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How about some micing tips for Tone Matching?

ethomas1013

Forum Addict
I watched Cliff's tone match tutorial and that was what got me interested in trying this out. In the sticky thread, someone suggested the Behringer ECM8000 as a budget reference mic so I went ahead and bought one. Should have it late next week and then I'm heading down to a friends house to play through his new Trainwrek amp. He's got lots of really rare boutique amps (several Alessandros, Komet, Calliham, Victoria, Budda, Straub, etc....) so I'm going to take the AxeII to try some tone matching.

I could use some tips for mic placement. We're going to experiment with both capturing IR's and tone matching. I have some home recording experience, but I'm no audio engineer. Any suggestions where to start with the mic placement for good results?
 

muudrock

Veteran
Cliff has stated that the best come from shooting an IR of the cabinet you are using and then tone matching the amp seperately. Micing for shooting IR is trial and error. Experiment with it. I do recommend using a good mic preamp though. Record a short clip. If it sounds good recorded, that mic placement is probably a good starting point. Tone matching/amp matching in general is an art form IMO and practice makes perfect. I personally like using mics that add character like SM57, MD421, R121. Haven't tried a reference mic yet, but would like to.
Hopefully some of the more experienced TM ers will chime in..
Good luck!
 

ethomas1013

Forum Addict
Thanks for the comments. I guess I'm looking for suggestions on mic placement using a reference mic. Should I treat it as I would any other mic? Or will I get better results with it a foot or two back from the cab? Just looking for some general guidelines as a starting point.
 

muudrock

Veteran
I've only used a reference mic one time to capture Far Field IRs. Im no expert but I would imagine you would treat it as a regular mic and try placement the same as traditional mics. The result would be a neutral IR as opposed to colored by other mics.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
The IR is vastly more important. Tone Matching is a nifty feature and certainly useful but you'll get far more satisfaction by concentrating on capturing good IRs.

The single most important aspect of recording guitar amps is micing the amp. Therefore the single most important aspect of using your Axe-Fx is the IR.

People are too hung up on "matching" or "profiling" an amp but fail to realize that when you are doing that you are basically capturing an IR. If you capture the IR separately now you have an IR that is fully separated from the amp and therefore can be used with all models. Matching and profiling cannot mathematically separate the amp's frequency response from the cabinet frequency response.

Once you do this you'll be surprised at how accurate the amp models are. I do this all the time and find Tone Matching is unnecessary now (in fact many of the amp models have had their built-in matching data removed in the latest firmware). Any differences between the model and the real amp are so minuscule as to be immaterial. A little tweak of the tone stack or EQ is usually enough to remove and differences. Besides, once you get into mixing you'll realize that you'll be applying EQ anyways so tiny differences in EQ are irrelevant.

Moving the mic just a small amount drastically changes the sound. The best producers have mastered micing. You can only fix so much via EQ since EQ is essentially painting with a broad brush where mic technique is akin to using a fine-point brush.
 

MaxTwang

Veteran
Before you go to you friends house try shooting some IRs or TMAs with the mic and your gear to see where you like the mic. Be methodical and take notes, start with the mic against the grill at the cap edge of the speaker, then pick 2 points between the cap edge and cone edge, then shoot the cone edge. Move the mic back 2" and shoot cap edge, mid cone, cone edge. 4" back and shoot again. Now 6" and 8" back. See which positions you like best then when you shoot your friends gear shoot a few of your new favorite positions.

If your friend has mic'd his gear he should be able to tell you what works best.

Most of all have fun and enjoy the learning process.

BTW the A B C D knobs can be used to really speed up naming IRs and presets.
 

ethomas1013

Forum Addict
Thanks for the tips MaxTwang. I do have some time to shoot some IR's before heading out and was planning to experiment a bit. I've done some home recording, but it's really been more of a hit-or-miss process. And I haven;t really done any recording for several years so anything that I might have learned is forgotten.

I wasn't aware that the ABCD knobs have special functions when naming presets and IRs. I'll definitely check that out.
 

Andromalius

Inspired
I'm currently trying to get an IR of my own cab, the one most single important thing you need is TAPE. So you can mark emplacements on the grille. it's cleaner than, say, marking those spots with chalk.
The downside is, if you wanna try different mics it becomes expensive pretty fast. I'm considering renting them, actually.
 

MaxTwang

Veteran
I'm currently trying to get an IR of my own cab, the one most single important thing you need is TAPE. So you can mark emplacements on the grille. it's cleaner than, say, marking those spots with chalk.
The downside is, if you wanna try different mics it becomes expensive pretty fast. I'm considering renting them, actually.
Make that a measuring tape. Measure the distance from the top left corner of the cab across and down, so you have X and Y coordinates to the mic position. Now measure out from the grill for mic distance, that's your Z coordinate. Take notes.

Don't try to figure out what worked best the same day, your ears are fatigued. Give your IRs a listen the next day and use your notes to see what works best.

If you're shooting multiple mics in the same position put a tiny piece of tape on the grill and place the mics the same distance from the tape.
 

aziz

Forum Addict
When micing amps to get a closest possible sound to "reality", my favorite combination became a SM57 in a good position near the grille, and a good quality condeser mic about one foot back, moved in DAW to get the phase correct with the SM57. With good headphones, it sounds just like being in the room. But that doesn't work for rock, then basically you'd just throw away the condeser track and keep the spiky SM57.
 
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