#1
Hi,

I searched this forum looking for an answer to my question but I couldn't find the answer I'm looking for.

A friend and I have been trying to record a few ideas we've come up with lately and we are having trouble achieving the recorded sound we want for the guitars. Our goal is to have high gain as well as high clarity pretty much like John Petrucci's sound on Dream Theater's most recent albums and Machine Head's sound; it's heavy but also crystal clear. I just want to know how they record in the studio and play live to get such a sound and what I should do with my gear to get a similar result. My main questions for you are:
Do they mic their amps, like I do, or do they use a digital processor or run their amp head straight into the mixer?

How do they get rid of feedback!? If I play a riff that has pauses, all I hear is feedback in the pauses if I have my amp loud. Is this too much gain? How do they do it?

How do they get their sound live? Mic up amps? Noise gates?

My gear includes:
Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier with rectifier 4x12 slant cab
Standard ESP guitar (nothing too amazing but sounds fine)
Shure SM-57 microphone
Line 6 UX-2
Maxon OD-808
ISP Decimator
Acid Pro software

Can we get our sound we want from this gear? We aren't the most amazing guitarists but even when we play our faster riffs perfectly it still doesn't sound perfect like bands like Unearth do even live! Will mixing and mastering our recordings professionally fix our problems?

Sorry about the long winded explanation I just wanted to make my questions clear.*

Thanks for your help!
#2
Turning down the gain will help quite a bit. you don't need it when you have preamp gain on top.

also, multi-tracking but not too many, 2 or 3 guitars is all you need, any more honestly 'squshes' things

Are you hearing this tone in a mix with drums, bass and guitar? With everything in place you get a much better representation of what your tone is actually doing.

Mic placement, where are you placing it on the speaker cone? are you experimenting with the position of the microphone to give the best representation of the sound in your head?

Hopefully some of these things help.
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#3
Use less gain but layer up the guitars. Using amp modeling is also a possibility.
They probably play in the control room rather than in front of the amp, this would result in less feedback.
Yes they would mic up the amps live and noise gates would help to get rid of feedback as well as keeping chugging riffs precise.

You should be able to get a great sound from the equipment you have. Just make sure your microphone placement is in a position to capture enough top end (nearer the middle of a speaker) and not near the edge as you will get a lot of bass and no clarity here.
If you have that many speakers, why not think about adding another microphone. The SE Electronics R1 sounds amazing with the 57 in my experience (you will need to phase reverse it, should be a circle with a line through it on your DAW somewhere).

If you want to try mixing and mastering, I'll do it for free if you like just to see if it gets any better?

Hope some of this helped!
Last edited by Cold Reader at Apr 3, 2012,
#4
Quote by Cold Reader
Use less gain but layer up the guitars. Using amp modeling is also a possibility.
They probably play in the control room rather than in front of the amp, this would result in less feedback.
Yes they would mic up the amps live and noise gates would help to get rid of feedback as well as keeping chugging riffs precise.

You should be able to get a great sound from the equipment you have. Just make sure your microphone placement is in a position to capture enough top end (nearer the middle of a speaker) and not near the edge as you will get a lot of bass and no clarity here.
If you have that many speakers, why not think about adding another microphone. The SE Electronics R1 sounds amazing with the 57 in my experience (you will need to phase reverse it, should be a circle with a line through it on your DAW somewhere).

If you want to try mixing and mastering, I'll do it for free if you like just to see if it gets any better?

Hope some of this helped!


why phase reverse the R1? this would totally be dependant on the placement of the mic.
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#6
Quote by Cold Reader
The R1 is naturally out of phase with the 57 if you place it at an equal distance from the amp.

How can a mic be 'naturally out of phase' with another when placed equidistant from a source? Unless the capsule of the R1 is much further down the barrel of the mic, that is a load of rubbish I'm afraid. It is inverting the polarity anyway, not the phase. phase relationship is a 360 degree rotational thing, described by 'phasors' rotating along the waveform.

Also, if a mic is out of phase with another and you want a tight sound (especially for guitars or drum spot mics) it's a much better idea to time-allign the waveforms in your DAW than rely on flipping the polarity of one channel (which will only truly fix the problem if the signals are 180 degrees out of phase, and that is pretty unlikely).
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Apr 3, 2012,
#7
Hey guys thanks for all the replies!

Ok yeah next time I crank it up I'll turn the gain down. We have been getting this tone simply with guitars and no drums or anything else. And I will take the advise of having the mic in the centre of the cone, I heard you should have it on the edge facing the centre, parallel with the cone taper if that makes sense.

Glad to hear our gear has potential haha. I have thought about another microphone but I wouldn't know where to start and the ones I've looked at are quite expensive. Will another 57 make any difference?
"Keeping chugging riffs precise" I like that haha. What noise gates do you reckon they use? One in their pedal board or some hectic thing in their rack?

As for the technical microphone stuff you guys lost me really early on haha you'll just have to basically tell me what mic to get and what to do with it haha.

And thank you for the mixing offer! If we get our stuff going well and want to experiment with it I'll be sure to contact you.

Thanks again so much for your help guys. Much appreciated. I just would love to listen to my own stuff sounding amazing, and when you hear good sounds everywhere (like even in Metalocalypse haha) it makes you wonder what you're doing wrong!
#8
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Unless the capsule of the R1 is much further down the barrel of the mic, that is a load of rubbish I'm afraid. It is inverting the polarity anyway, not the phase. phase relationship is a 360 degree rotational thing, described by 'phasors' rotating along the waveform.


Have you used a 57 and R1 on an amp before? Do it, share your findings. I use these a lot when it comes to recording guitars so I can talk from experience.
#9
Quote by Cold Reader
Have you used a 57 and R1 on an amp before? Do it, share your findings. I use these a lot when it comes to recording guitars so I can talk from experience.

I don't think you understand what I'm trying to say... two microphones can not possibly be 'naturally out of phase' with each other. In fact, when comparing microphones, there's no such thing. If two microphones are 'out of phase', it means the sound is reaching them at different times, which means they are different distances away from the source.

If you have trouble positioning them, you just need to work out where the head of the capsule actually is. For two mics up close to an amp, you would need more than a couple of mm (the likely difference between the capsules from their windshields) to notice a phase discrepancy that would be 'solved' by simply inverting the polarity. Moving the mic a tiny bit is also much more accurate than inverting the polarity, because inverting the polarity only truly works when the signals are close to (or, ideally, precisely) 180 degrees out of phase with each other.

I don't need to use the R1 to understand simple physics. Phase relationship between microphones is dependent on the distance of the source, and (to an absolutely miniscule amount) it may be altered by air temperature in different parts of a room and humidity, but for those to matter to even a typically measurable amount you would need a pretty big room, and the mics to actually be measured out to cause phase issues, given how far they would need to be from the source to allow for big enough differences in temperature and humidity, and I guess (if one mic was higher by ____ feet, and one lower by the same amount) air pressure may play a part too.

Edit: And for the record, I almost always mic guitar amps in the studio with two mics (a '57 and a Sennheiser e906) and don't suffer from phase issues because they're really simple to solve if you simply zoom in on the waveforms and time-allign them. Now let's just move on instead of arguing over something that is irrelevant to the TS, mkay?


Quote by Doodar
Hey guys thanks for all the replies!

Ok yeah next time I crank it up I'll turn the gain down. We have been getting this tone simply with guitars and no drums or anything else. And I will take the advise of having the mic in the centre of the cone, I heard you should have it on the edge facing the centre, parallel with the cone taper if that makes sense.

Glad to hear our gear has potential haha. I have thought about another microphone but I wouldn't know where to start and the ones I've looked at are quite expensive. Will another 57 make any difference?
"Keeping chugging riffs precise" I like that haha. What noise gates do you reckon they use? One in their pedal board or some hectic thing in their rack?

As for the technical microphone stuff you guys lost me really early on haha you'll just have to basically tell me what mic to get and what to do with it haha.

And thank you for the mixing offer! If we get our stuff going well and want to experiment with it I'll be sure to contact you.

Thanks again so much for your help guys. Much appreciated. I just would love to listen to my own stuff sounding amazing, and when you hear good sounds everywhere (like even in Metalocalypse haha) it makes you wonder what you're doing wrong!

Firstly, sorry for completely derailing the thread by calling Cold Reader out on the phase thing... unless you're using two mics at the same time on the source (in this case, the amp's speaker(s)) you do not need to worry about it, because phase is dependent on the relationship between two microphones (or signals, to be precise).

Getting another '57 might allow you more versatility, but I (and many others on here, I imagine) would recommend you to get another mic that will complement the '57 rather than bringing the same options, but with the opportunity of blending them from different positions. Some good mics to stick next to a '57, at a reasonable price, are mics that are duller (less high-end presence) or with a presence boost in a different frequency range. Popular choices are the Electro Voice RE20 and Sennheiser e906/609, both of which tend to let different characteristics of an amp shine through (e906 is very bright, RE20 is a bit more-rounded, in my opinion).

As for noise gates, I always make anyone track through my ISP Decimator for anything rock/metal or overdriven tones. It depends what you wanna use it for, as my main reason is to kill any potential feedback (unless desired) as well as getting rid of preamp hiss a little. A good way of eliminating both, is to get a gate with two channels (Boss NS-2 does, as does the ISP Decimator G-String and the awesome, but more expensive, ISP Decimator ProRackG) and feeding the guitar through the first channel, then out into the amp, and then putting the other channel in the amp's effects loop to clamp down on preamp hiss and other noises before they're amplified by the power amp.

I don't think you need any gating in the DAW to cut noise between staccato hits after using a hardware gate, but some (lazy) people use one instead of chopping out the few sections likely to be noticeable. I'm still yet to find a software gate that I like as much as hardware gates, but that may just be because I've played guitar far longer than I've been into audio engineering.


Finally, if you are happy to do so, uploading the raw tracks here may allow more people to have a go with the mix (and provide many people with some practise material) and then you could select your favourite mix to use etc.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Apr 4, 2012,
#10
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I don't think you understand what I'm trying to say... two microphones can not possibly be 'naturally out of phase' with each other. In fact, when comparing microphones, there's no such thing. If two microphones are 'out of phase', it means the sound is reaching them at different times, which means they are different distances away from the source.


Appologies for the snooty comment earlier. I do understand that this would normally be the case, but the R1 for me always needs a phase reversal on a guitar cab. Indeed, let us move on

Most of what I would suggest has been said, you could use another 57, but it is preferable to use a different microphone that has different characteristics. I find that a 57 placed just off the center of a cone captures a lot of high end, so pairing that with a microphone that captures more low end and blending the two together gives a nice meaty guitar tone. The R1 is great for this, as is the RE20.

I can't really suggest a noise gate, the only one i've really looked into is the MXR Smart Gate, looks like it does the job to me
#11
As you mentioned john petrucci in the op another mic to look at is the Sennheiser md421. It's more expensive than an sm57; but petrucci's tone is nearly always just a sm57 and a md421 blended together.

Also you have a ISP Decimator; which should suffice for most if not all of your noise reduction needs.
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Last edited by mulefish at Apr 5, 2012,
#12
You've got all the gear you'll need for what you want to do.

It sounds to me as though you simply don't know what you're doing, or your expectations are too high. A lot of the sound you're hearing on the records comes from the mixing, and that's a skilled process.
#13
Thanks again for the replies guys you've really helped. It's good to know my gear is all good I just need to fiddle around with it to perfect the sound. And very good to hear that you recommend the Decimator as well! I was expecting very expensive answers haha.

I'll see how it goes and if I have any more questions I'll be sure to get in contact with you!

Thanks again!