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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
L6 sent out their latest blog post, coming from Michael Bienhorn, who refers to his mixing in one aspect as creating a "humongous wall of guitars" then they cite the bands he's produced, including Soundgarden, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Hole, Korn, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.


I'm not sure I think of any of those bands when I picture "humongous wall of guitars", but YMMV...

One thing that stuck out to me was:

I have always preferred to position the capsules right up on the speaker grill, dead center on the speaker cone, because that's where all the definition and presence are. As you start to move away from that it tends to muddy the sound up a little bit.
Another interesting thing he said:

And I've found that with a 4×12 or a 4×10 cab there are usually no more than two speakers that are good. Typically, there will be one that sounds great, one that sounds really good, and the other two are just meh or even bad. Once in a while there will be a cabinet with only one good speaker, and then I'll have to determine whether it's going to be better if I just pick a single mic and live with it, or if I want to use two mics on that single speaker.
Here's the whole post.

What do you think?
 
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ya boi
ESP, Kemper, Marshall
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I generally agree with him about the speaker quality thing. I know in my Engl the top two speakers are meh, bottom right is good, and bottom left is fucking incredible. Disagree with him about the mic position thing, though. While that position can sound great, sometimes a tone is asking for the mic to be put somewhere else.
 

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I'd think with the mic positioned on axis and dead center, that you'd have to apply a shit ton of post EQ to make it sound decent. However, if he's using a 421 or a ribbon mic (121 or 160), then I agree that they sound better close and centered. A 57 in that position wouldn't be good.
 

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Thread Killer
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Straight down the centre is quite a well known technique, I've done it before with an M160 and it worked well and I know all of Josh Middleton sounds are done that way, mainly with a single 57.

I think it's one of those things where you can only try it and trust your ears rather than what you 'think' it would sound like.

I remember years back, Russ Russell posted a picture on the Sneap forum of his mic'ing for a Napalm Death album which was four mics on a single speaker. He got vilified by all the knowledgeable internet contributors that 'this can't sound good', 'no, that won't work' etc But ultimately, have any of them recorded albums for At the Gates, Dimmu Borgir, Brujeria, Samael, Evile, The Wildhearts etc? Sometimes, something works because it just does.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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I've heard LOTS of different people say that if you audition all four speakers of a 4x12, you WILL have a preference. I haven't done this in years, I've just gravitated to one and stuck with it, but I should probably do it again. But, yeah, that's pretty standard.

As for close micing a speaker right on the cone? Eh, depends on the amp, depends on the mic, depends on the sound you're after. For me, with a SM57, a V30, and a Recto, this is too bright. It might work for aggressive rhythm tones with my Mark, though. A ribbon or something darker, however, could very well work right on the center.
 

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Not baked anymore.
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This was the song that got me into Ozzy right after I started playing guitar. That's what I call a wall of guitars, despite the producer involved. (In this case, it was Beinhorn)

The guy's got a hell of a lot more cred to his name than I do and most likely ever will, so I have a hard time challenging his opinions. I know in my case, I've never put a mic in the center of a speaker and heard a good sound come from it, but I'm limited to experience with a 57 and an e609.
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've usually ended up with the mic (a 57, always, in my limited experience) sitting roughly where the cone and cap meet, so maybe 1-2" off center. Maybe I'll play around with this more going forward. And, i forgot all about that Ozzy record, that was a great guitar album.
 

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The 57 in the middle sucks. I prefer 45 degree about half way between dust cap and edge and 2-3 inches off.

Then I bought a ribbon mic and holy shit does it sound sooooo good centered on the speaker about 5 inches off.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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I've usually ended up with the mic (a 57, always, in my limited experience) sitting roughly where the cone and cap meet, so maybe 1-2" off center. Maybe I'll play around with this more going forward. And, i forgot all about that Ozzy record, that was a great guitar album.
Same here, FWIW, and I suspect you and I go for VERY different sounds. :lol:
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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ya boi
ESP, Kemper, Marshall
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that really is the best position. you're pretty much guaranteed to get a tone that's decent, if not fantastic. in recent projects i've experimented with other mics and positions, but i still put a 57 where the cap and cone meet as a fallback in case i end up not liking the other tone. sometimes i even get lucky and the 57 blends in really well with the other mics i've put up!
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
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Centre of the cap sounds absolutely fucking horrific for high gain. Anybody who professes to get good tones here is recording light crunch at the most. Also the proximity effect of being right on the cloth tubs up the mids and can cause all kinds of phasing, particularly with multiple mics.

1" off, on the edge of the cap, and sometimes off axis if it's particularly fizzy, is always the best starting point. If it sounds bad there, it'll sound bad everywhere, and you need to use another speaker within the cab.

Straight down the centre is quite a well known technique, I've done it before with an M160 and it worked well and I know all of Josh Middleton sounds are done that way, mainly with a single 57.

I think it's one of those things where you can only try it and trust your ears rather than what you 'think' it would sound like.

I remember years back, Russ Russell posted a picture on the Sneap forum of his mic'ing for a Napalm Death album which was four mics on a single speaker. He got vilified by all the knowledgeable internet contributors that 'this can't sound good', 'no, that won't work' etc But ultimately, have any of them recorded albums for At the Gates, Dimmu Borgir, Brujeria, Samael, Evile, The Wildhearts etc? Sometimes, something works because it just does.
It's not so bad there these days, because it's frankly fucking dead, but generally speaking it was always a case of; if you're not doing exactly what Andy does, you're doing it wrong. I mean go figure, it's the Andy Sneap forum, but they've got absolutely no scope for anything outside of 5150's, Mesa OS cabs and SM57's.
 

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ya boi
ESP, Kemper, Marshall
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My favorite moment there was when everyone asked him how he got the tone on Tempo of the Damned because it was so good, and then gave him shit when he told them he used EMG-HZs for the pickups. He was like, "you just said you really liked the tone, so what's the fuckin' problem?" :rofl:
 

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I am Groot
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My favorite moment there was when everyone asked him how he got the tone on Tempo of the Damned because it was so good, and then gave him shit when he told them he used EMG-HZs for the pickups. He was like, "you just said you really liked the tone, so what's the fuckin' problem?" :rofl:
I'd argue that, by the time you're drowning the guitars in gain, that pickups have far more to do with feel than tone. Microphones simply reinforce the effect; even if you think you can hear a difference in the room, you won't hear it in the control room when recorded. I feel I have pretty good ears, but that goes out the window every time someone posts one of those pickup shootouts with back to back recordings. And after all of that, you have to consider that a killer guitar sound in the mix probably sounds like garbage by itself. I've met tons of players who say, "I just can't get my sound out of a Recto," because they never played one in a band setting. It really is the worst bedroom amp on the planet.

So, pickups, strings, and power tubes are all in the same bucket. Pick the gear that makes you not think about it when you're playing. It's hard to quantitatively describe, since everyone is different, but EMG Hz feel stiff and unresponsive to me. I feel like they are not responsive to my playing at all, have no dynamics, and always feel like I'm having to work harder than I should. An 81/85 set is the exact opposite, where I feel like everything is jacked up to 11 and if I breathe on it it's all attack. As a brand, their guitar pickups absolutely do not work for me, even though some of my favorite recorded sounds feature them.
 

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ya boi
ESP, Kemper, Marshall
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Agreed. Unless the pickups are very, very different from one another, the difference is very small. I recently tracked an EP and did a shootout between a Duncan Distortion and EMG 81. Surprisingly small difference and again, was more in feel than tone. The Distortion felt more aggressive, while the 81 was more rounded off. Thought the Distortion sounded better in isolation but the 81 sounded better in the mix. It's still worth it to shootout pickups prior to tracking because that 5% is enough to pay attention to, but it isn't going to be a massive difference in the high-gain realm.
 

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I am Groot
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The only pickups I used that flat out didn't work for high gain recorded were the Wolfetone Dr Vintage. They're A2 magnets and around 7.5-8.0K, so they absolutely would not compress at all. They just didn't work for metal, even though they sound fantastic for clean and crunchy tones.
 

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Super Moderator
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I've usually ended up with the mic (a 57, always, in my limited experience) sitting roughly where the cone and cap meet, so maybe 1-2" off center.
Co-signed. The best recorded guitar sound I've had was an SM57 and Royer 121 right next to each other, with the SM57 on the right side of the cone edge, and the 121 just to the left of it, closer to the center.

Having said that, man I'm getting older now and with a family comes certain sacrifices, so finding IRs that sound the closest to the live speaker cab have become much more a priority for sure.
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Agreed. Unless the pickups are very, very different from one another, the difference is very small. I recently tracked an EP and did a shootout between a Duncan Distortion and EMG 81. Surprisingly small difference and again, was more in feel than tone. The Distortion felt more aggressive, while the 81 was more rounded off. Thought the Distortion sounded better in isolation but the 81 sounded better in the mix. It's still worth it to shootout pickups prior to tracking because that 5% is enough to pay attention to, but it isn't going to be a massive difference in the high-gain realm.
Dig that comparison. The last time I played EMGs I absolutely could not get a tone that inspired me, but I didn't try recording with them. Did a song with the Jackson SL2 I had earlier this year that was loaded with Distortions and really dug it. But, more and more I've gone for what sounds better in the mix than in isolation. Not really sure I still love the Imperiums I have in my Franken-7, but they mix really well with the Custom I have in the H7...
 
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