Microphones for heavy guitar besides the SM57

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by DownToEarthAudio, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. DownToEarthAudio

    DownToEarthAudio SS.org Regular

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    I am in the process of recording guitar for a local metal band, and I was using this setup

    https://imgur.com/gallery/iN2GMxA

    I figured the 57 would be the way to go, since that's what everyone on the internet seems to say. We tried playing with different mic positions and amp settings, but just weren't getting a sound we were happy with. So I went through and tried just about every mic I had. An E609, Sterling ST55, Warm Audio WA47jr, and an AKG perception 220. The AKG was my favorite, with the warm audio coming in at #2. I figured a condenser mic might help get the kind of punch of the cab that I wasn't getting with the 57 since condensers have a faster transient response, and I was right. The sterling was okay, the warm audio was better, nice low end but a little boxy in the mids. The AKG won because it really captured the attack without having a harsh top end, and it captured much more of the punch of the amp.

    here's a quick lil demo, a little off time at points because I improvised this to an EZ drummer beat.

    https://soundcloud.com/william-pryor-347887078/akg-mic-demo

    Share with me some great sounding recorded guitar tones
     
  2. brutalwizard

    brutalwizard Pretty Your Petunia

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  3. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Beta SM57A. No, I'm not being silly.
     
  4. newamerikangospel

    newamerikangospel Tonight.......you

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    I dont understand if this was a question or a statement. If it was a question, I love my pr20. Using that as a main tone mic, and then setting up another mic to grab the bass of the speaker helps give more movement to the guitar tone, and helps the overall "picture" of the tone.
     
  5. Synllip

    Synllip Syn

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    I like to use the M160, it tames the fizz of the guitars and it creates an overall warmth to the tone.
     
  6. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    This is just a copy paste of something I put up a while ago. A U87 and Royer 121 for Comparison

    Other mics worth looking at:

    Sennheiser e906
    Sennheiser MD421
    Neumann U47 - the big brother of the Warm Audio one.
    Audix i5
    AKG 414
    Coles 4038 or any ribbon really
     
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  7. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    I’d say the Audix i5 and Royer 121 are the two most common mics I see for speakers, besides the 57, that I see in studio. But usually it’s a blend of either the 57 or i5 with the 121 to get a combo of treble/bite and warmth
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ditto on not being sure if this is a question or a statement.

    Alone, solo'd, I don't really love the sound of a SM57, and it's awfully position-sensitive. However, get it dialed in right, double track and pan hard L and R, and layer it in over bass and drums, and it sounds awesome. It just falls where you want a guitar to.

    That said, for the most part I track with a SM57 and a MD421 these days, both on the same speaker.
     
  9. groverj3

    groverj3 Biologist/Guitarist

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    I really like the MD421 in combination with the SM57. Tweak the mix between the two and you can get some great sounds!
     
  10. Ji Sung

    Ji Sung SS.org Regular

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    I was at a show in Portland the other day and they were using an Edwina from Ear Trumpets Lab. I believe Intervals uses them live as well.
     
  11. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Arch-Mage of Metal

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    Neumann U87
    Shure SM7B
    Bock U195
    Audix i5
    Coles 4038
    EV RE20
     
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  12. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    Heil PR20 is a really nice microphone for guitar cabs I find.
     
  13. rezafelayati

    rezafelayati self-claimed ERG nerd

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    It always goes back and forth between SM57, Royer R-121, and/or Sennheiser MD421.
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've always found my guitar sounds with just a 57 to be a bit lacking until I throw an LDC in with it. The 57 picks up everything you *need*, but not necessarily everything you *want*. I sort of look at it as the LDC gets the whole picture, and the 57 gives you that "mic'd heavy guitar" character, then you can blend between those to taste.
     
  15. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied :: 2077 ::

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    Remember a good guitar tone starts with a great bass and drum mix.
    Based on your demo I would say work on getting a better mix together before you go spending money on more gear that you might not need. TBH, if you can't get a usable tone with an SM57 then a different mic won't really solve things.

    The mics being recommended are typically not cheap and you should only consider spending money on them if your recording chops are decent.
     
  16. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Yeh, didn't occur to me to listen to the demo first. I don't hear anything that would be solved with a mic change. The guitar tone probably would be a fine with a bass and a full drum mix.

    If this was just a scratch, then I don't think there's any reason to be looking at mics yet. The only real (amateur) advice I can offer is to remember to mix for the song, not for the guitarist. It doesn't matter how magical the guitar tone is when solo'd if the rest of the mix falls apart. Arguably, it can work the other way around - a good enough drum and bass mix will hold up almost any guitar tone.
     
  17. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Arch-Mage of Metal

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    I’m not a fan of the Royer 121... always sound too dark, dull, and distant regardless of placement. Unless you need to tame an overly bright amp or speaker cab.
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Out of curiosity, have you ever tried two SM57s?

    I did that for a while before grabbing the MD421 I'm using now, and honestly, a second SM57 probably got me 90% of the way there. One alone tends to sound kind of "filtered" bbecause of the way it picks up a concentrated, focused, narrow area of sound coming off the speaker, but adding a second one, either in the Fredman position or positioned somehow in a phase-aligned manner, makes the sound a lot broader and more dimensional. I prefer the MD421 in that it also adds some additional frequency content above and below the SM57, but two SM57s kept the same basic color but made the guitar sound "bigger" and more "three dimensional" and not so narrow and filtered.

    And, considering a SM57 is like a quarter of the price of a MD421...

    EDIT - reason I ask, I wonder if the different mics we're advocating for here as a secondary mic on a cab are desirable in and of themselves in conjunction with a SM57, or if a lot of the benefit is simply listening from two places rather than one, and the advantages or disadvantages of the second mic and the colors it imparts is secondary to that.
     
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  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I only own the one 57 (I probably should own more), so I haven't tried it. You bring up a valid point though. You probably could get the same (or similar) effect from just two 57s.

    I just happen to be a big fan of what you get from a decent condenser of pretty much any kind on a guitar cab, especially for clean sounds. Your description that the 57 sounds filtered sort of fits, where the large CAD mic I have sounds very much un-filtered. It's a great what-you-hear-is-what-you-get kind of mic. To my ears, it's an easy way to get more of the "in the room" sound without thinking too much about placement.
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah - I'm asking not because I think there's something wrong with your approach - I've heard your work, it sounds great to me - but because I'd be interested to hear your input on a second identical mic vs a second different mic.

    And SM57s are such jack-of-all-trade mics that it's never a bad idea to have a spare.
     

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