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Author Topic: sweet spot in guitar amp  (Read 1856 times)

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Offline guitar45

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sweet spot in guitar amp
« on: May 06, 2014, 03:18:19 PM »
hi I saw this video and was amazed how such a large amp has such a small 'sweet spot' as the guy in the vid says.

my amp is really small, so maybe I have a smaller sweet spot, if there is one on my amp. lol



 :)

how do you guys record your guitars, electric and acoustic, amp and no amp. it would be good to know some ways to do it.
 :)
thnx
If I could only play guitar, I'd write a song.

Offline neilmac

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Re: sweet spot in guitar amp
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 04:41:46 PM »
Due to noise considerations (don't want to upset the neighbours :P ) I record my electric "direct in" to the computer (Zoom Multi FX pedal-Behringer pre amp- Computer)....
Lately I've been using an amp sim VST after recording to get that amp and cabinet sound... I like the FA3 amp sim by Fretted Synth Audio (freeware) and it's big sister the FA36 (which adds it's own set of pedals if you're that way inclined) :)
Acoustically, I've been mic'ing the guitar...works well unless my wife is vacuuming :P :P

Offline Wes

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Re: sweet spot in guitar amp
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 12:57:59 PM »
how do you guys record your guitars, electric and acoustic, amp and no amp. it would be good to know some ways to do it.
 :)
thnx
Since there are some great little sub-fora at this site thought I'd put in a couple of lessons-learned from home recording with limited stuff. Initially I just used my TASCAM DR-05 on a photo-tripod (being careful with my feet), about 6" off the amp's grill (at home/bedroom volume). I found that it gave much better results to turn up the amp if needed to get a desired 'tone' out of the amp, and back off (notably) the gain on the little mics on the DR.  This prevented alot of clipping, kept the freqs true; and the overall signal gain could be taken care of later in the mix.  As Glenn nicely showed you can fix those peaks & smooth the mix, but a clipped signal is a clipped signal. Best not to clip it in the first place.

Anyway, I picked up a Shure SM-57 for not much ("stole it" would be the figure of speech) and little 5-channer mixer and am much closer to sonic bliss now.  In fact since I don't normally play with my ear glued to the speaker cone (wha...?) it actually sounds better thru the mix than 6-ft away in the same room - all the nuances are there.  But the key, as Jimmy Page learned his lessons from the early work of Les Paul, mic PLACEMENT is everything.

The Shure guides in this area for guitar are pretty good and it really depends what I'm going for, especially since I play instro surf.  Having nugged out a drum track for 'Cities of Gold' by The Madeira, I endeavored to see what worked for both Patrick's great rhythm sound and Ivan's blissful melody.  Hardware is a AV65 Strat into a pedal-board, then to a reverb tank, then to the Bandmaster-like channel on a Custom Vibrolux Reverb. The signal is split before the pedal board and also feeds a '65 Champ with just some slap on it.  Placement-wise here's what I came up with:

Rhythm:  1" away from the grill, directly centered on the CVR's right speaker cone.  This yields some accentuated bass frequencies and lets the rhythm be very full-bodied, which it needs to be in a typical 4-piece group.  However...

Melody:  With the same setting doing the lead work there was a point that the freqs & timbre of the unwound G-string (over its higher vintage pickup polepiece) was completely over-the-top of all other signals. This was exacerbated by the fact that an overdrive was now in the chain (nearly turned off but simulating a Fender head's output transformer really working). I could've stuck a nanosecond thought in my brain to vary my dynamics when touching that string but there's no room left in the brain for such drivel.  So what I did was move the mic.  Simply moving the mic to a point 2" away from the grill and 2.5" right of the center of the cone (it's now off on the paper) cleared that issue up completely.  No other EQ changes were made.

So it kind of reinforces something I pretty much had heard & knew, but it's quite dramatic when you get to play with it.
Location, location, location applies to recording mics as well.  It's not "fun stuff" but when you turn the light bulb on it will stay lit.
Just my $.02 adjusted for the Euro, which is gradually following the Drachma etc.
 8)
Wes
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Offline Glenn

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Re: sweet spot in guitar amp
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2015, 02:43:47 PM »


Anyway, I picked up a Shure SM-57 for not much ("stole it" would be the figure of speech) and little 5-channer mixer and am much closer to sonic bliss now.  In fact since I don't normally play with my ear glued to the speaker cone (wha...?) it actually sounds better thru the mix than 6-ft away in the same room - all the nuances are there.  But the key, as Jimmy Page learned his lessons from the early work of Les Paul, mic PLACEMENT is everything.


I find it interesting that with all the 'new school' technology that abounds.... we still MUST depend on the old school ways and principals.. the rules of audio apply no matter how the technology changes... especially when dealing with mics, and 'acoustic' signals.
Perhaps this is why such classic mics like the SM57 are so long lived... as long as one adheres to the principals... and trusts their ears.

Quote
The Shure guides in this area for guitar are pretty good and it really depends what I'm going for, ....

Rhythm:  1" away from the grill, directly centered on the CVR's right speaker cone.  This yields some accentuated bass frequencies and lets the rhythm be very full-bodied, which it needs to be in a typical 4-piece group.  However...

Melody:  With the same setting doing the lead work there was a point that the freqs & timbre of the unwound G-string (over its higher vintage pickup polepiece) was completely over-the-top of all other signals. This was exacerbated by the fact that an overdrive was now in the chain (nearly turned off but simulating a Fender head's output transformer really working). I could've stuck a nanosecond thought in my brain to vary my dynamics when touching that string but there's no room left in the brain for such drivel.  So what I did was move the mic.  Simply moving the mic to a point 2" away from the grill and 2.5" right of the center of the cone (it's now off on the paper) cleared that issue up completely.  No other EQ changes were made.

So it kind of reinforces something I pretty much had heard & knew, but it's quite dramatic when you get to play with it.
Location, location, location applies to recording mics as well.  ..........
 8)

yeah, that's cool, and you've made some really good points here.  A good read.  8)

I agree, that once you've found a 'sweet spot' for the 'mic to amp' location, it doesn't mean that the next track you play is going to need that exact same sweet spot.. it may, as you pointed out, be a lead line that needs an entirely different spot with respect to cone to paper mix, etc etc.   

In our recording studio, we'd put time into preparing for a recording session before the band would show up, making sure all connections and paths are set to go.. then we'd put another hour or so into adjusting mics for the drums, getting the 'sweet spots' for snares, kicks, rides, hats... and THEN we'd spend another 20 minutes or so doing some A/B auditioning with different mics on various locations of an amp, then spend another 10 minutes adjusting 'room' mics or fine tuning .... it was tedious work, but the results and extra attention to details always paid off in returns with a 'better' sound.

next to type and choice of mic, location - as you mentioned Wes, is key. 
Mics not only pick up the amount of 'loudness' of a signal, but the tone as well, which can be changed by simply moving the mic around the sound source, and or moving it off or on axis relatively speaking. 

Remember the 6dB rule, comes into play here .... move a mic double the distance away from the sound source, and you get a 6dB reduction of gain in the signal (without moving a fader) ... and vice versa, move a mic from 2 inches to one inch away from the sound source and you get an increase of gain by 6dB.    6dB is a 'standard' measurement as a difference of 6dB louder 'feels' like the signal is "twice" as loud, while moving the mic to double the distance will sound 'half' as loud to the listener.  I use this rule many times in various stages of audio, from setting up mics, to recording, to mixing, .... this 6dB rule comes into play much more than what I've mentioned here, in all areas of audio production, and could be a topic unto itself.   8)

P.S. I still have a Shure SM57 which I still use certain applications, especially mic'ing up my amps. I used to use it for snares too, and while some use it for a vocal mic, it just wasn't my 'choice' for that, as I had several others that did a better job on vox. The 57 is prone to plosives from breath and popping p's etc - which is why many choose it's brother, the SM58 (same mic and almost exact same frequency response since they are the same capsule) which has a better wind screen and a bit of foam to help with plosives etc.

double P.S. lol .... I like your 'surf instro' sound Wes - very classic and retro.  Nice clean recording and overall production, and your guitar sounds sweet!

Glenn
:)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 02:47:19 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline Wes

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Re: sweet spot in guitar amp
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 04:28:34 PM »
double P.S. lol .... I like your 'surf instro' sound Wes - very classic and retro.  Nice clean recording and overall production, and your guitar sounds sweet!

Glenn
 :)
Funny part is I did that with the DR-05.

Thanks for the great studio notes. (6dB is also the radio term of what's typically called an "S-unit", and takes 4x the power to get there, so can appreciate that reference as well.)  Yep, all the guys I know who record regularly and/or have their own sound guy have spent a boatload of time on the front-end to nug through what it takes to make them sound like themselves.  Little tweaks for a particular venue; and in the studio, just because one can, customized sounds even for individual songs depending on the mood. But it's a real eye-opener how much 2 hours of noodling around for the sound can be butter or garbage for the 3 minutes of guitar that follows.  I have another mic bargain inbound (PG-57 for the Champ, I love running 2 amps) so now off to search for a short stand for it.  Oh, yeah, speaking of short... the sound of that amp can definitely change character whether it's on the floor, sitting up on the proverbial roadhouse milk crate, or on something else.

Fun stuff!   :)

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel