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Discussion in 'Guitars' started by LeroyGodspeed, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Ive browsed round this site for a while looking for a definate answer to my question. But the content is so strewn about, with no definate answers to my question:

    What is a great mic for distorted electric guitar?

    I have captured some good tones in the past using a U87 and a SM57. but... well... i dont own own the U87 (nor can i afford it right now). The 57 was too thin by itself...

    does anyone have any suggestions for a great dist. guitar microhone? or mic combo? help me?
  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    Ask 20 engineers and you'll probably get 25 answers... it's all a matter of your take on the music, your sense of aesthetic, and what is available at the moment.

    The main thing is to get the guitar sounding great in the room... once you have that you're 90% of the way to getting a great sound in the control room.

    Ribbon mics are all the rage these days from the Coles to vintage RCA's [the BK-5 really shines in this application] to Royers and AEA's... Glyn Johns allegedly used Beyer M-160's on a bunch of Led Zeppelin stuff... but only those that were there really know for sure.

    FWIW, one thing I've found over the years is to get the speaker cabinet off the floor so you don't get a ton of 'false bottom' from the cabinet being kinetically coupled to the floor... it seems faster and easier to me [maybe because I'm old and don't bend as well as I used to] to get the sound quicker when the cabinet is up on something like a barstool or a road case.

    Best of luck with it!!
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    What I find almost as important as getting it to sound good in the room, is getting it to sound good in the control room. If you think a 57 can only get one kind of sound, put on some isolation headphones, and move the mic around at all angles/distances. So many different tones come out of that. I typically like a couple inches off the grill, around the middle of the speaker, angled a bit so that it points to the part were the round part in the middle of the speaker meets the cone. Sorry I don't know the proper terms! :? I also try to stay away from the floor. If it is a 4x12, try one of the top speakers.

    But basically there is no definite answer to your question. Try a MD421?
  4. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Whatever sounds good. I like to use a Royer 122 with a sm57 on the same cab.

    Also gettting a splitter box (littlelabs STD) has opened up a new realm for us as far as drving 2 amps simultaneously.

    So for 125. 00 bucks for the splitter , you could use 1 sm57 on amp, an sm57 on another amp and now have 2 completly diff sounds.
  5. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    I have to agree with Fletcher here. My last experience I decided to do something smart (and boy am I glad I did) and put 7 mics on my 4x12. I varied all their angles and placements. I tracked myself with all 7 on 7 individual tracks and then listened to it back in the control room, one mic at a time. What I did was choose 3 mics. I choose the one mic that gave me the best definition and "bite" out of the guitar sound (it was a Rode Nt-1 Condenser Placed on-axis about 4-6 inches off the grill)...then I choose the mic that seemed the "darkest" or had the least "bite" to it and I would use that for "body" for my overall sound (that was surprisingly a Peavey PVM tom mic out of a peavey drum mic kit placed off axis - angled toward where the middle meets the cone 1-2 inches off the grill. Lastly I choose a room mic for some natural reverb and to capture a bit more of what my ear hears when I am playing in the room. (Nt1 condenser at ear level - about 9 feet out into the room) I aligned all the tracks so they would be in phase and then I would only tweak volumes of the 3 tracks. If i felt the guitar was too thin, shazam! I would turn up the "dark, body" mic a bit more until it sounded nice and full. Likewise, if the guitar wasn't cutting through the mix and was getting lost in the bass guitar I would turn up the "bite" mic. If the guitar sounded unnatural or too dry, I would adjust the room mic. Moral of the story...odds are if I didn't do this little mic shootout I probably would have placed an old SM57 right up on the grill, off axis and then put a condenser on-axis about 6 inches away and called it a day...I'm very happy I didn't...I got the exact sound I was looking for now...There is no wrong mic...especially if it can give you a portion of what you are looking for and helps you get your sound to where you want it to be. Experiment. My advice...get an E609 silver from sennheiser. I have used those in the past and have had pretty good results when I take the time to find what I am looking for out of my guitar sound. The E609 will be a good starting point for you in regards to quality, price, and versatility. I like it better than the sm57, but hey, like fletcher said...that's only my answer!
  6. can you tell me the rules of phase again? i mean, in terms of mic placement and how far you put your mics from one another to avoid phase problems? thanks for the great reply by the way!
  7. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    I've been using an Audio Technica AT3035 quite a bit lately, about $185.
  8. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Well the most common rule of phase is the 3:1 rule. Meaning if one mic is placed 3 inches from the source the next mic should be 9 inches so that the two mics can be as in-phase as possible. However, what I like to do is look for the best possible sound, regardless of distance, and then time align the tracks so that there is no delay or if there is it is so small that it goes unnoticed and doesn't cause phase problems. Align the transients and peaks of the waveforms so they match up in time and they will be in phase 90% of the time. If you solo a guitar track and you hear phasing in that single track, your mic needs to be moved so that the phasing is eliminated. I hope this helps. I am typing real fast here at work and I'm just rambling...Just remember the distance thing doesn't matter if you are able to time-align your tracks. Basic principle: If you have one mic 3 inches away from the grill and one mic 15 inches away from the grill then the mic that is 3 inches will sound like it is 3 inches and the mic that is 15 will sound like it is 15...if you mix the two together it may sound okay or it may propagate some phasing...if it does just slide the further one ahead in time to match up with the closer mic and so on...
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Take a look at the HM-1 from KEL Audio ...


    I used one on an old AMPEG Jet amp the other day and was surprised at how good it sounded for a condenser.

    I usually prefer dynamics on amps but the HM-1 really delivered a very smooth and balanced response with out any of the crackle distortion that can happen when micing guitar amps.

    KEL is offering a no questions asked 21 day return, so it is imposible to get burned trying it out at under$100 (shipping included). .

    PS I like them on vocals too!
  10. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Here is what I recently did with awesome results:

    Marshall 1960 4x12
    Randall head

    I put an Audix i5 about 2 inches from the grill, slightly off center, at about a 45 degree angle toward the cone. I then put a Sennheiser E609 about 2 inches from the grill centered between the edge of the speaker and the cone. I got a nice low/mid from the Sennheiser and an ear piercing pissy sound from the Audix i5. Combined....one hell of a guitar sound!

    I checked for phase issues....nothing that I could notice.
  11. KTek

    KTek Guest

    wazzup, lately, i've been running, from a direct box, the 1/4 inch line to an amp, mic that amp (however you think sounds best) and the xlr out of the direct box strait to the mixer (and strait to tape.) sometimes you can delay the amp signal, pan the signals, or mix them however the hell you think sounds good. the first rule of recording is "there are none." (so long as you're not making it sound like crap......unless there's a part that you want to sound like crap...industrial musicians know about that)
  12. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    try the audix D2, the akg C414 TLII

    the sm57 with the C414 can give you cool results
  13. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    I must admit I'm really diggin my Royer 121. A great pre (Neve, Great River, API , UA etc) is just as important, as is mic placement, room sound etc. The main thing is to get the amp/room sounding like you want first.
  14. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I must be confused on this rule here. I thought the 3:1 rule applied on stereo micing a single source. How does having the mics different distances from the source keep them in phase? Maybe if you flip the phase on one or something?
    Please clarify for me
  15. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Well Reggie if you have two mics...one close and one far...the sound is going to hit the second mic at a later time then the first one. So essentially, depending on the frequencies of the notes being played (wavelength) If you play a note that peak will hit the first mic and then soon after be captured by the second. If the distance isn't correct to create "a natural delay" then what you get is two tracks that cancel eachother out in some amount. This is why you line up the peaks in your software if you hear phase when you combine the two tracks. In simplest terms it means if in a certain segment in time one track has a peak then the other has a trough. I wish I could paste an example of this to show you or draw one out for you and it would be much easier to explain. For your own experiment try this. Try mic'ing a cab with two mics in almost the same location and at the same angle (same speaker too!) Then, in your software, flip the phase of one of them. You should now play them and see level for both but hear nothing because they are totally 100% out of phase and are cancelling eachother out. Look at the waveforms, one has a peak when the other has a trough...hope you understand better now.
  16. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Right, I understand how all that works for the most part. What I don't understand is why your second mic on the source has to be 3 times as far away. Wouldn't the "proper" distance be different depending on the shape of the waveform coming from the source? Like, doesn't a wave consist of amplitude and frequency; so I'm thinking you would have to constantly move your mic around to stay in phase completely because the waves are always different lengths according to their freq. So how would 3:1 be relevant? Isn't it just best to use your ears to find the amount of phase cancellation that sounds best to you and your current situation? Have I put enough ?'s in here? Is this going to keep me up at night thinking again? :)

    Sorry this is WAY OT, but I am a curious george.
  17. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    You would be correct. The 3:1 rule is utilitzed as a fundamental basis for mic placement. It's not a concrete rule. As long as you have two mics on the same source at different distances you will have some degree of phase. 3:1 is just a tested ratio that seems to work out nicely MOST OF THE TIME...of course your ears are always your best judge! 3:1 seems to be the right ratio to create what I called a natural delay. Where the wave forms in the tracks are spaced enough not to cancel but not spaced enough to be an audible delay. Hope that makes sense.
  18. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Oh. OK, all is well in my world again.
    Thanks for clearing my mind :cool:

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