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Thread: Sm57+MD421 Mic combo for Amp

  1. #61
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    Heh I totally use clip gain on toms too! Although once I started using sample delay to keep phase coherence (? I'm not sure what the right term is) with all the drum mics, I haven't had too much issue with them working against each other. So I leave the rack tom on all the time and only noise gate the floor tom because MD421's apparently are both too big to angle right and don't do a good job rejecting a loud ride cymbal hitter. But I have started practicing being light on cymbals and heavy on drums and that goes a long way! Also setting up the kit to have the cymbals better spaced, it's not that hard to move an extra couple inches especially if it's for the tone! haha

    Enjoy that ribbon! It does need more gain than other mics but before getting a preamp with more gain, the noise floor on our interfaces these days is so low-- just clip gain it to be where you want it after you record. 10, even 30 dB of gain won't do anything to a 127 dB-ish noise floor. Playing the shit out of my drums only brought my SPL meter to 95 dB. Also I too have never had the back end of the figure 8 be an issue to ever need a baffle. I keep in mind it picks up stuff behind it but 99% of the time I place it like I would any other mic. The other time is using it tracking a whole live band which is weirdly once in a blue moon for me these days. But man I wish I had two ribbons to use as dual overheads! I love the one as a drum room mic now. For a long time (and for all the stuff on my Levi page) I just used that ribbon in front of the drum kit, at the same height off the floor as the kick beater and sub kick microphones, instead of also using overheads. It sounds like the Beatles or older records' drums that I love. You could not go wrong with two ribbons I am most sure. I have heard, and I guess it depends on how many dB's the mic can handle in its spec sheet, that ribbons are fine on louder sources but I also keep it away from loud sources. I don't recall ever using it on a guitar amp! I'm a SM57 and now 57/421 guy I guess. I think more modern ribbon mics are more robust than their older brethren

    But also unless you absolutely hate your interface and none of your pres get the ribbon to an acceptable (to you) input level AND bringing it up later somehow introduces too much noise, if your interface accepts line level inputs get a discrete preamp instead. I started with a Bluetube to augment my Echo Audiofire 8's dual pres way back in the day and the tube on it has since broke, but it's two competent and working solid state preamps that have phase/phantom/pad/high pass. Heck I still won't get rid of my Presonus Firestudio Project because its preamps are just fine and it's 8 pres plus firewire that I can use in a pinch! Also I only really go as fancy as a preamp with pad/phase/phantom/hi-pass. I am fine with solid state pre's for sure. They're fine! I don't think (non-crap) preamps make as much of a difference as other parts of a signal chain other than needing to provide the gain you need as well as being clean when turned up reasonably high, personally

    Hm I will bus stuff but I never mixdown anything except the whole project. I like being able to (quickly) undo stuff and using the bus faders is fine since each one becomes its own instrument. Need more bass, turn up the bass sub fader. Lately I will not even group guitars but command click them to raise/lower them together because I am either too lazy or still want the fine tuning easily if need be. Even with parallel comps, it's easy and quick to use two faders because the drumkit bus tends to be transients/punch and the parallel comp drumkit track is the sheen, for lack of a better word. I am getting better at hearing which I need to raise up, or if I need both. But before that my go-to is just turning down everything else if I can't hear enough of a certain thing. It's not a race to the top, it's more that everything is just too forward and needs to step back. I can make it louder later in the master if I have to. To me the loudness isn't the dB's in the faders, it's the total coherence and punch of everything together. A quietly played guitar turned up loud still feels softly played and a loud amp turned down still sounds like a loud amp being played. When everything is even and the chords hit together that sounds and feels great.

    Logic's compressors are so great, and I still use them even though I have the UAD emulations of the real-deal stuff! They just can do so much. Before I went to the UAD's on my drums I loved taking the drum kit bus and going into the sidechain and turning the high pass on and turning the threshold to maybe 150-180 Hz so that the compressor only touches stuff above the kick and maybe low tom parts, which at the time was my way to keep the low end in. Now it's all parallel compression, as that's just so good. (edit to add: the wet/dry knob is key on Logic's compressors and I guess in a way is parallel comp)

    I also am on one display so I am used to hitting X (and I, and command+shift+I, control+H...oh so many keyboard shortcuts), but my favorite is to turn on autopunch you punch that control+option+command+P. To make things a little less cluttered in my newest template I went into the settings and turned off the track icons, made the fader titles two lines tall so they fit more description in them, and did some other tweaks to add stuff I use and take out stuff I never use.


    I did not know about that Logic effects preview/application feature but it seems pretty cool, a more robust version of freezing tracks! As long as you can undo it, it's fine with me And I also agree, I would rather make the tracks from scratch than work on something pre-tracked. That's the whole fun of it for sure, creating something. I guess if I ever worked in a studio or took on mixing projects I'd be mixing other people's stuff but I can see myself being annoyed at how they did things unlike how I'd do them, ha

    Cheers!!
    Last edited by GoodTimesRec; 2 Weeks Ago at 18:33.

  2. #62
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    Just a quick one, I will reply as soon as I can but could you please be kind to share exactly how you do your sample delay in logic to phase align your drum tracks to the OH's? Currently I am moving the tracks by sight but I would like to move onto using the sample delay plugin for easy A/B comparisons. I noticed in protools warren will just highlight 0point from 0point between 2 waveforms but up top it tells you how many frames/or milliseconds (i forget) how far out they are then just puts a plugin on the early track to delay. But In logic I am unsure how to do this?

    Also, I was wondering if you could tell me what compressor side chain detection algorithm you normally use. I personally almost "always" set mine to Peak, and not RMS when using platinum compressor, when using the famous compressor styled compressor models (studio fet, opto etc.) I leave it as is and trust it is similar to the real hardware units. I felt like I have infinitely more control setting to peak, and I think once I tried out RMS and heard a weird pumping side effect once. Oh... the amount of times I have forgotten to switch over to peak detection tho! Or auto gain arrg... Blows your ears out if not careful.

    I also use highpass sidechain within compressor on sources with lots of low end content so my low end does not get sucked out, otherwise you always have to keep compensating with EQ after compression. Very overlooked feature of a compressor I think!!!

    Will soon be setting up with new mic combo you told me about. Test ribbon out some more see if recording at low gain levels becomes a problem (i suspect not) I just feel weird recording at such a low level. Will try art tube MP out anyways just because I don't use it for much else other than Bass and am trying to look for reasons to use it more.

    Don't feel obliged to get back to me right away, I am sure I am taking up your valuable time a bit and don't want to become a nuisance.

    Cheers man
    J
    Last edited by JamEZmusic; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:49. Reason: Clarity

  3. #63
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    Sorry was at work all day:

    Definitely learned the delay from Huart but got confirmed its goodness as a technique by a friend who actually does audio as his day job. Set Logic to display milliseconds in the control bar and just put the playhead at either the top of a waveform, or if they're hard to visually see similarities, I'll put the playhead where the wave crosses the middle line and flips polarity. Then put the playhead at the same place in the waveform as the farthest mic, then note the ms difference between the two positions and use the sample delay plugin (set to ms) to change the difference. I suppose you can do it with samples too as the sample delay plugin and the control bar are already set that way, but I like ms because why not I am weird like that. For acoustic guitar and guitar amps, I delay the close mic(s) by however many milliseconds it takes to match the waveforms with the far mic. For drums, before I track with a newly-placed set of microphones I'll record hiting the kick a few times. And then look at all the drums' waveforms and match them all to hit with the farthest room mic at the same time, even the overheads. It can get pretty precise as you will notice a tenth of a millisecond's difference but there will be a clear place where they work so good together. I will start with the kick in mic and far room mic, get them to work together soloed, then add in the sub kick mic and get all three, then add the above snare mic, and so on until I am done with all the mics and just the farthest, undelayed mic is left. I feel like the close snare/tom mics maybe don't need to be moved but I do anyway. For the mics that aren't directly on the kick, I'll clip gain them up until the waveform is big enough to see a kick drum hit in their track in order to compare/move (but then turn it back down to 0db if you have also tracked the drum part already).

    It takes time but I just do it once per session. Because once that's worked out you just import the tracks/buses/plugins from the first project for each subsequent project that needs drums. As if you do this once you're good for however many times you use those drums until you break down/move the mics or mic up a different kit. I leave 8 mics on the drums all the time until another band comes in or one of my band's two lefty drummers comes over to play and decides to use my kit instead of theirs. Just turn on the 8-channel rack preamp I have and it's all set to go, which is pretty swank

    If you look back at the Logic screencaps in my prior posts on this thread, any multi-mic thing will have sample delay as its first plug until you get to the room/farthest away mic which won't have it.

    I honestly have never changed peak/rms so whatever Logic's compressor is default! ha! I am quite lazy or forgiving with audio I'm realizing... to me it's more the attack, release, and compression ratio. Never use the autogain, but I might make up gain with that knob sometimes, then use the wet/dry to dial in the amounts. I really like the Distressor because it has a highpass detection button that works well with bass guitar (so far the only thing I've used the Distressor on, I should mess with it more).

    Edited to add: Thinking about it, I never got great drums without having to spend so much damn time eq'ing, compressing, automating, all kinds of BS and now I get such good sound by just making the mics work together! I know that moving them with sample delay is not proper, but I don't have the manpower to have someone move a mic around until I can hear it, or conversely the time to move a mic a little bit, play/record it, listen, adjust the mic, repeat especially when I'm walking between two rooms. Ain't nobody got time for that. Like I said I will eyeball where in my mind they should be but I'll just sample delay to make them work together. I am sure it will bite me one day but in the last year-ish of doing it it never has.

    This is something I recorded without time delaying the drums. Yes you can hear the different drums but man I cringe listening to them. I don't know if this link will work but if it doesn't let me know and I'll figure out another: Old Coachie's New Drums. Compared to my latest stuff on Levi Hustle & The Denim Persuasion it's cringe to me!
    Last edited by GoodTimesRec; 2 Weeks Ago at 18:16.

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  5. #64
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    I choose to work in ms's as well, I would have no idea how to introduce haas effects/slap back delays etc if I had to work out what that would be in samples. I was unsure if ms's would be too innacurate for phase aligning though but if you do it just fine then must be good to go! Thanks for that instruction, I will change my workflow to suit that method as I think it will be better for me.

    I think you just work in a very different genre to what I am mixing most of the time, The pop tracks from warren are ultra controlled, the peaks are all caught and there is a lot of emphasys on using saturation to increase thickness and body of snares but balancing it for punch/transient the whole way through. I don't think you are too forgiving because when I record my own material I approach my compression similar to what you do again. I don't bother with the Wet/Dry dial ever unless I am compressing a reverb or delay, but I alt+drag the track to make a copy and then always blend back in using a very aggressive compression. It's amazing how low down you can have the fader when blending back in the parralel compression, i guess those inphase waveforms really add up quickly. . . Plus then obviously this gives me the option to further process the the paralleled compressed track, also I will never have a headroom issue. But I do use Wet/Dry a lot of the time still.

    I like the drums in that audio clip haha, I thought you may have been a full time audio guy. You definitely have the facilities to be able to do that it seems. Ever thought about diving into it full time?

    First thing I do when I open logics platinum compressor, turn off auto gain, switch over to peak detection. With my acoustic guitar recordings or whatever I think the RMS compression is supposed to be more transparant, but whole nasty peaks can get completely ignored by it, and I really don't like the loss of control I get from using RMS detection. But I will read up about it in a bit because I seem to remember others swearing by it.

    I had issue with my ArtTubeMP supplying me with enough gain to my ribbon yesterday, I was fighting with a noise issue but a friend of mine wrote out quickly what I should be doing and I realised I screwed up and used a wrong cable TS-TS(guitar cable), it should have been XLR-TRS (I should know better!, but i've never used the ArtMP as a Mic Pre so completely went along with old habits of plugging into Jack(unbalanced). So after that mishap I am back on track, got it warming up in front of me, see if I can push it for some nice harmonic saturation and see if I can still further improve upon these tones. I have more than enough gain now, I have to back it off a lot infact. So I am now able to put the mic back closer to 2ft away at least. Will experiment again. Probably do a quick mix later see if I can. The ArtMP is actually very clean now, surprised at how good it sounds for the cost actually. I am just relieved I do not have to spend more bloody money on cloudlifter or top mic pre-amp.

    Thanks for letting me know about that logic thing, I have to phase align drums a lot so this will really help me, you're a legend. Speak soon with more to say.

    James
    Last edited by JamEZmusic; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:54.

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  7. #65
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    Oh good, I'm glad that ArtMP has the gain! You're going to have a lot of fun with that mic. I recorded all the vocals for one of my band's albums through the ribbon and it worked out really well. It takes EQ really well an adds a flavor.

    Oh I wish I was doing audio full time! But I've had the same, kind of great job for 16 years now and would like to see if I can make that my one and only job I ever got using my college degree. I would like to start recording bands on weekends, which is when I can dedicate the whole time to it. I just need to get out to see more shows to talk to bands to come by. I have the Good Times Recordings web site and I should update the tunes on there because they're kind of not representative of what I'm doing lately. Or maybe point it to the Levi page/bandcamp. I'm as lazy as I am unmotivated!

    +1 on turning off autogain. When I was newer at this I loved it but it's much more correct (and satisfying) to get it right without that crutch. Plus a track should be dynamic in many cases.

    Get at those drums and remember you can do tenths of a millisecond (maybe hundreths? at least tenths, I'm so tired today) in the sample delay, so you can really fine tune the lock in the tracks' alignment. I am certain you can retroactively apply the delay technique to your older/current tracks. Drums and anything with 2 or more mics. I did that to a few past mixes just to see what they could have been, but then realized that it's better to just keep moving forward and more so: keep completing tunes instead of leaving them half-finished. Even if they kind of suck which let's face it most of mine do, I still just want to finish them lately and it does lead to noticeable incremental improvement

    -Tony
    Last edited by GoodTimesRec; 2 Weeks Ago at 22:54. Reason: Clarity

  8. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTimesRec View Post
    Oh good, I'm glad that ArtMP has the gain! You're going to have a lot of fun with that mic. I recorded all the vocals for one of my band's albums through the ribbon and it worked out really well. It takes EQ really well an adds a flavor.

    Oh I wish I was doing audio full time! But I've had the same, kind of great job for 16 years now and would like to see if I can make that my one and only job I ever got using my college degree. I would like to start recording bands on weekends, which is when I can dedicate the whole time to it. I just need to get out to see more shows to talk to bands to come by. I have the Good Times Recordings web site and I should update the tunes on there because they're kind of not representative of what I'm doing lately. Or maybe point it to the Levi page/bandcamp. I'm as lazy as I am unmotivated!

    +1 on turning off autogain. When I was newer at this I loved it but it's much more correct (and satisfying) to get it right without that crutch. Plus a track should be dynamic in many cases.

    Get at those drums and remember you can do tenths of a millisecond (maybe hundreths? at least tenths, I'm so tired today) in the sample delay, so you can really fine tune the lock in the tracks' alignment. I am certain you can retroactively apply the delay technique to your older/current tracks. Drums and anything with 2 or more mics. I did that to a few past mixes just to see what they could have been, but then realized that it's better to just keep moving forward and more so: keep completing tunes instead of leaving them half-finished. Even if they kind of suck which let's face it most of mine do, I still just want to finish them lately and it does lead to noticeable incremental improvement

    -Tony
    After compressing and sitting the ribbon mic recordings into place I DID get some of that harsh quality come back again which I tried for a while to process to dull it back down again, but in the end I opted to punch in a new take on a specific part taking much more care. Still a massive improvement but seems I can not get so finger pickin happy on that high e still. Pushed the Art to give some harmonic distortion and getting that nice thick waveform, sounds good. I don't really know much about ribbon mics in general but thinking the mic adds some harmonic distortion by itself because of the inner workings of the mic? It's going to be used a lot I can tell. Will buy another one further down the road.

    Didn't realise you could hide the track icons in logic, i've done the same now. I love the simple view. I accidently double clicked on a send out the other day only to find out that it highlights the send aux in mixer view so you do not have to keep holding down the mouse on the send to actually know what it is sent to, happy accident. thought you might like to know about it just incase you struggle know what send does what, especially if you have multiple on the go at one time.

    Giving myself a year to get good at this stuff and hopefully start composing songs. I can get work luckily as I know someone who will buy from me (if any good) so i'm making it a top priority to put the work in the studio to hopefully get good enough to turn it into a paid job, if all else fails I will go back to doing building part time, and another sideline income I have. But Really want to stay in the warm studio if I can, sniffling away at the moment where I was up on a roof the other day freezing my ass off so today feeling rather unwell. Got the heating on along with 2 coats and a headache.

    I have a few projects that have been unfinished for years, going to clear them all out as soon as I can, it's just a case of re-amping in a lot of cases. I remember I couldn't finish the mixes purely because I was so unhappy with the guitar tones, but now I have more of an idea, and more mics for different flavours I think I can tackle it all again. Even just over the last couple of days I decided to strip a current mix back to it's barebones. I cleared all automations and am going through rebalancing everything to more or less start again, I think it's sometimes a good way to learn. It's very difficult to mix without reference tracks (I am purposely not using to make life hard on myself so hopefully will train my ear) Even balancing tracks is a real challenge once you start focusing on the wrong details, I know it's basic stuff but to do it well, in my opinion still takes skill... To be honest it's actually quite rare I listen to a mix say on youtube where everything is balanced perfectly. (im talkin non professional tracks)

    This is kinda a short one, but will keep droppin in anyways. I do have more I want to say but can't function today.

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  10. #67
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    Keep at it James! Keep working on stuff and the more you do it the more familiar it becomes, the more scenarios you encounter and solve, and every project's mix sounds better than the last. And there might also be some work in recording local bands for their demo EP so they can get pub gigs, or even larger projects. Any type of stuff. Just get a few of your best sounding tunes out there as a portfolio and/or take on a freebie or two to begin with. It is sometimes helpful to learn/work on the production side only and let someone else sing and play

    I think the ribbon itself, how it is rather crude as a device for picking up sound waves that gives it a lot of its flavor. I don't know about circuitry but I bet the necessary circuitry to make that transfer to a sound signal is another part. There's always upgrade transformers/capacitors you can put on them if you're handy with a soldering iron and can find online info of others who've done it.

    I hope you feel better!

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