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Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

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Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:50 pm

Hey guys,
Having done a lot of research, I am still not sure how to optimize my electric guitar recordings. The amps and cabs are placed in a small room with wooden floor. Behind the cab, there is some furniture and a stone wall. Approx. 2 meters in front of the cab, there is a huge wooden closet in front of the wall.

I've always thought that my recordings with a sm57/MD421 on the edge of the speaker cone sounded a bit harsh. Do you think this might be caused by reflections? Obviously, the room is not primarily used as a recording room. So, do you think I can improve the recordings with portable isolation (GOBO) or a reflection filter like the SE Electronics GuitaRF?

Of course the mics are placed right next to the speaker grille cloth with cardiod setting.

Here is a rough picture of a part of the room:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/r1hdc1amemz5d ... .jpeg?dl=0

Thank you very much in advance for any help!

Best regards,
Nico
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:10 pm

First thing to try is to change the position of the cabinet vs the boundaries. So try raising it up on something solid, and moving it out from the wall. Get someone to play and move it back and forth, a foot or so at a time and see if you can get a better low end response.

Then try getting some mattresses from elsewhere in the house and see if positioning them at various spots in the room helps at all.

Are you cranked on that amp? That's the other thing - an amp like that is going to sound thin unless it's shaking the room a bit.

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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:13 pm

By the way...the reason I'm not already talking about acoustic treatment, which for good reason is one of the very first things that gets mentioned here, is because no, putting a reflection filter up is not going to be the solution. You may need to do some more involved, and costly treatment, and before we advise on that, it's worth seeing how much simple positioning can help you.

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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Wonks » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:18 pm

An example of what you'd call 'harsh' as sometimes you can convince yourself what's normal to others is harsh to you.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:20 pm

Agreed Jack, and close miking a loud amp probably won't pick up much room anyway.

Not suggestions, first try moving the mic back a few inches and experiment with it's position. I found a huge difference simply with the mic 6" back rather than resting on the Grill.

WRT your pic, forgive me if that is just the 'tidied away' position but the MD421 is an end address mic, the tone will be compromised if you position it as in the pic (though I would expect it to reduce the high end a little). It's a fairly common practice, in a live situation, to hang a 57 over the speaker cab and that is an end address mic but I wouldn't do that for recording.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Humble Bee » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:33 pm

Try to mic one of the upper speakers cones (it's a 4x12 I suppose). If you are close to the floor with the mic you might get some comb filtering nastiness. A thick rug to stand the cabinet on and keep it away from the wall.
If you use two mics make sure they are phase aligned.
There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to get a nice and fat tone out of that setup you have!
Try and se what difference it makes...
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:16 pm

Good point...for now, just use the 57. Two mics presents some complications which could confuse the issue. If you put a single 57 on the best sounding speaker, on axis, just where the dust cap meets the cone, you should be getting 95% of the way there. Two mics can be amazing, but not a fix for something that really isn't right.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:57 pm

Hey guys,

thank you very much for all this advice and replies. First of all, here are some pictures of the room. As you can see, there are a lot of wood surfaces and I do not have any possibility right now to move the cabs a lot. It is what it is, a living room and not a studio. But I want to get the best out of it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/swfaaqlyfux11 ... 9.JPG?dl=0

Of course, this photo shows the room in a tidied up condition. I would never place any microphone this way!

Recording Setup:
1x SM57, 1x Ribbon Mic, 1x MD421

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bvp9zu9m5adsb ... 1.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1o3q7bg7s387j ... 3.JPG?dl=0

The mesa cab is on casters right now, the other ones are standing on the floor. Here is a very quick example of the recordings, I tried to get the phase alignment as good as possible. No EQing, just the rough results with a quick riff.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e9tqwoaf8fqf1 ... 9.mp3?dl=0

All guitars are double tracked except for the lead part, there is no editing at all. All three mics are used per take, one time the SM57 is leading on the rhythm, one time the MD421. The other one is 15 dB down. The ribbon mic is as loud as the leading rhythm mic. I've always prefered more than one mic hoping that my guitars do not sound boxy.

The guitars are in Drop C, but still there is this harsh tone. I wonder if I can improve the results with easy and portable room treatment or lifting the cabs.

By the way, the amps are not cranked, due to my neighbours. I use the built in attenuator of the Orange-Amp as well as two pulled power tubes on the Mesa. It is not loud, I guess it is comparable to very loud yelling.

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

Regards, Nico
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:11 pm

Moving the cabs around and lifting them is a good idea, and you could try micking the back of them. That said - looking at the pics, it looks like you're miking the centre of the cones on both the 4x12 and the 2x12? That would normally sound seriously grating.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:27 pm

CS70 wrote:Moving the cabs around and lifting them is a good idea, and you could try micking the back of them. That said - looking at the pics, it looks like you're miking the centre of the cones on both the 4x12 and the 2x12? That would normally sound seriously grating.

Thank you, I will do some research on lifting cabs! Usually, the ribbon mic on each cab is next to the center of the cone and the other dynamic mics are placed on the edge of the cone or right next to it. I found that at least ribbon mic sounds pleasing to my ears despite its figure 8 pattern.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:58 am

_Shifter_ wrote:
The guitars are in Drop C....

By the way, the amps are not cranked, due to my neighbours

Regards, Nico

As you tune lower, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish, leaving you with something thin and harsh. As you turn down, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish...etc

If you're doing heavily drop tuned guitars, and you can't record loud, well, chances are it's just not going to work. You might want to try direct recording with an Ox or something.

I can't listen at the mo, so haven't had a chance to check your links (caveat)
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:58 am

_Shifter_ wrote:
The guitars are in Drop C....

By the way, the amps are not cranked, due to my neighbours

Regards, Nico

As you tune lower, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish, leaving you with something thin and harsh. As you turn down, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish...etc

If you're doing heavily drop tuned guitars, and you can't record loud, well, chances are it's just not going to work. You might want to try direct recording with an Ox or something.

I can't listen at the mo, so haven't had a chance to check your links (caveat)
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:14 am

Jack Ruston wrote:As you tune lower, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish, leaving you with something thin and harsh. As you turn down, the more tendency there is for the low end to vanish...etc

If you're doing heavily drop tuned guitars, and you can't record loud, well, chances are it's just not going to work. You might want to try direct recording with an Ox or something.

I can't listen at the mo, so haven't had a chance to check your links (caveat)

Most of the time, I record within a range from Drop D to Drop C. I'd love to record via microphones since I like the way of achieving the guitar tone/sound. I tried the UA Ox once and did not like it, the Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B. was okay for my liking. To me, there was a huge lack of low end with the Ox although the overal clarity was great.

I am looking forward to your feedback!
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:51 am

Surprised no one has mentioned "SoS Aug 07" ? The BIBLE on recording guitar amps!

I am also confused by " mic at dust cap/cone junction gives least harsh sound"? I am in no position to experiment (and probably couldn't hear the diff' anyway!) but HF decays from a cone as you move out to the surround.

Dave.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:06 am

Three things, first, if you want to record distorted guitar at low volume you need a low powered amp. Second, in one of the pics the 421 seems to be further from the speaker than the others, this may well cause phase issues. Third, the cupboards facing the amps are so close they will definitely cause problems, hanging a duvet or two in front of them will help but IMO won't solve the problems.

For all that the demo you linked too sounds pretty good to me on my earbuds (but it's not a style I listen to much). I will go and have a listen on the monitors later.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:07 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Three things, first, if you want to record distorted guitar at low volume you need a low powered amp. Second, in one of the pics the 421 seems to be further from the speaker than the others, this may well cause phase issues. Third, the cupboards facing the amps are so close they will definitely cause problems, hanging a duvet or two in front of them will help but IMO won't solve the problems.

For all that the demo you linked too sounds pretty good to me on my earbuds (but it's not a style I listen to much). I will go and have a listen on the monitors later.

Sam, I have lost count of the number of posts from people who say they cannot get a satisfactory recorded electric guitar sound, mainly at HR forum but like yourself, when I listen to the clips I find the sound quality pretty good. Now I am no judge* of course (deaf, don't play anymore, not a "pro studio person") but invariably others on forums with vastly more experience and skill come to a similar conclusion. In short they cannot really see a problem.

The problem seems to be that players have a sound in their head or a style they wish to emulate but jeeeust can't find that coming out of the monitors (do we know what they are BTW?) . There is also the issue, it seems to me, that although a player might get exactly the sound they want IN THE ROOM that sound eludes the microphones? The trick it seems to me is to find a way to "forget" what the live sound is like and concentrate on the mic signal?

*Just to emphasise that? I have often spent hours in a room (fixing amps,pedals) where the MD and tek direc have been pouring sweat over the voicing of the latest gizmo. Play, solder,tea, words such a $%£!! and *&^%!!! more play, tea solder, fag, $£"!&! At the end of the morning they were usually happy with the result but TO ME it sounded the same at 12.00 as it did at nine o'clock!

Dave.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:15 pm

Yup :thumbup: And the other thing is that if it sounds good in the mix it'll probably sound bad soloed. :headbang:
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:20 pm

ef37a wrote:Surprised no one has mentioned "SoS Aug 07" ? The BIBLE on recording guitar amps!

[link added]

And here are the associated audio files.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:51 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:
ef37a wrote:Surprised no one has mentioned "SoS Aug 07" ? The BIBLE on recording guitar amps!

[link added]

And here are the associated audio files.

Thank you very much for this advice. I've already known about this article and tried to use every single bit of it. This article and the SoS videos with Eric Valentine are the reasons for the idea to improve my recordings and use certain techniques. I am just not sure if there is a possibility to do some room treatment.

I've always thought that the rough recordings are a bit harsh and maybe with a "cloudy" low-end. I try to raise at least one additional cab to see if the low end can be tighter. I also used duvets in front of the cupboards in the past but I did not really recognize a huge difference. The improvement might be pure imagination? Should I get any absorbers instead?

Everytime I listen to guitar recordings from other artists/engineers, I think that the sound is clear, defined and smooth. I do not see that with my works at the moment, but I never gave these to a pro mixing engineer before, either.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:56 pm

A duvet is, effectively, and absorber. Have you the facilities to re-amp a clean guitar? If not why not try to make two near identical recordings, one with and another without the duvets so you can do an A/B comparison?
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