Warming up guitar tracks (mic preamp question)

Discussion in 'Recording 101' started by GregM, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. GregM

    GregM New Member

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    I started with a DP-03 and moved up to a DP-24 last fall.

    I'm playing G&L Jerry Cantrell Superhawks through a Friedman JJ-100. I'm using a Heil PR30 and two SM57's for guitar tracks. The Friedman cab has Greenbacks and V30's. I've experimented quite a bit with placement and have the mics where they sound the best on the speakers. I'm happy with the amp's sound in the room, but my guitar tracks sound a bit cold, sterile, brittle. I've rolled off treble on the amp and I've experimented with pulling off treble on the tracks in the DP24 and both have helped, but I'm still not totally happy with my tracks for having $8,000 in the signal chain and being happy with the guitar rig's sound in the room. I'm considering an external mic preamp to try and warm up the sound but don't have any experience with them.

    Is anyone using, or has anyone used, an external mic preamp with the DP24 or 32 for this purpose?

    If so, does anyone have a recommendation on a budget minded unit? I'm looking at this one, which gets pretty good reviews, but I see a lot of hate online toward Behringer.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-ultragain-pro-mic2200

    If a preamp isn't the best way to go, does anyone have other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Roundhill

    Roundhill New Member

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    A different preamp probably won't help much. Mic placement or a different mic would be a better option. You mention using three mics. Try only one or two. Are the mics pointed at the speaker cone? Moving them away from the cone creates a less sterile sound. Moving the mics further away from grille makes a less sterile sound. I've read that a ribbon mic could warm up your tone. I don't own one so I could not recommend one.

    Bottom line is a different pre isn't your best option. Mic placement or a different mic are better options. Keep tweaking what you have until you get something close to what you want to hear.
  3. Arjan P

    Arjan P Well-Known Member

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    If you're happy with the amp sound in the room, I'd suggest to leave the amp alone and not EQ it to get a better recorded sound. The problem is not the amp sound but something else. You say you 'have the mics where they sound the best on the speakers', but this I don't understand. How can they sound best and not represent your preferred room sound of the amp? A mic preamp will not help here - I would think your mic placement should be improved so they pick up what you want to hear.
  4. GregM

    GregM New Member

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    Thanks guys.

    All three mics are off the dust cap, the dust cap I thought was too harsh on both speakers. The Greenbacks are on top, the PR30 is angled to the area of the cone just outside the dust cap. One SM 57 is on the cone of the other Greenback at a larger angle, roughly half way from the dust cap to the rim. This one is darker.

    The other 57 is on a V30 (bottom of the cab) at a slight angle just outside the dust cap.

    When initially recording I bring them in on three separate tracks and I'm able to adjust the volumes and can EQ each mic separately if I want. If I run out of tracks then I'll bounce them to one if I have to.

    I had a not so great picture on my phone.
    [​IMG]

    That's my dilemma. This is where I've thought the mics sound the best but it's still not good enough for me. I'll go back to playing with placement and see what I can do. I did plan to try backing them off from the grille cloth a bit also.

    Part of why I wondered about a preamp is I've ran the 57 off the V30 into my computer through an XLR/USB cable with an internal preamp and it sounded perfect when I did a couple songs on Bandhub. I would have expected equal or better results possible with the same amp settings and mic going into the DP-24
  5. Roundhill

    Roundhill New Member

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    When you ran into your computer, were all three mics used? If you only used the one mic, try doing that with the DP-24.
  6. Headless Dinosaur

    Headless Dinosaur New Member

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    Why don't you try using a large diaphragm condenser mic about 3 feet off the cab so the speakers blend nicely. Then blend that with the 57s. Will add a lot to your sound and a ton of control.
  7. Mark Richards

    Mark Richards Well-Known Member

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    Three year old thread. OP couldn't be bothered, I guess, with a post on how the problem was resolved, or even a "like" for those who took the time to reply. Two posts and gone, gone, gone.

    But just in case someone down the road who's having a mic issue happens on this thread:

    One has to wonder...
    the OP stated "I like the way the amp sounds in the room", and then shoves the mics up against various places on the speaker grill.

    What are the odds the OP didn't shove his ear up against various spots on the speaker grill when he assessed the "sound in the room"?

    It also looks like the 3 mic positions chosen for placement on the grill may be perfectly placed to cause all sorts of phase related problems.

    The take away:
    If "the way it sounds in the room" sounds good, and you want a stereo room sound for your mix, try putting 2 mics in a stereo X/Y configuration where your ears are, and an accent/blend mic on the speaker. Send mic X to Track 1, mic Y to Track 2, and the blend mic to Track 3. Tweak as needed.

    Another interesting option is to use or make a Jecklin disc using 2 Omnidirectional mics. Too long to explain here. Google it.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
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  8. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    Mark, in my whole life I never used more than a single mic on a guitar cabinet. Working in the same studio for years, I settled on a U67 about 60cm off the wooden floor, about 3 meters from the cabinet, with the amp cranked. I have a photo around here somewhere. API mic pre and 550a EQ.

    You are 100 percent correct Mark. The OP did not put his ear where the mics were placed. How did I arrive at my mic placement? It wasn't easy, holding a guitar chord ringing at full blast, while squatting and crawling around near the floor until I found the sweet spot. I put the U67 capsule right in front of my face.
    Mark Richards likes this.
  9. Arjan P

    Arjan P Well-Known Member

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    Yes, room sound is great, but I do like a 57 at approx 6 inches from the grill as well - also depending on the type of music (or role - lead or rhythm). Just to get that direct mid 'bite', or at least have it available in the mix.
    Mark Richards and -mjk- like this.
  10. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    Arjan, we got a great guitar sound in the early 80s with a '57 close mic'ed. That is an excellent choice.
    Mark Richards likes this.
  11. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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