those bass traps in though, I need to juggle the whole room around. My guitar amps are in 1 corner and my rack in the other. Maybe time for a new desk with build in rack, and moving amps into a different room. I dunno. . . Can't afford traps etc yet anyway.

    The apollo interface was what I wanted ideally. I am using a focusrite 18i20 which is like a third of the cost. I used the apollo once, nice UAD plugins, and no latency. I think I remember the pre-amps were really nice. Long time ago but I remembered it enough to want one myself.

    I route my project down into a lot of busses, once I group my main instruments together I then just create another buss of all Drums/Bass/guitars/acoustics/vocals/synths/All Effects>PreMaster>Stereo outs. as typical example. I can treat the Pre-Master as my stereo out for the song, but keep the stereo out for reference tracks only, plus an instance of my sonarworks and analyzer/metering plugins.

    I had to re-work my whole mix, was a pain. Abundance of mud in the bass which I heard clearly today. Once I cut that, then the kick needed juggling to suit and the hats, and then the rhythms were too harsh, etc.etc. went full circle, mix ended up about 5db's lower where I kept reducing faders. I am still getting the -10lufs with limiter tickling the peaks just with a much more balanced low end. Made me realise I am really lacking in skill. When I thought I got close balance wise then i did a quick bounce and put it on my ipad and walked around the house listening on tv/echo dots and other crappy speakers making notes just slowly walking back and forth fixing anything that seems to annoy me. It's tricky because I am making the mix sound worse on my main monitors to suit the other crappy speakers. But I suppose that is the art of mixing. Would be nice if I had great judgement from the get go instead of playing back on various other speakers. and making notes. I'm done again for today, struggled to much this morning and kind of ran out of energy.

    Problem with compression for me, and maybe I am just using them wrong but no matter how fast you set the attack, you will get an incredibly spiky transient, dependent on threshold. meaning you have no choice but to limit anyway, or saturate to round it off. So I find myself using compression less and less now because of that fact. I will use compression more to fix dynamic issues, I put the logics DBX160 style compressor on the drums though (Classic VCA I think - the black face one with no attack/release knobs) After a long time I never realised I could have been using the compressor wrong though, there is a distortion setting and I have no idea wether you would set it to soft or hard, or clip to emulate a real dbx160, and I also foolishly neglected to think about increasing the distortion by using the make-up gain to drive it hotter and then using the ouput again to level match when the compressor is bypassed. Maybe this will round the transient! Something I need to experiment with a bit. If this does the job then I can see me using fast attack compression again to control peaks while benefitting from the compressors own built in saturation/distortion. I hear that Logics compressors are pretty kickass though so should play some more I think.

    My monitors are just cheap budget speakers, M-Audio BX5's. my spectral reading shows I am lacking a ton of bass, but using the correction software it does a pretty good job of giving me that flat line because all of a sudden when activating the software the bottom end just pops to life all of a sudden. I had a real big issue of mixing my kick like 10dbs too loud before the room correction software haha. Then I have a second set of monitors, just a cheap set of speakers with sub that I can flick back and forth between. I do a little mixing on both but mainly my monitors are they are so much more revealing in the mids/highs.

    One of the best tricks i've learned is to walk out of the room though, as you said. it's amazing that you can boost or cut what is necessary by sometimes a larger amount than you would have thought and you still have a real solid balanced mix even while listening in between the speakers.

    I have no idea if I overcame my mono compatibility issue in a legit manner. but my lead guitar would juust become too quiet when summed to mono, so i inserted the MSED voxengo plugin on the guitars bus and just raised the mid up, traded off so I still have my stereo information but when collapses to mono, my lead guitars remain up front still. I am not sure if I am going to get any side effects doing this, and if this is a legit workaround. why not do this on every stereo signal that you want ultra wide and scrap using those phase shifting stereo mono incompatible plugins alltogether for complete mono compatibility? Will look into it I think.

    Won't babble on, don't want to bore you!

    Cheers for comment, I'm enjoying conversation. Haven't spoke to anyone about my craft for a while. not with the topics discussed anyway.
    Last edited by JamEZmusic; 6 Days Ago at 07:46.

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  4. #43
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    I too like to talk shop so it's all good.

    Are you using the limiter on your mix bus? I would take it off and see about making the track without any limiting, then try limiting that mixdown. You might be trying to do too much in one fell swoop with conflicting goals. Work on the mix having good dynamics but with parallel compression doing the work to keep instruments prominent after their transients. Just make sure that sounds good and if it isn't loud enough, turn up the monitors instead of trying to limit it just then. Once that mix is good, that's when you use additional compression/limiting/flavoring at the 'mastering' level. You can work a limiter on a dynamic mix just as well as you can on a squashed mix, and I'd wager the dynamic mix will come through it sounding better.

    I think just having non-consumer stereo speakers themselves, even if they're lower priced monitors, is fine. They're still monitors and are at least geared toward showing you the ugly truth of your mix. You clean it up so it sounds good in those monitors and it'll translate. I have HS-8s that I mix on and they're midrange I guess? But they blew away my yamaha bookshelf speakers through a 1973 pioneer stereo I was mixing on before that!

    Logic's compressor does indeed rule and all of its flavors work very well. I use the soft distortion often if just compression alone doesn't do the trick in the mix. I'll use hard or clip settings on drum buses sometimes too. Transients are fine and you don't want them to be gone, you just want to manage how crazy they are, and a lot of that can also be done at the microphone, like blend in a room mic on an acoustic, or don't have the close mic(s) at the soundhole.

    For drums, it's tough because the transient is all the impact and you have to somehow balance that w/the ring you need through compression. But, using sends for parallel compression is the way because the track itself can be all transient, and the parallel send can be all compression. You need more snare attack in the mix? turn up the snare top mic track. Can't hear it ring? turn up the parallel comp track. Can't hear either? Take every other track except for the snare and turn them all down until the snare shows up again the way you want it to sit---that to me is also a huge thing to do instead of turning stuff up. Turn the rest down! Another thing is that good drummers/guitarists are even in volume so also try to keep everything strummed and the drums hit with the same force as much as possible so you're not having to spend time clip gaining hits, or overworking a compressor to do that job for you. If the transient is big, so what as long as it's always big every time. It's when there's a giant transient in a sea of medium sized transients when stuff gets hairy

    I only upgraded to the Apollo because I got sick of the very muddy converters in my old MOTU 828mk3 hybrid. It was...fine but I just never got a great sound out of it. Plus when I went to upgrade the driver for it, there was 'pro audio drivers' and 'audio drivers' and my unit was not in the 'pro audio' category. And I mean I have to brag a little: my actual band's tracks get licensing/publishing deals with a local label (Pravda Records) and I kind of want them to sound better than 'regular audio drivers' haha. So I decided to go a tier up and was looking at RME and I forget the other brands too, there is a new MOTU that even met my better-quality and I/O needs. The UA was damn expensive but I justified it by saying I'll use it a lot and its own CPU (which does power some damn fine plugins) would take the heat off my 2012 mac mini I am going to use until it dies. And so far it's actually going that way. But I think any modern set of converters will do the trick, and the tools in Logic are great with my only gripe being it doesn't have a great saturation plugin, or a tape/vinyl machine if that's a flavor you're into.

    In regard to stereo/mono issues on guitar, in a prior post it seems like you're tracking an amp with more than one mic, and you pan those mics from that one amp/take in your mix? I think if you left all the mics for one amp/take at the same panning amount, and then used an echo effect, or a reverb or what have you and let that do the panning/spreading you might get better mono compatibility. Or double track and use two guitars to fill L/R instead of one. I always look at that correlation meter in the Multimeter and so long as it doesn't go red, it doesn't have to be all the way to the right. Put a gain plug on the mix bus and set that to mono and turn it on/off randomly as you mix. I think that's helpful for me making sure the L/R guitars are even, and that hard-panned things are as loud as center-panned things if I ever second guess my mix.

  5. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamEZmusic
    Is not recording a room mic but instead using an impulse response real room verb a legit way forward do you think? Something to play with on my next tracking session perhaps?
    Anything is legit if it gets results that work. There are a lot of rules to recording. Once you learn all of them and research what others have done you start to realize that just about every "rule" has been broken at some point. Sometimes there's merit to keeping things simple. Using multiple mics on a source can be great if it serves the track. Using only one mic will pretty much eliminate phase issues where every additional mic starts to chew away at the bandwidth of the others. It's worth experimenting with, but it's worth letting go of if it doesn't serve the track. It has to bring something of value. There's nothing wrong with printing extra mics, but sometimes the best processing option is the mute button. Overprocessing is another way to kill your tracks. Compression is something I rarely reach for on distorted guitar. If you get the distortion right at the source, you already have a heavily compressed signal.

    Using impulse responses and artificial verbs and delays can help if there's something about your rig or your room that keeps you from being able to capture that sound. IR's and tools for amp, cab and room simulation have gotten a lot better in recent years. I'd set up a bus for the ambiance processing and send the dry guitar signal to that bus. It gives you full control over wet/dry balance and makes it easy to throw an EQ before and or after the verb or whatever. Too much low end on your verb will get muddy. Too much high end can be distracting. Using a short predelay, or just using a delay instead of a verb can help. Sometimes it's just not the same as capturing real ambiance. It's easy to set up either way. Double tracking your rhythm parts as someone else suggested can also be very effective. Dialing up a different sound, be it from a different amp, guitar, pickup, gain structure or what have you can help when doing a double. There's lots of options but beware of doing too much. Sometimes the best processing option is to stay out of the way. You need to allow the track to tell you what it needs.


    Quote Originally Posted by JamEZmusic
    My guitar amps are in 1 corner and my rack in the other.
    Getting your amp off the floor or away from walls and corners helps to get rid of early reflections that lead to low end mud. Moving the amp around in the room can have a similar effect as moving the mic around on the speaker cone. There's a sweet spot somewhere.

  6. #45
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    I’m unable to reply because I have my children today. Will edit this tomorrow.

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    Haven't read the entire thread so the following might have been discussed.

    1. Why use two mics unless you are after different sounds and/or you are panning the mics left and right in the mix ?

    2. You are using two different mics from different manufacturers, so there is a very high probability that they will have different gains, different frequency responses, different gains at different frequencies, slightly different polar patterns and at different frequencies and different sound and so it goes on. Although it is most unlikely, it could also be that they are, for some reason, actually out of phase with each other

    These are the type of reasons some manufacturers sell matched pairs of mics, but even here they are not necessarily 100% identical..

    Just some thoughts and why I VERY seldom use two mics on any instrument.

    That is not to suggest that I might not use a mic and a DI, but in this case I am definitely after that difference in sound.

    David
    Last edited by CSP; 3 Days Ago at 03:04.

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