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The SM57/MD421 amp micing thread
Old 7th March 2019
  #1
The SM57/MD421 amp micing thread

The thread is for discussion by all those who are obsessed with the popular technique of micing guitar amps with the combination of a 57 and a 421.

Any variant of 57 is OK - SM56, Unidyne III, 545s, even 58s are fine, as are either the old or new version of the 421.

Ok, guys, have at it!
Old 7th March 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
The thread is for discussion by all those who are obsessed with the popular technique of micing guitar amps with the combination of a 57 and a 421.

Any variant of 57 is OK - SM56, Unidyne III, 545s, even 58s are fine, as are either the old or new version of the 421.

Ok, guys, have at it!
You say it all. Popular, probably the most used mic pair to mic guitars for a reason. Interestingly I find that having both mics at roughly the same rms doesn't sound very interesting, but lower one by 2 to 4 db and the sound opens up and the energy of the guitar sound increases a lot. The cool thing is that just by changing the relative volume by a couple of db's is a great tool to give lively dynamics to a mix.

I have used a couple of times a Prodipe tt1 pro in conjunction with the 421, and sounded great. It is a 25$ mic
Old 7th March 2019
  #3
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Sweet! Any chance of pictures?
Old 7th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProgFree View Post
Interestingly I find that having both mics at roughly the same rms doesn't sound very interesting, but lower one by 2 to 4 db and the sound opens up and the energy of the guitar sound increases a lot.
+1
Any time I use more than one mic on a guitar amp -- regardless of whether I've painstakingly phase-aligned them or just tossed them up there willy-nilly -- I find the real magic happens when you start adjusting their relative levels. I usually close my eyes and move one of the faders until the sound just snaps into place; it suddenly sounds right (for the track).

And then sometimes I look at the faders and I'm like "Holy crap, that 57 is 10dB down!" Whatever it takes for the magic to happen...

Last edited by Bob Ross; 8th March 2019 at 03:28 AM..
Old 7th March 2019
  #5
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One of my SM57s is held together with duct tape. Sounds exactly like one that's probably 25 years younger, which says something about the sound, I think.

OTOH, there's more likely to be one available in any situation where you might need a mic for self-defense. And if you break it, would it really bother you?
Old 8th March 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
One of my SM57s is held together with duct tape. Sounds exactly like one that's probably 25 years younger, which says something about the sound, I think.

OTOH, there's more likely to be one available in any situation where you might need a mic for self-defense. And if you break it, would it really bother you?
And then they had to throw the Beta 57A into the mix to confuse people.
Old 8th March 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slicklickz View Post
And then they had to throw the Beta 57A into the mix to confuse people.
If I were throwing Shures, I'd prefer the SM57. A little more aerodynamic, I think. Should make a better projectile. Either way, throwing one into a mix might not always be the best decision.
Old 8th March 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
If I were throwing Shures, I'd prefer the SM57. A little more aerodynamic, I think. Should make a better projectile. Either way, throwing one into a mix might not always be the best decision.
The SM 7 could make a good weapon.
Old 8th March 2019
  #9
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Sm57 & Sennheiser MD421 Guitar Cab

Another thread on same subject...
Old 8th March 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weave View Post
Sm57 & Sennheiser MD421 Guitar Cab

Another thread on same subject...
Yeah. But this one is going to be epic!
Old 8th March 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
+1
Any time I use more than one mic on a guitar amp -- regardless of whether I've painstakingly phase-aligned them or just tossed them up there willy-nilly
Phase-align? What is this magic you speak of? I’ve got Willy-nilly down already...

And for what it’s worth, I am a newb and am actually trying hard to learn something... Thanks for anything shared!

Last edited by weave; 8th March 2019 at 03:11 PM.. Reason: Typo fix
Old 8th March 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weave View Post
Phase-align? What is this magic you speak of? I’ve got Willy-nilly down already...

And for what it’s worth, I am a newb and am actually trying hard to learn something... Thanks for anything shared!
I *think* the rule-of-thumb is to have the mics more than three feet apart to avoid comb-filtering phase effects. Oddly enough, I've noticed it with one mic: when you mic one speaker, but it's picking up a second speaker close by, you can get that effect. The speakers are in phase, but if you're closer to one, and it can hear the other, the sound may be slightly delayed from the other (because the distance to travel through the air isn't equal), causing the effect. I noticed it on a 2x12" Mesa amp a few years back, doing live sound. I could eliminate it by moving the mic, but thought it was kind of interesting that the sound SOURCE could cause it.

It can be a pain when micing drums.
Old 8th March 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weave View Post
And for what it’s worth, I am a newb and am actually trying hard to learn something... Thanks for anything shared!
Both mics on the cloth in the same speaker on opposite sides of the cap. The 57 more towards the edge, the 421 can be more at the cap edge, adjust amp accordingly for the excess bass, and enjoy your newb proof micing setup.
Old 8th March 2019
  #14
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i would really like to know some songs, albums this combo is used on. love AC/DC and it was in the other thread and I am thinking this is used for a great, raw, marshall type rock? classic rock?

so just curious what amps, what studios, what artists etc? would love to check out some other songs with this combo
Old 8th March 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
I *think* the rule-of-thumb is to have the mics more than three feet apart to avoid comb-filtering phase effects. Oddly enough, I've noticed it with one mic: when you mic one speaker, but it's picking up a second speaker close by, you can get that effect. The speakers are in phase, but if you're closer to one, and it can hear the other, the sound may be slightly delayed from the other (because the distance to travel through the air isn't equal), causing the effect. I noticed it on a 2x12" Mesa amp a few years back, doing live sound. I could eliminate it by moving the mic, but thought it was kind of interesting that the sound SOURCE could cause it.

It can be a pain when micing drums.

Isnt the rule of thumb 3x the distance to the sound not just 3 feet.

You do that to avoid comb filtering. or so I read somewhere
Old 8th March 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
Isnt the rule of thumb 3x the distance to the sound not just 3 feet.

You do that to avoid comb filtering. or so I read somewhere
Yeah... 3 to 1 rule. I generally adjust the mics while listening to the results. Headphones or someone in the CR telling me what's up in there. That said, I've been recording guitars with a single U87 lately. About 4 feet from the cab. I might never go back.
Old 8th March 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe sixpak View Post
Isnt the rule of thumb 3x the distance to the sound not just 3 feet.

You do that to avoid comb filtering. or so I read somewhere
Yeah, something like that. I forget exactly, since it's been so long since I read that, and I tend not to violate just by nature. When I record a guitar amp, wanting room sound, I usually use a LDC about 5-6 feet away from the amp, and my old EV somewhere near the cone.

On drums, I get the individual mics real close, and then a pair of overheads. Most of my sound, when recording, comes from the overheads and the bass drum mic.
Old 9th March 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Yeah... 3 to 1 rule. I generally adjust the mics while listening to the results. Headphones or someone in the CR telling me what's up in there. That said, I've been recording guitars with a single U87 lately. About 4 feet from the cab. I might never go back.
This thread is about SM57's. Get your own thread.
Old 9th March 2019
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
This thread is about SM57's. Get your own thread.
Wait... let me change that...
The 57 is usually my favorite go to guitar cab mic, but I've been recording guitars with a single U87 lately. About 4 feet from the cab. I might never go back.
Old 9th March 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Wait... let me change that...
The 57 is usually my favorite go to guitar cab mic, but I've been recording guitars with a single U87 lately. About 4 feet from the cab. I might never go back.
Cool. AC/DC used U87s in conjunction with U67s on Back in Black. Tony Platt talks about it here.

I haven't followed all their albums, but on Rock or Bust they were just using a plain old 57/421's. You can really hear how the difference in micing affects how the guitars sit in the mix.
Old 9th March 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Cool. AC/DC used U87s in conjunction with U67s on Back in Black. Tony Platt talks about it here.

I haven't followed all their albums, but on Rock or Bust they were just using a plain old 57/421's. You can really hear how the difference in micing affects how the guitars sit in the mix.
Sure. There's something of air and space added to the sound of a 57 when combined with a LDC. I guess same principal as adding a room mic to a close-mic drum kit. If I use just the 87, it's a few feet off, but if combined with a close 57, it's 5 to 7 feet away. Of course, it's only possible in the right room. Often, I just walk around the room and find the sweet spot, then put the LDC there, in omni.
Old 9th March 2019
  #22
Post #22 .
Carry on!
Old 9th March 2019
  #23
Post#23.
Carrying on.
Old 9th March 2019
  #24
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A md421, a sm57 and John Eppstein walk into a bar...
Old 9th March 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
i would really like to know some songs, albums this combo is used on. love AC/DC and it was in the other thread and I am thinking this is used for a great, raw, marshall type rock? classic rock?

so just curious what amps, what studios, what artists etc? would love to check out some other songs with this combo
A lot of things by Joe Barresi, tool 10 000 days is a great example of the tone of that mic combo. The last by Metallica, great tones of those mics into bae 1073 pres. A lot of stuff by Bonamassa also. There are countless records done with those mics, you can find a lot of info online.
Old 11th March 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProgFree View Post
A md421, a sm57 and John Eppstein walk into a bar...
... and John walks out unscathed after beating the MD421 into a pulp by using the SM57 as a hammer...
Old 12th March 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
... and John walks out unscathed after beating the MD421 into a pulp by using the SM57 as a hammer...
Old 24th May 2020
  #28
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Phase Alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by weave View Post
Phase-align? What is this magic you speak of? I’ve got Willy-nilly down already...

And for what it’s worth, I am a newb and am actually trying hard to learn something... Thanks for anything shared!
As I recall (from my 2 year audio engineering program) If you don't place two mics three times as far apart from each other as they are from the sound source, there will phase alignment issues. So, sound travels in waves, right? If the peaks and valleys of those two waves don't line up, certain frequencies will be boosted or attenuated that shouldn't be basically, which sometimes will lead to your captured sound not sounding as it should. Some say it can impart a "hollow" sound where the body of the instrument seems to have gone away. It's rather difficult to explain exactly what it sounds like, but I'm sure you could find examples online somewhere.
As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, (I think, I don't know, there's a lot of random stuff on here to sift through) the reason this happens with two or more microphones is time arrival differences at the diaphragm of each mic. Each mic is hearing what's right in front of it, but also is hearing sound from wherever you have your other mic pointed, and that sound is taking milliseconds longer be heard by the respective mic . . . . Because of this tiny difference in "arrival time", simply moving the mics apart a little further gets the peaks and valleys "back in phase." It's magic! (which may be handy to know if you're wanting to record a guitar cabinet with an SM57 and MD421, or similar pair of mics.)

Last edited by audio_engineer; 24th May 2020 at 06:19 AM.. Reason: Relating comment back to original thread premise.
Old 24th May 2020
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slicklickz View Post
And then they had to throw the Beta 57A into the mix to confuse people.
Fid I mention Betas in the thread title?

No, I did not.

I have no confusion about the beta 57 and 58. I don't use them. I won't waste my money on them. I won't allow other people to use them on me.

No confusion.
Old 25th May 2020
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
... and John walks out unscathed after beating the MD421 into a pulp by using the SM57 as a hammer...
Contrary to internet myth, SM57s make horrible hammersw. One good whack and the head flies off. Useless.

You want a hammer, you want an EV 664, the original "Buchanan Hammer" E-V actually used to advertise that you could pound nails with it without voiding the warranty.

The only Shure mic that's of any use as a hammer is the SM55, and then only if you can keep the swivel from flopping around.
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