What is a good mic and technique for recording loud distorted guitar

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Big_Bend, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    My Shure SM57 is not cutting it so far in my attempts to record loud distorted guitar tones that sound "clean" and do not have buzzy fuzzy clipping crappy recorded noises.

    SM57 -> ART Pro VLA II Tube Pre-Amp Compressor -> Tascam US-1800 Interface -> Cubase LE 5

    So I'm cranking on my Super Reverb with a few pedals and getting juicy tones, and for the life of me I cannot get anything decent recorded. I've tried cutting way back on the input and output knobs on the compressor, dialing back the input on the tascam, but even my lowest levels seems to have too much digital distortion buzz when I play back what I just recorded.

    I've tried moving my microphone all over, 2 feet away, at different angles, up close.. I can't find a sweet spot, I can't find a good balance that gets me decent distortion recordings. I'm not really that distorted, but even what I am trying to get down to digital tape sounds bad.

    Any suggestions for other microphones or techniques I can use would be much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    Don't use the ART. It's starved plate, and will sound nasty.
     
  3. guitarbiker

    guitarbiker Tele-Holic

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    Should work what you got. Gotta be a way.
     
  4. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is there some other tube pre-amp type compressor I should use? Or plug the SM57 directly into the Tascam US1800? Or what else should I do? Appreciate the suggestions thanks...
     
  5. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Don't think you have to be Loud to be Distorted.
    Don't use too much Distortion either. A little goes a long way. Too much and it starts to sound like Bumble Bees in Tin Foil.

    Playing louder than the Mechanical limits of your Signal Chain doesn't work very well.

    I highly recommend using the Neck PU.

    I recommend more than one mic. One (or two) close, one a few feet back.

    I like the Sennheiser e609 silver and the 421.
    I put the 609 on the edge of the cone, stuck the 421 right in the middle of the cone with all the Bass rolled-off, put an AGK414 in Omnidirectional mode, Flat, no roll-off and, parked it about 6' back and 6' in the air.

    I recorded each mic on to its own track.
    I panned 409 and 421 at about 10-o'clock 2-o'clock L R.
    I left the 414 at 12 o'clock.

    I just mixed straight Volume, didn't use any eq.
     

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  6. chrisgblues

    chrisgblues Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you have a way to set up a 2nd mic? If so, try placing it back in the room so it is capturing the ambient sound of the amp without all the shrill high end, then mix the two tracks until you get a balance that sounds good.
    Or you can try micing the rear of the amp.
    JMHO. Good luck.
     
  7. samato

    samato Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think you're overloading the SM57. That's pretty hard to do. Need to figure out your gain staging. I'm not familiar with the ART or Tascam units you're using but just looked up pics of them. The art looks like strictly a compressor, not a preamp. Should be able to use but I'd start without. Go straight into your preamp/converter/interface - the Tascam. Just make sure your levels in Cubase look and sound good. That should do it.
     
  8. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    If you mike from the rear (or really any two-mike configuration), be careful of phase problems — way before I knew much about recording, I took a record made in a "pro" studio to the mastering lab and the guy says, how did you mike this? I told him front and back. He sez, you got phase problems on all your guitar parts. Ouch! An expensive and time-consuming lesson learned the hard way.
     
  9. samato

    samato Tele-Afflicted

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    If you want to use the ART you'll either need a preamp before it then out of the ART send to a line input of the Tascam, or if your Tascam has an insert patch point on the mic inputs you can use that.

    You might be able to go mic in to the ART then line in to your Tascam, not sure. The other 2 ways are more conventional.

    Mic straight in to the Tascam is simplest, cleanest path.
     
  10. samato

    samato Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh, nothing you mentioned about your amp, pedals, mic choice or mic placement should be a problem.

    I'm guessing you were patching the output of the ART to a mic input. That would be line level signal to mic level input which is an impedence and level mismatch. Then the compressor settings could be making matters worse. That's a lot of guess work on my part but seems to fit what you described.
     
  11. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I had guitar parts for about 10 tracks of a 12 song album done. Someone loaned us a Sontronic (?) ribbon mic. I tried it and wound up re-doing 8 tracks. It really made a difference.

    (FWIW, I've recorded with the much cheaper ART Tube MP and a 57. It boosted the signal a bit but didn't do much to color or change the straight 57 sound.)
     

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  12. Zillinois

    Zillinois Friend of Leo's

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    That may just be what your "sound" sounds like.
     
  13. Tle4

    Tle4 Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldnt use a compressor. Are you clipping your preamp? That would make things sound bad.
     
  14. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    The first thing I'd try is taking the ART out of the chain. Then I'd dial down the input on the Tascam. You don't ever want to even approach clipping when recording digitally, and since there isn't any tape hiss, you can record parts quieter and just turn them up in the mixing stage.
     
  15. peteycaster

    peteycaster Tele-Meister

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    I've read about this on Gearslutz and the answer is always "turn down the distortion".
     
  16. samato

    samato Tele-Afflicted

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    Lots of related and possibly helpful information here but the main problem is very simple. A mic needs to go into a preamp before anything else and that's not what was happening. That ART unit is not a preamp.

    There are lots of ways to mic a guitar amp and lots of different signal paths that would work just fine but an SM57 right in front of a speaker running through a preamp then into a recording device has been working for many many years and can definitely capture the sound properly in this case.
     
  17. rockmaster

    rockmaster TDPRI Member

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    SM57, straight into the console, condenser in the room, dead room, that should do it.
     
  18. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    I like this with the 57 close mic'd off center and the AKG C414. It's not super high gain though, and not necessarily home recording.
     

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  19. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    quote:

    but even my lowest levels seems to have too much digital distortion buzz when I play back what I just recorded.

    unquote:


    it's not the mic..57's are used on pretty much every concert stage known to mankind reporting ungodly sound levels to the sound systems for the minions in the audience to groove on...

    It sounds like one of your input devices is saturating...you have gone beyond "beyond" If you don't like what you are hearing after recording, something is off kilter especially if it sounded pretty good while tracking...


    I would re-start by yanking that compressor out of the chain...this is an easy process to fix....start with nothing...then add other input devices, one at a time...


    Just for the sake of sharing..digital recorders use approx -6db as the common peak reference point, analog recorders use 0 DB and you can stretch it above that point and possibly get a real nice sounding HOT track......you cannot do that in the digital world...should you exceed 0 db on your digital track you are in god awful territory...Aliens won't land if they hear it...:(
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
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