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Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Lesson 8 of 26

Micing an Amplifier

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

Toontrack presents: Studio Pass

Ulrich Wild, Brendon Small

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Lesson Info

8. Micing an Amplifier


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:06:20
4 Songwriting Q&A Duration:26:32
5 Tracking and Comping Drums Duration:27:24
6 Editing Drums Duration:16:25
7 Drums Q&A Duration:31:15
8 Micing an Amplifier Duration:25:09
9 Rhythm Guitar Tones Duration:18:52
10 Tracking Rhythm Guitars Duration:34:13
11 Tracking Bass Guitar Duration:23:34
12 Bass Q&A Duration:21:45
13 General Q&A Duration:16:30
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Tracking Vocals Duration:18:27
3 Vocal Mixing on Galaktikon Duration:24:37
4 Vocals Q&A Duration:17:50
5 Mix Prep Duration:34:45
6 Mixing in Logic Pro Duration:42:03
7 Mixing Blazing Star Part I Duration:27:14
10 Mixing Blazing Star Part 2 Duration:19:34
11 Mixing Blazing Star with EQ Duration:30:09
12 Final Q&A Duration:24:12
13 Closing Thoughts Duration:11:22

Lesson Info

Micing an Amplifier

Yes, we're here we're in subsection alfa three to a uh sector seven g and were ah we're going to start talking about we're going get get up, move our bodies and go over to this section and talk about um miking up a guitar yeah, yeah it's not right yeah what goes into getting a decent guitar sound happening and keeping the cabinets from rattling and keeping the thing in tune? Yes, and uh, you know, general general goodness like that now you'll notice in the first section if you go back and watch that which I recommend you do because I did some pretty amazing teaching I think, um I am using this boss and me and e which they gave me and it sounds really good it's a really great direct sound um but you know, nothing beats a really truly mike's amplifier and allowed it and turning it up loud and getting all these harmonic overtones though these things sometimes at the end of this whole thing you may not be able to tell, but when you're actually playing guitar and you're actually recording g...

uitar it's nice to have a a riel riel tubes and rheal live sounds and all that stuff, so um already got his own studio and I've got my own studio to what's called the danger zone that is pretty much a studio built for a guy like me who does all the vocals and does voice over and also records guitars so I've got a bunch of different amplifier heads and I've got probably one one and then I have like a mike set up and I leave the mike set up where it isthe and I have always come over and help me with that in fact, he just came over the other day and help me make a microphone work that didn't work before I don't know how he does it but he does it and and so this is a great way to start an idea it's a great way to finish an idea too I think if you like the way you get star sound thin record with it you know you can do that what do you think about because that's how I started out all the death clock stuff was just threw a pod into a computer yeah, I mean nowadays these am simulators beat a plug in or stand alone unit or what have you, um a lot of them are really good, you know? And if you like what you hear you know you have to come to a point where you trust your ears. Yeah, I think if if you think it's crab it's probably crap yeah if you think it's good it's probably good and if you if you get to the point where or you're you can trust yourself a little bit there's always gonna be second guessing and stuff but that's the whole point if you get to the point where you know against probably just second guessing myself it's probably good and you go with it and you can change and later if you need to yeah I mean like just because it's again it's it's like your approach to a song writing from earlier on you you put something in place and they might suck but you're moving on from that and you're not getting tied down with making wishes were in a position where this thing is always going to be involving evolving in front of us it's alive until we send it to mastering and even then and then even then we could probably change a couple of things but until the records come back in the box and until it's re released you until it's re release and remastered you could still mess around with it and change the song there's an old story uh I believe in one of david mamet's books on writing where he talks about uh an artist that got arrested for breaking into the loo museum in france for arrested for touching up his own painting because these things are never finished you know but the truth is these things sound great and amp sounds more often sometimes better I remember death album too I was ah we had recorded the whole all the rhythm guitars with marshals and then I usually I'll take I'll do all the leads undo all the tracking at home and I had had a conversation with joe satriani who is doing voices on metal lock lips the time and I said I was about to do some lead guitar stuff you're so you know we're going teo I go I use this this direct line thinking this yeah, those there were those who work and those air great and as long as you've got the idea it's great he had the same philosophy he said, but I might have something that's better because my studio wasn't built yet and he said he said what's your address and he goes, I'm gonna send you something, open it up and when you get it, um give me a call set it up and give me a call so he sent me this amazing of him is so cool he sent me a palm or cabinet simulator remember that thing a single rackspace thing that people love and use? And I think great it's like joe bonham also uses that instead of having amps like even than live but guys with really great telling the stuff use it and I had a bunch of samson my my office area and he sent me his ah box saturate er distortion pedal and so I set it up and I kind of had it ready and I called him at home which is amazing and he said ok what do you have for amplifiers because certain amps will breathe better in this box some of them that are a little bit more warm well sound better because you're gonna try to roll off the squawk eunice and fizzy nissen this top end and I said, well I've got I've got a jason eight hundred I've got this like I said I've got this bog nothing that's really cool goes ok I said I've got this mesa book years ok go over to the mesa pookie and so we set it up with him and myself and set up something that sounded different but because I was using tubes and this distortion box I think I got a creamier nicer warmer sound that it was hard to be you know that that leads sounded listen to recently does have a lot of harmonic over telling a lot of texture dimension to it yeah really cool sounding but that was because that was a big difference graduating from this to that but you know some of us don't have of a studio or we can turn into two five you gotta watch the neighbors yeah we don't want to get arrested for making music so we're going to show you how to do this if you do end up getting an isolation room which is something that I did end up building and I kind of don't go back really because I got it all set up have my marshals or my bargainers or my fenders are my boxes or whatever it is tons of different amps and what's going to be the sound of the record in this case we've got something over here which is a super league plexi reissue yes the great they have not the ultimate death metal amp but our goal and I guess it is and it didn't out it's good good enough for eddie van halen back in the old van halen days then it's good enough for us and absolutely well with any of these am's they come with the cabinet and these things they can rattle and especially this thing is sitting in its zx road case bottom which means that you know, like the air that it wants to push gets kind of negated by the fact that it's on wheels and it's just by race and and rattles the first thing to do is think that thing out of there yeah ok, give me a hand I was told I wouldn't have to do any lifting but yeah ok, here we go so we are sending it down these things these cameras they could be on wheels themselves this one isn't um I would take the wheels off because again those things rattle and they can get picked up especially need to chunky chunky stuff right um uh the things that can rattle our the's handles so very often it's necessary to go in and actually titans diseases just tighten the screws and make sure that these things are not rattling anymore or our styles that could be same thing behind where the jacks are for uh for the speakers um you know for the cables you want to make sure those air tightened and then last but not least you know if you can see this but there's these handles right here those coming rattle sometimes and if they do you want to duck tape the heck out of those things just smear it with mary with duct tape again fifty seven and tape fifty seven thirty seven conductor and then this thing should be about ready some some of these things you can take the grill out they couldn might make things easier well yeah that could come into play when you're actually lining up to mike lining up the micro sometimes two grills themselves rattle there you go you know it could be um but what we do what I like to do is I use the fifty seven this syria wonderful little mike and we just plop them I'm going to speak of it you should really start playing this thing a little bit you know I think I should allow so you've got a camera right here and sometimes with the angle that I like to see you want to see the front angle but you also want to see the distance from the side but I don't know maybe you want to angle the amp front words just to see its relation to the cone yeah, we're going to see that you just think don't answer move a little bit more like that yeah ok, so we're just going to get a sound now this is a super leap lexi and everyone in here house upon their airports because this doesn't have a master volume what has is you know we haven't jumped here probably guitar nerds you're getting the high the trouble in the the regular trouble or the normal section to be fused together so I'm gonna play les paul through martial if this sounds bad it's my fault because this is a classic a combination of sounds here is uh well yeah oh here's here's your cable there I'm gonna get my ear plugs maybe you should just set the mikes of real quick ok before you get going we don't have to be normal. You um so what we've got going on very often we have a fifty seven you have one mike and that makes it easy because you won like one preempt one input and, uh you know there's really not much more to it um but things get difficult when you want to get a little more tricky and you want to have to mike's going on. Um this is just a replacement for now because we're going to get a second like, use a four twenty one for this one. Um when you have more than one mike it's tempting to want to record two tracks of the same performance with two mikes but that could be again kind of going against you as far as making decisions is concerned because you comfortably like dragging around two tracks two mikes and two sounds re balancing and you know it's, why? Why do you want to do that to yourself? Mix them together one sound, one performance, one track, one finger get it done. You know, commit to something, I think that's the thing that keeps on showing up in both of our philosophies is commit to something early if you need to seek you think if you really are looking for something slightly different, you can get that through e cues. But, um and that is that lately the general thing is you having a distortion? Uh, like the crunch in the fizz and the low end working together you can shape that allowed more, but it's, like the microphones aren't really part of that process that's that's the am band pedals and would have sure now you recorded a lot of famous guitar players over the years, including the great and the late time back daryl yes, I have any certain techniques because that's the first thing I did when I start we're going all rick was that I just ask him about how I would match up because what would dine back doing this kind of such anyone tell me all these stories and and he would play here use petals often right? Hey do some petals he had he definitely had his own set up and I can't get too deep into that. Yeah, but the story to take away from that is he they that their demos of their songs and we started tracking the record and, uh we broke out the fancy pre yams and, you know, gutted sounding good and he comes in, you know, it just doesn't sound right it was like, well, that's what's different views on the ramp, your petals, your whole rig's nothing's changed well, the pre empt they're not the same preempts I was using oh, what were you using instead of like the needs and the p I's and all the fancy flaccid, beautiful sand just excuse is different and because, well, that was using the mackey, so we decided well, it's plugging the mackey because that'll get it back to what he had and they will be happy so they had two big mackey out there plug it in you know it doesn't sound the same well why not? We're using the mackey well, it wasn't that mackey well, which mackey was it comes in with something smaller than this this is not a mackey but doesn't matter so we're going all right let's plug that in and meet those mackey preannouncing you know he was happy that was a sound yeah so it just goes way here getting fifty seven in the mackey I'll make your record yeah it's back to that it's it's not it's it's not the price of the equipment you know I mean and yet there is this the mackey the be all end all of recording gear no but it's good you know and so like don't be don't be ashamed of the gear that you have you know don't let that get in your way plus you know, uh it's not a bad idea you know there's a a curse known as demo itis we're slowly trying to dial back your fancy performance to whatever like you're sure for track thing that you did in your bedroom and there's something to be said for that that that style of sound you know it doesn't have to be is crystal clear for us toe to enjoy it now because perfect is boring right tell me anyway so here we are we have to mike set up uh we haven't plugged in we've got a running into um that beautiful little mixture over there um where we're going to place these mike's uh, you know, we're just going to shove him in there really? But teo to really see where we're going is helpful have a flash lights you can shine that in there and know where your cone is, where the center of it is with a side of it is you don't want to put a straight into the center because if you know what, what house speaker works it's a coil selling too wrapped around uh like the you know, the coil wrapped around the magnet and there's really not much action going on as far as the sound coming out the center of the speaker's um, so I usually try to place in somewhere, right in between the center of the dome and the outside of the cone I don't if you guys can see this, I hope you can get people in and you see this can you see anything out there? I can see it and I think that's ultimately I'm the one that needs to learn this, but but I also noticed, you know, when you're playing clubs and you're playing live that any time there's a microphone most people who are not guitarist will put him like straight on right in front of the speaker and what you hear is a tin ear quality there's a little bit more nasal, ian a little bit more piercing the second you move that thing just to the right a little after the cone, you get a warmer sound that's usually what I'm trying to dial in as a warrior sound that's you know and and metal I like a little bit of a warm or sound and my guitars, but but it also is just a more comfortable son a little bit more ear pleasing and even if you're playing cannibal corpse, you still have to dial in the right frequency. You may have tons of gain and all that stuff, but you still have to dial in. We have to enjoy listen thiss music no matter how heavy it is, but but just off to the cone is kind of the sweet spot. Well, absolutely somewhere on dh you'll you'll probably have to move them, especially if you're using two microphones um that you mix together because as as soon as you start using two microphones, you start having phase issues that can be other pleasant and pleasing or completely distracting and horrifying and the really only the only way to deal with it is to move the microphone physically on dno there's people that uh, go in with, like, measuring tapes early measuring sticks, but it really to me it's kind of useless because, um, the the depth of the microphone where the coil starts on the inside and the diaphragm is you don't really know what you're measuring unless you open these mikes up right and useless to me, so I don't I don't partake in the measuring, you are taking the listen against anything, the sounds, and we move it around because I know they're demos and magazines and the tons of things like that that will mathematically show you sure certain ways, and in fact, I've gone, I've gone just to steve eyes uh, studio and I've seen I've asked him, you know, hey, can you show me? Because he was in the middle of recording some final overdose in one of his his last record, and I saw his his entire I said, can I track your guitar from from microphone from, like, amps and pedals all the way to your mike priest? And he said, absolutely, and I just took my iphone and I just took pictures over here to the side, and I saw that he was doing pretty much the exact same thing I think he used this put them on the same cone just to make sure that he knew exactly which that was those were canceling each other out something. I don't know what he did. Well, there's different reasons with one of them is they're certain speakers may have been worn out more than others. Okay, some of them may have been replaced other times there are two different kinds of speakers in the cabinet. And so if you write a certain speaker over the other, you would use yes, some people have different wattage of speaker. Exactly, right? And so you you would once again use your years and pick the one that you like, but I saw he had, like, these two, they're like maybe a couple of I don't know if they were haphazardly a couple inches apart, but they looked like they were customers apart. The, uh for twenty one is that what it is? It's a four. Twenty one fifty seven was making sure and have them write next. And they had them both slightly pitched a little bit again. You know, axis these are directional mikes on dh that that means, you know, you're picking up more sound in the front in the back, right? That's where isolation purposes and in the live life situations, um uh, along with that comes a thing called the proximity effects of the closer you are to the source, the more low when you get and the more off to the side you get the more low and you get so it's a it's ah it's a preference point. You know, I've heard that because the four twenty one picks up a little bit more low and that's kind of what you want out of that microphone, that people, for some reason do put it on the lower speaker because the sound pools lower. Maybe I maybe I heard that. And I know I heard that, but maybe it's, maybe something that somebody made up. I had never heard that it could be true. I like that was that was something that if it makes any sense at all, like lower frequencies fall further to the grounds. Lower is low. Yeah, and higher is higher. What do you guys think? Bologna true that went out to the baths trusting internet. Maybe the floor like held more low into. I don't know because it's closer and keeps the vibrations down. Maybe I don't know. I think to me it's just a preference thing of over speakers and to not have there's the this goes back to drum miking theories to microphones picking up the same sound. If they are closer together than the distance to the sound source your cousin yourself a lot more problems which is why I keep the mikes far away from one another one had to a qatari government so you could do it more than one way I finish just like just like all this recording exactly ordered one was more than one way to do it. The other thing I noticed when I followed because I have all these pictures of steve eyes studio I followed this just a different mike positions all the way back and um and I noticed this was ah current thing and I started doing this too was that the fifty seven would go into if you have if you have the fancy studio uneven or anethe copy like a b a stripped of whatever those air called it for goethe bren ever yeah, but I mean it's like a number thing to it to leave ten eighty one maybe it sounds right and then this the four twenty one would go into an a p I on the little lunchbox thing and because that was just cooler for the for the warmer base for the warmer low insure said again preference it's all preference right? But I was looking for like hard answers at the yes sir and I think satya ronnie did something similar to that to which with east team makes and then and then so that's that is what I have and I have a third mike in my home city which is the uh the uh royer whatever one does going like I don't I'm not good with numbers of you guys haven't realized that yet but um but have them all blended into this thing so we'll take yours from here anyway in case anybody wanted to know what steve I did I think you did that I got to stick to the formula but you know it goes back to the thing it's the player yeah, I think it's the style of playing instant your hands during its if you if you were to go one steve eyes rig to play death clock songs it would sound like devon still sound like a lot of sounds sound like steve wide playing death clock you know steve I could plug into a garbage can and stuff like steve steve yet like the eddie van halen story everyone wanted to know about this and secret anthony played and it turns out as he says I'm sure that there are a million other theories but for the most part it was an amp yeah and he's just really good at guitar yeah it was like we would mike you're using this one what do you do with it like that? Don't you think it's not let me try it doesn't sound yeah you sure about this oh, now that works. Yeah. So here we are at this stage we here are in a room that's someone live you guys can probably tell this over the over the speakers and over the internet. Um, but there's reflections in the room that come back especially the loud and these reflections come back and they go back into the mike if that can be a desired thing for, like, more like a warmer rock sound or, you know, any kind of cool roomie sounds plan may on, uh, news of the world has a nice room sound to his guitar sounds really cool so some way don't yes, sometimes you want that, but we don't when we do, like, so seriously super tight stuff. Yeah, so what we like doing is we like putting packing blankets around this thing, so to keep the keep the reflections from coming back into into the microphones there, not always, you know, sometimes you have a packing plant could use a beach tell use whatever you have to make it work sometimes you have and I got relaxed and sometimes you don't there's usually duct tape involved, you couldn't use an old pair of pants you can if you have a really big pain that those work also for uh, four kick drums there and kick drums, you know hold on one of your pants. I put him on there. Anyways, I can't go through the entire thing of building a box, but sometimes it involves, uh, doubling up on that may be one in the front, sometimes even putting about, like a big, huge piece of foam on top, whatever you have around it's, all about improvising the snapshot in time again, you know, we're not goingto wanted to, like, stop your session, because, oh, my god, I need to have packing blanket. It can't be anything other than a packing blank, right? Do you something else, pillow. What have you sure? You know it's? The idea is to keep the reflections down and turn up and start playing.

Class Description

Adult Swim's Metalocalypse is a cheeky parody of metal culture — featuring the shenanigans of a cartoon band called Dethklok. In Toontrack Presents: Studio Pass, you'll get a closer look at the creative process behind this mesmerizing metal powerhouse-turned-TV-series.

Brendon Small is the creator and primary musician driving Dethklok’s music, including its four full-length albums. In this installment of Studio Pass, Brendon and producer Ulrich Wild (Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, Deftones) will show how they compose, engineer, and mix the music of Metalocalypse – explaining the recording techniques used for Dethklok’s drums, bass, guitars, vocals and effects.

The music behind the hilarious spectacle that is Metalocalypse is no joke. Join Brendon and Ulrich for Studio Pass and learn about the unique creative process behind the music of Dethklok.


John Thaxton

I love Brendon. He has always treated fans super well. There's so much wisdom to be gained from listening to him about workflow and music in general. Great class!

Aaron Thurtell

Being someone new and looking into recording songs, I found this class very informative and in a way essential, the idea of recording seemed over whelming and I had no idea where to start, being a fan of Brendon small and Ulrich Wilds work on Dethklok and Galaktikon I found it very enjoyable and must for any fans of Brendon small looking into how he goes about making a record