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  1. #1

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    Hi Folks
    I'm finally entering into the arena of home recording and have received lots of nice presents for Christmas towards setting this up. I'm looking for input on suitable microphones for recording from my amp (in addition to DI). At the moment the gear I have (guitars aside) is:

    • Fender ToneMaster Deluxe Recording with XLR out (plus 2 IRs - Shure SM57 and Royer Lbs R-121 - or none at all). Lawson has written, and posted recordings, extensively on the quality of these outputs on this ToneMaster Twin.
    • XLR cable for amp to audio interface
    • Audio interface is a Zoom U-44
    • DAW is Reaper which I'm going to have to learn
    • I also have BIAB 2014 UltraPak (for which I'll probably buy the DAW add-in)
    • For practice I regularly use the Digitech Trio+ Band Creator

    Electric guitars to be recorded include a 1961 ES-175D (PAFs), 2012 Custom Shop 1962 Strat, 1980 Ibanez AS200, Ibanez 2619 Artist Prestige, Gretsch Electromatic Jet g5220 and the styles I play include jazz, but are extremely wide including blues, rock and pop standards.
    In terms of microphones I am totally ignorant and would like to identify something in the 250-350€/$ price range that will give a good rendering of the amp's output using the above-mentioned gear.
    I'd really appreciate some recommendations and suggestions for a suitable mike, and more particularly why you like it. Any suggestions on positioning would also be really appreciated.
    Looking forward to reading your suggestions - Happy New Year to you all!
    Ray
    Last edited by Ray175; 01-26-2020 at 10:29 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    shure sm57 is the classic
    guitar amp mic

  4. #3

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    Thanks Pingu - I've heard that from several sources and I'm surprised at its relatively low cost - 98€ from Thomann. Looks like an excellent deal !

  5. #4

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    My personal favorite is the Heil PR30. Millions of recordings use the SM57 though. It’s hard to dispute that.

  6. #5

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    SM57 is many engineers ' go-to ' for loud rock guitar , I think you may prefer something more detailed for Jazz , for home recording I use a Rode NT1 , I think they're about £120 . With your budget you could even go for a matched pair of condensers for stereo ' room ' sound - like these -

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rode-Matche...c=1&th=1&psc=1

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    My personal favorite is the Heil PR30. Millions of recordings use the SM57 though. It’s hard to dispute that.
    Thanks Rythm Man for the suggestion - what in particular do you like about the PR30? I can see the built-in pop-screen being useful for vocals or cymbals, but would it add anything for miking an amp?

  8. #7

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    I think for home use, a mic is only worth it for acoustic and classical guitars, or unamplified archtops. If using an amp, especially one like the Tonemaster, or a multieffect, it is much easier to get a great sound without mics.

    If going for mics, make sure the area you record, and your laptop are really quiet, or mics will give you problems. I have used for years with very good results for various applications a sm57 for electric (but hardly ever use it anymore these days with all the great cabinet simulations available), and a Rode NT1-A ldc mic and a pair of Rode NT5 sdc ones for acoustics. Good medium budget mics. I also really like ribbon mics for jazz, but have yet to buy one. And, the better mics you get, the more you need a better mic preamp..

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I think for home use, a mic is only worth it for acoustic and classical guitars, or unamplified archtops. If using an amp, especially one like the Tonemaster, or a multieffect, it is much easier to get a great sound without mics.

    If going for mics, make sure the area you record, and your laptop are really quiet, or mics will give you problems. I have used for years with very good results for various applications a sm57 for electric (but hardly ever use it anymore these days with all the great cabinet simulations available), and a Rode NT1-A ldc mic and a pair of Rode NT5 sdc ones for acoustics. Good medium budget mics. I also really like ribbon mics for jazz, but have yet to buy one. And, the better mics you get, the more you need a better mic preamp..
    Thanks for the useful suggestions Alter
    My music room is above my garage, away from the residential parts of the house, so 90% of the time it's quiet - until someone opens the garage doors....
    I'm sure the Tonemaster will deliver excellent sound, but I'm going down a road of exploration (recently retired) to learn a little bit abour home recording and I want to experience the difference sounds available from DI, mikes, and a mixture of both. I'd love a good ribbon mike but that can maybe come later once I've mastered the basics.

  10. #9

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    In terms of mounting the mike, I'm looking at the Gravity MC CAB CL 01 (small for 20-30cm cabinet depth) as it offers compactness and space-saving. Anyone used it?


  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Thanks for the useful suggestions Alter
    My music room is above my garage, away from the residential parts of the house, so 90% of the time it's quiet - until someone opens the garage doors....
    I'm sure the Tonemaster will deliver excellent sound, but I'm going down a road of exploration (recently retired) to learn a little bit abour home recording and I want to experience the difference sounds available from DI, mikes, and a mixture of both. I'd love a good ribbon mike but that can maybe come later once I've mastered the basics.
    With the Tonemaster I'd be very surprised if you get any difference between the XLR out and mic'ing the cab. I have done simultaneous microphone on the cab and direct line out and really got frustrated because I forgot which channel was which and there was no difference I could hear. Mic'ing the cab will pick up a bit of ambient sound. I finally quit on that and just use the line out from my TM. I do mic my Princeton Reverb since it has no line out. That said, I got the Bugera PSI Powersoak and it provides a very solid Direct Line from my Princeton. I was very impressed with how well it worked. you might consider adding that to your arsenal of recording tools.

  12. #11

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    I use an sm57 to mic my guitar amp. I place the mic almost touching the speaker grill cloth and relative to the speaker just about an inch inside the outside edge. The closer to the center of the speaker the brighter the sound, I believe it's most common to have the mic near the outside edge of the speaker.

    I also use a sm57 to record vocals sometimes. You can even record acoustic guitar well with an sm57.

    I've heard many recording Engineers say that if they could only have one mic it would be the sm57.

    These mics are extremely durable, they are directional, and as such they do not pick up a lot of background noise. You generally put a dynamic mic, like the sm57, close to the recording source which is part of the reason you don't get a lot of background noise. Speaking of which, I record my guitar sometimes using the speakers to monitor and I practically get no bleed.
    Last edited by fep; 01-14-2020 at 08:02 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    I'm going down a road of exploration (recently retired) to learn a little bit abour home recording and I want to experience the difference sounds available from DI, mikes, and a mixture of both. I'd love a good ribbon mike but that can maybe come later once I've mastered the basics.
    how about recording 5/6 simultaneous racks ?
    Just for a solo guitar ...
    you could do

    amp DI
    sm57 on amp
    Pair of condensers (Rodes or similar) on the guitar
    And stereo pair of space mics

    Then have a play with phasing them
    aligning the tracks , mixing them down
    adding ambience etc etc ,till you get a nice sound ....

  14. #13

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    There is now a tool to compare mics (although I think they only have condensor mics). Pretty amazing what they did.





    Audio Test Kitchen | Compare the gear. Trust your ears.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Hi Folks


    • DAW is Reaper which I'm going to have to learn

    Ray
    Learning Reaper, it's very deep, here is a great resource:

    REAPER | Videos

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Thanks Rythm Man for the suggestion - what in particular do you like about the PR30? I can see the built-in pop-screen being useful for vocals or cymbals, but would it add anything for miking an amp?
    The most basic thing is that I simply prefer the way it sounds to other mics I have used. I’m sure that’s a result of many inherent factors. Some are shared with the SM57, like rear sound rejection and the ability to handle high SPL. I think the Heil has a more pleasing frequency response profile and I don’t hear the sibilance that I do with the SM57. The humbucking coil seems like it makes the Heil more quiet too.

    All in all, the Heil seems like the closest thing in a dynamic mic to a nice ribbon mic without the fragility issues of ribbons. The Heil is very durable. My wife uses a PR30 for vocals and it has been carried to hundreds of gigs, always performing flawlessly.

  17. #16

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    Thanks Lawson - I appreciate your input, given the time you've taken to share your own experience !

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    how about recording 5/6 simultaneous racks ?
    Just for a solo guitar ...
    you could do

    amp DI
    sm57 on amp
    Pair of condensers (Rodes or similar) on the guitar
    And stereo pair of space mics

    Then have a play with phasing them
    aligning the tracks , mixing them down
    adding ambience etc etc ,till you get a nice sound ....
    I feel another rabbit hole fast approaching! Some fun ideas there Pingu, thanks
    Ray

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Learning Reaper, it's very deep, here is a great resource:

    REAPER | Videos
    thanks Frank - I’ll certainly make use of this
    Ray

  20. #19

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    Two other affordable microphones that produce good quality cab micing are the Sennheiser e609 (and e906) and the Audix i5.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk
    Two other affordable microphones that produce good quality cab micing are the Sennheiser e609 (and e906) and the Audix i5.
    Thanks for the suggestions Dirk.

    Keep them coming folks!

  22. #21

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    Get an SM57 anyway ....

    +
    Audio Technica AT2020 quite good electret for general duties (£70 ish)

    or if you wanna push the boat out
    AT4040 really nice mic if you can afford it (£400 ish)

    just an opinion

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Get an SM57 anyway ....

    +
    Audio Technica AT2020 quite good electret for general duties (£70 ish)

    or if you wanna push the boat out
    AT4040 really nice mic if you can afford it (£400 ish)

    just an opinion
    After lots of reading, and discussions today, it's a near certainty that I'll get the SM57, given it's ability to record a range of different sources more than satisfactorily - voice, amp, acoustic guitar.... It looks to be an excellent first purchase - with maybe a modest ribbon mike when I've got some basic recording experience under my belt.

    In the meantime a big thank you to you all for your advice and suggestions.
    Ray


    PS If anyone has any remarks on the Gravity Cab Clamp about which I posted above, I'd still be interested in reading them.

  24. #23

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    Another nice thing about an sm57, you can take it on a gig or a jam session and not worry much about breaking it... they are durable and inexpensive.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    - with maybe a modest ribbon mike when I've got some basic recording experience under my belt.
    The SM57 is an excellent choice for a first mic since it’s so versatile and rugged. But I’d consider a condenser for later, especially if you want to record an unamplified instrument. They generally have a flatter and wider frequency response. Most require require phantom power.

    Most mics (including the SM57) are directional and have proximity effect where the bass response dramatically increases as you get very close. So be aware of that when experimenting with mic positions.
    Last edited by KirkP; 01-15-2020 at 06:22 PM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Another nice thing about an sm57, you can take it on a gig or a jam session and not worry much about breaking it... they are durable and inexpensive.
    Especially in a bar fight with unruly patrons. An SM57 is better than a beer bottle for bashing belligerent bullies. And it will still work. I don't know if they survive dunking in a pint mug of ale...but I would not be surprised...

  27. #26

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    when i was doing live sound engineering and tech, you could practically mic a whole band with shure 57's...great for speaker cabinets...also good on snare drums and toms...shure 58, which is very similar but with ball end, was choice for vocals, and brass..tho the 57 would be okay for that too in a pinch

    great easy to use basic mic, that doesn't require additional pre-amp/outboard gear like a ribbon or a condenser might

    learning how to mic..placement and reflections.. is really the key! different placement will get vastly different results...so experiment and trust your ears

    then you can move on to better and more detail specific mics

    luck

    cheers

    ps- in todays studios, where the number of tracks is not an issue, it is not uncommon to mic a speaker cab with 2 mics..a dynamic and a ribbon...and then blend the two in the mix...very chic these days!
    Last edited by neatomic; 01-15-2020 at 05:24 PM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    The SM57 is an excellent choice for a first mike since it’s so versatile and rugged. But I’d consider a condenser mike for later, especially if you want to record an unamplified instrument. They generally have a flatter and wider frequency response. Most require require phantom power.

    Most mics (including the SM57) are directional and have proximity effect where the bass response dramatically increases as you get very close. So be aware of that when experimenting with mike positions.
    Thanks Kirk. The Zoom U-44 has phantom power, so hopefully that base will be covered. Any suggestions for a decent inexpensive condenser mike at a later date?
    Last edited by Ray175; 01-16-2020 at 04:34 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Thanks Kirk. The Zoom U-44 has phantom power, so hopefully that bass will be covered. Any suggestions for a decent inexpensive condenser mike at a later date?
    A few years ago I researched inexpensive condenser mics with decent reviews and ended up with both a CAD GLX1200 and CAD M179.

    The GLX1200 is the style one might use for acoustic guitar and the M179 more oriented toward vocals in a studio. I don’t claim they are pro quality, but I got good results with them. There are many other options and many review sites.

    I bought a Shure PE50SP in the mid 70s, which is nearly identical to an SM58. It went through a bunch of bar gigs including on flame breathing magician. It still works good as new.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    A few years ago I researched inexpensive condenser mics with decent reviews and ended up with both a CAD GLX1200 and CAD M179.
    agree about the cad condensers...they make decent home/small studio/budget version of the neumanns!..good value

    however a condenser might not be my first choice when it comes to micing guitar speaker cabs...or at least not the primary mic...

    but definitely keep cad in mind..good company to deal with as well

    cheers

  31. #30

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    I can’t argue with the choice of the Shure 57. I’ll never forget this.. the night we were supposed to open for Frank, Dean, Liza and Sammy at the Brendan Byrne Arena I saw an entire crate FULL of 57’s each one wrapped in a paper towel!! They had at least a 40 piece orchestra. During setup, all the mics were put in place. During sound check, every mic worked perfectly. At 7:45 (after they started letting People into the lobby of the arena) they cancelled the show!
    The techs ripped everything down faster than you can imagine. I saw Shure 57’s being tossed back into the huge crate. Those things are bullet proof.

    But if you go condenser, check out the Blu Bluebird. It’s an extremely detailed mic and it’s also quite versatile. The Rhode Nt1a is nice too. Very cost effective, great mics.
    Joe D

  32. #31

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    Okay, this thread has sent me down the rabbit hole... well this thread and the discovery of the audio test kitchen site. I've listened to a ton of mics today. I'm listening with Kali LP-8 speakers in a treated small room (my home studio). The audio test kitchen went to a lot of effort to make the source material, and mic placement identical for all the mics.

    I just tested four of the least expensive mics against an ADK Z-251 $3,000 mic. The differences are very subtle. You all should check this stuff out for yourself through a decent system, amazing web site.

    I thought the MXL sounded the closest to the ADK, but the differences are pretty subtle to me. Where I noticed the most difference was when I zero'd in on the sound of the snare drum, the brightness of the snare drum. There was some differences around 6 khz that was affecting the snare sound for me. I'm 62 with average hearing for that age, can't hear about 13k and above.

    The mics tested:
    Attached Images Attached Images Microphone suggestions for home recording-100-mics-jpg 

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405

    But if you go condenser, check out the Blu Bluebird. It’s an extremely detailed mic and it’s also quite versatile. The Rhode Nt1a is nice too. Very cost effective, great mics.
    Joe D
    Just gave them a test. I really liked the Rode NT1, wIth the NT1a close behind. The blue had just a touch of extra high end brightness that made it sound not as warm to me, but that high end articulation is what some might want. I will also say that the Blue had the most personality in that the other mics in this group where pretty similar with the blue sticking out as a brighter sounding mic... This is all very subjective in what one would prefer. Acoustic guitar, hmmm perhaps I'd like the Blue the most. Unfortunately there is noacoustic guitar yet, they say they will be adding to the site as they go. Edit: (My Bad) There is acoustic guitar, and the Blue does well with a dreadnaught high end articulation.)

    Showing the optional screen here with the frequency response curves (best to listen and evaluate without those curves showing though so as not to get biased by the picture).
    Attached Images Attached Images Microphone suggestions for home recording-rode-blue-jpg 
    Last edited by fep; 01-16-2020 at 12:31 AM.

  34. #33

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    One more plug for the Heil PR30. It’s almost as tough as the SM57 with a better response, even more versatility, and it’s quieter overall. It costs a little more, but I can tell you, I sold off my SM57 mics and bought another PR30. The Heil is my dynamic mic of choice, hands down. It compares very favorably to my Audix SCX25A condenser mics for a fraction of the price.

    And no, I don’t have any stock in Heil.


  35. #34

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    Just about any mic will do for an amp. The most important things are:

    Mic position: Need to listen carefully with sealed headphones. One millimeter movement will make huge difference. I slide the mic stand around on the floor with my feet to zero in on the right sound. The backing tracks need to be going to hear how it will all sound together.

    Monitoring: I split my signal so the disk recording is dry, yet I can hear sound based effects as I play. Cut and paste post-production is easier without the reverb and delay tails. Add the time-based effects during mixdown.

  36. #35

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    I use an SM57, E609, and a Samson VR88. The VR88 is really underrated.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Any suggestions for a decent inexpensive condenser mike at a later date?
    Hope I am not stepping on any toes here, but I would suggest a MXL V67G, low cost (can find them used at $50 or below at times), and it sounds like a nice older condenser, not a bright, shrill MIJ mic that is so prevalent in today's low cost world. I have used mine on vocals (male and female) guitar amps & acoustics, bass amps and as drum overheads in a matched pair.

    The most underrated condenser IMHO.....