Old 04-21-2017, 07:55 AM   #1
akuster777
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Default mid/side recording with ribbon mic: thoughts?

Hi forum,

Lately, I've been recording guitars through combo cabs using a Shure SM57 and a AT2050 on figure-8 set up for mid/side recording placed between 2 and 4 feet directly in front of the cab. I like the resulting sound--detailed, full, and spacious.

But I've been wondering how m/s with the SM57 and a figure-8 ribbon mic might sound. (I don't own a ribbon mic--yet.)

Does anyone have experience with m/s recording with ribbon mics? Good or bad? Suggestions for an appropriate ribbon mic? Or am I better just sticking with a condenser?
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:49 AM   #2
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I think it's diminishing returns when ribbons are used as auxillery mics on guitars.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:34 AM   #3
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You might try to rent a mic unless you have other uses for a ribbon.

You'll get more room sound with a figure-8 (assuming the mics are currently pointed at the cabinets). 4-feet is already kind-of "far", and room acoustics will make a big difference.

And, ribbons have a reputation for rolled-of highs. Other than that, I think you'd just have to try it.

If you want something "different", have you tried a DI box? That would be cheaper than a mic and there's an almost unlimited number of amp/cabinet simulators (at little or no cost) that you can optionally blend with the acoustically recorded tracks. It's pretty common to record one track direct and another with an SM57 in front of the cabinet.

...There are a million different things you can do and a million different combinations of guitars/cabinets/pedals.

I've never done M/S recording, but I think the mics are usually matched (similar frequency response). However, that probably isn't necessary since you are looking for effect rather than accuracy (you're not recording an orchestra).
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:13 AM   #4
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And, ribbons have a reputation for rolled-of highs. Other than that, I think you'd just have to try it.
With a clean low-noise preamp, my Apex ribbon can take a lot of EQ. I believe that's generally true of ribbons. It all hangs on the preamp being low noise though.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:19 AM   #5
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Get a pair of M/S mics (Cascade??) and record in Blumlein. Get that "You are there" sound.

Room will make a big difference, but I can't think of a reason to avoid ribbon mics in a M/S set up.

Especially an electric guitar setup will overcome any low gain problems you might have with a quieter source... and, as mentioned, Ribbon mics take EQ well.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
But I've been wondering how m/s with the SM57 and a figure-8 ribbon mic might sound. (I don't own a ribbon mic--yet.)
Since ribbons are really great/better for guitar as the main mic, keep your existing fig-8 setup as the far mic(s) then use the ribbon close up (appx 12") but be sure to angle the mic by 12-15 degrees or so in any direction so it isn't squarely parallel with the amp - to reduce any chances of stretching the ribbon. Ribbons aren't that susceptible to being a little off-axis FYI. Room from the fig-8 isn't that big of a concern since the SPL difference between front and back is fairly huge, usually sounds fine.

But you don't have a ribbon yet I see, it is great to have at least one in the toolbox.

Also if you have two 57s or similar, place one in close on the front and another in the back of the combo as close as the front one, perpendicular to the cone on the back - try to get the distance for each the same, then you'll flip the polarity on the back one most likely - this is the "Alice In Chains" method as they call it and works great on clean and distorted guitars. Helps give back that meat you lose with an open back combo.


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And, ribbons have a reputation for rolled-of highs. Other than that, I think you'd just have to try it.
That's exactly why they are often used and work well on guitar amps, especially distorted tones (most distorted guitars don't have anything at all or worthwhile above about 7k anyway) and, ribbons generally take EQ well if you had to make any adjustments later. However no mic is right for every situation which is why it is great to have a selection to choose from.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by akuster777 View Post
Hi forum,

Lately, I've been recording guitars through combo cabs using a Shure SM57 and a AT2050 on figure-8 set up for mid/side recording placed between 2 and 4 feet directly in front of the cab. I like the resulting sound--detailed, full, and spacious.

But I've been wondering how m/s with the SM57 and a figure-8 ribbon mic might sound. (I don't own a ribbon mic--yet.)

Does anyone have experience with m/s recording with ribbon mics? Good or bad? Suggestions for an appropriate ribbon mic? Or am I better just sticking with a condenser?
I'm don't think you'll get a huge change in sound if you are using the SM57 as the mid mic and the ribbon as the side mic (compared to using the AT as the side mic). However, you might get very good results using the AT as the mid mic and a ribbon as the side mic and the SM57 on an additional mono track to mix in to taste.

Samar Audio Design VL37 are a lot of bang for buck (compared to Royer). I you are on a tight budget, you might have a look at the NoHype Audio LRM-2. Don't underestimate this nonexpensive mic! However, it will require a sophisticated preamp with a lot of clean gain.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:06 PM   #8
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bang for buck (compared to Royer). I you are on a tight budget, you might have a look at the NoHype Audio LRM-2. Don't underestimate this nonexpensive mic! However, it will require a sophisticated preamp with a lot of clean gain.
Also, if a distorted guitar. There isn't going to be a lot of difference. My 99.00 MXL Ribbons are nearly indistinguishable from my Royer 121s close micing an amp with gain. The difference is there but its' minimal due to all the midrange. This will change some if you like to scoop mids though but I don't hence the result.

Now the MXL compared to the Royer 121 across the board? That is a completely different story, no contest.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Also, if a distorted guitar. There isn't going to be a lot of difference. My 99.00 MXL Ribbons are nearly indistinguishable from my Royer 121s close micing an amp with gain. The difference is there but its' minimal due to all the midrange. This will change some if you like to scoop mids though but I don't hence the result.

Now the MXL compared to the Royer 121 across the board? That is a completely different story, no contest.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:56 PM   #10
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Regardless of what you are specifically recording, having a ribbon to call upon , even if a cheap one, is a joy.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:25 PM   #11
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I love the No-Hype mics. I have a matching pair of the LRM-2 with Lundahl transformers and one older LRM-1. My "sleeper" amazing mics.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:16 AM   #12
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Thanks for telling me your experiences. I'll buy a ribbon mic soon and experiment.

Has anyone tried the SE Voodoo VR1 or VR2?

Best wishes to all,

Andrew
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