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Recording Distorted Guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by BennisHahn, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. BennisHahn

    BennisHahn Guest

    Hey all, I am haveing a tough time recording my guitar when I put it into overdrive. I have heard that getting a good sound on a recording is hard with an overdriven guitar but are there any tips/tricks?

    I can either run a cable out of the amp (it has a speaker-emulation jack for recording) or I can mic it with my behringer B1 large diaphram condensor mic. I have tried both ways and it just doesn't sound right. It has this real hi-mid/hi sound, almost like its over a telephone (its not clipping) and even with eq I can't get rid of it.

    I am currently mixing an calkwalk's home studio 2004 because of my lack of money :roll: . Any help is welcomed.

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Usually guitar amps are recorded using dynamic mics like a Sennheiser 421, Shure 57 or ribbon mics like the RCA 44 or 77. Royer ribbon mics also get great reports for this application. You have to be very careful in the use of ribbon mics, keeping them bagged when you store or move them, as even moderate blasts of air can stretch the ribbon altering the frequency response of the mic.

    The problem you are expierencing is because of the use of the LD condenser. Going direct as you discribed, can result in a "hashy" type of sound. You might try rolling off the highs above 7 K Hz or so and perhaps boosting the low mids, from around 200 Hz to about 2K Hz a few dB.
  3. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    I'm curious though to how that Beh. (or any of those budget-LD-condensers) would sound as a room-mic on that amp when combined with the suggested
    dynamic close up.

    As I understood it, a LD-cond. works better in
    that situation. Just don't know how that would turn out for the Beh. mic.

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Most of the Asian condensers seem to exhibit a hi freq boost in the cardioid setting for some reason. However I used a Studio Projects C3 last night in omni, to track 3 BG vocalists and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded.

    I have used a U87 before on electric guitar amps with success. The U87 is very smooth in the mid and top end. A favorite trick of mine is to use 2 421's in front in stereo and a U87 sideways, behind the amp in fig 8. This yields a great stereo spread that is mono compatible and that has a huge sense of depth. This technique applies to open back amps. It doesn't work on closed back amps like a Marshall cab.
  5. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    Hey, I just recently read about an related setup
    as the one you described - sounds like a nice approach !http://www.saecollege.de/reference_material/pages/Microphones.htm

    Why the figure of 8 at the back BTW ? (just curious)


  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    For no particular reason, I just tried it once to see how it would sound and it turned out pretty good. The client was Kenny "Blue" Ray, cult following blues guitarist. Kenny uses vintage and reissue Fender style amps, heavy strings (.012's on the bottom) custom built guitars and likes to play real loud. He is very particular about his tone. He seemed to like how this mic set up sounded.

    I think I remember listening to his rig and being impressed at how much tone was coming off the back of his amp. I decided I should mic it and I thought the smooth midrange of the U87 would be a nice contrast to the super strong mids of the 421s. But I didn't want to blow thet puppie out on a loud amp so I put it up sideways in figure 8 pattern (sometimes I flip the phase, depending on the mic placements).
  7. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    and do not forget the rule 3:1 if you are using 2 mics in front of the combo/amp...
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yeah! 3 mics on one sound is good!! That rule, right? hee hee hee :D

    I just hit the mono button and make sure everything doesn't dissappear... (the cheaters way) Unca' K.
  9. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    BennisHahn -
    Needless to say, positioning is also critical when micing distorted tones. The difference that moving the mic even a half an inch can be pretty dramatic. Don't limit yourself to pointing directly at the speaker, off-axis usually yields better results in my experience. I haven't used LD mics in particular with super-distorted tones, but I've had surprisingly good results using even electret small-diaphram condensors like the AKG C1000 of all things (flame suit on). This was with ultra-ultra distorted tones, so your mileage may vary.

    Of course, I agree with the other posters about using dynamic mics in most situations, but you should always play around with things on your own and see what you come up with.
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Uncle Kurt, many years ago I was mixing FOH ( I hate this) for a nice band and the bass player insited that he wanted a microphone at every speaker of his hartke system!lol

    3:1. distance between microphones must be at least 3x the distance from the source.
    e.g: miking a JCM800. supose two Beta57´s at a distance of 1 foot, facing (a) speaker(s). they must be be spaced around 3 feet.
  11. sign

    sign Guest

    The C1000 can sound very good on distorted guitar indeed.

  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What a maroon! I wonder what his reasoning was? Perhaps a total lack of reason?? I woulda put them up and then just turned one on at FOH .. sorta like when I run live sound and someone complains that something is too soft or too loud. I will reach up to the desk and touch a knob and move my hand around a bit. Then I ask "Is that better?" They usually say "Yeah! That's muchbetter"... Idiots !

    Like I said, I just point 'em where I want 'em on the speaker, usually 1/2 way between the cone and the edge, slanted so the mic is pointed at a 45 degree angle straight at the paper and then go to mono to check for phase cancellation. Rules are a wonderful thing to know, so you know that you are breaking them, when your breaking them.. :D
  13. Make sure that the sound of the amp in the room is exactly right before you mic it up. With distorted sounds be certain that the sound fits with the rest of the recording. It's very easy for a distorted guitar to disappear in a mix, stand out too much or just sound horrible courtesy of its tone. This is best fixed at source before you record it.

    I use a single AKG D770 and it gives me great results. I tend to position the mic so that it is almost touching the cloth on the front of the amp, off centre by a few inches, angled at about 45 degrees and pointing towards the centre of the speaker.

  14. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Kurt, once I read that a studio owner in the USa installed a big volume button in one of his gear racks.
    As the moron detector reached a tremendous peak, he would invite the "talent" himself to move the magic hidden volume button. In a certain situation, with the virtual volume button at 6, it made the talent say: PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPERFFFFFFFFFFECCCCCCCCCCCCCCT!
  15. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    I was trying to think how to bring this up without sounding insulting... (D'oh, no LOL emoticon here??) If you're recording yourself, sometimes it's hard to sacrifice what you feel is a god-like tone when you're sitting in front of the amp, and what makes sense in terms of the sonic requirements of the composition. But I think that may be the topic of a different thread. :D
  16. heinz

    heinz Guest

    I like to stick a royer 121 right up next to the cloth, experimenting with angles (up to about 45 deg) until I have the EQ close to what I want. I set the amp tone to roll of a good deal of bass mud, and set the volume up high but not on kill. Just to the point where speaker excursion is happening. For high-gain rock stuff I will do a few takes with different amps (mesa soldano vox) and blend them together for a heavier richer sound.

    I've also had good luck using a SP C3 and a MD421. Sometimes I'll mix up those mics on the multiple takes to add more flavor. Typically avoid getting any room since I want them dry and up-front.
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Kurt...On the figure-8 setup you describe, which way is the pattern facing? Sideways, or perpendictular?

  18. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    :d: ok don't laugh at me here.

    Due to my terribly poor budget (this is a hobbie not a career), I purchased a pair of Samson C01's, simple cheap LD condensors. I run them through an (ugh) ART tube preamp. Sigh, yes I know, junk, but when I bought it, twas all I could afford. Anyway to the point.

    Samson C01 -> ART tub preamp -> Behringer Compressor -> Edirol DAW

    Garbage equipment. However, I recorded a band last week. Peavey Triple X head into a Peavey cabinet. I played with the amp until the guitarist heard the tone he wanted. I put the amp in my rec room. All carpeted and barn-board walls.

    The tone is lovely. Pure lovely. I think the sound is more to do with the amp/guitar/room acoustics than anything.

    I've tried the SM-57 more than enough times to know that I end up eq'ing the track more than I would like to.
  19. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Now THAT was a right-on hands-on post...Thanx mr breezes....dont worry...theres a lotof that kind of equipment owned by the good folks here.I spent a good amount of time in commercial facilities and theres a LOT of secret junk that no one would ever admit to using but would ALWAYS go to it in a pinch to get the right sound.Look at some of the web sites of yer bigger studios and check the equipment lists...chances are there will be the likes of Alesis midiverbs and crap like that.the reason is simple....these $50 to $75 pieces at yer second hand electronics store have settings for guitars that you just cant get anywhere else....okay so thats one of the secret pieces of crap still in use.....the others I'd have ta kill ya........
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Sideways. :D

    BTW, I have to agree with what the Davestermiester said re; Breezes post. If it works, it's hard to argue with! My favorite recordings I have ever done were on Blackface ADATs. On the other hand, I have recorded some real crap using a MCI console 2" tape and the best mics and outboard. Garbage in, garbage out.

    In the end, what matters more than anything else is what and who you're recording. All the other stuff is peripheral.

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