Dull sounding tracks

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Stuck at work, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. Hey,
    I'm recording through an alesis studio 32 board into a delta 1010 onto cubase. Every track I've done through this setup comes out sounding dull and muddy. The guitars especially. The guitars sound very good in the room. We are using 57's, and have tried all sorts of different micing positions, rooms, and accoustic treatment. They never come out close to that bright crispness that commercial CD seem to have. We're recording our CD for my band and we're trying to use the least amount of eq possible, I'm stumped on why I can't get a bright true sound without jacking the high end on the board. Could the problem be the preamps on the board?
  2. 20db.com

    20db.com Guest

    Hey SAW sounds like you are facing the age old issue that any one who has ever put sound to tape has faced. That of course is a quality signal chain.

    First lets assume that your Delta is the best sounding part of your system. From there you need to look at every link in the chain to determine where the smallest investment will make the biggest improvement.

    Don't know a lot about the Alesis but my first suggestion would be to bypass the mixer when tracking and take the mic preamp from the board right into the Delta.

    The way you do this on most boards of this type is to plug a cable halfway into the Insert Jack on the channel where you have the 57 plugged into. Then take the other end of that cable and go directly into the Delta.

    I make this suggestion first because it doesn't cost you any thing but the price of a cable. Your problem is probably not entirely the Alesis. But the less "stuff" in between your mic pre and the recorder is a good thing. Especially when you are using budget minded gear. :)

    Your question about a mic pre is a good one and I doubt anyone would discourage you from investing in a higher quality mic pre. The problem with most of us is we have a budget to work with so if you had $200 to spend on your present setup I wouldn't suggest a mic pre.

    Personally I think your best results would be to invest in a couple of condenser mics. Now the SM-57 is a real work horse and I think 90% of all studios on the planet use these mics but not for every application. A 57 into a good quality mic pre can do wonders for a snare or guitar amp but sounds like you need a little more help than this.

    The good news is there are some pretty decent sounding condensers on the market and they wont require an arm and a leg. For the price you paid for the 57 all the way up to a couple of hundred dollars you can get a mic that you can use for years to come. Even as you upgrade the rest of your system.

    SAW once you get a few good mics you can start to look at spending your hard earned money on a mic preamp. :)

    There are plenty of threads here and other places on advice for mics. I will be happy to make a few suggestions but hate to be redundant being that there is already some great info on the forum.

    Hope this helps.
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Don't sweat this too much. The truth is that you're up against so much ( Pro $$$gear/Pro Enigineer(s)$$$$/Pro Masterimng$$$$$) that it'll take a little rule breaking to get more satisfaction.

    Without spending anymor money. 1. When you place the mic on the gtr amp, try placing more on the voicecoil area (brighter). 2. Learn to palce mic's with headphones on. If you have just "amp hiss" running while you move the mic you can find brighter spots. 3. This technique of using headphones can be used on mic'ing anything...just be carefull of volumn.
    Go ahaed and use eq. Filter the bottom of the guitar tracks (sometimes all the way up to 300hz- you can gain some botto tby filtering up to 300hz and at the same time applying a boost with a bell shaped eq around the same frequencies...then boost aroung 5khz).
    A little top end to the overall mix can't hurt either.

    There are no rules that can'y be broken.
  4. Hey guys,
    Thanks for the advise. I solved the problem. The alesis board crapped out on us during a recording session this weekend. A vibration caused crackle started appearing in places that had some palm muting. Anyway's, our drummer went out and bought a Mackie VLZ pro and there it was. Bright crisp and clear no EQ. 20db, we have a couple of C1000's and a SP c1 that both sounded like crap through the alesis. As soon as we plugged into the mackie(and 4 hours of mic adjustment) we got a KILLER tone using a 57 and a c1000 up on the cone and the C1 a little bit back. Anyway, thanks for all the advise. This forum is great!
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Glad to hear you worked it out. Use some of those tips anyway....
  6. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    But I didn't get to talk about gain structure. Damn... :(

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