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Recording guitars! Looking 4 professional engineers advise
Old 23rd February 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Recording guitars! Looking 4 professional engineers advise

Hi
I'm recording my album. Im getting ready to record electuc guitars. I have a shure sm57. I know this by quality standards is a very cheap mic. But I've been told and read that for recording electric guitars this is a go to mic. It's been used on countless records and hit records in the past especially from 70's on up in the classic rock genre. I'm carrying the classic rock torch and would like to try and get the best guitar tones on record like all of us.

I've also heard its great for snare drum also.

Am I using the right mic or do you suggest a different one?

I also have a Nuemann M147 mic with an upgraded tube. I was gonna only use this for my vocal, & acoustic guitars.

I ran into this top tech guy and he just trashed the shure sm57 said its garbage and try using my Nuemann for guitars.

what do you think?
Please advise?
Thank you
Old 23rd February 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 
TRCS's Avatar
 

The 57 is probably the most used guitar cab mic in the world... That being said, try both and see which one sounds best with the rest of your gear. It may be cheaper, but it's not worse quality... those things are tanks. And yes, lots of people use the 57 on snare as well.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Try the 57. If you put it in the right place and use the right preamp, it might sound great. I almost always pull out the 57 on an electric guitar, then I compare the sound with one of my neumanns. I go with what ever works better in the song.
Good Luck!
Old 23rd February 2011
  #4
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dasindevin's Avatar
 

Why not try then both?
57 is a classic for a reason, it works - especially helps if it's going through a nice pre

I know plenty of folks like pairing a 57 with a ribbon (say a Royer 121 or a cascade fathead) - myself included

Also you can use the nuemann as a room mic and the 57 as a close mic
Enjoy recording your guitars and never forget moving a mic can make all the difference (and it can be a matter or inches with guitars)
Old 23rd February 2011
  #5
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Rednose's Avatar
You can also try a sennheiser 421, its a bit more lush than the 57.
Dial in the tone from the amp.
If your dubbling, back off on some of the gain.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Does any here like the cascade fathead II mic? My friend swears by it. He's told me he always used for 12 years shure sm57 ONLY, and was convinced their would never be a better mic for recording rock guitars til thhis fathead II came out. Now I see it has a Lundahl upgrade I have to ask him if his has this. I hope not its way more money for this upgrade...
Old 23rd February 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamanrock View Post
Does any here like the cascade fathead II mic? My friend swears by it. He's told me he always used for 12 years shure sm57 ONLY, and was convinced their would never be a better mic for recording rock guitars til thhis fathead II came out. Now I see it has a Lundahl upgrade I have to ask him if his has this. I hope not its way more money for this upgrade...
Ribbons will give you a somewhat softer tone than dynamics or condensers which doesn't always work for rock, they sound rounder and more glued but they also have half of the cut through than dynamics, for rock I prefer dynamics.

From what you write it seems you don't have much experience so I'd stick with the basics. Get the 57, place it slightly off axis about an inch from the cab grill and listen to the tone you're getting. Start with the amp at decent settings (like for ex. don't cut out all your mids and don't boost the highs too much) and adjust the mic position till it sounds good.

I think this is a good way to start because if you can't get it right (or close to it) with a 57, chances are you don't have a good guitar tone to begin with, so before you start going crazy throwing 3 to 4 mics in front of your amp not knowing what you should get, learn how to do it simple.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #8
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audiogeek's Avatar
 

Recording guitars! Looking 4 professional engineers advise

No one with a clue would deride an SM57 as inferior. It's not hyperbole to state that it's the most popular and oft used mic in the world, has been for a long time, and with good reason.

There's absolutely no reason you need a Neumann, especially if you're new to recording. The biggest mistake you can make is to buy a ton of mics and not know what they're good for.

You can get a LOT of mileage out of a 57 simply with different mic placement. Stick with that, and IF at some point you start to feel a need for a mic that sounds a little different, then you can consider other options.

Check out Bon Iver's album For Emma Forever Ago to see whats possible. This album was recorded entirely with one SM57.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #9
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Colonel Blues's Avatar
Look at those links, could be useful !!!

Slipperman's Recording Distorted Guitars From Hell

Guitar Tone video

Enjoy !
Old 23rd February 2011
  #10
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Joram's Avatar
 

You could add a LDC at 1 meter/3ft distance. sm57+royer121+U67 is a great combination: salt, peper and lemon.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #11
Gear Addict
 
dasindevin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shamanrock View Post
Does any here like the cascade fathead II mic? My friend swears by it. He's told me he always used for 12 years shure sm57 ONLY, and was convinced their would never be a better mic for recording rock guitars til thhis fathead II came out. Now I see it has a Lundahl upgrade I have to ask him if his has this. I hope not its way more money for this upgrade...
the fatheads are awesome hands down
I have a non-upgraded pair (bought them last year) and am always shocked by how good they sound (not even considering the price)
The cost for the upgrade about doubles the mic's price (IMHO not really worth it... kind of takes away from the "holy crap these mics are inexpensive, but not cheap!"


Obviously they have the ribbon sound (the FH's take EQ really well, so it is pretty easy brighten up the ribbon darkness) .... which i think is complimented quite well by a 57's bite

The ribbons can thicken up a guitar very well, which i think can help get that "rock" sound
Old 23rd February 2011
  #12
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andychamp's Avatar
Someone should write a joke that goes something like: "how many...rock guitar tone?"
But seriously, the 57 is as good a starting point as any, and it's a de-facto industry standard for rock guitar amps.
Nothing wrong with the Neumann, either, or any other brand. But you gotta start somewhere, and if you limit your mic choices, you'll learn a lot more about the effect of placement, angles, distance, etc.
You may find over time that you like certain mics better than others, and this doesn't have to be the 57, but then again it just might.
But like I said, it's definitely a good starting point.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #13
Here for the gear
 

I prefer the Sennheiser e906 (not to be confused with the e609) over the SM57 personally. I use it for both live and recording scenarios. I tried the SM57 and, to me, it didn't live up to the hype. So I returned it and bought the Sennheiser and have been extremely happy with my purchase. It's almost $100 more but I think it sounds better. A great sounding mic all around. Also, if you're looking for something in the SM57 price range, take a look at the Audix i5. I prefer this mic over the SM57 as well. It has a nice modern/bright sound compared to the SM57.

That being said, I'll eventually pick up another SM57 at some point just to give it another chance.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #14
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Aaron Miller's Avatar
The SM-57 kills on guitar cabs. You absolutely should not by another mic until you have used the 57 on dozens of recordings, have pushed it to its limits, have figured out what it accells at and where it falls short, and can explain why it's not getting you the last 5% on some sources. At that point, you'll have a really good idea about the characteristics you're looking for in a second mic and you'll be able to pick one that fits your needs/style. People on here can't help you with that. It's just something you need to experience. Once you do get another cab mic, you'll learn that it too has some drawbacks and you will often go back to the 57 for its unique sound, a sound you've likely heard hundreds of times on comercial records.

Just an FYI: A good starting point for a 57 on a cab is about 4" off of center speaker and 1-2" out. Taking it off center tames the fizz and pulling it back just an inch or so still has some proximity effect but it's not too boomy.

Good luck!
Old 23rd February 2011
  #15
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andychamp's Avatar
Funny thing about the 57: it's rarely my 1st choice, but almost never the wrong choice.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #16
Gear Nut
Recording guitars! Looking 4 professional engineers advise

Mic placement is much more important than mic choice on cabs. Any good dynamic will work well. Ribbons sound great but take care of volume levels. Same with condensers. Move the mic to a place where little to no eq is needed. Hp and lp filters are your friend.
Old 24th February 2011
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by caseycoughlin View Post
I prefer the Sennheiser e906 (not to be confused with the e609) over the SM57 personally. I use it for both live and recording scenarios. I tried the SM57 and, to me, it didn't live up to the hype. So I returned it and bought the Sennheiser and have been extremely happy with my purchase. It's almost $100 more but I think it sounds better. A great sounding mic all around. Also, if you're looking for something in the SM57 price range, take a look at the Audix i5. I prefer this mic over the SM57 as well. It has a nice modern/bright sound compared to the SM57.

That being said, I'll eventually pick up another SM57 at some point just to give it another chance.

This is strangely almost the exact same back story for me. I like my e906 and my i5 quite a bit. I have to get a 57 again, but because it went missing in my move, not from getting rid of it. I like having options.
Old 24th February 2011
  #18
Harmless Wacko
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shamanrock View Post
I ran into this top tech guy and he just trashed the shure sm57 said its garbage and try using my Nuemann for guitars.
That's why he fixes sh*t for a living.

HOHOHO. But kinda.

Anyhoo.

Whether or not you LIKE the capture sound of an SM57 on any particular guitar tone is wholly subjective and an endless can o' wormies.

I will say this: NOTHING(in the fabric of my experience) on the face of God's green earth will give you a sense of "closer to the speaker" AFTER downstream processing(eq.) than an SM57.

In short. It is a mic which "sounds close" when you capture, and CONTINUES to "sound close" when you rip and boost with eq. downstream.

Something that often CANNOT be said for a bewildering array of the various garden variety "alternatives" like the M201, the MD421, the MD441, MD409... etc. etc.

The "Old guy" way of describing this phenomenon is the saying: "it takes Eq well".

A good phrase.

Same can be said of the U87 on vocals.

Almost NEVER the "best sounding mic" on CAPTURE if you've got a few of the sexy alternatives kicking around.

However... as you get about 80 zillion records under your belt, you start to realize how often the "vanilla" characteristic of that particular mic on input simply trumps a slew of other mics when you've gotta fit it in a mix.

Call me crazy, but the observation extends/applies to "modded" and "hotshot" variants of stock u87's. Which often sound better on input and simply don't "take Eq." nearly as well later.

Guys who don't mix records day in and day out... MAY tell ya:

"Then don't Eq. them later".

...


See my original statement re: the "tech guy" at the top of this post.

HOHOHO. Pt II.


Grain of salt and all that.


SM.

PS. Most Neumann LDC's are appalling sounding for dirt guitar to MY ears. Just a dreadful "first choice" IMO. There are ALWAYS exceptions. I would just never START there.
Old 24th February 2011
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

LOL. Nice one Mr Slippy! Fat fist in the side of that ridiculous gearslutz notion of avoiding eq in reality.......smack! Love it. heh
Old 24th February 2011
  #20
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

haha, Mr. Slipperman, you rule :-)
cheers
Old 25th February 2011
  #21
don't over think this. just make sure your guitar tone sounds great standing in front of the amp, then put the 57 halfway between the center and edge of the speaker cone, an inch or two back from the grill cloth -that's a good starting place.

if it's too dark, move it closer to the center, too bright closer to the edge. not enough body, closer to the cloth, and back it off of the grill cloth to let it breathe a bit and sound more natural.
Old 25th February 2011
  #22
Gear Nut
 

I like using a 57 and a 414 on the grille, different speakers. I've also tried a d112 behind the cab (cab on a corner) tons of low end, and its quite useable in parts where it has no bass, then take it off when the bass kicks in
Old 25th February 2011
  #23
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ears2thesky's Avatar
An SM57 brings out certain tonal aspects that may or may not be what you're looking for. I pretty much always rock a '57 with whatever other color I require from a second mic. A ribbon mic is usually just what the doctor ordered but a 421 or A/T 2500 dual element mic also get top honors.
Old 25th February 2011
  #24
Gear Nut
 

I just want to give a big thanks to everyone here who took the time to give me all of your great thoughts and techniques! I will put to good use everything everyone shared here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 25th February 2011
  #25
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slipperman View Post
(...)Same can be said of the U87 on vocals.

Almost NEVER the "best sounding mic" on CAPTURE if you've got a few of the sexy alternatives kicking around.

However... as you get about 80 zillion records under your belt, you start to realize how often the "vanilla" characteristic of that particular mic on input simply trumps a slew of other mics when you've gotta fit it in a mix.

Call me crazy, but the observation extends/applies to "modded" and "hotshot" variants of stock u87's. Which often sound better on input and simply don't "take Eq." nearly as well later.(...)
@Slippy, re.U87: in your experience & opinion, does this also apply to the current production runs, or is it limited to "vintage" models?
Sorry for the OT.
Old 7th March 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 
Bob Amirian's Avatar
 

SM57 is the best starting point - extremely affordable, indestructable and used on zillions of albums.

Its bigger bro SM7b is great too on guitar cabinets.

Last year I've been recording cabinets with six mics:
SM57, Royer 121, Senn MD441, Senn 421 MkII, U87Ai and Earthworks SR-30.

CLOSE MIKING:
SM57, MD421 MkII and Royer 121 sound great and fat, and deliver the meat even when almost touch the grille. When you move them even a bit you can hear the differences.

Of this magnificent three, Royer is capable of delivering somewhat more dimensional sound, as it's not only swallowing all the blood from the speaker, but also gives you a hint of the room - it's fixed 8 pattern after all.

SEMI-CLOSE

Senn MD441 likes to be a few inches from the speaker, when too close it gets nasty. But is sounds very good, gets the full sound, too.

U87Ai in close miking the distorted guitar cabinet, pronounces highs that might be irritating, it doesn't recreate the very sound. But easily cuts through the mix, good for solos.

I had three great U87s from the 70's and they ALL sounded different. Very confusing.

Then I went to a huge studio to record orchestra and saw recording all acoustic basses with U87Ai's. I asked that famous engineer why he chooses AI version when there are approx. 50 old U87s in the studio's vast mic locker. And he simply said: Don't get fooled by all this vintage hype. Neumann is a wise company, continues to make great mikes, and U87s never sounded this full bodied as they do now. They're faster, fuller and - what's especially important - predictable.

So I bought AI version and found out he was absolutely right. There's simply no better mic for the acoustic bass, when you want to capture it with one mic.

If you care to hear my stuff, it's on my Facebook site, I'm lazy so I uploaded only 3 files since a week, the score theme is called "Clockwise":
Sound Tropez | Facebook

ROOM and CREATIVE USAGE

Earthworks SR-30 is a great mic, it gets used all the time in unusual situations.heh

I like to place it two footsteps from the speaker to catch the air, or right by the guitar player's picking arm to catch the attack (while the screaming cabinet is in the other room), or put it into a drum and record the cabinet through it, whatever. SR-30 is fast, very clear, very useful.

U87Ai set to omni pattern is also great when placed in the room adjacent to the one where the cabinet is roaring. Might even be a toilet or a hall. You get a naturally delayed and reverberated sound that gives you great sonic possibilities in the mix. And U87Ai has low noise so it's good for this purpose.

A noise is another subject, I personally love to add some noise to mixes. I usually add some white noise, its middle name is: dimension


Anyway, SM57 is the best starting point, whether it's guitar cabinet, toms or bottom of the snare. It's just a good friend for the road.

Consider the SM57 as a studio version of Frodo Baggins' friend, without whom he'd never make it through
Old 7th March 2011
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

`I ran into this top tech guy and he just trashed the shure sm57 said its garbage and try using my Nuemann for guitars`

No this guy is very wrong. If he´s a top tech, why would he say such a thing. You are trying to record electric guitars with it, not a symphonic orchestra. You could use the neumann at a distance for ambient though, if the room is suited. Looking at your question I think the following links will be of good help to you

Guitar Amp Recording

Recording Acoustic Guitar

Bigger, Badder Electric Guitar


Do take the time to read through these articles, there full of top notch information.
Old 7th March 2011
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Bob Amirian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spotty View Post
`I ran into this top tech guy and he just trashed the shure sm57 said its garbage and try using my Nuemann for guitars`

No this guy is very wrong. If he´s a top tech, why would he say such a thing. You are trying to record electric guitars with it, not a symphonic orchestra. You could use the neumann at a distance for ambient though, if the room is suited.
.
+1, I just wrote it below: U87 is great for capturing the room and ambience.

Yeah, top tech would never say such a thing. Unless he's a top elevator or fridge tech heh
Old 7th March 2011
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Old 7th March 2011
  #30
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek View Post

Check out Bon Iver's album For Emma Forever Ago to see whats possible. This album was recorded entirely with one SM57.
YouTube - Bon Iver -- Flume

Hmmmmm. That's a cool looking 57.

I know.... I know.....
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