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Old 04-07-2013, 12:15 AM   #1
Quinlan
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Muddy mic response

Hey all,

I've been trying to work on some demos with a friend, but we always run into a problem recording the guitar tracks. I'm using a Shure SM57 into a Fostex MR16HD.

We've tried multiple mic placements, micing different speakers in the cabinet, adjusting my amps EQ as well as adjusting the mic trim and gain on the recording interface itself. However, I still seem to pick up a lot of bass and harsh highs that make note definition and chords hard to hear.

Should I invest in a new mic? Might my current mic be shot? Is there something else I might be forgetting in terms of how I have everything set up?

We never had issues using this equipment before to record. I just don't know what's up and could use a little guidance.

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Old 04-07-2013, 01:28 AM   #2
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Proximity effect? Whats the general AMP setting heaps bassy or ? Have you tried having the microphone off-axis?
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:12 AM   #3
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What exactly do you mean by "multiple mic placements"? Specifically, what mic placements have you tried? Also, as lame as it may sound, have you tried turning the amp way down?
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:34 AM   #4
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It seems to me that you've tried just about everything but a different preamp. More details would be good though.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:28 PM   #5
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As to placements lets see:

I've tried varying distances, from touching the grill cloth to around 7-8" away from the cab. Farther away sounds a tad clearer, but it looses a lot of volume in the recording. Should I try this again with the trim knob on my interface turned up?

I've done center cone, the edge of the cone, and halfway between the edge of the cone and the edge of the rest of the speaker.

For some reason it never occurred to me to turn the amp DOWN, mostly because when we tracked bass guitar leaving the volume pretty high didn't make it sound bad. I have a "minimum volume" I like the amp to be at so it doesn't sound weak, but I may have it set a little too hot for the mic. On another note, my sound is pretty bottom heavy, but turning the bass down made the recording sound even harsher than before, so I've pretty much left it alone.

I've never used my mic off axis, mostly because I don't know what the advantages/effects would be. I've been told center axis with the SM57 is good enough.

Next time I'm home I'll borrow my friend's SM57 and see if mine isn't screwed up or something, just to be sure.

Anything else? Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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What is the amp and cab itself?
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:52 PM   #7
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I'm willing to bet that this will fix your problems. I believe your problem is amp/cab placement, and here's why.

Your mic will pick up lots of low end resonance because people like lots of low end for live use - unfortunately, this is not great for recording. This can be made worse by the cabinet being in the corner of a room or close to a wall (where bass can build up) and if the floor picks up the resonance and carries it up the mic stand and into the mic.

Try the following:

Move your amp/cab into the centre of the room, then determine where the best space is to move it over slightly to one side of the room (being in the centre can end up being a bass trap and mess with your phase response, so you want to shift across to one side a little, but stay away from the walls and corners still). Now raise the amp or cab off the floor on something that will decouple it from the floor (if it's a combo amp, a chair or two chairs pushed together is great; if you have a larger cab you may want to use some planks of wood or some crates - at the worst, even raising it onto a load of level books/magazines or newspapers will do some work for you) and make sure the central pole of the mic stand is not touching the floor.

You can also roll off the low end on the amp (you really don't need very much low end on most modern guitar tones - the bass comes from the bass guitar in most mixes, and the 'mids' on a guitar amp is where most of the good stuff comes from) and if your mic or interface has one, turn on the High Pass Filter. You can also do the same in your DAW by using a HPF in an EQ plug-in.


If it still sounds to muddy, then you need to upload an audio clip for us to determine potential surgical EQ.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Bottom-heavy guitar tones are a musical nuisance anyway, I'd probably try and get your tone sounding good without too much low-end. Might sound good in isolation, but it just plays havoc with everything else once you introduce it to a group situation.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisarmGoliath
I'm willing to bet that this will fix your problems. I believe your problem is amp/cab placement, and here's why.

Your mic will pick up lots of low end resonance because people like lots of low end for live use - unfortunately, this is not great for recording. This can be made worse by the cabinet being in the corner of a room or close to a wall (where bass can build up) and if the floor picks up the resonance and carries it up the mic stand and into the mic.



This sounds like it's likely the problem. I've been playing my amp set up next the wall for so long that it never occurred to me to try moving the entire cab away from the wall. I will definitely try rearranging the room next time I play. Funny, I even seem to remember setting the amp up a strange way when we did track a whole song one afternoon. That quality was really good...

I'm running a Laney AOR into a 412 with V30s. I used to have a mildly scooped sound, but cut some bass and boosted the mids in favor of cutting through when playing with buddies. I'll try messing with the EQ some more too; most of the amp's ballsiness comes through at higher volumes, so maybe I still have more bass to cut out.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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Lots of good suggestions so far.

Just going to add this....

Your amp will sound different in different places in the room. Let's say you have a half-stack. You plug in, turn it up and listen to it from a position that is pretty common - standing sort of in front of and to the side of your cabinet, like you're on stage. The speakers are blowing air at your knees.

But that's not usually where we put microphones, now, is it? Try putting your ear where the microphone is. Hardly anyone ever does this, but if you want to hear what the microphone is going to hear, you have to do this. I bet you'll find it sounds a whole lot different there than it does when you are standing in front of/beside it with the speakers blowing at your knees.

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Old 04-07-2013, 05:30 PM   #11
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^Remember to wear some earplugs though =P
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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Better still is to wear ear plugs, then headphones with input monitoring on (to hear exactly what the mic hears). Or you could record short passages and make adjustments. It's better if you have somebody to play for you though!

And what Chris said is very true - don't EQ your amp from playing height/angle, get down in front of the speakers, will even help you improve your live tone
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:44 PM   #13
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This has literally been one of the most helpful threads I've ever been a part of on this forum. Will be doing pretty much everything suggested soon.

You guys rock.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #14
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Glad we could help!

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Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

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Old 04-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #15
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No problem, when people ask politely we're happy to help
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle62
What is the amp and cab itself?

+1 to this.

Could be mic placement... but could also just be a bad amp/speaker/cab
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:35 AM   #17
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^^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinlan
Funny, I even seem to remember setting the amp up a strange way when we did track a whole song one afternoon. That quality was really good...

I'm running a Laney AOR into a 412 with V30s.
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