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ENGINEERS! (ever recorded a Hiwatt amp ...successfully)
Old 6th February 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

ENGINEERS! (ever recorded a Hiwatt amp ...successfully)

It seems getting good tones on my Hiwatt to tape is near impossible. It sounds great in front of the 4 x 12 but always seems to dissapoint when it hits the mic/mics. I know Townshend usually tracked Fender amps in the studio, but Live at Leeds wasn't a Fender amp it was a Hiwatt, and thats the tone I'm after. And since I have also had to switch to different amps during tracking I thought it was about time I ask a pro if he/she has been able to successfully do this and what technique was used ...mics, pre's, compression if any. Thanks for any ideas!!

-Ryan
Old 6th February 2007
  #2
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

if the amp sounds great in the room, there is absolutely NO REASON that you shouldn't be able to record it well. have a second hand sweep the best speaker with a single mic and have him/her stop when it sounds best. work with that mic. then maybe try adding a room mic to get a more distant/developed sound than the close mic. easy as cheese if it ACTUALLY sounds great in the room.
Old 6th February 2007
  #3
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djui5's Avatar
 

What are you using? What is the room like your trying to record it in?
Old 6th February 2007
  #4
Here for the gear
 

I've had numerous people borrow my 30 watt Hiwatt head for recording because of the tone and the results I've heard have been very good. Its been used mostly on lead tracks. I'm nobody big, but I've always liked what I've tracked with it. Most of the time it was a 57 right on the grill of a Marshall 4x12 w/ Vintage 30s in a small dead room.
Old 6th February 2007
  #5
Gear Head
 

...the room is a small 12 x 12 acoustically treated tracking room, the cab is on casters and on a rug located towards the middle of the room leaving slightly more on the side the speakers are aimed, the floors are painted blue concrete, though 80% of the floor is covered in rugs, walls are sheetrock and are 70 to 80% covered in auralex 2", all corners are filled and bass trapped with a minimum of 6", and the room is empty during tracking except for the amp and cab of course. One of the problems may be that in order to get good tones out of the Hiwatt it has to be cranked pretty loud (almost difficult to be in the room with it) the amp is 100 watts hand-wired all tube, the speakers are split between 2 original Fane for the low end and midrange and 2 vintage 30's for the scooped/crunchy sound. Fanes on the bottom, Celestions on the top. Have tried the normal 57 and 421 but maybe I'm too close the the cab, not close enough?? wrong mics?? not sure??

-Ryan
Old 6th February 2007
  #6
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Aren't Hiwatts really, really, really, really, really loud? Back the mic off until the signal isn't crushed
Old 6th February 2007
  #7
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

http://mercenary.com/thdhotplat.html

you're welcome

oh yeah, and get the hell out of that square room. and get the cab off the floor.
Old 6th February 2007
  #8
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djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannorth View Post
...the room is a small 12 x 12 acoustically treated tracking room, the cab is on casters and on a rug located towards the middle of the room leaving slightly more on the side the speakers are aimed, the floors are painted blue concrete, though 80% of the floor is covered in rugs, walls are sheetrock and are 70 to 80% covered in auralex 2", all corners are filled and bass trapped with a minimum of 6", and the room is empty during tracking except for the amp and cab of course.
-Ryan

Wow, I can't think of a worse room to try and record in, especially something loud...

Try sticking the amp in the control room, jeesh...
Old 6th February 2007
  #9
Gear Head
 

....haha I knew that was coming... yes the room isn't perfect, but believe me its the best space I've got, I spent 3 months on that room, soundproofing and then treating it, treaking it and so on. The control room is sonically cut off from the tracking room, or enough so that when your monitoring drums all you hear is the monitor sound, which I thought was pretty darn good considering they share a wall. And Yes your right the Hiwatt is very very very loud... and by the way the pre's I have access to are a great river MP2-NV, drawmer 1960, ADL600, toft, or fmr rnp's, I usually go without any compression.

oh and lets not forget some of the places you've tracked guitars ...small places like the bathroom and bathtub, more has been done with less if you know what I mean....

...and the cab is off the floor... its on wheels and on a rug...
Old 6th February 2007
  #10
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Really really loud amps usually don't sound that good in a small square room.
A full tilt Hiwatt will knock the socks off an SM57, but once you start pulling the mic back, it won't be the sound you are looking for.

Get a Weber Mass or HotPlate and knock a few db off the Hiwatt, and get it into a bigger room.

The "it sounds good in the closet" story usually works for tiny little amps. I used to record a Gibson Skylark GA-5 like that and it was the tits!!!!

If you wanted reverb, you stuck it in the bathroom
Old 6th February 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 

oh and I forgot to say the room isn't square, 12 x 12 was rough dimensions it is actually probably more like 14x11, only 2 of the four walls are square and about 25% of the ceiling is slanted at an angle of about 35 degrees.

...and I think your right on about the problem with the 57, just coming off the cone too hot when its that close, but when I move it back the tone I'm looking for goes with it...
Old 6th February 2007
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannorth View Post
...the room is a small 12 x 12 acoustically treated tracking room, the cab is on casters and on a rug located towards the middle of the room leaving slightly more on the side the speakers are aimed, the floors are painted blue concrete, though 80% of the floor is covered in rugs, walls are sheetrock and are 70 to 80% covered in auralex 2", all corners are filled and bass trapped with a minimum of 6", and the room is empty during tracking except for the amp and cab of course. One of the problems may be that in order to get good tones out of the Hiwatt it has to be cranked pretty loud (almost difficult to be in the room with it) the amp is 100 watts hand-wired all tube, the speakers are split between 2 original Fane for the low end and midrange and 2 vintage 30's for the scooped/crunchy sound. Fanes on the bottom, Celestions on the top. Have tried the normal 57 and 421 but maybe I'm too close the the cab, not close enough?? wrong mics?? not sure??

-Ryan
Hey Ryan

99% sure (as sure as I can be without seeing and hearing your room that is) that your problem is with room nodes. Concrete floors will do that to ya.

Just because the amp sounds good where you are standing that does not mean the mic is not sitting directly in a room node and causing all sorts of issues. That would also explain why it does not sound good at all when you back up the mic a little.

This is exactly the reason why I lean towards low wattage amps in the studio, especially in smaller rooms that were not designed from the ground up as recording spaces. If you want to check that theory try turning the amp way down and slap a distortion pedal in front of it just for the test. Record some guitar with the distortion on and see if you get a fuller sound with very little volume. The more you crank the cab the more you are exciting the room nodes and that could be where the issues are.

Turn down the amp, move the amp around the room to find the best place to record, get MUCH more in the way of bass traps or room treatments or move to a different room. Sorry but I bet your room is the problem.

Good luck, hope that helps a little.
Old 6th February 2007
  #13
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djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
99% sure (as sure as I can be without seeing and hearing your room that is) that your problem is with room nodes. Concrete floors will do that to ya.

I agree. It's the room. Like I said, stick it in the control room, or build a cabinet to place the cabinet in, or build some gobo's to surround it with, something. Get the room sound out of the mics, it's your problem.
Old 6th February 2007
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannorth View Post
It seems getting good tones on my Hiwatt to tape is near impossible. It sounds great in front of the 4 x 12 but always seems to dissapoint when it hits the mic/mics. I know Townshend usually tracked Fender amps in the studio, but Live at Leeds wasn't a Fender amp it was a Hiwatt, and thats the tone I'm after. And since I have also had to switch to different amps during tracking I thought it was about time I ask a pro if he/she has been able to successfully do this and what technique was used ...mics, pre's, compression if any. Thanks for any ideas!!

-Ryan
I used to own a 70's era Hiwatt and I have recorded with it quite alot and was always able to get a great sound. BTW there are plenty of Who recordings with Hiwatts.
If you feel it sounds great in front of the cabinet, then the problem isnt the amp.
Are you micing the Fanes or the V30's. I'd mic the Fanes, if you're finding that when you move the 57 you're losing the bottom try a condenser, or try buying an extra pad for ther mic. You can use a Hot Plate or a Weber mass and just attenuate just a bit
Old 7th February 2007
  #15
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DeathMonkey's Avatar
 

I have an Audio Bros. Hiwatt Custom 100 combo, with one Fane, and it sounds great recorded, and I have a POS room myself. IIRC, I generally use a Hotplate, but still keep it loud in the room, use a dynamic off the cone, straight at the speaker, about an inch and a half/ two inches out, and then an LDC back about 3 feet, with the body of the mic split between the edge of the cone and the basket.

I find that the cone is too beamy and harsh to mic directly, even off axis, but I tend to prefer warmer, smoother guitar tones.
Old 7th February 2007
  #16
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Though I have never recorded a HIWATT, I always found it difficult to get a good recorded sound out of my MATAMP because it had to be earth shatteringly loud just to get it to overdrive. It sounded amazing in the room, but at that point there was so much low-end buildup in the room that it sounded miniscule on playback.

Try running an overdrive or attenuator in front of it and recording at low volume...my bet is it will sound noticeably bigger.

Or perhaps if you want a Live at Leeds tone you should focus on the tone rather than what amp was used?

-Chris
Old 7th February 2007
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5 View Post
I agree. It's the room. Like I said, stick it in the control room, or build a cabinet to place the cabinet in, or build some gobo's to surround it with, something. Get the room sound out of the mics, it's your problem.
Old 7th February 2007
  #18
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allencollins's Avatar
 

The key to Hiwatt tone is the speaker. I have a hiwatt custom 100

I get the best sound with a vintage 30. But a real vintage 30. The 30 watt ones
from back in the day. The new ones are like 60 I think
The other thing to keep in mind is don't crank it too loud. You need it loud enogh to break up the speaker but not too much. The cleaner the sound the more it will cut through
Old 7th February 2007
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon View Post
http://mercenary.com/thdhotplat.html

you're welcome

oh yeah, and get the hell out of that square room. and get the cab off the floor.


The description on the Mercinary site for those attenuators is done so damn well

Is that Fletcher's literary genius in full effkt
Old 7th February 2007
  #20
DRC
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwatch View Post
The description on the Mercinary site for those attenuators is done so damn well

Is that Fletcher's literary genius in full effkt
Ive used a Hotplate for a while. Its perfect for live stuff but will suck the tone right out if you go below the (-8db) setting. I used to love it for practicing late at night but Im not sure I would record with it if I didnt have to.

Oh and make sure you keep the bright and deep switches on as well as the bulbs.
Old 7th February 2007
  #21
I haven't had the pleasure of recording a Hiwatt... yet... but I've received a couple projects with them already recorded, and they have been some of the best guitar tones I've heard. They seem to be able to out-marshall a Marshall. From these experiences, plus hearing them on other finished records where I know they were used, I'm thinking I must have one.
Old 7th February 2007
  #22
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRC View Post
Ive used a Hotplate for a while. Its perfect for live stuff but will suck the tone right out if you go below the (-8db) setting.
You're quite right IMO

Hotplate can't compete with loud levels.
Unpractical, but true.


ruudman
Old 7th February 2007
  #23
Gear Head
 

Nearly all of the David Gilmour stuff over the last 30 years is a Hiwatt thru Wem 4x12's. There is a good interview with Andy Jackson (PF engineer since The Wall, assistant and main) in Sound on Sound from last july(?) where he goes into some detail of the methods used for the On An Island record. Mostley recorded on the Astoria housboat, using just a 57 and Coles 4038 ribbon about 4" back from the speaker. Both mics are aligned for accuraccy and the tone is lightly sculpted by blending the two. Also turned up pretty loud.

my drop of milk...

Barks
Old 7th February 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
Hiwatts are a real pleasure to record and a couple of 57s is all you need.

The sound comes from the speakers going full bast and the fact that the guitarist is in the room with the stack getting that feedback to improve sustain and tone. Being in another room and-or using a power-soak will not work.

One 57 at the front and one at the back, crank to full volume pan them full left and right and busta - the sound of a Hiwatt.
Old 7th February 2007
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

I don't have a HiWatt, but we have a Marshall 1/2 stack in a small room. We caught it's sound by accident. Royer 121 on a speaker about 6" away. And another mic (RE20) about 6 feet away pointed away from the amp toward the wall at an angle. Mix panned. For us, the combination caught the tone we heard in the studio.
Old 7th February 2007
  #26
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Blast9's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
One 57 at the front and one at the back, crank to full volume pan them full left and right and busta - the sound of a Hiwatt.
Cool --- do you mean micing the back of a closed-back cab? If so, do you point it straight at the back?

And what are you getting there --- fat and deep with treble roll-off?

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/106507-stereo-micing-gtr-cab-any-tips.html I started a thread here, but got no replies on this subject.
Old 7th February 2007
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blast9 View Post
Cool --- do you mean micing the back of a closed-back cab? If so, do you point it straight at the back?
Ha! Ha! (And use an open backed cab.)
Old 7th February 2007
  #28
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Use an open back cab?

The couple of times I've done that I thought it sounded nothing like a Hiwatt.

I hate to be a purist but the HIWATT tone you are going for is really a head into a TOOOO LOUD 4x12 hopefully with old Fanes. Celestions will work, but its a different tone, sorta less stiff (lotta guys like that though) Also, to be totally complete, use a full stack but only plug in the top 4x12... If they are not HIWATT cabs, make sure they are at least both straight cabs, no slanty cabs will do!!!

I've had a lot of HIWATTs and gigged with them and recorded them in just about every scenario and can attest that it usually takes a bit more work to get "that sound"

A hotplate knocking off 6db is sometimes just the ticket... much more than that and it sounds like ka-ka.

If the Live at Leeds tone is what you are going for, you can get it, but anything less than that is just less isn't it???
Old 7th February 2007
  #29
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 

Never had a problem with my Hiwatt.

DR504 50 watt tone monster with a Hiwatt 4 X 12" with 75 watt Fanes.

I sometines put in some old worn Mullards to give it a fuzzier break up, but usually I have some Siemens EL34's in there which are cleaner sounding and have a later break up. Experimenting with the tubes can fine tune the sound.

Maybe you have some weird room reflections mucking things up.
Old 7th February 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
dtucker's Avatar
 

Have you tried switching the position of the amp in the room? If you have it between parallel walls in a 12x12 space try moving it around. Stick it in a corner, or just move it so it's not symmetrically placed. Since you can't change your actual room dimensions try moving the amp around to sort of trick it. See if that helps.
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