problems mic-ing half stack with SM57

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Mikey Spencer
Member Since: Apr 26, 2007

so here's what im working with..... a SM57 obviously, a marshall JCM900 cab/line 6 flextone 2 hd hg head, an art project series tube preamp, and a crappy behringer mixer but i have a yamaha mg-16 in the mail. I've been mainly having trouble with distortion. It won't pick it up that loud but then when i palm mute it is waaaay too loud and it just doesn't sound good at all. Basicly what im wanting is advice on placement, eq, and anything else you guys think is important.

Thanks for the help

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I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Oct 12, 2007 11:51 am

I've only mic'd a 2x12 but the one piece of advice that I've seen unique to 4x12 cabs is this:

when you mic a speaker, you rarely ever mic the cone dead center. You move the mic a bit towards the perimiter. On a 4x12, just make sure that you move the mic away from the other speakers when you do this. In other words, don't mic the interior of the cabinet, mic towards the exterior of the speaker array. This will help eliminate picking up mud from the other speakers.

But if only certain frequencies are coming through loud and clear, then this tells me that your room needs some tweaking. Elevate the cabinet from the floor. Make sure that the cabinet isn't right up against a wall or in a corner. Try some bass traps in the corners of your room. Turn down the distortion on your amp, turn up the mids (oh cmon guys, you knew that one was coming). Those Line6 amps dont really like to be cranked either...they tend to make that "fart" sound when driven too hard.

Keep an eye on your gain staging as well, both in your guitar rig and your recording chain. This means to make sure that you're getting a strong but not saturated signal at each point along the way where you have a gain or volume knob.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Oct 12, 2007 02:33 pm

Beat me to it, Tad....


Honestly, you end up with 'wasp in a jar' once you record it. A little dab'll do ya.

Think 'crunch' over 'fuzz'. Try double tracking with one track crunchy (not fuzzy) and the other relatively clean, then blend the two.

Mikey Spencer
Since: Apr 26, 2007

Oct 12, 2007 05:37 pm

oh yeah, i think i should explain my room.... my room kinda small and 3 walls are carpeted with a thin carpet and the 4th wall has cork over it. There are two windows with foam squares covering them. My amp is in the middle of one wall and its not exactly touching the wall but its pretty close to it. My room is pretty packed full with stuff in it and that seems to effect the sound quite a bit to me

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Oct 13, 2007 04:23 am

turn the 'gain' or 'overdrive' or 'saturation' down on your distortion setting....also use the 'bass' control on your amp to cut rather than boost.

Since: Jul 01, 2007

Oct 13, 2007 06:53 am

Good advice from everyone here...

I would also back up the comment that the Line 6 doesnt need volume pushed like a tube amp. Thats why they call it modeling. I never liked the SM57. I always found it to be too sterile and just blah sounding. I am a Ribbon mic guy/convert and will never go back to anything else. Get a decent ribbon mic and use it along with SM57 & you will hear how your guitar tracks just come alive. Go with more mids and if you can get the amp into another room and mic it there. That will give you the chance to hear exactly what the mic is hearing and you can make adjustments then write down those mic positions/distances that you liked to recall again.

A lot of beginers get in front of the amp and dial up a sound that sounds great and then wonder why it sounds like poo when recorded. The mic should tell you what settings the recorded sound needs. A mic hears and translates sound way different than the human ear.

If I dialed up any of my "Recording" patches on my Vetta that I stick my Royer R121 Ribbon mic in front of and let you listen to them in a normal playing setting you would be like that sounds like crap. :))

Go to the music and composition section here and listen to the two new "sick" tunes from Visual Cliff. Listen to both tunes and just know that if I played through those patches in a room with you, you wouldnt belive those were the patches I used on those songs. My live performance and "sit-n-play" patches sound totally kick *** but would sound like poo recorded.

Since: Jun 02, 2007

Oct 13, 2007 11:19 am

Give her some mids on the amp. Especially if you're doing any kind of technical stuff, I hate when kids come in with their amps set to: BASS: >7 MID: <3 TREBLE: >7. Unless you love mud of course.

Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Oct 14, 2007 11:37 pm

uhh my two cents, u said ur walls are "thinly" carpeted, and also talked about how ur palm mutes and open chords are very different. I usually find that padding and the room are HUGE parts of the recording, almost more over than the mic at times. I always build a little fort of blankets around my amp, that extends about 2 feet out, totally closed off with thick soft blankets. The palm mute craziness is usually because of reverb piling up and distorting the sound (dont quote me on this one). But yeah, getting the space around the amp totally dry is usually helpful for distorted guitars, along with the whole less distortion and what not.

Also, i use the Behringer B-1, which is a condensor a few feet back. I findn that in this new day and age of cheaper mics y should we not be able to use condensors on stacks. I think the sound is way more defined than the sm57, even if its a "legendary" mic. 20 yrs ago i think ppl didnt dare put their condensors infront of amps, but well its affordable now.

Since: Nov 03, 2007

Nov 08, 2007 09:45 pm

I run an SM57 on a Crate 2X12 through a Presonus Tubepre and into a firepod. Then, I finalize my mix through a BBE Maximizer. I get an amazingly solid Breaking Benjamin/Slipknot crunch without losing a bit of tone. Like what has already been said, you don't need that much distortion. The more distortion, the less tone you get. Also, get rid of the Behringer, that is your weakest link and will always bring your sound down. Pay attention to your mic placement, a 1/4" here or there changes the sound dramatically. Make sure you speakers aren't driving to hard. This sounds great in concert but to an all hearing mic will give you the problems you speak of. Thats all I got, best of luck,

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Nov 09, 2007 12:25 pm

Line 6 have compression as an option also, I would never use it on a dirty tone, you will get volume swells like crazy. Just a thought in regards to your "palm muting too loud" comment.

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