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Old March 13th, 2016, 03:15 AM   #1
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Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Hi all.

I just wanted to get your opinion about guitar recording technique.

I am using a single pick up archtop guitar that has an A6 Humbucking pick up. Sounds great through a Roland Cube amp.

I'll be recording using Logic 10. I also have a Focusrite 2i2 that I could plug into as well. Logic has a lot of amp emulators, but I'm wondering if it is better to record with a mic with the amp and monitor through headphones or go direct into Focusrite. I see advantages to both: a micd amp might sound more natural, but introduces any noise that the electronics present. But I've noticed some noise floor wth direct in as well.

Your opinions appreciated.

Jonathan
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Old March 13th, 2016, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Easy one. If it sounds good (and it's not clear of the guitarist is you or not) through the Cube, and this is the desired sound you want, the mic it up with something pretty clean and clear - Large diaphragm condenser, or a flat sounding SDC. With my mic box it would be a 414, or maybe an Audio Technica, through the interface you usually use.

Those Cube combos have quite a distinctive sound, so DI won't include the speaker effect - which on those is pretty critical to the sound.

Of course if the player, doesn't like the Cube sound, the DI and possible external processing if it's critical to the sound.

I don't use Logic, but Cubase - so far I'm not a fan of any VSTi guitar processors - I have Line 6 and Behringer ones available, but through simple preference as a player for MY preferred sound, the Behringer wins. Sonically, the Line 6 is a bit better, but the Behringer works on the sounds I like. Cubase's plugins come a very poor 3rd in the list.
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Old March 13th, 2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Thanks Paul!

I have a L.R. Baggs Para DI box that has a bunch of mind boggling EQ settings. Would you or anyone else happen to know if I were to connect my guitar to the DI and the DI connected to the Focusrite 2i2, would I gain anything as far as an over all improvement in sound?

I know the Focusrite has built-in pre-amps, so I'm guessing that adding the DI in the chain would be sort of adding another pre-amp, or am I off here?

Thanks again.
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Old March 13th, 2016, 01:22 PM   #4
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

I would mic the amp, the guitar (if hollow body) AND use the DI. (all on separate tracks of course) I'm not familiar with that particular DI, but most DIs have an XLR microphone level output and must be fed though a mic pre amp. Back in my studio days, my favorite acoustic guitar mic was a 414 (omni pattern). For many moons (and hit records), the ambiguous SM57 has been the go-to mic for guitar amps . Same for snare drum.
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Old March 13th, 2016, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
...if I were to connect my guitar to the DI and the DI connected to the Focusrite 2i2, would I gain anything as far as an over all improvement in sound?...
Is there a problem you're trying to solve? As has been recognized in other replies, this isn't a "what's the best way" kind of question. You've said that you like the sound through the amp - you and/or the artist are recognizing that as *the* sound. The aesthetic discussion ends there, unless there is a specific problem you're trying to solve.

I'd recommend laying down some test tracks. If you want to try some DI approaches by all means do so! Then, audition them with the artist.

I'd mic the cabinet and also a small condenser for the guitar - record to separate tracks and see if you like mixing them together.

A single-pickup arch-top suggests jazz? You can audition Logic's amp emulators if you want to experiment, but my sense is that most jazz players with that style of instrument are looking for a clean sound. Most amp emulators, by design, bring in various distortion methods. Nothing wrong with that, if it's what you're looking for.
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Old March 13th, 2016, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Thanks Rick and Seth.

No problems just looking for opinion. I am going to run a few tests both ways. My guess is that the amp with mic might sound a bit more organic. But both will sound good I would imagine.

And yes it is me playing the guitar and yes jazz. Wes Montgomery I ain't.

And FYI, the Focusrite 2i2 replaces my aging m-audio fast track pro usb interface, after very inconsistant audio quality or lack of for the past year. Avid has stopped support for this and the 2i2 got pretty good reviews and so far plays well with mac pro 2010 and Logic 10.

Thanks again.

JL
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Old March 13th, 2016, 05:46 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Here's an interesting trick... Years ago my son was playing metal through a Marshall 4x12. We mic'd it with a good ol' SM57. But the 57 is very mid-y and was a bit thin for his style. We also had a kick drum mic (e902), so we hooked that up to the other channel. Mixing the two sources gave us full control. The BD mic is all about the lows (resonance) and highs (beater slaps) and the 57 fills in the middle. Both handle high SPLs without breaking a sweat.

For jazz a single, large condenser mic is likely the best way to go, but I wonder if that SM57/e902 combo wouldn't do nicely as well. It was very cool to control the EQ by simply mixing and the result had a fullness that was richer than what we heard with single mic results. (That's probably due to subtle phase differences, though we had the mics right next to each other so things well well aligned.)
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Old March 13th, 2016, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
the ambiguous SM57
Not only that, but it's ubiquitous, too! ;-)
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Old March 13th, 2016, 08:31 PM   #9
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Oh God. . .I am a musician and just went through this for a few songs for an EP we're trying to self-produce.

there are a billion approaches, none necessarily worse than others.

I've done a couple songs with DI straight into an apogee duet from the guitar, using amp sims to create the sounds. . .was never super thrilled with that. They sounded OK, not great. Could be software or lack of experience.


Mic'ing amps. . .the more established way but very tweaky. . .slightly angle or move the mic this way or that, move it back a quarter of an inch, makes noticeable difference in the sound. Right now I am liking stereo recording with a mic on the dead center of the speaker cone (I have a 1x12 marshall tube amp so there's only one speaker), another mic on the edge. You record two different signals, but on a stereo track, so you can comp/edit them together, THEN separate and process the two signals. . .you can ride the volume levels separately, eq, etc. etc. to get a great guitar tone/blend/big sound, more so than with one signal.
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Old March 14th, 2016, 02:35 AM   #10
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

If you want the best options record two signals into logic 10

1: The amp mic-ed up with the preset the guitarist likes the best
2: A DI direct input so you can then use the Logic 10 pre-set amp modelling if you wish.

I have found the Logic 10 pre-sets to be very good but if you record the guitar clean via a DI you can then change them later to suit what you feel is right for the mix.
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Old March 14th, 2016, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

yeah, man, but, like, DI just isnt very rock n roll. man.
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Old March 14th, 2016, 01:14 PM   #12
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

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Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
yeah, man, but, like, DI just isnt very rock n roll. man.
Totally agree but I did a whole album in my home away in Glasgow last year just using an Epiphone casino coupe into a tascam interface and the Logic 10 amp simulations were very good and made tracking very quick!
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Old March 14th, 2016, 09:48 PM   #13
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

I was mostly kidding.

Besides my lackluster results using same (probably pilot error), one serious thing that kinda stinks about recording that was is you can drive yourself absolutely nuts with how open your options become. . .you can tweak ANYTHING. Amp settings, channel EQ, etc. etc. Endlessly. It's sometimes to much, especially if you're neurotic about certain things, like me.

I just did that with a bass I recorded DI and used amp sims etc. Too many choices. Sometimes being limited is good, in a way.
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Old March 15th, 2016, 11:26 AM   #14
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Thanks guys!

And Josh, yeah it is unbelievable how many options are available in audio from the very beginning of the chain right on through DAW, which is Logic. Holly crap, you start getting into filters and simulators and settings....your head just spins.

I'm relying on my ears, and sometimes they tell me to just keep it simple. Hell, I've even recorded my Jazz box dry, added a little reverb, and might leave it at that. If it sounds good to my ears I leave it alone. To someone else, it might need all the tweeking and adjustments.

I've been testing recording my guitar>Para Acoustic DI>Focusrite 2i2>Logic, and without the Para DI. Aside for complicating things more, it seems I can get the sound I want without the DI in the mix by using the multitude of controls in Logic.

Jonathan
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Old March 15th, 2016, 12:27 PM   #15
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Re: Advice on recording guitar- mic amp or...

Yeah, sorry, when I said "DI" I simply meant going directly into a computer via audio interface (or even the tiny input port), not necessarily a proper DI box.

I have Logic too. Last couple songs I did I recorded two mics. . .on one song it was room mic and close mic that I spent DAYS testing and tweaking to get what I thought was the perfect tone (wrong), amp in a closet so I could crank it and not have it blow my head off, other song only did one mic dead center on speaker (not usually advised but it sounds good so whatev.

Could I have gotten same/better results quicker by going into my Apogee duet interface and using amp sims in Logic? Maybe. I've done two songs that way and wasn't crazy about the guitar sounds on either, but again, possible pilot error.

Sometimes this stuff is very psychological and down to skill set, i.e. "what are you more comfortable with/better at?"

Some guys insist analogue outboard mixing gear is way better than mixing entirely "in the box" (doing everything in protools/Logic/etc., some say the sound quality is objectively the same and these other guys are fools. But maybe outboard gear guys get better results that way, for whatever reason. So it works for them.

Me? I can take comfort knowing that I will get mediocre results no matter what I use.
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