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Many many questions? Would like answers to all !

So our band is starting to come tougher and im really wanting/needing our recordings to sound good.

My current stuff.

-Mac G5 w/OSX Tiger
-PreSonus FirePod
-Cubecase Le
-Alesis 8ch Multimix
-Audix Fusion Drum mic Set (7 mics)
-2 Shure SM58's

So i have 8 channels to get 2 guitars and and kit. I would like to only use 3 or 4 mcs on the kit tho.


On to the Questions...

Would i be better off getting some thing like an Behringer Autocom Compressor for a snare? would it impove quality.


Would a PreSonus Tube Pre help my sound? If so how many would i need and for what mics.

Should i pick up a SM57 for the snare? Mabye and AKG D112 for the kick?

Will SM58's work ok for guitar amps if they had tube pres on them? or should i buy different mics for them?


How do you flip a mic out of phase? mabye ill read up on this one... but a quick answer would be helpful.

This is it for now! Sorry its alot but im stuck on what to do next.


RemyRAD Thu, 01/11/2007 - 22:15
OK, here is Remy's recipe for quick and dirty demo recording.

You have 8 inputs on that Fire pod. 8 decent microphone inputs. So along with this recipe will be other explanations about your questions.

You don't need a tube microphone preamp " but I want a warm sound blah blah" forget about it. You only need decent microphone preamps and you have them.

The Shure SM 56/SM57/SM58 are all the same microphones. The difference is in the mount and whether you have a metal ball pop filter. If you want an SM57 on your guitar amplifier, carefully unscrew the metal ball on the SM58 and voilà! Instant SM57. So for snare drum, unscrew the ball. Really you don't have to.

A compressor is a handy item and you would probably be good to get one, since I believe the Presonus Fire upon has provisions for inserts? If not, use your Alesis mixer for the microphone preamp then go into the compressor and then go into the Fire Pod. The Beringer's are usable but I'd rather have a DBX 166 as I know that unit well (the 266 is an imitation 166). I know how it sounds and what I can do with it.

You would be better off using a compressor when tracking the vocal and use the SM58. It's an excellent microphone for tracking vocals with as many people like Bono, Steve Tyler, Michael Jackson all use them for their hit records. You don't need no sinking condenser microphone for a good sound. All the vocalists on my fabulous live recordings all use SM58's, into good preamps with lotsO' headroom.

A little limiting perhaps on the bass when you track with an active DI or a bass head that already has a direct out with a 1/4" or XLR. But the limiting is optional and can also be done in software after-the-fact.

Sure! Put the snare drum and bass drum microphone into both channels of a DBX 166, run as 2 separate units i.e. turn off the stereo button. Add some compression on both 4:1 in hard knee for the snare drum and bass drum and then carefully adjust the gate for each one, you have both fast and slow release times. Choose one that sounds best for your music. You'll get an unbelievably tight and solid snare and bass drum. Add equalization to them, when you mixdown. Such as taking out a little lower midrange around 300 hertz from the bass drum. Add or subtract high end to taste. Won't need to do much to the snare drum. Go ahead and use your special drum microphones for your bass drum and snare drum and pick something to cover your overheads with Don't make the mistake of running your microphone preamp gain too high. By slightly keeping the gain a little lower, you will buy yourself much more headroom from the preamp. That's the biggest difference between a high $console and the cheap stuff. Do that with everything and you'll eliminate crunchy overblown distortion and that amateur sound from low headroom preamps.

You won't need any equalization on the guitars or compression if you put SM57's on the guitar amplifiers.

When you mix down, you should probably use a little high pass filtering (low-cut) on the lead singer SM58 microphone if you tracked with the compression. You might want to give it a little extra boost around 12kHz on the vocal also?

So you'll have mono drums with only a single overhead but if you want to get a little tricky, pan your single overhead slightly left and your snare drum slightly right and you'll have stereo drum kit. I don't care if you have 7 drum microphones, you won't need them all for this session.

You'll have one channel left open! If you want to get really daring, use 2 overhead microphones on the drums.

Believe it or not, if done properly, with the hardware and software you possess, there is no reason on this little blue planet you cannot produce a real quality demo if not a commercial hit?

I never let equipment hold me back. It actually makes it more fun and a greater challenge when you have to work with less than what you want.

My rules of thumb are: LESS IS MORE, KISS as in "keep it simple stupid" and don't use too many effects.

Heat in the oven and ROCK DOWN!
Ms. Remy Ann David

pr0gr4m Thu, 01/11/2007 - 22:53
Well, you've got more than 8 channels. You have 2 firewire devices capable of 8 channels each, giving you 16 (12 of them with pre-amps)channels of recording bliss. Now that does mean that you would have to get the 2 firewire devices to work together and I don't know if that would be easy or hard. If I were you, I'd try to figure out how to get that to work so you could mic the full drum kit with each drum on it's own channel/track.

On to the questions.

The stock compressors in Cubase LE are likely better than the Autocom. If you don't like them, there are free ones available that are pretty good like the Blockfish from Just putting a compressor on something isn't going to make it sound better. You need to know how to use it with the sound you have. Compression is often used on drums but in many different ways. There are lots of techniques discussed on this forum. Search around and you'll find all sorts of crazy ways to use it.

I don't think you're at the stage where you are actually going to benefit from a tube pre. One uses a tube pre because that's the sound they want. You just want your stuff to sound good. You don't need a tube pre for that. Just some time and practice. Don't think that just by having a tube pre you will get a better sound, especially with the cheaper ones. At the price level you're looking at, it's probably not worth the money to get one.

You've got a full set of mics for the drums. I don't know if those are any good or not, but work with them to get the absolute best sound you can. Spend time getting the drums to sound good first, them mic them. Play with the placement of the mics while you listen to how the mic sounds. Try to find the "sweet spot".

Once you have the mic in a place where it sounds good, try changing it out with one of the 58s. Listen if that sounds better or worse. From there you can determine if you need different mics.

The 58s you have are good for lots of things, vocals, guitars and even drums. You could probably benefit from having a couple different mics. SM57s are great all purpose mics and sound great on guitars, snares, toms, etc. Using one would likely be an improvement on the Audix mics, but that's not a guarantee. Same goes for the D112. Heck, you should even try using the audix mics on the guitars. They may have the sound you want.

Regarding your question about using the 58s on guitars with tube pres...The 58s will work on the guitars WITH or WITHOUT tube pres. Don't get hung up on the "Tube Pre Amp" bandwagon. Yes, they are great and can add a lot of character to a sound, but by no means are they required to get a good sound. Plus, if you don't know how to use one, (not implying that you don't) it wouldn't matter anyway. Some people say that any tube pre amp that costs less that several hundred dollars (like 700) is not worth the money. There are many reasons for that which I won't get into. The point I'm trying to make with that statement is that any tube pre amp you could afford probably isn't going to make things sound better. Different perhaps but not necessarily better.
Just for the record, I have a few cheapo pres and I like using them, but it's more for an effect or particular sound rather than using them for their amazing sonic character.

Generally reversing phase of a microphone is done on a console or in your case in Cubase. I have SX and it has a phase reverse on each channel. I would guess that LE would too. I don't think the Firepod or the Alesis have a phase reverse but check their manuals or front panels to be sure.

As for what to do is not the answer. Practice is. Practice at recording. Read through this forum. See what other people do, the techniques they use. Apply them as best you can. Your results should improve.

Cucco Fri, 01/12/2007 - 07:49
You've already gotten some good answers, but here goes my attempt...
xX5thQuarterXx wrote:
Would i be better off getting some thing like an Behringer Autocom Compressor for a snare? would it impove quality.
No....NO....HELL NO...

DBX 166XL - $400. Learning to use it properly....priceless. Seriously though - a good compressor (and I too like the DBX line- the 166 is very predictable and a great learning tool as well as a GOOD compressor). If you can't swing the dough - try a software based one, but learn what the knobs do - DON'T use presets (not even to "get you close").

xX5thQuarterXx wrote:

Would a Presonus Tube Pre help my sound? If so how many would i need and for what mics.

Nope. If you want a good tube pre to help your stuff sound better:
1 - something else is causing the sound to not be "better" - mic placement, room, etc.
2 - prepare to spend some $$ It takes money to design and build a quality pre. More if you want tubes and the proper voltage in the chain (if done poorly, expect lots of noise and a very unlinear response!) The least expensive tube pre that I would consider using is the Summit Audio 2BA-221. By all rights, it is a great pre and at less than $600, it's a bargain!

The pres in the Firepod are actually halfway decent. (I would happily track any artist in the world on them.) Until you're ready to pony up some $$ and know the deficiencies you'd like to conquer with a new pre, stick with your already nice stock pres.

xX5thQuarterXx wrote:
Should i pick up a SM57 for the snare? Mabye and AKG D112 for the kick?

Will SM58's work ok for guitar amps if they had tube pres on them? or should i buy different mics for them?

Sure...why not. The audix mics are pretty nice, but it wouldn't hurt to have spares if you can spare the dough (and since you're not needing additional pres, etc. you might have it.)

Personally, I would add a couple inexpensive but quality vocal mics to the list such as a SP C1, or an AT4040, perhaps a Rode NT1A. All of these are great mics and CAN get a good vocal sound (if paired with the right vocalist).

xX5thQuarterXx wrote:

How do you flip a mic out of phase? mabye ill read up on this one... but a quick answer would be helpful.

Either in the software (cubase has this function) at the mixer or preamp (there should be a phase reverse function) or at the cable by wiring pins 2&3 reversed on one side.

Just out of curiosity, why are you needing to do this? Is the the bottom of the snare mic trick? Don't get sucked into the myth that this is an essential technique. If you're not getting the sound you want out of the kit with a minimal of mics (3 to 4) examine how your placing the mics, how the kit sounds in the room and how well the kit is tuned.

Just some thoughts...

Good luck,