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Can I use my SM57 and i5 at the same time?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Guitarfreak, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I have done this before with bad results because the mics are so similar that they create problems and audio artifacts and such. Is there a way that I can however use them at the same time to mic my amp? I believe that they both result in good sound that is different and adds to eachother nicely. Hopefully there is a smart way of doing this.

    I have done it this way... Close miking with the 57 positioned at the edge of the speaker and angled to point at the center of the cone with the i5 pointing at the center of the cab 3 feet back.
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You need to be able to reverse the phase of one of the mics. This may be done by a couple of means:
    If your DAW software permits you to "flip" the phase of 1 of the tracks, do that.
    You can wire a mic cable so that the "+" and "-" pins at one of the ends are reversed from the same at the other end.
    And, alternatively, you can purchase a polarity reversing adapter (Shure and A-T, as well as some others). This is a metal tube with XLR's at each end. The XLRs are wired out of phase, making this a snap at the time of the tracking.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Do you think this will result in loss of signal and/or frequency cancellation though because the mics are so similar?
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Nope. Nada. Aint gonna happen.

    Its two mics. Similar specs.Still different. Different placement(even an inch matters) Two separate tracks. With the phase relationship in control you can fashion whatever you want from this setup. Is it ideal? Maybe.

    Heres where you discover the wonders of individual mics' abilities to reproduce frequencies. You may find that the positions of these two mics need to be exactly the opposite of what you start with.

    There is no 'go to' formula. Its what it is for each situation and for each track if you want to get down to the true nitty-gritty.

    You could simply throw em up and push the red button. Or you can agonize endlessly over minute positioning to get that perfect noise you seek.

    Thats the fun part of all of this.

    Any way you get it is going to be correct if its waht you want to represent your sound with. If it doesnt sound like you want it to,then you need to continue with the experiment until it does.
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sir Dog. As long as you think I won't have any problems then it should be cool I guess. I just remember that one time that I used them both and had problems when I tried to EQ the tracks, where the result was boomy and ruined the entire capture. My ears aren't that developed yet to 'hear' phase issues or other problems when mixing these tracks together other than that one time where it was glaringly obvious, so I'll have to rely on your word for now.

    Is there any help you can offer me to help develop my ear to detect these things when they do occur? Such as phase problems or anything else to watch out for?
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Even if you can't hear the phase problems, you may be able to see them. And once you can see them you may be able to teach yourself to hear them. Take the two tracks and blow them up both vertically and horizontally until you can clearly see the peaks and valleys of the wave form - say .25 sec. or less filling up the width of the screen. The waveforms will be different since they are different mics in different positions - but they will be similar. The biggest difference is that the waveform of the i5 will be delayed - the sound will reach it after the 57. I don't know what DAW you are using, but I assume you can grab the i5 track and move it slightly to the left so that it lines up better with the 57 track. You want the most prominent peaks and valleys to occur at the same time. That should give you a strong clear sound. Now try to get the worst sound possible. move one of the tracks so that the peaks align with the valleys and vice versa. Pan everything to center. The sound should be pretty awful. That's phase cancellation.
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Ahh, that's brilliant! I never thought to adjust their place in time but it does sound more powerful now with a clearer attack :D Good stuff :cool:

    BTW, I am on Logic Express.
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Wait a second...

    I'm really confuzzeled here.

    GF... You're giving gear and mixing advice to newbs in the pro audio forums, and you don't know how to mic a cab with multiple mic's, do phase/time alignment, or set up comps, gates, delays or verbs?

    OK, this splain's a lot...

    What Bob said is dead on. If you can't hear it, and a lot of plank spanker's I know are about deaf as a post in the 3-5k range, then watch the wave forms.

    Another "trick" is to actually learn your rig. This is tedious as hell, but worth every second you put into it.

    Create a new song... but just one. Name it Speaker 1. This is extremely important!

    Take one mic or the other and place it dead center in front on one speaker in the cab. Place the mic 1" from the grill. Track it playing a short (30-60 sec) piece of music you can't help but play the same every time you put a plank in your hands.

    Move the mic vertically up by the diameter of the diaphragm, or 1" - whichever is less. Track it playing the same friggin' piece, but adding on to the song as a new region on the timeline... like a verse.

    Move the mic vert again, 1 mic diameter... lather, rinse repeat... again and again and again... until you reach the edge of the speaker, then go back to the center and go downward... then left, then right.

    Save the song without processing, EQ, or anything else.

    Now create another song and name it speaker 2. Go to your 2nd speaker (if applicable) and do the whole tedious process again.

    Do this with every speaker in the cabinet.

    Save all these "songs" to a folder named for your mic you were using.

    Repeat the entire painful process with your other mic.

    Now, if you survive the whole thing without shooting yourself, you can load the "songs" in an itoonz play list that makes some sense.... like, speaker 1, speaker 2, etc.

    Make the speaker 1 playlist; speaker 1/57 and speaker 1/i5.

    Listen carefully, you'll likely find out that there is a speaker that generally sounds "better" with each mic. At least you can note what characteristics are what, with each position.... phat, thin, tinny, boxy, etc.

    Now you can probably guess which combination of which mic, in front of which speaker is going to get you closer to the sound you want, without having to continually guess wtf you should do.

    If you're really a massochist at heart, and most of you planker's are from what I can tell, you can then try a rehash of this insane experiment, by trying each mic at different distances from the speaker... moving the mic back away from the speaker by 1".

    The key here is to make yourself some detailed notes, and be sure you make notations on each take, in the regions' timeline or on the region itself. That way you can better identify what setting you want to use.

    A lot of touring pro's do this whole insane process and will actually mark the grill with an "L" of tape where they prefer the FOH AE to put the mic. That way, their sound is consistent.
  9. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Haha. Well I never said I didn't know how to set up comps gates delays or verbs. The only thing was understanding the phase thing when doing combo close/far miking. I was confused as to why there is a few different laws regarding how to track to not introduce phase problems. But I think what Bob said made it click. It doesn't really matter at what distance you mic because as long as you shift to allow for the difference in latency for the time it takes the sound to travel to the second mic (and then do a phase flip?) then you should be fine.

    And just in defense of myself, I like to help the super noobs and point them in the right direction so I can save the pro's the time of explaining so that they can focus on bigger problems. I never said the advice I offer is pro :shock: Plus I'd like to believe that from monitoring the threads you guys write on that I have at least a decent understanding of even some of the more complicated principles floating around here, even if I have no experience with it.

    Anywho... that really is a neat trick and I might have to do it one of these days if I get an empty house for any length of time. Thanks Max :cool:
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    time aligning by sliding tracks can help in some cases, and in others it can kill the room vibe. Use your artistic judgement, but by all means play with it.
  11. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I'm bouncing a few MP3's to my iPod right now so that I can A/B them and see what my efforts have created and as to what sounds good. Just in case you were wondering, there are three files in question from a project that was miked in the previously described way. This is what I am going to listen to now.

    1. Dry tracks (not time corrected)
    2. Dry tracks (time corrected)
    3. Dry tracks (time corrected + i5 phase flip)

    If you'd like to hear them let me know.
  12. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Whether or not you want to hear them here they are 8)

  13. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Okay. when you listen, what do you hear? I hear one track that is close, one that is blatantly out of phase presenting hollow sound and one that has large frequency cancellation.
  14. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Guilty as charged. But experimentation is key in getting the sound that you like. Just because so-and-so says to do things ____ way doesn't mean you have to.

    And about phase issues... Some people intentionally disalign peaks to yield a thicker sound. Phasing guitars just don't bother me that much I guess. And what about Randy Rhoads? Talk about out of phase... But what really bugs me is pitch shifting sharp -- that is unbelievably grating to my ears, but some people don't even notice it, or some people won't notice even if one of the tracks is pitch shifted ridiculously flat. Maybe it's the same way with phasing issues?
  15. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    See, like I said, without monitors or experience with this stuff all I hear is three different sounding guitar tracks.

    The first one sounds airy and not even that distorted. The palm mutes sound weak and there's little note definition.

    The second one is more defined and has better pick attacks.

    The third sounds completely different from the other two but I'm trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

    To me the third sounds more like a guitar, but it sounds like it takes up less space in the mix. Because of frequency cancellation? But who is to say that the original tracks weren't taking up TOO much excessive space because THOSE are the problem tracks. It's been a long time since I tracked this so trying to remember which track sounded more like my amp that day is out of the question.

    Throw me a bone here, this isn't exactly high school geometry. Phase relationships are not the kind of thing that just makes sense right off the bat. You have to experience the ins and outs, the good and bad.
  16. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Have you ever heard a flanger before? Phasing sounds similar to that. If you can't hear phasing when it's severe, well, you must be partially deaf or something, haha.
  17. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    No, that can't be accurate. If you click in a wah pedal and leave it at one setting, you cannot describe the resulting sound as being a 'wah' sound. It is then just a different sounding guitar track.
  18. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Out of phase tracks aren't static: they fluctuate. You should be able to hear the track going EEeeooooOOOOHHHHHeeeEEEEooooWWWW... or something like that, anyway.
  19. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    The first one is blatantly out of phase. The second is very close if not as good as you can do with the take. The third has a lot of frequency cancellation because you were already close with the time shifting but when you reversed the phase of one channel threw it completely 180 degrees out of phase.
  20. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    There's no doubt that they all sound very different, even I can hear that. I just don't know what 'out of phase' sounds like. They are obviously only partially out of phase because if they were completely out of phase there would be no signal. I get that

    If you had never seen or heard of a cat before, and somebody showed you three animals you had also never seen before, do you think you would be able to choose which was a cat? I just don't know which track is the 'glaringly obvious out of phase track' because I have no idea what obviously out of phase tracks sound like.

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