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Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

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Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:19 am

I've been playing with this rig live for a while now and had not really thought about how to record it until now. I'd like to capture what I am hearing. It sounds deep, and crunchy, and very responsive. I like how it feels. I like the stereo sound. Very lush and thick and real. It's a joy to play through and very inspiring.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vr42xjal1yfmq ... 1.JPG?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jkgtdhgdgcur1 ... 2.JPG?dl=0

Throwing up a couple of (SM57 style - Peavey mics) leaves me wanting. The sound is thin, no bass, sort of dull and nasally. I have tried moving them around, placed them on the floor. Sounds best on the floor, but not what I am hearing live, still nasally.

This is a setup I would like to record a lot, so if anyone can think of a good want to capture what I am hearing here, it would be appreciated.

When I put my TASCAM mini recorder with XY mics about 4' away, it sound the best so far, but too bright. But I am not sure how to use that to record with to ProTools anyway.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Jack Ruston » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:04 am

I would start by lining the three speakers up, alongside each other, pointing the same way. Put a 57 right up close on each, and take steps to align the mics vs the speakers for phase and polarity. Read the SOS article Bigger Badder Electric guitars for info on how to do this. It uses the example of a 4x12 but the principle is the same. But be aware that those small combos typically sound thinner and boxier in a recording than they do in the room. For that reason they often work well with darker mics like ribbons, but a 57 should get you most of the way there, if it’s close.

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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:10 am

Well I was going to reply... but Jack's better at this than me! Here's the article Jack mentions... Bigger,Badder Electric Guitar
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Wonks » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:08 am

Most stage dynamics rely on being close to the source for proximity effect to boost the bass end enough to give a flat to slightly boosted response. Look at the basic frequency response for an SM57 (measured at around 2ft/0.6m away from the source) and the bass end is pretty weak, falling away from around 200Hz.

Image

So to capture the low end from a distance, you'll need a mic with a better inherent bass response.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Mixedup » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:16 am

DC-Choppah wrote:When I put my TASCAM mini recorder with XY mics about 4' away, it sound the best so far, but too bright. But I am not sure how to use that to record with to ProTools anyway.

OK, working with what you've already got...

That the Tascam sounds better could be due to a flatter response at distance (which you'll hear as a better LF response). Or it might be because the XY setup will inherently be phase-aligned, whereas your throwing up a couple of SM57s will not be unless you deliberately position then so that they are.

If you like the sound of the Tascam, you could always roll off the high end with a low pass filter or high shelf. There seems to be an aversion on these forums to using EQ to 'correct' mics, though I'm not sure why — do it while you're setting up to record, though, so you know you're capturing the sound you want.

I'm not sure which model of recorder you have, but if there's no dedicated line output, you should be able to connect the stereo headphone out to two channels on your audio interface input using an insert Y-cable (TRS jack to 2x TS jack).

(Of course you could do the same thing with a classier pair of SDCs if you want to invest, and that would open up the option of different stereo setups too.)

While everyone has their favourite techniques and mics for miking an amp/cab, the SM57 usually gives a reasonably good sound when used close up to the cone. Try placing the mic right next to the grille. Start with the mic on axis (pointing directly at the speaker) and near the centre of the cone. That gives the brightest sound, but not always the nicest. Then try positions moving away from the cone towards the edge and compare the results. After that, do the same but with the mic off axis — ie 'pointing in at an angle' rather than straight at the cone. That takes advantage of the mic's different off-axis response to give you a slightly more coloured sound, which may or may not be what you want. You can also try moving it back an inch or three, though I find I rarely want to do that with a 57.

In your DAW/on your mixer, you should be able to blend the sound of that 57 in to reinforce the sound of your Tascam (or other more distant condenser setup) with a bit more 'attitude'. If the Tascam is far enough back that it's capturing lots of ambience, not just direct sound, phase-alignment will be less critical. But you might want to experiment with the distance of the Tascam for the best sound — check out that Bigger, badder Electric Guitars piece for details on alignment.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:13 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:But be aware that those small combos typically sound thinner and boxier in a recording than they do in the room. For that reason they often work well with darker mics like ribbons, but a 57 should get you most of the way there, if it’s close.

J

I have a bluebird mic that I use to capture the room for the drum set. It seems to add that fullness and depth to the kit. I can put that up in the room too for the guitar. I really want to capture what I hear standing at my playing position if possible. I got it sounding really nice to my ear so am trying to capture that sound I hear and just get it down on the track somehow.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:19 pm

Wonks wrote:Most stage dynamics rely on being close to the source for proximity effect to boost the bass end enough to give a flat to slightly boosted response. Look at the basic frequency response for an SM57 (measured at around 2ft/0.6m away from the source) and the bass end is pretty weak, falling away from around 200Hz.

Image

So to capture the low end from a distance, you'll need a mic with a better inherent bass response.

Ah OK. So thes mics (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/12101 ... m-45i.html) I have always used and sound great when put right up to the speaker on axis with the cone. I have used these forever for micing live and usually bring them with me.

But I am trying to use them to capture the stereo sound of the amps that I like. I didn;t realize that they sound so different far away like this. I guess that is what I am hearing when I say the sound lacks bass and is nasally.

So these appear to be the wrong mics for capturing the stereo amp sound of this rig. The sound comes together nicely around 4' away and I love the stereo sound that it makes and was trying to capture that.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:28 pm

Mixedup wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:I'm not sure which model of recorder you have, but if there's no dedicated line output, you should be able to connect the stereo headphone out to two channels on your audio interface input using an insert Y-cable (TRS jack to 2x TS jack).

DR-07mkII

There is a stereo headphone output. That could work! I never noticed that before since it was covered up by the windscreen actually. I actually love the sound of that thing on many things. Why not just use it as a mic!

I like having the mics 4' away where it picks up the stereo sound of the amps. Putting close mics on each of the speaker cones is not going to give me that natural stereo sound I like.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:57 am

If you don’t have any close mics you may lack low end punch with those small combos. You could certainly add a stereo room mic. But be sure that the position of the amp in the room, and the position of the room mic vs the amp and vs the room boundaries are all working to reinforce the low end, not cancel it.

It seems intuitive that you’d get the sound perfect and then find a way to capture it, but it’s a lot harder that way. You need the right room and mics for starters, but the main issue is that the brain is doing things to the sound that the recording chain is not. You may be better off positioning as above and then tweaking the sound to reflect what you want.

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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:01 am

Another thing: It’s common for the polarity to reverse between different amps and speakers. You might not notice this so much without the ability to compare it, but if one amp is flipped it’s going to cause a weaker response in the mics. Typically you use a splitter with polarity switches to feed these amps, but you can also find polarity switches on some amps, and you can reverse the output to the speaker. It’s not the same as simply flipping the polarity at the mic amp.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby Mixedup » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:25 am

DC-Choppah wrote:I like having the mics 4' away where it picks up the stereo sound of the amps. Putting close mics on each of the speaker cones is not going to give me that natural stereo sound I like.

Sure. But the idea of the close mics in this scenario would be to provide whatever you feel the more distant mic lacks. The same way you might use snare close mics to reinforce the image captured by drum room mics or overheads.

Also, how loud do you play? What sort of SPLs are we talking about in the live setup? Do you listen back that loud to the recorded sound? I ask because a lot of guitarists like to play quite loud, and your perception of the sound will change with level (see Equal Loudness Contours / Fletcher Munson). A common aim when recording 'loud' guitar is to convey the same perceived sound but at slightly lower playback volumes. And having those 57s on close on the speaker to support your XY setup could really help in that respect...
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:47 am

Just an idea.. the sound you hear, you hear at ear level.. so maybe placing a good condenser omni mic approx where your ears are in the room could be worth trying, something without too much bumps in the frequency response. Or even two, one for each ear :D
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:13 am

Jack Ruston wrote: ... but the main issue is that the brain is doing things to the sound that the recording chain is not.

8-)
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:16 am

Mixedup wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:Also, how loud do you play? What sort of SPLs are we talking about in the live setup?

When I put my SPL meter right up to the speakers I get about 100 dB. This is when setup the way I would like to record it.

This is contemporary jazz stuff. I like the guitar a bit crunchy and sweet where you can still hear the tone of the hollowbody guitar.

I really love the sound of Chet Catallo. Check these out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFx-J5hVk20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhcUDPeP3KQ

See what I mean, crunchy and sweet! Lots of expression and style.

You have to record this through the amps because the amps are part of the responsiveness of the instrument. It changes how I play and how it feels.
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Re: Please help capturing this electric guitar sound

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:23 am

Jack Ruston wrote:Another thing: It’s common for the polarity to reverse between different amps and speakers. You might not notice this so much without the ability to compare it, but if one amp is flipped it’s going to cause a weaker response in the mics. Typically you use a splitter with polarity switches to feed these amps, but you can also find polarity switches on some amps, and you can reverse the output to the speaker. It’s not the same as simply flipping the polarity at the mic amp.

I use both channels of the Fender Deluxe. One is straight from the guitar and the other is with effects. I found that the two Fender Deluxe channels were opposite polarity, so I built a special cable that flips one of them since there is no polarity switch on the amp itself.

The other amps (Polytone and Highwatt) do have polarity control and you are right, there is one position that seems to do much less cancelling of the bass, but I have not checked that in a while. Thanks for reminding me. That is usually something I would hear live though. It makes for a thin hollowed out sound like all the energy has been sucked out.
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