Friday, September 3, 2010

Guitar Recording

So my new thing is to use really lousy microphone technique when recording guitar in my studio. I have a choice between SM57s and a nice pair of AKG 460's. Heck, I could also use some Rode NT1a's or my AKG C12a (which is a large-diaphragm tube mic older than me.) And I could have them actually face the speaker, or the cabinet, or something other than the floor.
<a href="http://tyrannosaurusmouse.bandcamp.com/track/waverly">Waverly by Tyrannosaurus Mouse</a>
But I don't.
I have a new way of recording which so far is my favorite. And it's the cheapest and dirtiest way to record I know of (well, considering that the signal is going through Neve preamps and an Apogee converter it's "cheap").
All this came about because I was having some trouble with some unpleasant - sounding breakup in my recording system. So dutifully I was tracing the problem -- first by using different mics, then different mic cable, etc. etc. -- (it turned out to be my lovely Brent Averil Neve 1202 preamps twisting the knobs back-and-forth to get the carbon off of them seemed to clear it up.)
I just have raw jacks hanging off the speaker.
A detail of wrong.
But when I was experimenting with microphones (hoping I wasn't having a problem with my 460s) I realized I didn't have a good shock mount for my SM57's.

I remembered a sound guy at a bar (who was actually a pretty good and experienced sound guy) when I was playing with the incredibly loud KGBeats just draping a 57 over a guitar cabinet with the cable looped through the handle.
That's a low-down cheap, dirty, sleazy, trick.* But you know what? It works sometimes. And since on-axis mics on guitar amps frequently don't sound great anyway, it's a reasonable way to go.
So that's what I did.
Right this minute it's my favorite electric guitar sound (that I can make here in my studio.) If you're so inclined or are really really bored, click on the Bandcamp link above to listen to the mellophonic sounds of the off-axis microphone for a minute and-a-half.

Note that this is an odd speaker cabinet with one 10" and one 12" driver inside the enclosure (making the microphone not only not pointing at either speaker but also... well... not pointing at either speaker.)

I'm playing my Les Paul through my Lil' Dawg Mutt (high gain channel 1, EQ slightly rolled back, volume 1 at about 2:30, volume 2 dimed) into my Weber 10". The Apogee Mini-Me A/D converter has a bit of analog compression on it. The pedal is my MXR Carbon Copy analog delay and that's it baby. All I did was trim the top and fade out the end.

Note too that this is a mono recording.

*Sounds like my dates.

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