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My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

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My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:10 am

Hey guys,

after lots of thoughts, my girlfriend and I have recently decided what to do with our own songs. We're currently searching for a male singer and we would really like to record our stuff for a professional sounding EP.

I am not only interested in playing guitar, but also in recording. I am really a novice and I am aware that there are a lot of limitations in a home studio environment. First of all, do you think, it is possible to record good guitar / vocal tracks that could be taken to a professional mixing engineer? I've done some research regards the right recording levels and they seem to be okay now (approx. -18 db RMS).

I am currently running the following setup:
Guitar cab -> Shure SM 57 -> UAD 710 -> RME Fireface -> Apple Garageband
Guitar cab -> AKG C214 -> API channel strip (currently in dispatch) -> RME Fireface -> Apple Garageband

As you can see, I am using two microphones to capture the sounds of my amp/guitar. What do you think of these plans? Do you also think, I should use the API compressor lightly while recording in order to enhance the signal?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

Best regards,
Nico
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:29 am

People will be along with technical suggestions in a bit, but as well as all that, I'd recommend getting a copy of 'Recording Secrets for the Small Studio' by Mike Senior (a regular commenter her and columnist for SoS), and the companion 'Mixing Secrets'.
If you're starting from scratch these are a great resource to build your knowledge in good sized chunks.
Welcome to the forum. :)
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:30 am

Couple pointers:

First, a professional mixing engineer will take anything: that's why he's professional :-) A good one will also be able to make the most of what you give him. Ideally, of course, to get a final result in line with most commercial productions, you may want to do every step right - record right, polish right, mix right, master right etc.

Second (this has come up quite a few times lately), music, performance, the room where you record and the microphones which you use (and their positions) are the most important factors. You have perfectly good mics, so what you need to concentrate on is the space where you record it, and how you use the mics (that assuming, of course, that music and performance are there :)).

The good news is that the answer to your question is an unqualified yes - you can record splendid (electric) guitars in almost any room . Electric guitar is among the simplest things to record: you mic near the amp speaker, the signal/reflection ratio is very high (which makes the room a bit less relevant); and the sound character of your recording - assuming the guitar sounds already right - is given essentially by where you place the mic (and it's not that hard to learn). Different amps have different sweet spots but a little experimentation does wonders.

Two mics can work, but can be overkill and you may need to work more in post to deal with phase issues. Consider that uncountable hit records have been made by micking a guitar cab with a single SM57, and you see that you don't really need to overcomplicate things at start. Experiment with where you place the amp in the room and with mics and mic positions (a lot!) and when you find a sound you like, just go for it.

About the compressor, a distorted guitar is quite compressed already so there's usually no need, but the very fact you ask the question is a sign you shouldn't :D Nowadays there's very little reason to compress anything on the way in since we have a gigantic dynamic range and with the right gain structure anything short of a TNT explosion will fit just fine. So you compress only if you want to have an effect. So the general advice is to record the signal as clean as possible, and you can pile up effects later. On the other side, if you compress and do like the sound, go for it - there's something to be said to print a sound and be done with it.. even if it's tough to get the sound right when you're starting.

Good luck!
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:49 pm

@Blinddrew

Thank you very much for your advice and your kind words! I will purchase that book later today, I've been always searching for good literature on this subject.

CS70 wrote:Couple pointers:

First, a professional mixing engineer will take anything: that's why he's professional :-) A good one will also be able to make the most of what you give him. Ideally, of course, to get a final result in line with most commercial productions, you may want to do every step right - record right, polish right, mix right, master right etc.

You're right, I would really like to work on the subject in order to receive a result that holds up to a modern commercial production. Therefore, my original plan was to skip mixing and hand over my tracks to professionals. I don't want to record in a professional studio at this time, I would like to be flexible and record any time.

CS70 wrote:So what you need to concentrate on is the space where you record it, and how you use the mics (that assuming, of course, that music and performance are there :)).
[...]
Two mics can work, but can be overkill and you may need to work more in post to deal with phase issues. Consider that uncountable hit records have been made by micking a guitar cab with a single SM57, and you see that you don't really need to overcomplicate things at start. Experiment with where you place the amp in the room and with mics and mic positions (a lot!) and when you find a sound you like, just go for it.

Thank you very much for that advice, I think I should learn a bit on room acoustics as soon as possible. I've already done some work on the right position for the mics, but there seems to be a problem with 2 mics for me at the moment. I am quite a high gain player and have already rolled that back. But, even if I apply a high pass filter, there is a lot of fizzle that is not heard in the room.

I am also unsure on how many tracks should be recorded. I've always used two tracks for each take. A rhythm guitar has 4 tracks on each side (L/R), a lead part would be in the center and there is this huge wall of guitars that overshadows any bass or electronic drums. Is there a quick advice on this one or do you think this is addressed in the above mentioned literature?

CS70 wrote:So the general advice is to record the signal as clean as possible, and you can pile up effects later. On the other side, if you compress and do like the sound, go for it - there's something to be said to print a sound and be done with it.. even if it's tough to get the sound right when you're starting.

So, this leads me to the impression that good mic pres are sufficient if I'll take my tracks to a professional mixing engineer. I think I will do some comparisons and decide later on whether to use the compressor while recording or not. Thank you!

Good luck![/quote]
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:16 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:. I've already done some work on the right position for the mics, but there seems to be a problem with 2 mics for me at the moment. I am quite a high gain player and have already rolled that back. But, even if I apply a high pass filter, there is a lot of fizzle that is not heard in the room.

Not sure I understand what you mean, but keep in mind that your mic will be much nearer to the grill than your ears would ever be (young Paul Gilbert excluded of course :D).
So what the mic "hears" is not what you hear when you play in the same room as the amp.

There's quite a few ways to skin that cat. First of all of course the cleanest, noise-free path you can achieve with the guitar/amp system.. batteries rather than mains, short clean patch cables, clean contacts etc. The usual gating at the guitar level can also help (of course it works on certain playing styles and not others). Still, a hi-gain amp will buzz a little no matter what.

There's a few things you can do.

One is to work the sound during mixing as you are trying to do, but it's usually not that satisfactory. Much better is is to actually monitor what the mic hears. You need an interface with direct monitoring (or a very very low latency setup - you make a project with nothing else than the base and the track for guitar), then you get a long cable and a long headphone cable extension, good isolating headphones and play in another room while listening to direct monitoring rather than the actual physical amp. Doing so will naturally bring you to set your guitar/amp gain structure so that it sounds good "to the microphone" rather to a person staying in the room.. but you will be still playing to the sound that gives you the right performance. In other words, hi-gain need not be so hi- when you're listening to the sound half an inch from the speaker :)

If you can't go in another room, you have a little problem: the sound is essential to the playing especially with hi-gain, so you can't lower the gain til it sounds good at the mic (but a bit puny at your ears) because it would affect your playing. The way to address that situation is to record a DI signal and re-amp later. You'll play to the sound in the room (and so you'll have a good performance), but the sound on the final mix will be a re-amped one, possibly thru the same amplifier and pedals but with the "right" gain settings.

I am also unsure on how many tracks should be recorded. I've always used two tracks for each take. A rhythm guitar has 4 tracks on each side (L/R), a lead part would be in the center and there is this huge wall of guitars that overshadows any bass or electronic drums. Is there a quick advice on this one or do you think this is addressed in the above mentioned literature?

Here really depends on the genre and your expectations. I like to layer a few guitars on occasion, but one well played single track is worth a dozen half-assed ones. A classic way to make a guitar instrumental huge is to add a little tempo delay and I haven't yet found a guitar line that doesn't become amazing post-processed that way. With rhythm parts, layering increase the thickness but more than 3-4 layers at most to me it's overkill, and you usually want to use different guitars and amps (or at least different pickup settings). But there is really very subjective.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:35 pm

It will depend on the part and the style, but I generally find it better to record with a bit less distortion than I'd generally tune in for live. It's easy to add in a bit more crunch afterwards but frequently it doesn't need it, especially if you're multi-tracking.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:50 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:I've already done some work on the right position for the mics, but there seems to be a problem with 2 mics for me at the moment. I am quite a high gain player and have already rolled that back. But, even if I apply a high pass filter, there is a lot of fizzle that is not heard in the room.

Two thoughts....

Have you tried pointing the mic at the edge of the speaker rather than the middle?

Have you tried using a low pass filter set to around 4-5kHz? I often find guitarists have too much fizz on their live sound which obscures other instruments/vocals so some kind of low pass filter is needed when mixing.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:25 pm

Hi Nico

Your equipment is more than adequate, and you can certainly record at home.

The goal is a professional sounding E.P. The limitation here is not the quality of the guitar sound - thats almost the one thing that can often be a bit rough and ready. The vocal recordings are going to be important. But the battle is going to be climbing the whole production mountain from a novice starting point. A great track starts with a great song, and a great-sounding track starts with a great arrangement. It's knowing how to construct a record more than how to record one. A great mixer can do a lot, but only if the raw materials are fundamentally in place. If you don't love your roughs, don't pay someone to mix them. The chances are you don't love your roughs because the parts or performances are not what you want.

As a general rule the success of a recording project is front-loaded. If the song is amazing, and the arrangement and performances match that, it is going to be an awesome recording. If the technical aspects of the engineering and mixing are in place, it's also going to sound awesome. But people don't care about sound all that much. There have been countless incredible-sounding records that have sunk without a trace because the creative content just isn't there underneath it all, and many masterpieces that, from a technical point of view, aren't up to much.

Why I am saying all this? Because it would be a mistake to go down a technical rabbit hole. It's a classic mistake to assume that home recordings are limited by equipment. They CAN be. But they're usually limited by experience.

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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:21 pm

I am really amazed and thankful for your advice. I would have never thought that an online community can be this supportive.

@CS70
Having read your comment, I really think that I should spent more time on the mic placement. I do have an idea how the placement will affect the sound, but I did not find a truly satisfactory solution yet, I guess. Therefore, I invested in good equipment to enhance my sounds. Maybe I should itensify learning how to work with the actual gear.

I care a lot for my gear and fortunately there is only a very slight hum from the power line, but it cannot me heard when I play. At least to my ears! The patch cables used are only for recording in the home studio, so they should be fine since they aren't moved or damaged.
I can also change to another room with my guitar and a long cable in order to focus more the monitored mic sound. This advice seems so obvious, but I never would have thought of doing so!

What I meant was the actual high gain fizzle/buzz when there are to much highs. Do you think it is a good idea to move the mics a bit from the grill cloth of the cab? At the moment, they are next to the grill cloth. I play guitars/bass from standard to Drop C tuning and it seems that I should really invest more time in mic placement.

To cut a long story short, I've always recorded two takes with different guitars or even amps, that means four tracks (2x SM57, 2x AKG), each panned to the left and right. And a lead part in the center, consisting of one take (2 tracks: 1x SM57, 1x AKG). I've always considered this as a necessity for a "pro" recording.

So, exercise one for me: Spending some more time on monitoring and searching for the best possible mic placement. I should listen to the actual mic sound and compare it to the room sound.

@ blinddrew
Maybe I should exercise on less distortion, I usually save all my takes so that there's the possibility to reamp everything.

Exercise two for me: Experiment with less distortion.

@ James Perrett
My goal was to place the mics a bit from the cone of the speaker. But it is really difficult to see and touch the speaker through the grill cloth of an orange cab. My recordings are made with a 70 Hz low pass filter. I've always thought a low pass filter only works on the low frequency and not in the high kHz area?

@ Jack Ruston
Thank you for your motivating words! I did join another community that wasn't so positive about home recording. I do understand that professionals are pros for a reason but I wasn't sure if I can supply the basis for a technically nice sounding song from my home studio and give this to professionals. Having read all your comments and advice, I think it might be possible now. And maybe I should dive further into mixing as well.

We have several song ideas and a few finished songs regarding the arrangement, respectively and the people who listened to it, usually like it. I know, they're not the greatest songs on the planet, but they seem to appeal to us as a "band" and our friends. We are also quite satisfied with our songs at the current stage, but - to me - they're not tidied up regarding the frequencies. I hope you get what I mean. Especially since I am not writing for a single guitarist, I've always written several parts.

What is more, the recorded tracks seemed to be too quiet so that I had to use a lot of software compression in Garageband to put them further to the front. Other than that, I really like our songs, they are solid to me, putting me into certain emotions and I would really love to give these songs the best quality possible.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:38 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:My recordings are made with a 70 Hz low pass filter. I've always thought a low pass filter only works on the low frequency and not in the high kHz area?
Hi Shifter, I think you may be confusing a low pass filter with a low cut filter.
Low cut filter = high pass filter. Generally acting around 80 - 100Hz, it attenuates the signal below that amount. So in your case you're cutting everything below 70 Hz. With the guitar you can probably raise that a bit without any negative effects and clean up the low end a touch. As above, experiment and see what works.
High cut filter = low pass filter. This lets through everything below that value. Guitar-amp speakers don't produce much in the way of high frequency so what James is suggesting is cutting this from the mix as well - it won't be adding to the tone but it could be making things a bit less clear.
Again, experiment and see what works. The key thing to remember is that what sounds good in the mix might sound pretty unimpressive on its own. But don't let that fool you. :)
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:23 pm

The AKG is going to pick up a lot more high end fizz than the SM57. So you might consider either using a low pass filter on that set in the 6-7kHz region to make it a bit duller, or get a ribbon mic and use that with the SM57. Ribbon mics have a much smoother sound that a capacitor mic. A ribbon and an SM57 is a classic guitar mic combination (if you've watched any Andertons videos it's one they often use).

Or move the AKG further away from the cab for a less piercing sound, though you need to get the two mic recordings in phase with each other. That's something you need to check anyway, even with the two mics close up by the speaker grille.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:33 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:
@CS70
Having read your comment, I really think that I should spent more time on the mic placement. I do have an idea how the placement will affect the sound, but I did not find a truly satisfactory solution yet, I guess. Therefore, I invested in good equipment to enhance my sounds. Maybe I should itensify learning how to work with the actual gear.

Good gear is good, but knowing how to use it is even better. :-)

What I meant was the actual high gain fizzle/buzz when there are to much highs. Do you think it is a good idea to move the mics a bit from the grill cloth of the cab? At the moment, they are next to the grill cloth. I play guitars/bass from standard to Drop C tuning and it seems that I should really invest more time in mic placement.

Definitely worth trying. Tough many dynamic mics have a good proximity effect, so taking the mic further away may also reduce bass and therefore - at equal signal level - make the signal even thinner. But it depends on the mic and the amp, so worth trying. If you have someone who can move the mic for you you might be in the other room and give little directions instead of doing back and forth.

To cut a long story short, I've always recorded two takes with different guitars or even amps, that means four tracks (2x SM57, 2x AKG), each panned to the left and right. And a lead part in the center, consisting of one take (2 tracks: 1x SM57, 1x AKG). I've always considered this as a necessity for a "pro" recording.

Well, no, not necessarily. There are genres which are very, very highly produced (much of modern metal for example, there's a great article in two parts on recent issues of SOS), but other recordings have much simpler structure and tracks and rely on a great performance recorded in a great room with a great mic placed just right. It's undoubtedly fun to try these production techniques, but you can absolutely cut a pro-quality record simply using room, good mics, good positioning and balance.

Btw, Jack (who's most definitely a pro) has hit the nail on the head. The only thing I would add to his comment is that "pro quality "and "commercially successful" are two different things. You may have both, but you may also have one. Commercial success and hits depends - in my way - on far different factors than only the quality of the music, performance and recording - just like for any other product.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:34 pm

blinddrew wrote: Hi Shifter, I think you may be confusing a low pass filter with a low cut filter. Low cut filter = high pass filter. Generally acting around 80 - 100Hz, it attenuates the signal below that amount. So in your case you're cutting everything below 70 Hz. With the guitar you can probably raise that a bit without any negative effects and clean up the low end a touch. As above, experiment and see what works.
Again, experiment and see what works. The key thing to remember is that what sounds good in the mix might sound pretty unimpressive on its own. But don't let that fool you. :)

Hi Blinddrew,
thanks for clarifying that. So, I am using a low cut filter on my tracks, but I also apply a high cut filter in the range of 12-14 kHz. Having read your comments in this thread, it seems as if a lot of you guys are doing so.

Wonks wrote:The AKG is going to pick up a lot more high end fizz than the SM57. So you might consider either using a low pass filter on that set in the 6-7kHz region to make it a bit duller, or get a ribbon mic and use that with the SM57. [...]
Or move the AKG further away from the cab for a less piercing sound, though you need to get the two mic recordings in phase with each other. That's something you need to check anyway, even with the two mics close up by the speaker grille.

Hey Wonks,
thank you for your advice! The phase is reversed on one mic pre amp, I hope, this is sufficient in order to avoid potential phase issues? I also try to compare the amplitudes of each track hoping that both mics "hear" the signal simultaneously. Is there any golden rule for working with two mics? Should I search for the best sound (to my taste) for each mic or is it a better idea to think of the final result, e. g. placing the SM57 for a balanced sound and then placing the AKG for a "bass-heavy" sound to complement the SM57? How do professionals work in this case?

CS70 wrote:Btw, Jack (who's most definitely a pro) has hit the nail on the head. The only thing I would add to his comment is that "pro quality "and "commercially successful" are two different things. You may have both, but you may also have one. Commercial success and hits depends - in my way - on far different factors than only the quality of the music, performance and recording - just like for any other product.

Exactly, I strive for a pro quality recording of our songs as a personal success. They are not intended to be used commercially and I do not want to earn money with that. The songs are only made for us and if a few people like them, we will really appreciate that.

By the way, I am really looking forward to receiving the above mentioned book concerning home recording today or tomorrow! I can't wait to start learning!
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:52 pm

Guitar speakers rarely reproduce anything much above 6-8kHz so your 12-14kHz LPF is probably not doing very much.

My inclination would be to simplify and try to get decent results with a single mic and one (or maybe two) rhythm guitar tracks.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:33 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:The phase is reversed on one mic pre amp, I hope, this is sufficient in order to avoid potential phase issues? I also try to compare the amplitudes of each track hoping that both mics "hear" the signal simultaneously.

If the mics are the same distance from the cone, then the sound should be approximately in phase already, and reversing the polarity will make it sound awful. You are best looking at the two waveforms in Garageband and moving one forwards or backwards a bit until the peaks line up.

Amplitude is a product of how near the mic is to the speaker, the output a mic produces with respect to a given sound level (some mics are more efficient or have an internal amplifier with higher gain than others) and the amount of gain used on your preamp. So having equal amplitude levels really doesn't mean a thing when it comes to phase issues.

There are no real golden rules apart from checking the phase. If you were recording to tape and couldn't adjust anything after recording, you can put pink noise through the speaker, reverse the polarity on one mic and listening to the two mics on headphones, move one mic until the noise in the phones almost disappears. The two mics will then be as much at the same distance as possible. Flip the polarity switch back so that they record in phase, and away you go.

It's all about experimenting and finding different positions that compliment each other when mixed. And the two mics don't have to be mixed at equal levels. You'll probably have one to be the lead mic and the other to fill in a few sonic gaps. You can also play with relative levels for sections with and without vocals - thicker sound without, thinner with. You can also change the balance for solos if you want a fuller sound etc.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:26 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Guitar speakers rarely reproduce anything much above 6-8kHz so your 12-14kHz LPF is probably not doing very much.

My inclination would be to simplify and try to get decent results with a single mic and one (or maybe two) rhythm guitar tracks.

You are right, it is already possible to achieve a good sound with a single mic, e. g. the SM57, but I think there may be some low end missing, especially when I play in Drop C.

Very interesting information, thank you. That's what I've read in a comment by local audio engineer. Garageband offers a "live" frequency analysis, I will check that and experiment with the LPF frequency.

Wonks wrote:
_Shifter_ wrote:The phase is reversed on one mic pre amp, I hope, this is sufficient in order to avoid potential phase issues? I also try to compare the amplitudes of each track hoping that both mics "hear" the signal simultaneously.

If the mics are the same distance from the cone, then the sound should be approximately in phase already, and reversing the polarity will make it sound awful. You are best looking at the two waveforms in Garageband and moving one forwards or backwards a bit until the peaks line up.
[...]
It's all about experimenting and finding different positions that compliment each other when mixed. And the two mics don't have to be mixed at equal levels. You'll probably have one to be the lead mic and the other to fill in a few sonic gaps. You can also play with relative levels for sections with and without vocals - thicker sound without, thinner with. You can also change the balance for solos if you want a fuller sound etc.

Thank you for the explanation! That's how I tried to keep everything in phase in the past. Maybe, the "reverse phase" switch on the preamp is the point as you suggested. My setup looks like this:
http://blog.audio-technica.com/wp-conte ... micmic.png

Both mics are placed directly to the grill cloth of the cab and recorded with equal levels (-18 db RMS). I compare the waveforms in order to avoid phase issues, adjust the mic placement, but I used the "reverse phase" option because I've always thought that this does not hurt. Maybe I should use the SM57 as my main mic, quit the phase switch on the preamp and reduce the level of the AKG dramatically.

Having read another article on SOS, I could also use the SM57 close to the cone of the speaker and use the AKG condenser as a room mic with a pad. The room is not that wide so that I really prefer the original idea with two close mics. But, obviously, I have to improve my recording technique a lot. It would be great if you could help me, I did not find any practical information on this subject until now. Hopefully, the new book will address this too- if possible.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:08 pm

You sound like you are getting to the stage where you'd benefit from moving up from Garageband to full workstation software like Logic (assuming that you've got a Mac rather than just an iPad). It makes all the small tweaking bits so much easier to do.

The bass-boosting proximity effect of an SM57 that's right against the grille is considerable, and you shouldn't be loosing any bottom end from the sound.

This chart is for a Beta 58A mic - I couldn't find one for an SM57 - but the basic physical principle is still the same, and you will get a similar amount of bass lift the nearer you go to the sound source.

Image

The SM57's bass response is a lot less than the C214's, which is pretty flat down to 50Hz, so the SM57 does need to be near the grille to get the low-end sounding full. The AKG will pick up the bass end without being near to the amp, so it can be moved away from the amp without loosing the low-end. Because the C214 is a cardioid pattern mic like the SM57, then it too will have a significant bass boost when brought near the amp, and as it already has more bass than the SM57, it's going to sound even more bassy than the 57. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing! If you are keeping it as close as the SM57, then you might benefit from trying the bass roll-off switch to stop it sounding too muddy.

You need to think about the sound of your guitar in the mix, not just how it sounds on its own. Yes, on its own it may not sound quite as impressive with less bass, but add in bass guitar and drums, and that very low end is adding to the overall bass level and making it rather muddy. Rolling off the low bass from the guitar can make the overall sound more aggressive, especially as the ear/brain takes the harmonic content of the sound and adds in the missing or low volume fundamentals. If the guitar is exposed on its own, then keep the bass, but you can normally happily lose some of it once the bass and drums are also in the mix.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:47 pm

Wonks has already mentioned this but do you mean you record with the polarity inverted on one of the mics? IF so that might explain the 'fizziness' you describe as the mixed signal would be 'out of phase' and would reduce low end significantly.
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:48 pm

Wonks wrote:You sound like you are getting to the stage where you'd benefit from moving up from Garageband to full workstation software like Logic (assuming that you've got a Mac rather than just an iPad).

The bass-boosting proximity effect of an SM57 that's right against the grille is considerable, and you shouldn't be loosing any bottom end from the sound.
[...]
The SM57's bass response is a lot less than the C214's, which is pretty flat down to 50Hz, so the SM57 does need to be near the grille to get the low-end sounding full. The AKG will pick up the bass end without being near to

the amp, so it can be moved away from the amp without loosing the low-end. Because the C214 is a cardioid pattern mic like the SM57, then it too will have a significant bass boost when brought near the amp, and as it already has more bass than the SM57, it's going to sound even more bassy than the 57. [...].

You need to think about the sound of your guitar in the mix, not just how it sounds on its own. Yes, on its own it may not sound quite as impressive with less bass, but add in bass guitar and drums, and that very low end is adding to the overall bass level and making it rather muddy.

I will upgrade to Logic in the near future for sure. I am currently using a 2009 Macbook pro that already stutters when I apply a lot of post processing. I want to get a young, used iMac 27". A lot of home recording studios seem to use them, don't they? I could never get good latencies with my windows computers. After that purchase, I will definitely get Logic.

Thank you for this explanation, I get the effect on the bass frequencies now. So, moving the SM57 right to the grill cloth seems to be a good idea. With my current setup, I guess, there was simply too much of everything - lots of volume, treble fizzle and bass.

Sam Spoons wrote:Wonks has already mentioned this but do you mean you record with the polarity inverted on one of the mics? IF so that might explain the 'fizziness' you describe as the mixed signal would be 'out of phase' and would reduce low end significantly.

Yes, the polarity of the AKG signal is inverted. I will quit this option the next I have some time in the home studio. Hopefully, that helps!

What is more, I know that general advice is difficult, but which combination of preamps might be a favorable idea in order to save some time? Should I use the punchy API preamp with the SM57 (as my main mic) or should I keep using the UAD 710 with the SM57 for smooth highs?

In a nutshell, I think, I'll focus on the SM57 first and then use the AKG with quite a low recording level to boost certain frequencies as you guys explained before.

Once again, thank you very much for your help! By the way, delivery for my book consignment has been delayed...But I did receive the mixing guide from SOS today.:-)
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Re: My Home Studio Setup - a good basis for professional editing/mixing?

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:22 pm

It's worth reading other posts in other sections on this forum as you get to pick up a lot of general info. There's been a recent one where the subject of mic preamps was well covered. Generally the mic preamp doesn't really matter as long as it's of a decent design with low noise. 95% or more of the time you really want to record clean, which is what almost every preamp does well, even the ones on low-cost audio interfaces these days. The only time where you might want to push the pre-amp is mainly on some vocals and the odd special sonic treatment, maybe to give a more grungy snare sound, which is where the benefit of a characterful preamp comes into its own.

You might want to push the recording of a very clean guitar sound to give it a bit of edge, but there's no real point slightly distorting an already very distorted guitar sound. With plug-ins sounding so good these days there is a strong case for always recording clean and then adding a pushed pre-amp emulation afterwards where you can then control the effect in the context of the mix. To record a pushed or effected sound was once a very British way of recording onto tape (there was obviously no adjusting it afterwards), but you had to have enough experience to know in your head what that was going to sound like in the context of a mix, otherwise the one really great take might be unusable through too much distortion etc.

These days, with plenty of headroom available and great signal to noise ratios, there's no need to compress/limit as you record in order to optimise signal levels. You can do it all afterwards. You can still use your hardware, but you can always re-amp the signal through the external boxes later. If you want to try pushing pre-amps and compressing on the way in, then it's worth splitting the signal first and recording a clean version as well for safety.

You've got some nice equipment, but to get the most out of it you probably need to learn some more of the basic principles first.
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