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Recording A Marshall Mode 4 with JCM 800 Cab
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
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daubie's Avatar
 

Recording A Marshall Mode 4 with JCM 800 Cab

Well after 3 days of experimenting and getting nowhere its time to ask for some advice.

I'm trying to get a thick heavy guitar sound along the lines of rise against, story of the year..ect).

I'm playing a Gibson SG through a Marshall Mode 4 head with JCM 800 cab. I've tried all of the standard mic placements with my 57. I'm recording through a Ramsa pre and into my 002.

Has anyone had any success getting a decent tone out of a similar setup? It sounds really dull and "stringgy"

ANY pointers or suggestions would be amazing. I'll try anything at this point.
Old 15th December 2010
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Liberty Studio's Avatar
 

I know you probably don't want anyone to go here... but I just can't help myself.
The Marshall Mode Four is just terrible.

I had one for awhile and fortunately I found someone who'd buy it. Now i got a Marshall Jubilee (much more expensive though).

As far as helping with your dilemma;
I tried to get a good sound out of that mode 4 on several occasions, but always ended up goin with my Vox Combo Amp (Valvetronix believe it or not).
The 57 is a good guitar mic, if you can't get a good sound outta it, you might wanna try blendin it with another mic, I sometimes blend it with a PR-30, and of course the famous Shure 57 plus Royer 121 is always somethin to look into if you have the finances.
Old 15th December 2010
  #3
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latestflavor's Avatar
 

start with a les paul custom perhaps? sg as a base to that wall of guitar sound is too difficult for me. it can leave a lot of woody and muddy signature in it (again, for me).

don't know if your amp will get you 100% there because usually you hear layers of mesa and marshall, but i haven't used the solid state marshall..... dime it until you get cone breakup then back away till the flub is gone.

also if you have G12T-75's in there you may want to think about V30's. the 75's always leave behind too much 80's metal tone for me.
Old 15th December 2010
  #4
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I just did this for a band called NineFinger this past weekend... the player had a Gibson firebird and a mode 4 rig...

I used a summit pre and a demeter pre with a sm57 and a beyer 930 capsule aligned right on the dome of the speaker into PTHD. At first I was like WTF... but then I twisted a few knobs and then I thought This sounds like a ****ed up big muff! I ended up quite enjoying it and the guitarist loved it.

conclusion...kinda cool for the grungey, sludge thing
Old 15th December 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Track with strong compression with fast attack and release settings.

That won't get you all the way there but it will help incrementally.
Old 15th December 2010
  #6
Gear Nut
 

when you say jcm 800 cab, do you mean 1960a lead cab? Cause I thought that JCM 800 refers to the model of the amp head.
Old 15th December 2010
  #7
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oh I should add to my post that we were using the oversized monster Marshall cab thumbsup
Old 15th December 2010
  #8
Gear Nut
 
daubie's Avatar
 

Thanks for the info guys.

I have considered that maby the amp just isn't that great. But I'm really happy with the sound when I play it live. The cab is a 1960A. Might it be something with that head and that cab together? I will try another mic tonight and see what that does for me. I'm pretty limited in my selection though. I can either try another 57 a beta 52, or a Superlux condenser. I'll also try compressing straight in and see what that does.

I'm recording it in a open room. Do you think this will be an issue? Should I try to put some type of absorbers around it to "block in the sound" Also I'm usually recording at about 4ish volume wise. Should I be going balls to the wall to get a decent tone? I would prefer not to have to do that.

I have also tried right on the dome but it was way too sharp sounding.
Old 15th December 2010
  #9
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latestflavor's Avatar
 

Just curious, how did you come upon the SG / MODE 4 combination?
Old 15th December 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andonwego View Post
Track with strong compression with fast attack and release settings.

That won't get you all the way there but it will help incrementally.
Im just curious, arn't the dynamics of an a electric guitar signal already at a minimum. I mean, if you look at the waveform of a heavy guitar track in your DAW it practically looks like a solid bar all the way across. In that case, why would you heavily compress the guitar?


anyways...


yea typically you will see a jcm800 with a 1960a lead cab.

I would try boxing around the cab with baffles, and closing in the sound. For some reason whenever I do this, it tightens and fattens the low end. Also if the room is studio designed/treated, try facing it right into the corner of a room (I wouldn't suggest this with just normal 90˚ drywall). Ive tried that a few times and always liked the sound compared to when it was in the open.

Also, as others have suggested try more mics.

Also, im not sure if this applies to solid state, but with tube heads, if its a higher wattage like 100watts, you have bring up the volume a lot more for the amp to really break up and saturate. This is why sometimes people who record at home get attenuators, so that they dont have to bring up the head as high.

I know you said you don't like the sound on the cone, but maybe try this starting on the cone and then move to the side of the cone as needed.
You can put a 57 and an md421 right on the cone, with a condenser back a few feet (check the phase though). Or try a 57, a 421, and an RE20, right on the cone.

Also, Im sorry to say, but ive heard terrible things about the Mode 4.
Old 15th December 2010
  #11
Vogon
Guest
You have tried the obvious distortion reduction, right? Reducing the master vol will hit the speakers lighter too, which may open up the top a bit, by reducing speaker compression. I'm sure you know you're amp well though...

Might be worth trying a condenser (ie, something flatter) a little further back, possibly with the 57 on/near a dustcap? (will probably need alignment). [Edit: Oops, just read your post codym, don't mean to tread on your prior advice].

Compression on distortion is a little counter intuitive, but for heavy guitars it can reduce or tighten up any booming on chugs etc. Some devices will add some colour too, grit or weight. But for Sustained chords it won't do a lot dynamically - if they're already flatlining.

Don't really see a problem with SG's. I think they're capable of serious fatness with the right rig.

> I'll try anything at this point.

OK, fire up a decent amp modeler, get something as good as possible happening.
Remove the (modeled/IR) cab, run the channel into the power section of the M4. Tweak, record...!?

Should sound better than a straight model if done right, and a tranny amp (even with a valve pre-section, if it's not a stunning one).
Old 15th December 2010
  #12
I have a Mode 4 too. It's not the best amp in the world but it's not the worst either. It does better with sustained chords than with muted metal riffs. I think the best settings are to be found on channel 2 (or 1B, lower left). The right side is too messy for me. The clean channel is sparkling clean and works great for percussive rhythm.
Old 15th December 2010
  #13
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AudioWonderland's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daubie View Post
Well after 3 days of experimenting and getting nowhere its time to ask for some advice.

I'm trying to get a thick heavy guitar sound along the lines of rise against, story of the year..ect).

I'm playing a Gibson SG through a Marshall Mode 4 head with JCM 800 cab. I've tried all of the standard mic placements with my 57. I'm recording through a Ramsa pre and into my 002.

Has anyone had any success getting a decent tone out of a similar setup? It sounds really dull and "stringgy"

ANY pointers or suggestions would be amazing. I'll try anything at this point.

Turn the gain down. That's usually first problem. It can be turned down as much as 50-60% depending where you are starting. You just don't need nearly as much gain in the studio, particularly if you are planning to layer parts.
Old 16th December 2010
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
Turn the gain down. That's usually first problem. It can be turned down as much as 50-60% depending where you are starting. You just don't need nearly as much gain in the studio, particularly if you are planning to layer parts.
Very, very true. The heaviest guitar tracks I ever get are recorded at high volume and low gain. For some reason it always sounds like more gain was used when you play the tracks back. I also believe that in order to get "big" sounds that the amp needs to be cranked to it's sweet spot and the speakers need to be huffing.

Although I was not terribly impressed with the Mode Four head, I love the MF400 4x12 cabinet! It has G12K100s in it, and my old '78 JMP 2203 sounds absolutely gigantic through it. And speaking of the 2203, I think it's the best studio amp I've got, and I do have a few nice ones.

One more thing about the Mode Four: Although as I said I'm not a fan of them (gave one about an hour's workout and found it pasty-sounding), Dave Navarro made some killer tracks with one on Jayne's Addiction's Strays album. Could've been some reamping, I dunno, but the album is one I use for reference from time to time - it's got some great modern heavy rock studio sounds.
Old 16th December 2010
  #15
Gear Head
 

I know this isn't particularly helpful, but my greatest joy with this amp was when I started using my mates Mesa Boogie instead. I always found the mode four great live but spent literally a year trying to get 'my sound' out of it. If you can get your hands on them, try some other amps!

I also use a Gibbo SG so I can totally understand where your coming from!
Old 16th December 2010
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daubie View Post
Well after 3 days of experimenting and getting nowhere its time to ask for some advice.

I'm trying to get a thick heavy guitar sound along the lines of rise against, story of the year..ect).

I'm playing a Gibson SG through a Marshall Mode 4 head with JCM 800 cab. I've tried all of the standard mic placements with my 57. I'm recording through a Ramsa pre and into my 002.

Has anyone had any success getting a decent tone out of a similar setup? It sounds really dull and "stringgy"

ANY pointers or suggestions would be amazing. I'll try anything at this point.

Hey! I disagree with most of the negative comments here about your gear....I record "rise against" STYLE bands full time and also play in one full time......a good engineer should be able to get a great sound with any gear!


my suggestion (and it is very general) is to:
set ALL of the amp knob settings to 5 (volume 3or 4)to start. since i dont know the bass on that specific head, i'd probably roll bass off than up....

raise the cab off of the floor via foam or rubber blocks.....reduces "false low end"

use the DIGI HPF soft knee on each track set "around" 80Hz or sweet spot to empty some unwanted lows....

and yes! lower gain than you play with live!!! maybe 4 or 5? (just enough dist so you still hear the strumming {even for the chugs})

Dont scoop the mids!

mic the cone w the 57 on axis, maybe 1 or 2 inches off axis to a sweet spot..
small dead room......add verbs later....(i say dead room in this case because compression may bring out "bad roomyness")....

double track left and right, hard pan em'...... same guitar, same settings on all four tracks,,,,,,

now send all tracks to TWO stereo aux's.....one dry and one for parallel compression (and or FX....) with NO SAMPLE DELAY ......(i use waves CLA-3A or SSL comp when ITB) .....u can use any NON DELAY comp

squash the **** out of Comp aux, leave one Aux dry.....blend to taste..........

that is one method that is proven, semi "standard" and "usually" is a good starting point......hope that helps.....cheers!


ps.......make sure the mic is kissing the grill and also shock mounted by any means, ditch the pre amp and go stright to 002 to test and make sure the pre is ok......You dont NEED the pre....the DIGI ones are fine....If you LOVE the pre so much, make sure you are using the line in not MIC in on the DIGI

Last edited by Twig; 16th December 2010 at 12:46 AM.. Reason: additional
Old 16th December 2010
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Is it too late to just suggest you use a Fender Twin?

Amps don't record the way they sound in a rehearsal room or on a stage.

In a real acoustic environment, the sheer loudness of a Marshall makes the AIR MOVE and that gives a sense of THICKNESS or enveloping power of sound. The sound surrounds you in an envelope of sonic sonicness.

But a lot of that comes from DISTORTION, and when you mic distortion you hear all the fizzy high frequency fizz that makes the recorded sound VERY POOR.

First just try dropping the gain.

...But a well mic'd Fender Twin turned up to high volume, high gain -- usually -- gives you the BALLPARK sound you're trying to get from your Marshall in the first place.
Old 13th January 2011
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_farfallen View Post
I know this isn't particularly helpful, but my greatest joy with this amp was when I started using my mates Mesa Boogie instead. I always found the mode four great live but spent literally a year trying to get 'my sound' out of it. If you can get your hands on them, try some other amps!

I also use a Gibbo SG so I can totally understand where your coming from!
I use a mode iv, and I loved it at first, and started drifting from it...until I thought outside the box. First, I have to HIGHLY suggest that there is no marshall cab in the world that will do this amp justice. Period. The mesa stiletto cab is incredible with it. The peavy 5150 and new 6505 do well with it as well (of course make sure you are using the correct output since output I is 16ohm and output II is 8ohm). Now the trick is in the mic arrangement and the fx loop.

The amp is very reactive to your high, mid, and bass (tied in with the resonance and presence knobs), and trust me amp one doesn't really start kickin until you get those speakers moving, so push that volume up!!! Once you find where you like your distorted level, turn your bass, mid, high, presence and resonance to 12o'clock. Try to find your tone with just the mic placement. I've found if you place a sm57 2 inches in from the edge turned in about 30 degrees about 4-6 inches back from the top left speaker in a mesa cab(depending on how loud you are) you find a good balance between the highs and lows, but it's still a bit on the muddy side. Also, I suggest recording in a treated room with either tile or wood floors, as I've had great success using a second mic, an AT4050 6-10 ft out ensuring you're properly in phase. Place it so it's about even with the top of the 4x12 cab, but angled at the reflection point on the floor between the amp and the mic. Further back is really where the sound wants to bloom, and with capturing that along with focusing more on the reflection point, it really helps bring out the high mids while giving space to those muddy lows. The sound becomes huge, and the bass starts to clear up, and the tone becomes very crisp, articulate, but not tinny. Use a combination of an eq and sonic maximizer in the fx loop, and BLEND the straight amp and fx loop together. From here balance your bass and highs starting with your resonance and presence knobs, then your eq and maximizer. For finishing touches use the eq settings on your amp. The slightest turn of the treble effects the mids and the bass, and the same thing goes with each of the three. Treble and mid also effect the level of your distortion. Treble seems to make it more brittle, and mid seems to effect the distortion in the bass. It will take you quite a while to find your sweet spots and get the eq's set right, but once you find it, there's an incredible sea of tones inside that head...in all channels. Final step is once it's going into the daw, record to two separate mono channels. Bus them together in a blend usually a little heavier on the sm57 side than the condenser. Run a high pass to clean up the unneeded bottom. Low pass doesn't need to be used as the sound naturally starts to fall off around 5-6k and is non existent by 15k. Finally run a parametric with a decent q down about 4.5db somewhere between 100-250. Multiband compression works well here too. Crank it up, rock it out and enjoy your new love of the amp.
Another trick I've played with has been finding the sweet spot where the mic and the emulated line out are in phase and sound relatively similar. Get your tone right, record. Take the emulated line you recorded, and mute it. Find in your other recorded track where the areas seem to be the muddiest...usually that 100-250 range, sometimes around the 700 range seems to be a lil nasty as well. Now mute your mic track and go to the emulated line. Filter so most of the tone is just in that area. Flip the phase. Blend lines together. It's all about experimenting, but I've had some great luck with them!
Old 20th June 2013
  #19
Here for the gear
 

I would have to say its your pickups, rise against use emg 81 and I think the 60 too, I have a mode 4 and there cool, if your sg is passive don't use passive emgs there bad, try Seymour Duncan Duncan distortion SH-6 or the Duncan Custom SH-5. Allso with the mode 4 keep the gain at 5 or under if you go over 5 it starts to get muddy. I'm a nerd when it comes to pickups I have all the pickups I wrote about and more, rock on!

Last edited by Ryancuts; 20th June 2013 at 12:12 PM.. Reason: more info
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