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trock.lucasmicrophone

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Posts: 361 Member Since: 11/10/2013

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Apr 27 17 1:51 PM

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Hey all

I have a newer SM57, which I have heard is different than the originals or older models. regardless its what I have at this point, I recently got a small 15 watt fender bassbreaker amp, which I really love the sound of, so instead of a kemper or amp sim its time to mic an amp. It is a single 12 inch celestian speaker. I have been looking at pics of mic'd amps but wanted to get your input on proper distance, or angle? or where on the speaker to try it out at?

also, what do you use for a mic situation like this, in terms of the mic you love for rock style mic'ing?

thanks!
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morespaceecho

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Posts: 2,323 Member Since:29/01/2011

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Apr 27 17 2:02 PM

others will have better answers, but my default is dead center, mic pointing straight ahead. not super close, usually about 6" back, maybe a foot, sometimes 3". rarely closer than that though.

if it's too bright at the center of the cone i'll move the mic over a little, but i usually keep it pointing straight ahead.

not a fan of the 57, nor am i fan of mic right up against the grille, but that's a standard thing people have been doing forever, so it's probably just me.

of the mics i have, my fave for guitars is an m160. second is a sennheiser 409, third would be an sm7, fourth would be whatever was left.

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

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Apr 27 17 2:03 PM

I think this sounds like a GREAT opportunity to do some experimenting.

Start directly on-axis, right upon the grill, pointing at the seam where the dust cap meets the cone. Record a bit.

Now, rotate the mic 45 degrees off-axis pointing toward the center of the dust cap. Record a bit more.

Now, move the mic to the edge of the speaker cone, still right up on the grille, on-axis. Record a bit more.

As above, 45 degrees off-axis pointed toward the center. Record.

Now move the whole mic back about 4-6 inches and point toward the center of the cone again. Record

Now go back and listen to all of them, and make note of how the sound changes in each position!

That allows you to not take our word for it, but rather to really start to get an intuitive feel for mic placement on the amp! And that sense will continue to develop over time, and remain useful to you forever.

There's nothing wrong with an SM57 for rock guitar. One day, you may find that you also like an MD421, or a Beyer M160, or a Royer R121, or a Sennheiser MD409, or maybe even a U87 or 47 FET. Perhaps even two of the above in combination, sometimes. But for now... enjoy your 57 and learn everything it has to offer you.

brad allen williams

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chrisj

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Posts: 986 Member Since:22/02/2011

#3 [url]

Apr 27 17 2:26 PM

trock wrote:
Hey all

I have a newer SM57, which I have heard is different than the originals or older models. regardless its what I have at this point, I recently got a small 15 watt fender bassbreaker amp, which I really love the sound of, so instead of a kemper or amp sim its time to mic an amp. It is a single 12 inch celestian speaker. I have been looking at pics of mic'd amps but wanted to get your input on proper distance, or angle? or where on the speaker to try it out at?

also, what do you use for a mic situation like this, in terms of the mic you love for rock style mic'ing?

thanks!


I'll leave it to William to curse the whole endeavor ;)

Within the context of what you've said, I'm at a polar opposite of morespaceecho. I do use a 57 (modded my way, many but not all grille parts removed) but I am of the Tim Gilles school, meaning I've actually removed all speaker grille cloth so I can zoom up close like a microscope to the speaker cone.

In that context, center-straight will always be wrong: you'd have to pull it back quite a bit to tame it. Instead, move outwards to even the edge of the speaker, staying real close to the cone. Point it away from the center to further cut highs while staying at the same point. Using a 57, up real close, you may hear big differences in sound from moving it even an inch: this is good, means you can try and find a spot you like better than other spots.

When I do that, I mark it, and currently I've got an adjustment that is a stick taped to the floor: I can slide the small tripod stand against this, making the mic both move to the edge of the cone and move closer to the cone (since it won't track in when I slide it across nearer the center, it ends up farther back from the cone). Another way is to pivot the mic, so it can be pointing toward the edge, the spot you prefer, or straight on. In either of these cases, the idea is to make a consistent 'tone control' that will get good results and can be tweaked to taste, depending on the needs of the tracking.

Or you could put an LDC a foot out, and call that perfect and be done with it ;) however, with your 57 you can get many more variations due to its peculiar way of focusing upon what's exactly in front of it. I'm convinced the only sensible way to use the things is like tiny microscopes. Once you've pulled it out a couple feet, it will always ALWAYS lose to a LDC or any number of more appealing-sounding microphones. It's only in exploiting the peculiar polar pattern of the thing that you 'get' it. And that does assume that you want an ultra-close-miked but not overdetailed sound, that you're effectively treating it as an EQ and tone shaping stage.

Chris Johnson, airwindows.com

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John Eppstein

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Posts: 1,273 Member Since:31/05/2015

#4 [url]

Apr 27 17 2:35 PM

soapfoot wrote:
I think this sounds like a GREAT opportunity to do some experimenting.

Start directly on-axis, right upon the grill, pointing at the seam where the dust cap meets the cone. Record a bit.

Now, rotate the mic 45 degrees off-axis pointing toward the center of the dust cap. Record a bit more.

Now, move the mic to the edge of the speaker cone, still right up on the grille, on-axis. Record a bit more.

As above, 45 degrees off-axis pointed toward the center. Record.

Now move the whole mic back about 4-6 inches and point toward the center of the cone again. Record

Now go back and listen to all of them, and make note of how the sound changes in each position!

That allows you to not take our word for it, but rather to really start to get an intuitive feel for mic placement on the amp! And that sense will continue to develop over time, and remain useful to you forever.

There's nothing wrong with an SM57 for rock guitar. One day, you may find that you also like an MD421, or a Beyer M160, or a Royer R121, or a Sennheiser MD409, or maybe even a U87 or 47 FET. Perhaps even two of the above in combination, sometimes. But for now... enjoy your 57 and learn everything it has to offer you.

This is a good post, as it suggests na comparison of various positions. Mic position will vary with the speaker, the player's sound, the recorded tone you're after, etc.

My own default position is not like the "conventional wisdom" you encounter on the Kindernet, which has you putting the mic dead centrer of the dome, pointing straight in; I find that tends to be overly bright and lacking in body in many cases. My default starting position (assuming a directional mic) is at the edge of the cone, where the cone meets the surround, angled inward so that the mic is pointing at the dome. That's because of the way speakers radiate sound - the lower frequencies radiate from the outer edge of the cone, the higher harmonics radiate from the center of the dome - frequencies in between radiate from positions on the cone in between, depending on frequency. My aim it to have the mic looking at an even cross section of the speaker cone to get a balanced picture of the speaker's output. Think about positioning a flashlight in this position - the pattern of illumination corresponds to what the microphone is looking at along the cone. Starting in that position I listen and adjust mic position accordingly.

There is no substitute for time spent learning how a mics pickup pattern interacts with the physics of sound radiating from a speaker.

Something to be aware of (which seems to slip right by  many - especially younger - engineers is that many or most Celestion speakers generally port* through a porous cloth dome. This means a couple of things - first, the HF output off the dome is not quite as pronounced as with speakers employing a harder, more solid dome material, and that is some circumstances the vented air coming through the dome might result in some slight "breathing" sounds, although these are usually adequately masked by the speaker's output.

FWIW, I'm not a big fan of 57s, either - the consistancy between individual mics is poor and the off-axis response is pretty sucky.

* - speakers need to port hot air from the voice coil cavity to the outside to prevent overheating and premature failure. The highest quality speakers use a small point in the rear, in the center of the magnet or pole piece. This is expensive, as it requyires additional machining. Other porting schemes include using a porous spider (the suspension elem ent behind the cone where it meets the voice coil, and a small round dot of some type of porous material in the center of a hard paper or metal dome.

Last Edited By: John Eppstein Apr 27 17 2:55 PM. Edited 2 times.

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spiritwalker

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,678 Member Since:14/02/2011

#5 [url]

Apr 27 17 2:52 PM

For me I've found that it depends so much on;

The player
The guitar
The room
The mic
The preamp
The speaker
The cables
The.....

So much that I started to watch videos and hire other engineers to study what they were doing when they were recording

And really that didn't help.....much

What really helped me was giving up on what everyone else was saying and trusting my ears in my recording situation. Once I absorbed what everyone had to say I found my self trusting my intuition and just placing the the mic and leaving it. You will be surprised how happy you will be most of the time, and when you think it needs to be moved trust yourself and try again. I found myself being happier with this approach than sitting, measuring, checking where the speaker is through the grill and all that stuff.

I think I've been watching Star Wars too much. "Trust the Force!"

Normie -Wan Kenobi

OK it's cold here

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

#6 [url]

Apr 27 17 2:59 PM

I agree with Norm when it's "showtime."

But there's also something to be said for spending some time "in the shed," and with the OP's question (and his new amp, and his SM57) it seems like the perfect opportunity!

brad allen williams

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spiritwalker

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,678 Member Since:14/02/2011

#7 [url]

Apr 27 17 3:19 PM

Yup, I'm thinking ahead of the OP I can see that now.

The tylenol sinus meds must be wearing off (sniff).
Please disregard, I'm off to bed.

OK it's cold here

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scullyfan

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,612 Member Since:27/07/2011

#8 [url]

Apr 27 17 3:32 PM

John Eppstein wrote:
My default starting position (assuming a directional mic) is at the edge of the cone, where the cone meets the surround, angled inward so that the mic is pointing at the dome.


John, you are not alone. That is exactly how I've been recording electric guitar amps for over 40 years.

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,957 Member Since:20/01/2011

#9 [url]

Apr 27 17 3:35 PM

I will add this: I see an awful lot of people who try to position the mic for 'maximum bottom', and then promptly roll off everything below 300Hz! but of course, my first thought is: why not use a decent microphone?

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waltzmastering

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Posts: 1,663 Member Since:02/02/2011

#10 [url]

Apr 27 17 3:38 PM

Senior Ross H has some videos out, that I came across a while ago
that looked pretty interesting.

Here's a couple, and I think there's a series sponsored by Royer.  gl

[url]

[url]

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jesse decarlo

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Posts: 1,542 Member Since:24/03/2013

#11 [url]

Apr 27 17 6:02 PM

Yeah, just try a bunch of stuff. I gotta say that even though electric guitar is my primary instrument, and I'm pretty picky about all of the components of guitars and amps, I find that I am LESS fussy about mic selection and placement on a guitar amp than I am about recording almost any other instrument that requires a mic. I have recorded electric guitar sounds that clients and I were happy with using all kinds of different mics. I usually don't get right up on the grill cloth, but I'm sure that works just right for some sounds too.

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John Eppstein

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Posts: 1,273 Member Since:31/05/2015

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Apr 28 17 12:23 AM

spiritwalker wrote:
Yup, I'm thinking ahead of the OP I can see that now.

The tylenol sinus meds must be wearing off (sniff).
Please disregard, I'm off to bed.

Get you a hunk of fresh ginger root at the food store. Cut a piece about the size of your thumb and peel it. Put a good size coffee mug full; of Coca Cola in a saucepan with the peeled ginger - bring it to a boil and simmer for around 5 minutes. Pour back into the mug and drink it - dioes wonders for a cold or flu. It was told to me by the headwaiter at my favorite Chinese restaurant, who gave it to me when I had a really miserable rhinovirus of some sort. It worked that time and a couple more until I got him to tell me what it was. At the time my MD happened to be Chinese and he confirmed that similar ginger infusions have been used for this by the Chinese for a couple thousand years and yes, it's a legit treatment. (I don't think they used Coke 2000 years ago though....)

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John Eppstein

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Posts: 1,273 Member Since:31/05/2015

#14 [url]

Apr 28 17 12:27 AM

scullyfan wrote:

John Eppstein wrote:
My default starting position (assuming a directional mic) is at the edge of the cone, where the cone meets the surround, angled inward so that the mic is pointing at the dome.


John, you are not alone. That is exactly how I've been recording electric guitar amps for over 40 years.

Yep, me, too! It's an old fart's way of doing things...

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trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 361 Member Since:11/10/2013

#15 [url]

Apr 28 17 7:43 AM

Thanks!

good reading again! I will just try some things out. as for the mic, its the only one i have right now that i think is ok for mic'ing an amp, if i told you the others i have you would insist i use this one lol

the 2 others are an avantone cv12 and an adk SDC, that sounds pretty good on acoustic but i dont think is meant for a loud amp. so thats it! gotta make due for now!

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jesse decarlo

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Posts: 1,542 Member Since:24/03/2013

#17 [url]

Apr 28 17 9:24 AM

Even if it doesn't have a pad, a lot of modern consenser mics can handle fairly extreme SPL. Odds are good it can handle a 15 watt amp - try it! FWIW I use SDC mics on guitar amp most of the time.

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

#18 [url]

Apr 28 17 9:30 AM

Try EVERY mic you have. See what happens. That's how we learn.

Sometimes, you get surprised.

Actually, I think with most things music-related, if you're not getting surprised now and again you're probably "in a rut."

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

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Posts: 4,181 Member Since:23/10/2013

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Apr 28 17 10:04 AM

I had been recording myself and various bands on a rinky dink level for around 8 years before this happened...

The dearly departed forum member Loudist / Steve Gursky asked me to mic up a guitar on a session, I think just to F with me a bit.

After watching me do whatever crap I did, he broke out a lighter, found the center cap of the speaker through the grill cloth, jammed the mic so that it was touching the grill and then sort of "bounced" off of the grill a bit, maybe a millimeter away.

His explanation on this to me at the time (best as I can remember), was that it was closest to getting a direct injection of the guitar amp. It was the LOUDEST position (hahah), which would sound most present, not have an unreasonable amount of bass (like the edges of the speaker) or an ambient quality that might not be needed. It is the most up front, popping out to the front of the mix sound you can get, and if you don't capture it, it is quite possible to regret it later on.

We were in fact aiming for an upfront tone, and there was listening involved in the final adjustments, especially as far as the mic choice itself went. I don't want to convey that it was only by sight.

He advocated strongly for "sound reinforcement"/live sound approaches as the starting point for the recording studio, to some degree, and to get fancier when that isn't working, or for creative purpose.

I have really come to appreciate how well that mic approach can work in a mix and how useful it can be, even if it may seem jarringly close if you don't typically mic from that position.

On another note, he also showed me about putting a mic directly on the floor, to get that sound that happens when you literally have your ear by the floor... usually for lead type parts where you really DO want to hear the room. Or aiming it at a nearby wall, very very close to the wall, like a boundary mic basically.

To this day, I sort of view those as the extremes, and then there is everything in between.

Another point - try out the guitar with whatever you consider your "best mic". Why not? It's a good idea to try them all out, so that you know how each mic will tilt the tone, even if you wind up having one "go-to" mic.

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