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Need Help With Recording Electric Tone - Frustrated
Old 30th January 2007
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🎧 10 years
Need Help With Recording Electric Tone - Frustrated

I was a little reluctant to post my question here because my studio set up probably doesn’t compare to the tool box in most studios on this forum. However, I figured I would risk it because I truly need the help.

I’m recording my Carvin Legacy head and 2x12 cabinet in an untreated 10x12 room with a carpeted floor. I have the cabinet up on milk crates stacked 2 high. I’m micing the cab with an SM57 and an AEA R92 going into a Digi -002R then to my PC.

I love the sound of this amp but I can’t capture what I hear when recording. I’ve experimented with mic placement a lot but something is still lacking. I just can’t get that extra creaminess out of my distorted tone that I hear live. The mids and high’s seem to lack that subtle, creamy break up that I call crunchiness that is most noticeably missing during solos. Hard to describe. More of a texture issue than tone, in my mind anyway. Although tone includes texture.

It's kind of like having cheescake without the graham cracker crust.

I have been trying to decide if a different mic pre would help a lot or if it’s something else. I hope you can help me with this. I’m in the process of recording my CD and not being able to get the tone I hear to record is very frustrating. The rest of the instruments are created via programs like Reason.

I’m trying to keep my cost as low as possible but if you say the cure is a specific pre, I’ll have to find a way to get it. I’m very serious about this.

Thanks in advance.
Old 30th January 2007
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Rogervandeberg's Avatar
🎧 15 years
have you read Slipperman's tread?

it's a whole read, but it changes the way you think about recording guitars!

to be found here:

A nice pre does help. i bought my first hi-end pre a month ago and the difference between 'normal' pre's (like on your digi002 or on a motu, focusrite platinum, rnp etc.) and hi-end pre's (like pacifica, api, ua610) is not subtle. It was quite an eye opener, but before you buy, i'd suggest trying one out.

with a sm-57 and a good pre and slippermans tread, you'l notice improvement!

you can also look up some michael wagener treads in this foruim regarding recording guitars!
Old 31st January 2007 | Show parent
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I agree, there's a reason people shell out for the good pres, and recording EGTRS is one of them. A huge difference on electrics.

You're missing the air that is moved by your 2x12 cab which is hard to duplicate/capture in the narrower confines of your recording. IMHO, that is.

You might get a better response in a different forum.
Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Thanks guys. I'm reading Slippermans thread now.

I'm willing tp spend some cash on a good pre to get that tone. I just hope to get some definate direction from those of you with the experience to steer me in the right direction.

I also hope to hear from Mr. Wagener on this thread. That would seal the deal for me.

I appreciate the help.
Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
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PhilE's Avatar
🎧 15 years
The first thing that comes to mind is the room- where is the amp positioned in the room?
Try hanging quilts around the room- different?
Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
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The amp is in the corner of the room. If you were looking at a diagram it would be upper left corner facing towards the bottem. I am close micing with both mics.

Quilts huh?
Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
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PhilE's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by JCWarrior ➑️
The amp is in the corner of the room. If you were looking at a diagram it would be upper left corner facing towards the bottem. I am close micing with both mics.

Quilts huh?
Sorry am I being too Englishheh ?

Quilts=Duvets=what you put on a bed and then sleep under.

Also try moving one mic back- careful on the phase- but let some more air move before it gets to a mic.
Move the cab out of the corner a bit.
I like to compress one mic with a Pye compressor for certain rockier tones- often the one out in the room- psychoacoustically I guess it simulates the ears natural reaction to loud noises?
I cant be more specific as I dont have a set way of doing things but if I think hard that is a technique I've used a good few times and got good results from. Bare in mind that the guitar will not sound as tight- so maybe not one for a track with many layers of guitars.
Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Try moving the amp at least a foot (or more) out from the wall. Also try a close/far mic setup. With the two mics you're using, I'd put the SM57 fairly close up to the grill, and the AEA about head height, 5-6 feet out from the amp. Be sure to check phase and fiddle with mic positioning until it sounds right.

If you're looking to capture the sound in the room though, I wouldn't use an SM57 for the close mic. I'm rather fond of a Beyer M260 as a close mic in this kind of application, for its very detailed and accurate midrange. I've also had good results using a Sennheiser MD-409 as a close mic. It's not the most uncolored mic, but the guitar sounded great. Also, most amps have one speaker which sounds a bit better than the others. I usually take the time to figure out which speaker that is, and position the close mic appropriately, but YMMV.

For the far mic, the AEA may be a good choice (I'm familiar with the R84, but not the R92), but you may also want to experiment with other mics. I've tended to prefer dynamic microphones in this position, and have used Sennheiser MD-421, Electrovoice RE-20, and Sure SM-7 at various times with good results. The only condenser microphone I've ever liked as a far mic for electric guitar was an early Groove Tubes mic (don't remember the model number), which I used at New Alliance studios in Boston a few years back.

I also generally eq the mics a bit at tracking, and bus them together into a single guitar track, as I find it saves me work in mixing.

Old 1st February 2007 | Show parent
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woomanmoomin's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Member before was right. Doesn't sound as if that dynamic set-up is right for you. You can't expect it to capture a million nuances. That's not it's job, really. I'd try a condenser (not sure about dark ribbon mics), or maybe a condenser and the SM57 mixed together. With the second option, you'd get some extra detail from the condenser but wouldn't lose all the aggression of the dynamic.

Your reference to creamy tone makes me think a restrained tube condenser might work well for you, even if it might not exactly reproduce what you're hearing in the room. (Mind you, it doesn't have to splat everything into Vintage City either. Just get a decent mic that doesn't go for tube gross-out. No hyped Chinese junk. Be sure it's paired up with the right equipment, too.)

All the other stuff in the chain has to be doing the right job as well, though, and that's kind of where it all turns into a dark art or something. (Damned if I could really help if I were even there.) There are so many variables.

Anyway, I don't know the Groove Tubes tube condensers (or the solid-state ones). I think they're supposed to be pretty good, but I seem to remember they're a bit noisy. Might be quieter with the right NOS valve. Preferably one with a high cream rating.

You can probably find the right mic somewhere. Maybe something brighter to counterbalance the dynamic?

Anyone tried something like a K2 on electric? Sounds like a scary idea, though it might be OK in this situation with a good valve in. Amperex 6922 or something (not as high-definition as Siemens).

Last edited by woomanmoomin; 1st February 2007 at 03:17 PM.. Reason: Can't type a whole message without screwing up.
Old 2nd February 2007 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
I understand what quilts are. My comment was meant to state "interesting, I'll try that". Your english was perfectly understood.

Several ideas to try here. I'm hoping to get some more advice as well.

Thanks everyone. It's going to be a fun week of experimenting.
Old 6th February 2007 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Well I've made some great strides with my tone since my last post. I thought I was cranking my amp but after I read Slipperman's article and learning about speaker excursion I realized I was off a little.

After getting what I thought was good excursion I really worked with mic placement and found my tone had improved drastically! Also set up a blanket behind my R92.

I used some delay (6.15ms) to compensate for phase cancellation between my 2 mics. I hope to get better results by tweaking some more.

Now I am really wondering what I will have after tweaking for phase cancellation some more, EQing and getting a better pre and maybe converters!

Thanks for your help and if you have any more advice I would appreciate and welcome it!
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