Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Gswitz

How to mic a loud guitar

Recommended Posts

I love to record loud guitars. I hate it when I don't love the recording when I get home.

This happened to me recently and so I took some time to check out my mics and record them at home.

I think I'm asking for help. I feel foolish being unsure at this late stage of my recording experience. When recording a loud guitar (or 2), there is no way to listen to the recording while the band performs. You just have to wait until later.

I often just mention mic choices to the guitarist and let his/her random answer guide the choice.  When I mic the toms, kick, snare and 2 overheads, I don't usually have room for more than one mic per guitar. I'm starting to think this is a mistake. I should really be recording guitars with 2 mics per cab just to increase the chance of a great recording.

I really don't like to record more than 16 channels at a time. It's a pain to go above that.

Anyway, I made a video with some sounds I captured at home. Listening, it occurred to me that a ribbon tilted up at the speaker in a rugged room does kill some of the sound that would come in to it from behind. It makes it warmer to be lower on the amp and crisper to be higher.

I feel like I don't get enough practice at this to become good at it. 😞

 

20181229_194036.jpg

Edited by Gswitz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always liked an sm57 pointed right at the speaker, around the outside of the cone, just about touching the grill cloth. In a live situation, it's great at rejecting background noise. If I'm in the studio, I'll normally add a large condenser several feet away to capture some room ambience.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try backing the mic off the grill. As leadfoot mentioned, an SM57 pointing right on the grill is indeed great for live situations where bleed is everywhere but in an isolated cab micing situation, back it off a bit and kill a little of the distortion then see what you get.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll get a very different tone as you move the mic horizontally across the speaker. It's brightest in the middle, darkest at the edge. Angling the mic can also make a difference. Also note that two presumably identical speakers may not sound identical.

The suggestions about backing off a bit are valid as well. You always associate a guitar amp sound with a room because you never stick your ears within a couple inches of the cab.

One way to learn guitar miking is with an amp simulator. For example with AmpliTube (there's a free version), you can try different mic emulations and move them around to hear how that affects the sound. Of course it's not the real thing any more than a Driver's Ed driving simulator is like driving a real car, but you'll become aware of basic miking principles. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest moving the amp off of the wall a bit as well, that can introduce a  phase issue being so close.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, RBH said:

I would suggest moving the amp off of the wall a bit as well, that can introduce a  phase issue being so close.

Excellent point, especially if you're going to move the mic a bit further away from the amp to pick up more room sound.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Craig, I've spent time with TH3 trying to mimic the sound where I record the amp directly.

This video shows me trying to get a sound from TH3 that was close to the sound in my room. In that one, I positioned the mics on the same cone in the same position more or less every time. I had a recording of the guitar bit and re-amped it switching mics then tried to match the sounds in TH3.

I soldered myself one of these... https://www.diyrecordingequipment.com/products/l2a.

 

On another session, after getting a Rivera Rock Crusher, I was curious if I could use only TH3 Cabs and Mics to get a sound like I get from my amp. I was not super happy. I took the direct line our of the Rivera (so between the amp and the speaks) and also recorded my amp. I then tried in TH3 to just add a cab and mics to get something similar. It really was not as good, but less noticeable than the effort I made with all the hardware. So, a sacrifice, but not much of one. I can totally use it for late night headphone jams. Good enough for what I do.

I had been interested in a Universal Audio OX Reactive Amp Attenuator, but bought the Rock Crusher because it was soooo much less expensive. I figured I could add my own cab sim and tried the sounds.

I'm thinking playing more guitar myself where I reamp on a Saturday and spend a few hours changing mics and trying sounds is probably smart. 

As you say, Go ahead!! You won't break anything!! 🙂

Last night, I came to realize that having the amp up loud definitely makes the SM57 sound much better. Recording at a low level it sounds much less tasty than my other mics. The video in this post was recorded with the amp at 2.5 or so, and that was too low to really get a good sound on some of the mics, probably. Also, I don't think that TH3 does a great job of emulating the amps at low volume. I think it's really focused on the top half of the volume range, not the bottom.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the wall tip. My house isn't very big and pulling it out will block a foot passage so I can't leave it there all the time, but I can definitely pull it out for a re-amping session or such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...