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Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

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Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby deejayen » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:37 pm

There's an article on the DPA site which shows their 4061 Lavalier mic pinned to the grill cloth of a guitar amp, and they recommend it for this application. Similarly, I came across a demo of someone using an Earthworks SR-25 mic on a guitar cab.

I'll be recording clean electric guitar through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or Tweed Champ amp. Some of the stuff I play is on the more melodic side of things, and with just a solo guitar, so I'm probably looking for a broader sound than I would be if trying to fit a guitar into a dense mix.

I don't have either of these mics, and I'm not sure if it's a option worth pursuing.

Presumably they'd give a more 'accurate' tone than something like an SM57, and the idea does appeal to me, but they're more expensive than some 'guitar cab' mics.

Has anyone tried this type of mic for this application?
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:57 pm

The net is bursting with examples of 'tie tack' microphones, some so cheap as to be unlikely to be any good and most terminate in mini jack plugs.
I did find this however...https://www.amazon.co.uk/BOYA-Professio ... wNjJIJndpZ
AtGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ=

At around 40quid it could be of decent quality, maybe good enough to show you if further investment and trials are worthwhile?

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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby James Perrett » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:22 pm

The biggest problem I've found with budget small diaphragm condensers is that they are often easily overloaded. The typical electric guitar speaker also has a very limited high frequency output so there is little need for the transient response provided by a small diaphragm condenser. However, it may be worth trying one if you are looking for a flatter, cleaner sound as it may provide just the sound that you are after.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:51 pm

Just from first principles a guitar speaker rolls off from 6-8kHz and will have little or nothing left at 12kHz so it's barely going to tax the frequency response of an SM57. As James says, the capacitor will probably be flatter in that range so maybe worth a try.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:10 pm

It can help to remember that basically we use guitar amps and speakers for electric guitars because without that assistance the guitar is virtually inaudible. We can bypass the whole speaker/mic/mic placement dilemma by recording upstream of them, with or without desired effects.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby deejayen » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:09 pm

Thanks for that. The two mics I'm looking at (the DPA 4061 and Earthworks SR-25) are both rated for high SPL, so they're supposed to work fine with loud electric guitar amps. They're also quite expensive - I think the DPA with XLR adaptor and the grill mount is £400+, and the Earthworks is £600+

TIm, are you saying that one option is to record a DI signal instead of mic'ing a cabinet? I've actually been going down that route, from a Motherload power soak and speaker simulator, to an 'amp-in-a-box' pedal with speaker simulator etc. etc.. It's more convenient for me than mic'ing an amp, but I thought the DPA mic pinned to the grill might give me a more of the 'real amp' feel, yet be easy to live with in my small recording space.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Wonks » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:50 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Just from first principles a guitar speaker rolls off from 6-8kHz and will have little or nothing left at 12kHz so it's barely going to tax the frequency response of an SM57. As James says, the capacitor will probably be flatter in that range so maybe worth a try.

Guitar speakers aren't like low-pass filters. Yes, they have a big drop off in response at 5-6kHz, but after around a 20-25dB drop, they then flatten off again (unlike a LPF), all the way up to 20kHz and beyond. So there is HF there, but it is only a small part of the guitar sound (but still significant in creating a realistic amp sound).

However, sticking a mic right next to the speaker isn't the sound we hear in the room, and a coloured mic like the SM57 is pretty good at getting a recorded sound we like. If it wasn't, big studios with countless far more expensive mics wouldn't still be using them for both clean and distorted guitar sounds. One of the favourite mic combos, a Royer R-121 and an SM57, have an even less flat response than a really small SDC.

That's not to say it's not worth trying different mics, especially on clean guitar. But I wouldn't go and buy a DPA specially for that purpose. If you already have a suitable DPA for other purposes, then try it out, but you might find it a bit too bright (no one but unfortunate audience members who have a cab pointed at them) chooses to listen to a guitar speaker at ear level.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:23 am

deejayen wrote:
...TIm, are you saying that one option is to record a DI signal instead of mic'ing a cabinet? I've actually been going down that route, from a Motherload power soak and speaker simulator, to an 'amp-in-a-box' pedal with speaker simulator etc. etc.. It's more convenient for me than mic'ing an amp, but I thought the DPA mic pinned to the grill might give me a more of the 'real amp' feel, yet be easy to live with in my small recording space.

Yes, DI or from whatever point or points in the chain we choose to record it. Once we're in the "effects" domain maybe there's no one ideal way. We could even choose to modify the guitar so that each pickup could be recorded onto its own track.

If we close mic the speaker though, which part of the speaker? From the centre ? The edge of the dust cap? Further towards the edge of the cone? The sound is somewhat different at each point. Then what proportion of the room do we capture, and with what tonality? Decisions, decisions...
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby resistorman » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:36 am

As has been pointed out, the sm57 is used regularly throughout the world for guitar amp recording. Also the Royer 121. I have both, and the Royer is the better but costs 10 times as much. It’s not 10 times better, and I don’t think the DPA and Earthworks would be either. Just to throw yet another wrench into the works, fuel into the fire, and food trucks for thought, check out the Crimson Audio mods for the 57. I modded a 58 and am quite impressed with the results. But really, a standard 57 is fine up close and use another mic from a distance if you have a good sounding room. Plus a direct track too, of course :D


http://www.crimsonaudiotransformers.com/-/
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby ef37a » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:41 am

" So there is HF there, but it is only a small part of the guitar sound (but still significant in creating a realistic amp sound")

Can you demonstrate this Wonks? The 'classic' rock speaker the Celestion V30 shows the response some 20dB down at 15kHz on 1kHz and 25dB down on the midband peak around 3kHz.

Then, due to a combination of voicing filters, tone stacks and 'crap' OP transformers, most guitar amps are themselves some 20dB or more down at 20kHz (we had one sent back from a review that wasn't! Cap not ftted)

I think it is pretty well accepted that the sound of the guitar/amp/speaker combination is pretty much done by 10kHz?

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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby blinddrew » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:00 am

Taking whatever mics you already have and playing around with the positioning will give you a huge variety of tone. I wouldn't even think of buying a new mic until i'd had a really good session just trying my existing mics in different places and different spaces.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:05 am

This point has been made above but really needs reinforcing, moving the mic 4" from the grill will make a huge difference to the sound (in my case, entirely for the better). Glancing back through this thread with fresh eyes I'd say that DPA pinned to the grill was a marketing choice rather than one made with the ears.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:24 pm

There's an article on the DPA site which shows their 4061 Lavalier mic pinned to the grill cloth of a guitar amp, and they recommend it for this application.

Hardly an unbiased recommendation, then!
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:04 pm

They're not trying to give unbiased recommendations. They are trying to illustrate just how versatile and capable their mics are, and which models are best suited to which applications...
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:38 pm

Of course, but there are a million other mics and techniques that will give you a great result as discussed here already. All I'm saying is, the last place to get an objective suggestion/recommendation is a manufacturer's own advertising! The OP seemed worried that without this particular magic bullet his guitar recordings would forever be compromised somehow. Which is presumably what the manufacturer would very much like him to think!
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:44 pm

Okay... I had the impression he was just interested in discussing using small, accurate, capacitor mics rather than the 'traditional' SM57 for recording a guitar cab...

As you say, there are lots of possibilities and options....
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:15 pm

I have just remembered that, for a while, I had a budget tie clip mic attached just inside the grill of my Epiphone Valve Junior with the preamp and XLR output mounted on the rear panel. It worked as well as a mic that close to the speaker cone can in the VJ and was super convenient but when I tried another identical mic in my 18 watt combo it distorted badly and sounded rubbish........ Both amps still sound much better with a few inches between the mic and speaker.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby deejayen » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:25 pm

Thanks for all that. Yes, I was just wondering if one of these mics would be a good alternative to an SM57. I suppose that with any audio equipment, you really have to try it for yourself. The demo of the Earthworks mic had it positioned about 5" from the grill cloth, so as Sam says, a little distance is probably a good thing. I haven't seen the DPA, but I thought it might have some sort of adjustability in its neck, so that although the holder was pinned to the grill cloth it might be possible to bend the mic away from the amp.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:32 pm

if you're mostly looking for a cab attached solution, what about just using a CabGrabber with just about any mic. I use one fairly often, sometimes with a gooseneck added on to position the mic a little further away or to use a larger bodied mic than it's designed for.
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Re: Very small diaphragm condensers for electric guitar

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:18 pm

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