Saturday, August 26, 2017

Recording direct, or by mic'ing amps

I'm wondering about going direct into the audio interface vs mic'ing the amp. I've been mic'ing my two amps: one is a Blackstar ID:15 TVP, new: $225. The other, Fishman Loudbox Artist which is an acoustic guitar amp, new $520, both of which are solid state. So, not exactly high-end amps, and not exactly made for the purpose I'm asking of them (clean electric guitar). And I'm mic'ing them with Audio Technica 450D mics (they were promoted as “SM57-like” around 2004, and probably aren't the greatest mics for this job.) So the equipment is not, well, professional level.

Seems like my recordings are muddy, especially the low-end. There's no clarity in the low/mids and sometimes (often?) I hear a "runaway" mashing of sounds into like a hum of noise. Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it certainly isn't clear like what I hear on the recordings of the guys I admire. 

I've done a little eq'ing in Audacity (I know, I'm switching to Reaper), which helps, but I'm still not happy. Some of the ambient guys I follow (Andy Othling, Monochrome Seasons), mic their amps, but they are using Suhrs, or Matchless, and wow, these are $2,500+ amps that I'm sure sound fabulous! And probably using high-end, exact-correct mics, which are also expensive.  No way I'm springing for two amps and mics. On the other hand, Chords of Orion for example, goes direct and uses an amp simulation and he gets great sound. I'm not a gigging musician, (those days are way over), so I don't need the amps if I don't have to.

I've heard it said about audio engineering that the best EQ'ing, is no EQ'ing. The point being that you should go back to the source of your noise and clean it up; not fix it in post-recording. So, setting that objective, I've decided to start recording direct to my computer interface. 

It'll take some slight re-jiggering of my studio to go direct to my Steinberg UR22 interface, but it's doable for hopefully just the cost of two patch cords. So I guess that's my next project; give it a shot. 

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