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good mic to pair with a Shure SM57 for recording guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by rocker73, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. rocker73

    rocker73 Active Member

    Can anyone answer the above question, mainly when i record guitars at the moment i mic my cab with an SM57, record the dry signal through my BSS Audio active D.I. Box and also record the Balanced signal from the direct out on the back of my Marshall TSL100 then blend the Direct out signal with the SM57 signal.

    If this does not give me what i want i still have the D.I.'d signal to fall back on for running through Pod Farm plugins.

    I am after a Mic that i can pair with the SM57 so that one mic would capture the top end and the other more the bottom end as i read a Steve Albini article where he uses this technique, also i would like a mic that is multipurpose.

    What about a Rode NT2A or SE Electronics SE2200?

    Any suggestions much appreciated!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's good to consider a second mic on a guitar cabinet, but if you are going to use a condenser mic positioned a few feet away from a cabinet, you really have to arrange the acoustic environment so that you don't get reflections off the floor, walls or ceiling muddying the captured sound. The other problem you have to tackle is that of phase (or combination of delay and phase), and that goes for any mic signal when blended with a direct output.

    I've used an NT2-A for a second cabinet mic in conjunction with a 57 hard up against the grille and have had good results. I've not used an SE2200 for this type of work.

    I often use a phase display to determine a suitable delay of the DI signal relative to the 57 and then another to get a workable value for a delay on the signals from the 57 and the DI relative to the room mic. This latter is not so easy to choose, and it often seems like a negative value is better, i.e. the room mic is further delayed relative to the cabinet, putting it into reverb territory.

    Experiment, and go with what gives the results you are looking for.
  3. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    It's very popular to use a ribbon mic paired with a 57 on guitar cabs. The creamy nature of a full ribbon juxtaposed with the upper mid boost of the 57 is a beautiful thing to behold.
  4. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    One thing to really consider is your mic pre. I really love the API 512c with a 57. It is super easy to get the sound I'm hearing in the room with this combination. When I use 2 mic's on guitar 99% of the time i start to feel likt they get "small" sounding because of inherent phase issues that always exist. I'm not saying it can't be done because blending a 57 and 421 is a time honored pair but I've personally never liked the result.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    That's funny, I use a distant mic in order to pick up the reflections from the floor, walls and ceiling. If phase (which is a consequence of delay) is a problem I simply slip the track, but usually there's enough different about the distant mic, and/or it's low enough in the mix, that I don't feel the need.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You are right that I didn't make things clear. The distinction here is between having two mics on the cabinet and a single mic on the cabinet combined with a room mic.

    Multiple cabinet miking has its own problems that I alluded to, but usually you use the second mic to capture the cabinet sound at a medium distance while reducing the effects of room reflections. The delay and (to a lesser extent) phase at the second mic need to be thought about.

    Using a room mic is a separate technique that suits some music styles, playing techinques, cabinets and (importantly) rooms, but without due care can give results that are difficult to place in a mix. Phase is not usually important in this case, but delay may be, as you mentioned.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I'm still very traditional when it comes to micing guitar cabinets. A lot of technique for this will be dependent on the style of the song. For 'heavier' guitar I like the 57 and another ,deeper, dynamic right with it. I try and align the capsules as best possible and then play with the phase and position. Sometimes the 'other' mic on axis and the 57 off axis is the way to go....sometimes both on axis.My favorite mic all time for this has been a Sennheiser MD409. Since I dont have one anymore (sigh) I will usually use an Audix D2 or D4. As for a room mic, I generally do this with a second take when the guitar is being layered. I will also change out the close mic for this to give more of a tonal spread and more options at mix. I like the 57 again and will add a Kel HM-1 condenser as another mic at around 3 feet but in the speakers' beam. I'll then put up a nice tube condenser in the room. An ADK TT works great for this or sometimes I'll use the AT4033 for a little more brightness.

    I still get a great sound with a single mic through a great pre. Thats been mentioned and is a great way to work. If your layering, you can simply change out the primary mic and make another pass. Easy.
  8. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Heil PR20! The PR20 and SM57 sound great apart and even better when blended. I would lose the DI blending though, that is poor technique in my opinion. Taking a DI of a guitar and then reamping later is one thing, taking a DI of the line out of an amp and processing it using speaker emulation is yet another thing, taking a DI of the line out on the amp and blending it in with the mic'd tone is something else entirely and sounds like it would just cause more harm than good.

    Here are a few comparison clips from a recent project of mine:

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  9. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    I'm surprised I'm not reading anything here about ribbon mics with 57s. Care to tell me your experiences and why/why not?
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I've used a Royer R-121 as the room mic, with the null aimed at the cabinet. It seemed to work nicely with just a hint panned across from the close mic.
  11. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Really it comes down to about personal taste. I've had the pleasure of hearing side by side mix comparisons of a bunch of mics dynamic, condenser, and ribbon on heavily distorted guitar parts. The end result was that the SM57 just sounded "right" and the only thing that came close to sounding in the ballpark of right is the Cascade Fathead II. All the rest sounded like they were better used on other instruments or for different styles of music. This included mics such as MD421, R121, e609 etc. I have heard the R121 on clean and lightly distorted electric guitars and it sounded much more fitting to the sound. If you ask Michael Wagener, he would tell a different story though. The popular phrase having to do with different strokes applies.

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