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Ribbon mic placement on amp cabinet?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by backalleyblues, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Howdy once again gang!!!

    I need some guidance on how to properly place a decent ribbon mic on a guitar amp... HELP!!!!

    Some background-
    I'm getting ready to record my next CD, and this time we have the luxury of recording in a real studio :cool::lol:. As part of the deal, I'm going to help with setup of mics, etc. (something I'm pretty good at) but I've never setup a ribbon mic before... the actual mic is a Cascade Fathead II (with the special Landgraff (sp) transformers) which I've heard used on a friend of mine's CD that was recorded in the same studio... so I'm already familiar with its sound, but no clue as for placement!!!

    The good news-all the amps have their own room to set up in (I think it's about 7'x10'x10') and I likely will be able to put more than 1 mic on the amps, maybe an LDC in the room...

    The amps I'll be using:

    '73 SFSR (my main amp) mostly for clean guitar work
    '59 Bassman (a real one!) semi breakup tones, general bluesiness (borrowed amp)
    Germino LV-55 with matching 2-12 cab (think plexi Marshall) couple Warren Haynes kind of tunes, for lead work (again, borrowed)
    Carvin Vintage 16-I've used this amp for something on every electric CD since I've had it, going on 6 years... does a lot of things well
    Univox U-45 (from the 1960s) kinda one trick pony, great for gnarly slide work...

    So, I'm all ears on good ribbon mic technique with this plethora of amps-if I was using a 57, I wouldn't be asking this question!!

    So, is anyone out there willing to share a bit of hard-fought knowledge?

    Thanks,
    Franc Robert
     
  2. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Good to see ya, Franc, it's been awhile! ... I'm no engineer, but it seems to me like it would vary from amp to amp and even from song to song if you want to stamp a unique identity on each track. But that's not always possible due to time limits if it's the kind of deal where you gotta crank 'em out in short order. What type of session(s) do you anticipate? Like, a song a day, four songs a day, a song a week?

    I don't have much ribbon expertise, just curious about your project and how it shapes up. Hope it goes well!
     
  3. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    We had recorded most of the electric parts on the last album using a 57. Then someone loaned us a nice ribbon. It sounded so good we went back re-did just about all the electric parts.

    On a BF Deluxe, the ribbon was just outside the speaker cone, about four inches back. We had a big condenser five feet or so away in the room for depth.

    This is what it sounded like on the title song.
     
  4. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, it varies considerably depending on the exact sound you need. The Fathead has a tremendous proximity effect, so that last few inches up to the amp really pumps up the bottom end and sounds huge.
    I get my best results treating it similar to a dynamic standard like the 57 in terms of placement on the speaker. But, you have to use your ears. one thing is that the Fathead will smooth out the sound a bit, and tend to emphasize the mid-range in a lofi way, which is quite appealing on distorted/crunchy guitars.
    *Edit: the version of Sweet Home Alabama I recently recorded has the guitar parts tracked with a combination of Fathead and SM57 on the same speaker and blended.
     
  5. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the samples and ideas! I'm liking what I hear so far...

    From what I understand, we should have 16 channels at a time for recording, 6-7 will be on drums, 1 for bass, 2 for harp, 1 for a guide vocal, leaving 2-3 channels open for guitar.

    Most of the rhythm work will be done with the Super Reverb, and we're going to track together, with lead parts and vocals overdubbed.

    Woody, this band is more than capable of laying down all basic tracks in 1 day-Mulligan Stew's basic tracks were done in 4 hours!! We've also played all the tunes in our shows (several have become staples!) so we're pretty together on this... Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if needed) is our recording schedule, and we'll come back in and mix a couple weeks later.

    At this point, I'm thinking of putting the Fathead about 6" off the grill, centered, as a starting point... will also use a 57 up on the grill, along with an LDC 6' away, for the room tone... then mix to taste...

    Franc Robert
     
  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It's a little blurry but that's a Royer 121 about 6 inches from the upper right spkr of a 4x10" - just about center.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. ADinNYC

    ADinNYC Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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  8. vjf1968

    vjf1968 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use a Fat Head 2 a little off axis from center and a 57 direct at the center of the cone and mix the two together. I start be getting the ribbon about a hand away from the speaker. Basically I take my hand and spread out my fingers, put that between the mic grill and the speaker grill.

    I usually have my Ditto looper running a guitar phrase over and over through the amp so I can check what is going into the DAW and get the results more quickly and efficiently.
     
  9. Coach56

    Coach56 One of the Boys

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    Darn, now that is a real OH DUH moment for me. I never thought to do that and I have a decent looper sitting on my rig!

    Many thanks! ! ! !

    -Harry
     
  10. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Some pics of the setup today-the harp player had to have the isolation room (and the bassman, dammit!) which left me out in the hall-funny part is worked out pretty well anyways! Fathead about 6" off the grill (using my hand as a guide, about 1 1/2 hands wide), and the LDC on a stand, picking up the hallway...

    We got 14! tracks done today (drums, bass, rhythm guitar, harp) plus gang vocals on 2 of the tracks... tomorrow, it's vocals, lead guitar, and some percussion touches... then mixing, so we should be done and ready to press by the end of the month.

    Thanks again for all the helpful tips, going to be using them a LOT tomorrow, as I'll be amp jumping a lot more (my super was perfect for all the rhythm work today!)

    Franc Robert
     

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  11. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    That's a pretty damn good testament for your band! :cool:
     
  12. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Well, I didn't amp jump as much as I thought... of course, when you have a real '59 bassman at your disposal, that does tend to influence your choices!!! :D

    I used to have a real bassman back in the day, but could NEVER get up to its sweet spot-too loud!! Yesterday, OTOH, I had the studio pretty much to myself, so I got to wind this puppy out for a couple hours-Oh Lord was I having a good time!!! You can see the Fathead in position, we also had an LDC setup in the middle of the room to capture the room sound (btw, the LDC was a FLEA 47, a clone of the old Nuemann U47, complete with the original VF14 tube-NICE mic!!).

    I forgot to grab a pic of my old Univox U45b amp in action, I used it with my lap steel, and that sounded great too, but here was my working combo for yesterday, in its glory... Boy was it fun, and a really good session this weekend!

    Franc Robert
     

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  13. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    This might be a little late to the party but
    information is always welcome right?

     
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