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Electric Guitar LDC or is it time for a real preamp?
Old 8th September 2020
  #1
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Electric Guitar LDC or is it time for a real preamp?

Hey guys, I mainly track out clean guitars.

Currently recording with the Royer R-10 and SM81. I'm pretty happy with the sound thus far, but have been thinking about swapping the 81 out for the TLM102 to get a better clean sound.

I run into an Apollo Twin and use the API Vision Strip and (EQ a little bit with that) on the way in. If not a mic, then maybe it's time for a real preamp to get the sound bigger?

Other than that, that's pretty much my set-up.

I have a MD441 that sounds fantastic, but I'm not really using it right now and would be willing to part with it in exchange for something that'd be more useful for me at the moment.


This is what my tracks are sounding like at the moment.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/m5lchwf6mn...%20Bb.wav?dl=0

Thoughts??
Old 8th September 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Personally, I've only had occasional luck with LDCs on electric guitar, though I'm generally focusing a little more on dirty sounds, and they do tend to do better at clean sounds.

While something Neve-flavored might give you a little more depth, the API strip should be more than capable of performing for you. Frankly, I think the sample you posted sounds great. What are you shooting for that you're not getting, exactly? Keep in mind that if it's going in a mix, you don't want your guitars to be eating up the whole frequency spectrum, so I don't know if a "bigger" sound is necessarily the right end goal.

If you don't already own an LDC of some sort, it could be good to add one to your collection to give you another tonal option, but I'd expect it to be in the realm of different, not necessarily better. And I would recommend holding onto the 441; that's one of the most useful microphones ever made.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoopysnorp View Post
Personally, I've only had occasional luck with LDCs on electric guitar, though I'm generally focusing a little more on dirty sounds, and they do tend to do better at clean sounds.

While something Neve-flavored might give you a little more depth, the API strip should be more than capable of performing for you. Frankly, I think the sample you posted sounds great. What are you shooting for that you're not getting, exactly? Keep in mind that if it's going in a mix, you don't want your guitars to be eating up the whole frequency spectrum, so I don't know if a "bigger" sound is necessarily the right end goal.

If you don't already own an LDC of some sort, it could be good to add one to your collection to give you another tonal option, but I'd expect it to be in the realm of different, not necessarily better. And I would recommend holding onto the 441; that's one of the most useful microphones ever made.
Sorry for the late reply, I guess my response never posted for some reason. I appreciate the love!

I guess I just want all the notes to sound really defined and have a lot of clarity. So maybe "bigger" isn't exactly the word, but I want it to sound really crisp and clear. I think the notes kind of mush together a little bit more than I'm going for. I just got the new Torpedo Captor X loadbox so I'm gonna try mixing that with my ribbon and see how it goes. But I'm kind of realizing that at this point, different mics and sounds are just sidesteps in tone rather than being objectively better.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
Sorry for the late reply, I guess my response never posted for some reason. I appreciate the love!

I guess I just want all the notes to sound really defined and have a lot of clarity. So maybe "bigger" isn't exactly the word, but I want it to sound really crisp and clear. I think the notes kind of mush together a little bit more than I'm going for. I just got the new Torpedo Captor X loadbox so I'm gonna try mixing that with my ribbon and see how it goes. But I'm kind of realizing that at this point, different mics and sounds are just sidesteps in tone rather than being objectively better.
I agree with @ Whoopysnorp that your tracks sound good. Based on this description you might consider an sE T2. They have titanium capsules that are stiffer than gold and it really effects the transient response of the mics.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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tedtan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
I guess I just want all the notes to sound really defined and have a lot of clarity. So maybe "bigger" isn't exactly the word, but I want it to sound really crisp and clear. I think the notes kind of mush together a little bit more than I'm going for.
Does the guitar sound in the room have the definition and crispness you're looking for? If not, I would look to change the pickups, amp and/or speaker before grabbing a new mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
Does the guitar sound in the room have the definition and crispness you're looking for? If not, I would look to change the pickups, amp and/or speaker before grabbing a new mic.
I have the same thought. The source is more important here, as these things go.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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I'll definitely check out the sE T2, thanks for the rec Drumsound!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
Does the guitar sound in the room have the definition and crispness you're looking for? If not, I would look to change the pickups, amp and/or speaker before grabbing a new mic.
I'd say for the most part yeah, the source sounds really good. It was an MJT strat with (custom pickups from a guy that worked at Lindy Fralin for years, best pups I've found for it so far) going through a 70's Music Man 1x15 65 watt, I believe at a pretty high volume. It's a good clean sound.

The room isn't the greatest, knotty pine on the walls and hardwood floors. I've managed to deaden it a good bit with foam and some tapestries but that's definitely a weak point.

Overall though, the room is "meh" but the source itself sounds great. Definitely wasn't recorded dark
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

I’d try switching that SM81 out for the humble SM57. I don’t find SM81’s work well for electrric guitar.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
I'll definitely check out the sE T2, thanks for the rec Drumsound!



I'd say for the most part yeah, the source sounds really good. It was an MJT strat with (custom pickups from a guy that worked at Lindy Fralin for years, best pups I've found for it so far) going through a 70's Music Man 1x15 65 watt, I believe at a pretty high volume. It's a good clean sound.

The room isn't the greatest, knotty pine on the walls and hardwood floors. I've managed to deaden it a good bit with foam and some tapestries but that's definitely a weak point.

Overall though, the room is "meh" but the source itself sounds great. Definitely wasn't recorded dark
If it's on the floor, consider a piece of carpet in front of the amp so there aren't reflection issues from the floor into the mic. I keep a few carpet scraps around for that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Progger's Avatar
Any real audio engineer should please feel free to correct me, but it seems to me that most LDCs might make clean guitar tones even less "crisp and clear" than something like an SM81. The small capsule should, at least in theory, be more accurate than the more "flattering" sound of a large diaphragm capsule -- which is flattering in part because of midrange saturation that sounds pleasing to human ears for some reason. For clear and accurate, I'd think a higher-quality SDC would be the better choice. I've had my eyes on a Beyerdynamic MC930 for exactly this purpose.

I've never used the SE T2 and it seems very cool! And other modern transformerless LDCs certainly seem to go for more clarity than saturation, like the Gefell M930, Austrian Audio, Neumann TLMs, Lewitts, etc. So who knows, there are so many options.

I would also recommend never selling your 441, that's a world-class top-tier mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Ragan's Avatar
 

For me, LDCa usually give a flatter/fuller sound. I don’t think it’s what you want to get crispier/more separated tones.

As suggested, try a 57. They just sound ‘correct’ to me. Another option if you want less mid bark and more air is the Sennheiser 906 or 609. I think that might tick some of the boxes you’re after.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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monkeyxx's Avatar
e906 is a good shout, for sure, very "defined" sounding mic on a guitar cab.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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tedtan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
I'll definitely check out the sE T2, thanks for the rec Drumsound!



I'd say for the most part yeah, the source sounds really good. It was an MJT strat with (custom pickups from a guy that worked at Lindy Fralin for years, best pups I've found for it so far) going through a 70's Music Man 1x15 65 watt, I believe at a pretty high volume. It's a good clean sound.

The room isn't the greatest, knotty pine on the walls and hardwood floors. I've managed to deaden it a good bit with foam and some tapestries but that's definitely a weak point.

Overall though, the room is "meh" but the source itself sounds great. Definitely wasn't recorded dark
OK, then I would suggest getting the amp off of the floor to begin with (if it's not already). Then, if you're getting too much room sound, I would build a tent/fort around the amp using acoustic panels or moving blankets. For mics, the Senn e906 might work, but I'm tempted to recommend the Beyer M160. It's a ribbon, but it is hypercardioid so it won't pick up a lot of room, and it has a presence peak similar to a Shure 57 that will probably help out with the clarity.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan View Post
OK, then I would suggest getting the amp off of the floor to begin with (if it's not already). Then, if you're getting too much room sound, I would build a tent/fort around the amp using acoustic panels or moving blankets. For mics, the Senn e906 might work, but I'm tempted to recommend the Beyer M160. It's a ribbon, but it is hypercardioid so it won't pick up a lot of room, and it has a presence peak similar to a Shure 57 that will probably help out with the clarity.
@ Drumsound also

Any ideas where I can get some carpet scraps or find something just to put in front of the amp? It's on casters right now so it's not directly on the ground at the moment but it's probably not complementary either, it'll still go through the floor.

I'll try the moving blankets and the 57/906 and see if that solves any of my problems. I have a 906 to experiment with.

I've thought about the M160 also, I haven't tried it at home though. I might be able to ask around my friends and see if I can borrow one for a day or so
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
@ Drumsound also

Any ideas where I can get some carpet scraps or find something just to put in front of the amp? It's on casters right now so it's not directly on the ground at the moment but it's probably not complementary either, it'll still go through the floor.

I'll try the moving blankets and the 57/906 and see if that solves any of my problems. I have a 906 to experiment with.

I've thought about the M160 also, I haven't tried it at home though. I might be able to ask around my friends and see if I can borrow one for a day or so
I have some scraps from when I helped a buddy tear carpet out of his basement. You might see if a local carpet store has old outdated samples.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Carpet stores usually have extra scraps, often left in their dumpster.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Where have you been putting the SM81? Can it handle high SPL or be put right up on the grille? I would think the 441 and 81 on the center cone would sound crispy and full, with the ribbon a few feet back getting some room sound. Edit: I see you have more mics, use a 57 and that 441, I bet that would sound good! Just make sure to line up the capsules, distance-to-speaker wise

I've been having good results with a 57 and 421 on the grille with a LDC (a Michael Joly-modded MXL2003) a few feet back. I don't ever have the room mic fader as high up as the blend of speaker mics and I really like these results. I run the 421 into a UAD 610 and the SM57 into a UAD 110. The large diaphragm condenser goes through a RNP, all into the Apollo x16 with very, very, very light 1176s on each (Distressors if I am tracking the bass cabinet/amp).




..ugh and since this is about guitar amp tone, if you happen to click the link in my sig to listen to guitars I've recorded the "Freaks" song uses amp sims, ha! I just bought Amplitube MAX and tested it out. I didn't get that mix as loud as my real guitar amp mixes so that's a good sign I think. I also cannot sing, so sorry
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.laurence View Post
Hey guys, I mainly track out clean guitars.

Currently recording with the Royer R-10 and SM81. I'm pretty happy with the sound thus far, but have been thinking about swapping the 81 out for the TLM102 to get a better clean sound.

I run into an Apollo Twin and use the API Vision Strip and (EQ a little bit with that) on the way in. If not a mic, then maybe it's time for a real preamp to get the sound bigger?

Other than that, that's pretty much my set-up.

I have a MD441 that sounds fantastic, but I'm not really using it right now and would be willing to part with it in exchange for something that'd be more useful for me at the moment.


This is what my tracks are sounding like at the moment.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/m5lchwf6mn...%20Bb.wav?dl=0

Thoughts??

IMO the tlm102 is much better than 81 or royer or sennheisers. I double mic using the 102 and a beyer m201. I always end up using just the 102 except rare occasion. 102 has great clarity and transparency but it gives you the bottom end weight those other mics don't give you. The problem with royers and 441s, are the mids are too hazy and smeared. Since guitar is all mids, you want as much clarity as you can get there. Of course this is just my opinion. Mics sound is very subjective. But my philosophy is to capture everything accurately then change the sound later with EQ and/or processing. Of course a 102 is not ultra transparent or realistic in the the Schoeps or even the AKG414eb realms, but for the money 102 is a great value that does the job well. Also the small amount of texture/color it does add is always complimentary IMO.
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