Recording Direct Vs Mic

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by udoering, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. udoering

    udoering Friend of Leo's

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    As I had time, I made a little experiment. I wanted to test a direct recording device that I use for recording guitar since I bought it some months ago against recording with a mic that I had used before.

    So the direct recording device that is inserted between amp and cab was recorded on one track, the mic simultaniously on another track. The mic was a MXL 860 ribbon mic that went through a Golden Age preamp and compressor into a Steinberg UR28M audio interface and from there into Cubase. The device went directly into the Steinberg.

    The Microphone track was left completely untreated. The device track went through a VST graphic EQ, because the device imitates a Vintage 30 speaker whereas I use a Cannabis Rex, so I had to try to make them sound similar. Then the signal went into a compressor VST with the same settings as the real one.

    I then noodled along a backing track, recorded both and automated Cubase in such a way that the guitar sound source changes rhythmically between device and mic.

    If you listen, please don´t concentrate on my poor noodling that is full of mistakes. I would like to know if can find out when you hear the mic and when the device. As for me, I am pretty satisfied with the outcome. Of course I do not say that the device is as good as mics can be, but I think it is as good as my possibilities to record via mic.

     
  2. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    Seems to me the big question should be, which sound does it for you?

    When you say, The mic was a MXL 860 ribbon mic that went through a Golden Age preamp and compressor into a Steinberg UR28M audio interface, are you plugging it into the Mic input or into the Line In? If into the Mic input, going through two preamps can affect your tone in ways you may or may not like.
     
  3. udoering

    udoering Friend of Leo's

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    The output from the preamp / compressor went into the line input of the UR28M. And of course the GAP devices colour the sound; that´s why I bought them, though they are predominantly meant for vocal recording. I was just surprised that with a little eq tweaking the results are so similar (at least to my ears - that´s why I posted that here). I rate that for the quality of the device and the Cubase-VSTs. And I can record silently without relinquishing sound quality (again, compared to my actual possibilities).
     
  4. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    Don't know how much I can add except for, I love my DI box! Being able to not just pick and choose or blend is really nice to be able to do.

    M
     
  5. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    "Record silently". How is the speaker silenced? Attenuation? Load box?
     
  6. udoering

    udoering Friend of Leo's

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    Mesa Cab Clone.
     
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I record E-guitars and Steel guitars direct 100% of the time now. I use 1 of 2 different preamps, the ART MPA II which also feeds a DBX compressor and the other is the DBX 376 Channel strip which has a 4 band parametric and on board compressor. In each instance I am using a very mild ratio ( 2:1) and threshold (-10) which is barely enough to be noticeable. These low settings are primarily to control any transient peaks All effects are done POST track on the DAW but I do print with the compression and with regard to the DBX 376, I print with the EQ settings used which are "lots of low end cutoff ". Additional EQ can be added in the DAW mix.

    I can and have recorded with mics on the amps, but to me the final product sounds exactly the same !

    But also keep in mind I am not recording retail or any artists that have RETAIL projects as a goal. Regional / Local Demo's are the primary purpose. Then add that almost all of my final mixes are done with a "streaming" goal which is nothing below 80 HZ and nothing above 16 KHZ. As a reminder, when you UPLOAD to a streaming site, (pretty much every one of them) they are compressed down to an MP3 which is in that 80 to 16 KHZ range.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  8. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Listening on laptop speakers and then on reasonably good headphones, it was difficult for me to distinguish exactly when it changed. At times I thought the tone had a rounder, fuller quality to the high end and other times I thought I noticed a slight comb filter effect, almost like a hint of chorus, or just a slightly more hollow tone, so I'm guessing that might be the difference, but it was very hard to tell.

    The very start was the rounder tone (the ribbon mic?). Then I think it changed around the 10 or 12 sec mark? But note the question mark. It's not a night and day difference and could just be a change in how you were playing.

    If it is the difference, the hollow effect might only be because you are EQing something that already has speaker simulation, which is just another kind of EQ, so it's being EQed twice and that could create artifacts.

    I'd be keen to hear it without the added EQ.

    It's quite amazing how good direct recording can be these days. I'm pretty much forced to do it because usually the only times I have free to record are when family are asleep upstairs. I've tried various analogue (Tech 21) and digital modellers, both hardware and plugins, and the most natural sounds I've achieved were from a Zoom 9.2tt, often in tandem with a very amp-like analogue dirt pedal. In fact, for a recent project I recorded a part with the Zoom then re-recorded it with an amp and a few different mics. I ended up keeping the Zoom track.
     
  9. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    It's really interesting / informative to experiment like you did, to find out firsthand what the differences are and how to tune them. I did a similar thing some years ago with a couple mics on the cab of a Marshall dsl I used to have, tweaking placement and settings until I got what I considered the best tone, and made a short track. Then I pulled up the Marshall model in Amplitube, spent some time dialing it in, adjusting cab/speaker sims, mics, etc, and tracked that. Then I A/B'd them endlessly, trying to convince myself that the real mic'd amp was of course better, because it had to be, right? But I finally reluctantly admitted that the Amplitube model was way closer to the real thing than it had any right to be, lol.
    I enjoy miking my real amps more than using a sim or doing DI, but for late night tracking, I really like Amplitube, especially the Orange models, they are great.
     
  10. udoering

    udoering Friend of Leo's

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    I started this thing so long ago that I have to admit that I nearly forgot which track was first, but after opening the Cubase project again I know the recording starts with the microphone track. Anyhow, the changes are exactly every thirty seconds. The ribbon mic of course has a slightly different sound from a SM 57 which is simulated by the Cab Clone. It has a sound which I like to call "silky", smoothing the recorded guitar somehow. The (Cab Clone´s) SM 57 is more analytic, concrete.

    Anyhow, for me this little experiment showed the quality of sounds you get from devices like the Cab Clone, and I really don´t understand why so many people give it such harsh critique.
     
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