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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by doghouseman, Jul 27, 2020.
I am talking for playing live....
The answer is not the same today as it was even 5 years ago. Going direct has matured, and there is a lot more options now than there used to be. Quality IR's have changed everything.
Simply placing a '57 in front of a <insert any amp here> isn't always going to yield the results you are expecting
Most players I know that work on the pro circuits use load boxes and IR's with their amps, or use a Kemper/Fractal/Helix with IR's and go completely ampless on stage.
Most players I know at the club level are putting a mic on their amps...
Don't get me wrong... micing an amp still works fine for live use... I'm just saying I am seeing a shift in thought process!
5+ years ago... both groups of players would have just been putting mics on an amp!
ONe reason I am asking is because I just bought one of these Pre Amps.
It has an xlr out, and has probably one of the best speaker sims in the business right now.
Last night while playing the pre amp with headphones, I thought a mic-ed amp would sound better. The speaker sim sounds a little lifeless, but that could be the result of a lot of other factors. I know Two Notes has a great reputation for speaker sims and i know people use them with great effect. The pre amp itself sounds fantastic, so again, just wondering which would sound best in a live situation.
Not an absolute.
If you just have an SM57 in front of your amp in a bad sounding room, I think direct can sound at least as good if not better. You’re not getting any sort of incredible tone from that mic setup, and direct/software could likely give you more options and you could tailor it more (if you have good software/a good modeler).
Now, if you have a really nice mic, or multiple, and you know what you’re doing (and if you can get a bit of nice sounding room in the mix), then yeah, miking an amp will always sound better.
A live situation may change my answer a bit. It’s totally practical to go with a direct solution, and I’ve had good success with the Two Notes stuff live.
I had an Effectrode Blackbird into a Two Notes CAB and it sounded like a Twin through the PA. Most venues won’t have more than a 57 or some other basic microphone setup, and they’ll probably want your stage volume really quiet anyway, so either a very low watt amp, or a higher headroom amp barely on, or a direct solution is the way to go.
I think you can get just as good of tones for live purposes at least with that. FYI, I didn’t like the CAB for recorded sounds at all, but it sounded really good through a PA (didn’t like an Iridium for recorded tones either, maybe would’ve liked it better through a PA had I kept it).
Two Notes does GREAT speaker/cab sims... the Torpedo C.A.B....
Your unit is a preamp with a couple of "analog" cab sims (basing that on a quick look at the manual)... not the full blown IR cab options I am referring to.
In no way am I suggesting the "le crunch" isn't up to par... it's likely a fabulous unit. I'm just saying you are only hearing a couple of options for cabs, not the full "two notes" library!
Headphones are very direct... if you put a mic on an amp and still listened through headphones I think your experience would be quite similar.
Direct or Mic'ed.... it will sound different than your "amp in the room".... that's important to understand. If anything, a good multi mic'ed IR will sound closer to an "amp in the room" than a single mic jammed into the cone of a speaker on a stage.
The RedBox D.I and Behringer Ultra-G D.I sit between the amp and the speaker. They both feature cab emulation, the RedBox moreso, and live, they're superb. Not bad at home for noodling either.
Because they sit twixt amp and speaker, they get all the lovely nuance of the transformer saturating and the speaker voice coil reacting. It's very much a two way street. The Behringer can deal with speaker level or line/instrument level.
Both feature a transformer in their makeup, which may or may not be a part of things. Fantastic live tools. Simple as a rock. Feed the signal to the sound guy and away you go.
For recording, they have a place too. A blend of D.I with a couple of mics to the amp front, and one in the rear of the cab ( watch the phase though ) can give a fantastic sound.
Err, mic or D.I ?, both?, depends?
Old school that has some very good tube amps. Am in the middle of new project, .double length 20+ song concept Album. I broke down & got some decent software. Over the years the studio i go to has given me reduced rates on recording. They would set the room up & profile my gear. I had no interest at all..cause i have the gear & its turnkey set up..with 5 preamps with mic's ready to go.
This past week i caved & got the RP360 out, which led me to get everything Amplitude 4 had & set it up in Reaper
What did i discover(just a/b'd Pro Reverb & JTM45 with some software
Situations where "the tone" you are seeking is a must..hands down use the real amps(more so n that fine line edge of break up & dependant on speaker break as the final tone equation)
In the heavies & super gained up(5150, mesa type )dont matter much..a lil more thump of mic'ing a speaker..more natural compression..
in the mix the lines are blurred ..especially in downtuned music
The KEY in my findings..was those recordings my studio did of my cabs..now i know what they are really for..the IR's are the difference cause the software is getting that good on the front end & pretty much noiseless. The IR's are getting close to cab response.
I will continue to mic up cause its my life basically..but have no qualms about using anything..anything that makes me play more & record more. It's a great time right now ..we can record at home..i cant leave the house due to the cards life dealt us..but absolutely can continue on with my music path..cause of all this great gear we have access to.
also.. have 5 preamps...neve strye..api..tube.ect Which does amazing things to a natural guitar signal..no amp required for some situations..where the tone recording has blown my mind...especially on a Jazz bass doing the thing they do and capturing the bare bones tone of an electric
All in all. each song we make is an adventure into do the best you can..THE most important thing,,the Capture..capture the performance..goes a long way making up for what gear can do. Enjoy. believe i can do more with my hands & vol & tone knobs on the guitar to get me where needed vs almost anything else
At our gig Sat night the rhythm player went direct. I listened to some videos taken from the audience. It sounded fine to me.
What exactly are you using?
At least with my equipment, I have never gotten a good guitar sound going direct. Always mic it.
I have recorded bass direct though.
experiment. do both and see which you like. may even like a blend of the two.
I´m in no way a reference with regard to sound or tone, but my short experience tells me that working direct makes it so much easier and it yields mostly the same results for gigs (or the ones I do, where people are drinking and making noise). The complexity behind the mic-ing setup just makes me not want to do gigs because I never get it to sound good (not a compliment for our tech/sound abilities, I know).
I've got the DSM & Humboldt Simplifier.
0 Watt analogue pre amp and cab Sim.
I can get anything from blackface Fender/ Marshall to Vox AC30 sounds.
Plug that into either an audio interface,PA or speaker cab.
Or in my room with just headphones lol to keep everyone nearby happy
Turn up late, with just a guitar and a pocket pod, plug into into the desk.
What I would have said but they already said it better:
If you want clean, like for your acoustic, direct is a great way to go. Electrics also can go direct for clean but may need some tweaking at the board. Many high profile guitarists have recorded this way using the recording fx for a particular type sound e.g. compression and EQ.
If your sound includes how the speaker responds, mic is the only way. Take a look at the common amp modelers and you will see they all simulate a mic'd configuration. Shure SM58 seems to be the choice but many record with both a dynamic and a condenser. The dynamic alone is fine for live miking.
Ha.. I wish the PocketPOD had an XLR out, or I just might do that.
Ok, I gotta stand on the un-cool side of the street and say that there is no longer any good reason, whatsoever to mic a guitar amp in a live situation.
Now, if that is the gear you have got and the sound that you want, and it meets your artistic needs.... It is perfectly fine to mic the amp on stage, but due to physics and science stuff... a pro quality modeler is always a better option. It is sorta like saying that a 2020 Mustang is better than a 1968 Mustang. Yes it is better in literally every way. It may not be as much fun to you personally, but as far as getting from one place to another, quickly and safely.... the 2020 is WAAAY better.
Speaking to my own personal skills, and I started recording in the studio in 1990 - I have owned a working commercial studio - I have some serious hours behind a board.... I can not get a guitar tone better than what I get on my Helix. Even in the best room, under perfect conditions with Mic's of any quality.
Regarding a mic on a guitar cab, I might occasionally land on a tone that just blows me away and I really love, but it is often not repeatable, and at the end of the day, usually it is just the sweet spot in the work session and where my ear fatigue is at that given moment.... The fact that I can craft a tone one time and have it be truly repeatable is just fantastic! You reduce the opportunity of failure immensely. So, I would suggest that anyone invest the time and money to get a good IR box, or a good IR solution. Craft your live sound around that and make your sound guy happy in the process.
Guitar- PocketPod - DI box - PA. All fits in a gig bag for jam night.