I recently just purchased a Mesa Mark IV, and I love this thing. I've been getting into recording these past six months, and I'm kinda getting nowhere fast. Simply put, I suck at it. I've tried recording with this amp (and my Orange 2x12) in several different mic combinations: using my ES-57 only, the ES-57 and CAD M177 both, using both mics and panning each one left and right, using the CAD as a room mic, etc. So far I've come to this conclusion: condensers suck when stuck against the cloth. They may sound good as room mics, but I wouldn't know as the room has too much reverb, still causing it to sound like shit.
Today, I pulled my amp, cab, guitar, interface, and everything else to my porch. It was cold as hell, and I froze my ass off (which is why my recording sounds sloppy as hell). The quality seems much better, though, and that's mainly because that god-awful "room" sound isn't as apparent. But there's still something wrong with the recording. It just seems thin to me. The mic is about two and a half inches to the right of the dust cap, right against the cloth.
Anyone have any decent tips for me? Any hints or suggestions are welcome!
Try playing while you put your ear down around where you'd like to mic the amp - see what it sounds like to your ear right in that spot. Experiment with mixing the front and the BACK of the cab (if it's open backed). Between all of the gear you have, the sound is there, you've just gotta finesse it. And once you do, keep a little notebook about equipment settings, mic placement, etc, so you can get back to the same sound results later.
I've found, for me, using one mic about 2 feet back from the speaker works really well. I hate sizzle of being right on the speaker and I don't mind a little room noise. And every time I mic like that I get a nice, even tone ... not too much high or low end.
But going back to you, I'd really experiment by placing your ear in different locations around the cab ... or get someone else to play, grab the mic, put some headphones on, and move the mic around until you find a good spot.
Hope this helps.
EDIT: Sometimes the EQ and distortion you like in the room is not the same EQ and distortion that lends itself well to recording. You could always try backing off of your settings a little bit and then re-applying some dist or EQ in the mix. I've been using a Shure SM57 with great success, never had a problem with thin sounding guitars. You could also try tacking on some medium-Q EQ around 250Hz, a few dB's, sweep that up and down from 350Hz down to maybe 150Hz and see if any of that is to your taste. Good luck,
Thanks a lot, man! I'll give your suggestions a shot as soon as I can. I only get a window of about two hours per day to actually play. I have very close neighbors, and they get very irritated if the amp is too loud. Speaking of loudness, this has to be loudest 85W I've ever heard...
Also try turning the mic slightly instead of pointing directly at the source. Sometimes the sound pressure glancing off of the mic capsule instead of pushing straight into it helps the low end response. Let's the capsule move more. Best thing, as previously stated, is to listen in headphones while you move the mic around to find the best spot. Amazing how much difference an inch or two, or even a slight angle, can change the sound that the mic "hears".
Great suggestion. I think I'll try re-recording with a different mic placement as you stated, then work on my amp settings. From what I've learned so far, these Mark IV's are just soooo sensitive the smallest adjustment. What it sounds like to me while I'm playing is usually not what it sounds after being recorded. And like brianellefson stated, my ears are hearing something different than the mic is, so that's another issue I'll definitely tackle.
I think I'm getting somewhere now Had the day off work (thank God), so I managed to play around with this head a bit more. I did another recording and I'm pretty pleased with it. Yes, it's just the same random riffing (although there's one section that's actually from a song my buddy's working on), but this one turned out much better. I kept wondering why every recording just seemed to be so...dull, and then I figured it out—it's the mids! I cut those suckers out, then worked on the treble and bass a little more.
This one was close-miced, so I still need to try micing off-axis, at a distance, and a couple other variations as well, just to see if the sound improves. And I know the recording can be polished up a lot more by someone better at this than me, but I gave it a decent shot.