DI with effects, or SM57 on the cabinet?

Discussion in 'Home Recording and Studios' started by LarsN, May 27, 2019.

  1. LarsN

    LarsN Squier-Meister

    Age:
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    May 13, 2019
    Austin, TX
    If you were going to record your home practice sessions and had a 2i2 interface, as well as an SM57. Which why would you go? Would you connect the guitar to the 2i2, and run it through something like Guitar Rig 5, and then into Ableton? Or would you use the mic on your cabinet and record directly into Ableton that way?

    Thanks in advance!
     
    wonkenstein likes this.
  2. Worshipcaster

    Worshipcaster Squier-Nut

    836
    Feb 4, 2012
    Dominican Republic
    If you have a nice sounding amp and a 57 and the room sounds OK and nobody complains about volume then definitely mic that cab... but there is nothing wrong with amp modeling...check out Chris Buck on YT he connects his board directly into an interface using GuitarRig5 and gets stellar tone.
     
  3. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jul 12, 2016
    Chicago
    I mic the cab. My trick is using 2-3 mics at a time...generally a 57 on one cone, a ribbon on another, and a condenser for a room mic. I find mixing these gives me maximum control over the performance. I don’t like doing too much with the recording in the box. It just feels too artificial to me.
     
    LarsN likes this.
  4. drewcp

    drewcp Squier-holic

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    Dec 14, 2018
    Saint Paul, MN
    It would really depend on the acoustics of the room, the amp/speaker combo, and how loud I was allowed to play while recording.

    For about $30-50 used, you can find a DI box that has speaker simulation built in. It would go in between your amp and cab. Like a Hughes and Kettner Red Box.
     
  5. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jul 12, 2016
    Chicago
    The importance of room acoustics cannot be overstated. You’d think that jamming a 57 into a cone would be as isolated as can be, but the room makes a huge impact on recording quality in determining noise, echo/dead spaces, and some tonal contortion. I record voice over and eBooks too, and in that the axiom is room>mic>performance(technical performance)>pre>everything else. I’d say this is somewhat different for recording guitars, but not much. Essentially, you look at what can most easily ruin a performance, and that’s first, and so on down the line. The room factors into so much that you can be the best guitarist on your best day, but if the room is noisy and dead and the bass isn’t controlled, you come out with a muddy mess that sounds stifled.

    If you can’t get good results in your recording room, then I would look for alternatives.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    drewcp likes this.
  6. wonkenstein

    wonkenstein Squier-holic

    Feb 3, 2017
    NH
    Loaded question there! Depends on if you think your practice sessions might be used later as tracks to build compositions on. You might actually want to try both to see what you like the sound of best.

    If I was strictly going after critical listening of my tone out of the amp to see how that recorded, I'd try the SM 57 and try it in a few different places. Directly over a voice coil right up against the grill cloth, off axis into a speaker cone, off axis between the two speakers. If your cabinet has an open back, try the mic aimed sideways into the back of the cabinet. The more indirectly you've aimed the mic, the warmer the tone can get. I guess the other thing is, are both 12" speakers the same? It's yet another variable.

    But, going strictly for critical listening of your own playing technique, accuracy and execution of parts, I'd go with the DI and keep it super clean. That is one hell of a learning/teaching tool. Two of the valuable things this taught me was that in a band context, I was overplaying and my tones were too fat for the band mix.

    Finally in a recording scenario (depending who is manning the board) you might end up with a combination of the two. I've had situations where the engineer wanted a mic on the cab as well as a DI just for presence.

    Depending on your goals you might experiment a little. When you have it dialed in just right for your particular instrument/amp combination your ears will definitely tell you. Have fun with this!
     
    optofonik likes this.
  7. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    I personally like the microphone approach, partly because I could never get satisfaction with recording direct. I have to say after a few unconvincing tentatives, I didn't pursue. I also don't have headphones, so this solves that.

    I like speaker interaction in my tone, half the fun is there.
     
  8. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Jul 12, 2016
    Chicago
    I was reading some posts, and reflecting a little. I think there might be two conceptual approaches here. Both seek out the best tone for the musician. I think the differences are akin to the differences between hand carving (dealing with spacial acoustics) and using a CNC machine (using software tools). I don't think there's much difference other than the comfort level with the approach. If you're bad or lazy with a CNC machine (creating templates, programming, maintenance, etc.) you'll get a bad result. If you're lazy with room treatment, mic placement, preamp usage, etc, you'll get a bad result. If you put in the effort with either approach, you can get a good result. I think it's just what people are comfortable with. I started playing in the 80's and recording 20 years ago, so using a mic/preamp/cab approach makes sense for me and it feels right. I like to have my hands on things. It may make more sense to others to simply modify sound waves digitally, since in the end, that's all this is anyways. Neither is a bad answer, I think, it's just what makes sense to you and what you have access to.
     
    SoundDesign likes this.
  9. Bassman96

    Bassman96 Squier-holic

    Age:
    41
    Nov 13, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Is there a particular reason you can't fo both? I usually run a mic on my cab and a direct signal together when I record my bass. The lows produced by the cab simply can't be produced by the line signal correctly and the line signal is sharper on the notes. Carefully blended it sounds much fuller than just one or the other.
     
    Conghaille and drewcp like this.
  10. Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson Squier-Meister

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    For my self I like mic. the amp. I feel like I get the true sound of the amp that way. Gets the same sound I hear.
     
  11. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    Makes sense if like what Conghaille mentionned, you can't tweak the environment where it is recorded. The room might eat that sharpness you look for in the line signal.

    Maybe you can get that too by placing microphones in different positions, in a room that has a neutral tonality.
     
  12. LarsN

    LarsN Squier-Meister

    Age:
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    May 13, 2019
    Austin, TX
    Thank you for a very in-depth response! Lots to chew on there. Thankfully, at least for now, I'm only looking for a way to record my progress as a guitar player. (today is day 16 since I first picked it up to play.) So I guess it really doesn't matter much what I do, but recording DI clean might provide the kind of feedback I'm looking for.

    I guess I didn't realize a device like this was an option. So If I understand the connections here, I put this at the end of a pedal train (or maybe on it's own between the guitar and amp... Then run an XLR from the DI up to my sound card's second input. Record input 1 as DI, and input 2 as SM57 (or whatever?)


    I didn't realize that the DI devices like Davis Sharp posted existed. I thought they were pass through 1/4 that then connected to the PC via USB. Connecting to my existing sound card via XLR is a lot better option I think.

    (I guess directly to answer your question: "is there a reason I can't do both?" I would say... because I didn't know how to plug into both my 2i2 interface AND the Amp at the same time.) :)
     
    Davis Sharp likes this.
  13. Bassman96

    Bassman96 Squier-holic

    Age:
    41
    Nov 13, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    The absolute simplest and cheapest way would to run one of these off your guitar with one end going to the amp and the other to your interface...

    20190528_131457.jpg

    You can grab them at RadioShack if they still exist in your area or just about anywhere that sells audio equipment pretty cheap.
     
    Davis Sharp likes this.
  14. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Dr. Squier

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Mine is at the front of the signal chain to run a clean signal to the interface.
     
    Conghaille likes this.
  15. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-holic

    I'm lucky to have Amplitube 4 Max with Fender packs etc so I can dial in pretty good sounds going in direct with that as a plug-in. I hate noise in recordings and will go to fairly significant lengths to eliminate it. If I'm trying to really create Soundshapes© with full studio mojo in effect, I'm going to go organic and mic up an amp in an interesting room...
     
  16. ksandbergfl

    ksandbergfl Squier-Meister

    371
    Sep 7, 2015
    In the old days (mid 1980's), I mic'd my Peavey amp with a SM57 clone. It ran into a mixer. At the mixer, I routed the signal to the effects bus that had a digital delay on it.. then ran the delay into another mixer input. I would set the delay to 5ms-10ms. The guitar mic input I would pan hard left, and the delay input hard right.. my guitar would sound HUGE, basically "double tracked".

    With digital recording, now you can do the same thing by recording a single mono track, and then copy-paste it onto a second track, with the start time a few ticks different than the original track.
     
  17. optofonik

    optofonik Squier-holic

    Use the mic. Monitor direct, not through Guitar Rig. Latency is anathema to productive practice.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  18. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-holic

    Age:
    49
    Jul 12, 2016
    Chicago
    Quite honestly I don’t know what you’re sayin’. Simpler=better? If so buy an acoustic and an iPhone and be done with it.
     
    optofonik likes this.
  19. optofonik

    optofonik Squier-holic

    Actually I'm amending my answer. See above.
     
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