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Recording Mic For Guitar

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Hey,

My band are gonna be getting into some recording soon and I'm looking to get myself a decent mic for recording my guitar. I've never been a big fan of SM57's in the studio as I always think they are a bit fuzzy. I'm looking for a condenser mic that won't break the bank, but will achieve good sounds.

any suggestions?

Cheers

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Guest Gasss

Condenser mics generally can't handle as high SPL's so I'd be careful if you were recording a cranked high power stack. You could try a dynamic (such as a 57) up close and a condensor further back. Steve Albini uses Coles ribbon mics several feet back but if the room doesn't sound good then this might not work so well. This is why I use small low power amps now.

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If you read my original post, I was actually asking because I dislike the sound I get from a 57. I'm using a 50watt Boogie which I like the sound of un-miced, just when I record I always end up with a fuzzy sound and I'm putting it down to the mic. I've been in two studios and both used 57's close and produced undesireable results.

We've got the above mic which we will try out at some point over the coming weeks and months.

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Guest Gasss

Yes I read your original post. Maybe you should consider the entire signal chain including mic positioning. If there are other weak links, simply changing to a condensor mic won't make a huge amount of difference. I found this out the hard way.

I use a Red 5 Audio RV15 condensor into a Joe Meek VC3Q for recording my Mesa Boogie.

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Guest lime ruined my life

you have to understand that there is a very large difference in near and far field. The best example of this is a cymbal, hit a cymbal and compare the sound of it normally with the sound right near the surface (you might want to hit it softly...). You may like the sound of your boogie from where you stand but when is the last time you stuck your ear right up to the speaker cab when playing?

This is why, as suggested, two or more mics are generally used. A condensor mic WILL break if you place it in the near field, close mic'd to the cab with the amp cranked. You need a careful mix of two or more mics at different positions. Perhaps consider the 57 close mic'd, a condensor several feet away, and one or two stereo mics in the far field to add ambience and natural reverb. If you are recording live then try adding a couple of ambient mics and mix it in appropriatley. I know this works for a lot of people.

edit: fizzes are usually associated with lots of high gain clipped high frequencies, moving the mic more on axis to the centre of a speaker will reduce the amount of highs picked up directly by the mic, perhaps you could even try out a different cab.

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Guest Gasss

Fuzziness can also be caused by overloading low/ low-mid frequency input at the pre-gain stage in your amp. This might not be so obvious if the amp is cranked and the room is shaking. If you listen to a lot of commercial recordings of heavy guitars(including metal), there isn't very much low end going on at all - this is how you can get a tight, separated yet still powerful band sound. A lot of it will be removed at the tracking/mixing stage. There is also the proximity effect of close micing to counter.

You can help all of these problems by reducing the bass control on the amp. This is as long as the EQ is pre-gain which is the case for most boogies. (MKIVs have both pre and post (graphic) EQ). I tend to use different settings for recording and playing live to get the same sound.

* edit - also if you use high amounts of power amp distortion, running high bass settings will just muddy the sound. Lots of guys run marshall plexis with the bass on 0 and treble on 10 to get a fat-yet-tight sound.

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A SM57 making a mesa boogie sound fuzzy? I think you need to turn up your mid control and/or re-concider mic placement.

There is no point on spending money on any microphone unless you know where to place it.

To reduce 'fuzzyness' you probably want to position the mic at a slight angel towards the middle of a speaker cone. This should boost the upper mid frequencies and make it sound smoother.

The main charachteristic of SM57 that i can put in an aesthetic word is 'punchyness'. I never accociated fuzzyness with it.

To get a good sound with just one mic. You may want to concider something like a large diaphram condensor, as often used for vocals. I've tried various combinations. Shure SM57, SM58, AKG C1000, Behringer B1. The B1 gave the most 'balanced' sound with just one mic. the C1000's could give a good sound both close up and far away and will probably be what i use when i next record my guitar. The C1000's are probably the best mics I have although the sound at the distance (2m) was extremely fuzzy.

You need to experiment with placement. I know people who can get a better drum sound with only one mic than some people can get with 8. It is all about how it is done, as much as what is used.

The high sound levels may be a problem for some mics but there is usually information on the manufacturers website about that.

If you believe you are taking a risk buying a mic. Check the re-sale values on ebay and sell it if you are unhappy with it.

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. The C1000's are probably the best mics I have although the sound at the distance (2m) was extremely fuzzy.

.

Isn't it fairly standard when recording amp output to position the mic as close as possible? What positive effect does moving it 2m away have?

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We never really messed around with mic placement much to be honest. Had it at an angle towards the centre of the cone. We'll try harder next time.

We'll wait until we have pro tools for that sort of shit though

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Isn't it fairly standard when recording amp output to position the mic as close as possible? What positive effect does moving it 2m away have?

You may pick up the sound of the room, it will also sound less defined and more 'fuzzy'. When you mix this with the sound with a mic close up, some people say this can be an effective way to get a balanced sound. I however had limited sucess with it. It did however serve limited purpose when I recorded my guitar. The room i recorded it in was fairly 'dead' acousticly and would have needed to be more than 2m away to really gain from any acoustics.

I tried SM57 close up (4 cm) angled towards centre of cone and C1000 about 2m away facing the cabinet. The sound mixed together was quite good but it wasn't as good as i hoped for.

I will try C1000 close up and differnet combinations of mics at different parts of the speaker cone. i.e one at centre of the cone at an angle and one at the edge.

The best explanation i can provide is that diffenret parts of a speaker produce differnet frequencies of sound, so placing mics will effect the balance of the sound picked up by the mic.

My aim was to recreate the sound I heard in the room. Some sound engineers will go for a particular sound and place mics baring that in mind.

I don't think your recording software will effect you overall recording quality. It will be more an issue of features.

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i trust my audio technica AT3035. It's cheap enough to bash around, can handle extremely high spl (for a condensor) without distorting. When it does distort, it sounds lovely. Sounds better than my GT66 on a guitar cab.

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My aim was to recreate the sound I heard in the room. Some sound engineers will go for a particular sound and place mics baring that in mind.

Convolution reverb is the way to go for this! Theres a free convolution reverb VST out there (maybe a few' date=' but can't remember what they are) and plenty of free impulse responses, everything from the norm to the total bizarre, impulse responses of pipes, people's mouths, garbage cans, kids echo mics, etc.. up to opera houses, stadiums, famed recording studios, it's very believable aswell, the cleaner your signal (ie. close mic'd as possible) the better it can work....

Heres the freebie...

[url']http://www.knufinke.de/sir/download.html

(EDIT: Getting mega latency with this thing, I'm using ALtiverb usually, works in real time)

And heres free impulse responses...

http://noisevault.com/nv/

http://www.echochamber.ch/responses/index.html

The impulse responses (if you don't know) are basically samples of a sound in a space, and the reverb processor sort of analyses the generated wave form and is able to emulate the ambience with whatever signal is being passed through....don't take that as gospel but thats as best as I can describe it. Check it out though, no more fizzy guitars! I use it just for playing along at home sitting with headphones sounding like you're ripping it up in the Albert Hall...

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Convolution reverb is the way to go for this! Theres a free convolution reverb VST out there

I used lexicon reverb which comes with Sonar, it sounds really good (as you would expect from lexicon). Don't think I am desperately in need of an upgrade at this point. Obviously, if i was running a pro studio or recording an album which I could make serious money from, splashing out on a top of the range unit would be a good idea.

As I am sure you are aware. 'Natural' room acoustic reverb is a differnet sort of thing, not likely to be that important for a rock band as the sound tends to be 'processed' a lot. I am sure sound engineers who record in great sounding rooms will tell me otherwise. Apparently an un-carpeted floor helps acoustic guitars sound good when being recorded wtih a large diaphram mic (according to the latest 'sound on sound' magazine.

I will give this convolution thing a try.

I am going to record my friend's band this Saturday. I aim to get to mixing done within a couple of weeks (I have a busy schedule and I would like to gate the drums and generally get it sounding good.)

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I hate to rain on your parade, but I think that most people that attempt home recording are wasting their money. Scotland has two good tracking studios (The Byre and Castle Sound) and I don't know how many demo rooms that do a good job. (Try Unity near Nairn!)

For the price of that mic that you are thinking of buying, you could make a really good demo and the people making it would be experienced engineers.

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I've been using a SM57 to mike up my vox lately. I have it bang in the middle of the cone about 0.5 - 1cm for the the grill cloth. It sounds great. Not fuzzy etc, good overall sound. It sounds like the amp sounds to me standing next to it if you know what I mean.

It might have something to do with the AC30 having a wooden slat in the middle of the speaker, hence blocking some of the dreaded "cone of death" sound that was discussed on this forum a short while ago.

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I hate to rain on your parade' date=' but I think that most people that attempt home recording are wasting their money. Scotland has two good tracking studios (The Byre and Castle Sound) and I don't know how many demo rooms that do a good job. (Try Unity near Nairn!)

For the price of that mic that you are thinking of buying, you could make a really good demo and the people making it would be experienced engineers.[/quote']

The worst self promotion I've ever seen....

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