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Mic'ing synths through guitar amps
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Mic'ing synths through guitar amps
pristak
From another thread, Audio Resistance said:

Quote:
I just think the modular, synths and drummachines would sound cool mic'd up thru a cabinet. It might be a waste of time but I will not know unless I try it.


I don't have the ideal set up, but until recently I have always mic'ed up my modular through both a guitar amp and a bass amp. I find it lacks the full sonic range if I don't. I still do it for anything I intend from the start for a release.

The only reason I don't always still do it is that I don't have a sound proof area and the wife and kids don't leave me alone with free run of the house as much these days. Sometimes is is just easier to run straight into the DAW and listen through headphones.
Hi5
Whenever I am in a recording situation I always get a mic on my amp (roland kc series) and then a direct channel. I play mono out only but having the 2 flavors to work with is great when mixing things. Plus given I tend to play with acoustic performers the mic channel really helps get the synth more in the same space as the other instruments. DI synth mixed with acoustic mic recordings sounds horrible in my opinion as they synth always sticks out in the mix and is not in the same plane as everything else. Keep on with the mic'd amps!
unintentional states
I find it's always interesting to try and put recorded sounds in the context of the room. Sometimes I'll just re-record the DI'd track from a pair of monitors. Amps are a good way of doing this with a more harmonic gain effect. If something sounds kind of dry to me I'll often try recording the amplified sound from different parts of the room to bypass the need for any artificial reverb.
tragedybysyntax
hence why I need a coles 4038 to put in the room... DAMNIT. smile
bar|none
Have you guys ever heard of the Radial JDX?

Interesting way to add the amp/speaker without bleed

You can also use both the JDX and a mic and blend them. Need to correct for phase issues but this is not hard.
Hi5
bar|none wrote:
Have you guys ever heard of the Radial JDX?

Interesting way to add the amp/speaker without bleed

You can also use both the JDX and a mic and blend them. Need to correct for phase issues but this is not hard.


Haven't seen this before but it is a good idea.
However, I love my speaker tone!!
Still need a mic on my speaker as well as a direct feed.
Running both though would be nice. When it comes to recordings I'd rather throw away extra layers than wish I had more.
el clon
i tried it once a couple years ago (into a 20 watt guitar amp) and it sounded great, but i was worried about damaging my amp and haven't done it since.

isn't the level coming out of a modular way too hot for a guitar amp? would you need some kind of impedance-changing gadget to not damage the amp? or am i confused? i don't quite understand all that line level, instrument level, high-Z, D.I. stuff...

pristak, did you have to keep the modular turned down really low, or was that not an issue?
Babaluma
i do it occasionally for a different flavour. it's nice to sometimes get real air and room sound on a track for definition.

i'll usually send the synth sound to a reamp, via a balanced aux send on my mixer, then into a fender champion 600 in my tatami room (nice acoustic). it's important to place the amp where it sounds good in the room. then it's equally important to wear headphones and wave the mic around until it sounds good. i don't usually like it too close/dry sounding, and it usually ends up around 2 feet or more away from the speaker cone.

i'll use an sm57 usually, although sometimes my c1000s or v69me tube mic, into my chandler pre, back into the desk and through a compressor/eq, or straight into the converter.

all those stages definitely add character to any sound, and the possibilities with different positions, speakers, amps, volumes, mics, pres, pre/post processing etc. are limitless.
pristak
I run though a cheap "b-word" mixer and run the stereo out one side to an ampeg v-4 guitar amp and the other to a old style pre-all that shitty orange redesign look Markbass 800 watt bass amp with a mesa cab.
el clon
pristak wrote:
I run though a cheap "b-word" mixer and run the stereo out one side to an ampeg v-4 guitar amp and the other to a old style pre-all that shitty orange redesign look Markbass 800 watt bass amp with a mesa cab.


i have one of those little cheap B-word mixers too. i'll give it a try.
jeannot
I got b word speakers, kinda makes me sad waah
I would definitely run the synth through some sort of mixer before the guitar amp.
el clon
i can't wait until the unspoken B. company starts making modular gear!!!!
maybe a triangle-core VCO module for the low low price of $59.99, a dual Wasp filter for just $29.99... oh yeah. Dead Banana

i can't talk, though. i did buy one of their tiny mixers because it wasn't so important (only for gigs) and i didn't want to pay extra for a Mackie.
roland
when i got my first electribes i used to put them all into a little fender practice amp using audio thru in series hihi (not even a b word mixer in sight. alas life was much simpler when i just played guitar through an amp)

thankfully iv got that sort of sorted now but i still really like the xoxbox and sometimes the 101 thru it specially with the gainup and a bit of reverb for that thrashy acid type sound.

i tried taking the head phone out of the fender thru the mixer to monitors not very nice.. there is definatley niceness coming from the cone- air/room- ear combo

what sort of mics are people using to record synths thru their amps ?
MindMachine
Awesome stuff... I recently bought some cheap amps (Acoustic B-100 Combo amp - nice eq set-up, effects loop, passive/active ins and a 15" speaker & Fender Frontman 25R 10" w/ 3 EQ and excellent spring reverb) to compliment my loud ass ear splitting Ampeg VT-22 guitar combo w/ 2 x 12" feeding a Sunn 18" cabinet. I have bought a variety of microphones and am about to complete my music room here.

Two things that this thread has inspired me to ask:

1) which type of microphone (not necessarily which manufacturer... although that is fun to know) do you use for your amp micing? I suppose it depends on your availability of mics, room sound/size, etc.

2) do you also ever use a room mic in addition to a direct mic or does this cause some cancellation or other unwanted result?

I will be pretty new to recording synths in a studio through amps, but that is a primary function that I look forward to now that I will have the space and utilities to try such experimentation. thanks for any additional thoghts to what you have already stated. This is something that I have been itching to get a handle on for quite a while and the time is alomost here. My new room is almost done.

Thanks to the OP for firing this topic up! thumbs up
Babaluma
1) whatever sounds the best on the source. i usually come back to a '57 most of the time, but have also used a tube large diaphragm condenser and small diaphragm condensers with good results. unfortunately i don't own a ribbon mic. i'd say the actual mic, as long as it is of a certain quality, will have less effect on the sound than the player/room/mic position variables, so you wanna concentrate on those first.

2) whatever sounds best on the source. sometimes yes, sometimes no. if you use the rule of thirds (from the shure site: "When multiple microphones are used, follow the 3-to-1 Rule: the distance between the microphones should be at least three times the distance from each microphone to its intended sound source.) when double micing you should be able to cut down on phase issues. if not, just bung the freeware phasebug vst on the room sound and tweak till it sounds good. wink
el clon
i agree w/Babaluma about the mics; each type of mic will sound different. i used both a Shure SM57 (the standard guitar cabinet mic, which has a slight high-frequency roll-off and is on the midrange-y side) and an AEA R84 ribbon mic (which sounds natural and flat, but is on the warm/bassy side.) they sounded ok individually, but great when combined. i put the 57 right up on the speaker grill and had the ribbon about 12" back.

i'd also like to echo Babaluma's statement:
Quote:
the actual mic, as long as it is of a certain quality, will have less effect on the sound than the player/room/mic position variables, so you wanna concentrate on those first.


as far as room mics, most home studio people don't have rooms that are worthy of room mics. if yr in a typical bedroom studio situation (like me) all yr going to get is a bunch of reflected low-mid garbage. my studio is totally covered in Real Traps, which dampen unwanted low and low-mid reflections but still don't transform it into a lovely wood-paneled drum room. it does help a lot for mixing and monitor accuracy, but there aren't enough high-freq. reflective surfaces for a room mic to matter much. that's just my room though. (i did, however, make a portable reflective board to place near singers or at my feet when recording acoustic guitar and it does help counteract the deadness of the room. per Sound on Sound's suggestion, i glued a few dozen old cds to a large sheet of cardboard and i place it near the mics for a little ambience. it's subtle, but it works.)

something to keep in mind is that an expensive mic will likely sound just ok thru a cheap mic pre, but a cheap mic will probably sound pretty great through a great mic pre. it's a commonly overlooked thing. spending money on a nice mic pre w/a built-in DI, like those by API, Chandler, Rupert Neve Designs (Portico series), A-Designs and others, for instance, will be useful for not only micing things but also for running synths and drum machines thru.
n3wt15
I had an orange tiny terror for a while and would run my synths through it, would usually layer that with a direct recording of it, just to add the extra warmth or color to it.

Sometimes it didnt work, but when it did, it was nice to have access too.
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