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To DI, or not to DI?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hxckid88, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    So I haven't been here in awhile but I am seeking help from you pro's yet again.

    Obviously, any good studio has a couple of good DI boxes. But what if you DON'T have one. Not that I have a studio. But heres the situation.

    Lets say there is this guitarist, he has his rig set up perfectly the way he likes it. He has a 4x12 cab, quite common for metal and rock. I ask him if I can mess with his settings to get a better sound for recording because his sound is more tuned towards live performances. He's totally cool with it, and when I ask him to record a few tracks under the new settings, he sounds pretty brutal rather than muddy and overly distorted like it was before.

    Even though I changed his settings appropriately to better match a recording, and although I am using an SM57, I still feel that it is coming out too muddy. Recording with a 1x12 is cleaner, especially with the size of the room, more like the size of a standard living room. Why? It seems that with the 4x12, the 3 other speakers that are NOT mic'ed are hitting the mic at different times, even if it is within millisecond, it is causing an effect that is naturally muddying up the sound.

    So here I ask, what do I do? I've never tried this so I'm not too sure. I couldn't run any outs from his amp head to my interface could I? Would the signal have to be converted to high output XLR? So in other words I would need to DI the guitar rather than recording via mic. Could I record the guitar clean and run that track through the head? I feel like I should know this but I've never had to do this before. I suppose I should invest in a radial DI... But any other suggestions?

  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    It sounds to me that the room you're in is not treated to minimize 'standing waves'. When you pound an untreated room with a 4x12 behemoth, you've got so much sound pressure going into so much air space. Then the low-mid resonance points in the room are going to show their ugly little heads and screw with the 57. A single 12" works better in MANY studios because it's moving less air in the room. Plus, it's a single 'motor' (instead of 4 that are oh-so-slightly out of sync), so there is the punch and clarity from that simplicity. When a player comes into my studio with a 4x12 and attitude, I'll have him try it with this ancient Bogen Challenger 15-watt tube PA head pushing it. Cranking that up instead of a 100-watter to get the distortion and sustain doesn't overdrive the room.
  3. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    Yeah exactly. The room is a simple living that is obviously not meant and is not treated for recording. But rather than giving up I'm trying to find a solution. I could have him try my 15-er which I use to do some personal tracking, other than that I would have to try to find a way to slap those sound waves in the face. What about putting something some absorbing surface in front of the cab? Such as foams or heavy blankets? Since the room is large and the 4x12 is overkill for the room.
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    my man you could do some recordings with an amp sim like a pod pro, or go software style like native instruments guitar rig 2, and not have to worry one bit about your room being untreated.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This thread has some relevant information:
    (Dead Link Removed)

    I think that in the room you describe you may get the best results from miking a single-speaker amp.
  6. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    Good info in that other thread.

    In this case, I do not have money to go out and buy a DI. I was wonder what ways I could get around trying to go straight from the amp to the interface but that would not work. I'm not sure if his cab is this way, but I know that some guitar cabs have 2 speaker outputs, one which outputs to 2 speakers and same with the other. 2 speakers mic'ed is better than 4.

    I also don't want to have to buy anymore software either. I just spent money on Cubase STudio 4 and a Firestudio, trying to save up to ugprade my compressor and hey what do ya know... Looks like I'll be getting a DI too.

    So my choices so far seem to be...

    1. Deal with it, put an SM57 to the cab and deal with the size of the room and hopefully some good mixing will make it unnoticeable.
    2. Try and dampen the sound and swat any extra frequencies flying around by using material to alter the sound
    3. Use my practice amp or borrow a practice amp from someone (1x12).
    4. See if we can get his amp to only play out of 2 speakers instead of 4 to limit the number of sources.
  7. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    I never like DI'ing a really dirty guit

    If the track is meant for the cab sound then it wise to mic the cab and mix it good. However, listen to the guitar sound on Sultan's of Swing by Dire Straights, cuz that was DI'd to capture the crispness. I am having the same problem as you are having w/ my guitar rig. By the way thanks for the logical idea to use 2 speaks instead of 4, cuz I have a switch on the back of my Marshall cab to make the input stereo. If your using this cab there are two 1/4 inch inputs and a stereo switch will route each one to only 2 speakers then. Thanks I will try that tomorrow. I tend to go overboard lol
    My best advice is go w/ all four of those ideas and go overboard w/ your creativity!
    8) 8) 8) 8)
  8. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Re: I never like DI'ing a really dirty guit

    You may already know this, but just in case....If you are using a Marshall tube head, you may want to also change the impedance switch on the back of the amp head to 8 ohms, if your cab is like mine. Mine has four 16 ohm speakers paralleled for 4 ohms in mono. Switch it to stereo for only two speakers, brings it up to 8 ohms/side. Marshall amps are kind of fussy about their impedance.

    Check that out whatever amp you're using, and double-check the cab to be sure. Better to be sure, than to watch your amp have a melt-down...as interesting and fun as it may be to see smoke billowing out of it!

  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you have a single 15" speaker cabinet use that.You had it right in the beginning in your thinking that the 'other' speakers were hitting the mic at different times. This produces MUD. Simply and easily. The untreated room at high volumes produces MUD. Blankets over the cabinet will dampen the standing waves and nodes associated with the room. This is a good idea.

    As a continuation of Krunchs' take, the Marshall will explode without the proper use of the impedance selector. Well, maybe not explode....but it might. Forgive me if my memory isnt what it used to be, but I seem to remember the Marshall cabinets having four 16 ohm speakers wired in series/parallel and being at 16 ohms per cabinet, with the stereo selectable models making eight ohms per side in that configuration. Maybe the new junk....err...stuff is different........... :!:

    As for the 15" speaker ....You'd be surprised just how clear and clean a 15 is for heavy to metal rock. You may not be getting the speaker distortion you get with the low wattage 12's, but you will get the amps' grind and the harmonic overtones at an enhanced rate.

    As always....YMMV.
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Exactly...maybe. That's why I suggested that it be checked to be sure. My cab is 4 ohms mono, 8 ohms/side stereo. Doesn't mean everyone's is. I know a lot of Marshall cabs are 16 ohms. That's so when you add another for a full stack, it brings it to 8 ohms. I'd have to rewire mine to use it in a full-stack configuration, or else construct a series speaker cable to connect both to bring it up to 8, assuming the other was wired similarly. I couldn't do two 4 ohm cabs in parallel. It would be 2 ohms. Check yours. :wink:

  11. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Exploding amps is bad

    Exploding amps is a bad thing huh? lol I remember someone telling me to always use speaker cable for speakers and never use a basic guitar cable. Seems that the cable might meltdown!
    Well I used my 8ohm output and used two speaker config on the amp, and it sounded interesting. I used two mics w/ an SM57 on one speaker and an audix i5 on the other. I think the part I am playing is easily muddy or too piercing sounding. Its like a chord like solo w/ lots of changes, so sometimes the playing might be muddy or too busy in the 1st place. Its amazing tho when u add MS imaging to the track, EQ it, and compress a bit for control. Maybe when it is done I will post it on here so u can hear my muddy solo lol
  12. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    Sounds great guys.

    The guitarist is actually using a Peavy, I forget which model. He has a really brutal solo tone but I've always had problems with his rythm tone so we're going to have to mess with the settings. I think they do have 2 1/4" outputs and a stereo switch, so we wil ltake a look at it and try to do only 2 speakers... I'll let ya know how it goes and post some sound clips! I will do that this w eekend I think...
  13. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    How about moving the cab to another room? Garage? Bath or closet? Each has an advantage.

    I always try to work with the guitarists' sound, however he gets it. Players that like 4x12 cabs like that low end thump.

    Try moving the cabinet around until it sounds right in the room, then try to capture that sound with the mic. With large guitar and bass cabs it's a lot of work, but maybe the only way to find the "sweet spot."

    I've moved on to software amps and cabs for that very reason. But most guitarists resist change...

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