Mic'ing the Hotrod of the Apocalypse

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Judas Jetski
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Mic'ing the Hotrod of the Apocalypse

Post by Judas Jetski » Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:47 pm

It has come to my attention that a song I'm working on will require the addition of the sonic signature of a big, badass hot-rod automobile. The most obvious candidate is sitting in my back yard.

Here's my mics:

Shure Unidyne III
E/V 635a (x2)
Oktava(mod) 319 & 219
Radio Shack electret SDC mics (x2--usually pretty reliable drum overheads)

Here's the car:

1972 Satellite Station Wagon
360/4bbl
dual exhaust (dynomax headers #85035)

As per New York State Inspection code, the exhausts exit out the sides of the vehicle, but I probably don't need to worry about that since I'm after the sound of the whole car rather than the tailpipes. I probably want to set my mics up so as to capture the sound of the whole car.

But how the heck does one capture that? The classic Glyn Johns drum setup? It doesn't have to be a stereo signal. In fact, it's probably better if it isn't.

I'm guessing I'll probably want to record to my Tascam 424 Mk.II. I've got an ART Studio V3 for a preamp to use with a LDC mic but I'm not too thrilled about bringing a whole bunch of gear out into the garage. The power out there is pretty sketchy. Any ideas?

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jmoose
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Post by jmoose » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:48 pm

I'd open up the hood & stick one mic a few feet over or in front of the engine. Maybe hang one or two more for alternate sounds, like at the back & side of the ride.

The 635a close to the 2-3 feet from the engine might be a good place to start...
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LVC_Jeff
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Post by LVC_Jeff » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:17 pm

Well mic'ing under the hood wouldn't give you much exhaust noise....if it had a supercharger then it would sound cool...

Honestly I don't know. It's just nice to know there's another car enthusiast on the TOMB. If I weren't in school for Rec. Tech, I'd be going for cars.
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Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:21 pm

I'm wondering if I might not get too much of that wind-sucking sound made when all four barrels of the carb are open. 'Course, that might just add to the effect. :twisted: I wonder if I might get more of the throaty sound from the rear of the vehicle?

I really wish I could get that LDC in there somehow, but I really don't want to cook any of my gear. It's a little too far to run extension cords from the house--uh, I mean the main building. Maybe if I used a couple of different mics I could capture different parts of the audio spectrum & combine them all into one big picture...:D

Edit: the car's naturally aspirated, but that's ok. It sounds more old school the way it is. (Plus, I think the compression ratio is too high for a blower anyway.:twisted:) Cars are a lot of fun, but I have to say it's way easier to get into trouble with a car than it is with a home studio!!! :D :D :D

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Post by Boogdish » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:39 pm

Andy Smash wrote: It's a little too far to run extension cords from the house--uh, I mean the main building.
you could get one of those 9v adaptors for your car and plug into that. As long as it's your audio source, why not make it your power source?

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Post by Judas Jetski » Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:17 pm

Boogdish wrote:you could get one of those 9v adaptors for your car and plug into that. As long as it's your audio source, why not make it your power source?
:)

While I certainly do think it is time to move phantom power into the passenger compartment, I'm afraid it wouldn't work too well in this particular instance. The car idles pretty rough & I'm not sure the alternator output would be consistent enough. If I was recording to a laptop or something I might be able to make it work... but as things are it's pretty much gotta be the portastudio.

At this point I'm just wondering about whether to use that LDC or not... and how to mic the beast. I've gotta wait until the weather clears, so I've got a few days (the weather is for crap up here right now). I'm just trying to figure out whether the bulk of the sound is coming from the engine or out the exhaust. Or if I should even mic inside the car, where I already know what kind of sound to expect. I kind of want to get both tailpipes in the picture. It's got mismatched glasspacks to give it a broader exhaust note...

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Post by LVC_Jeff » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:45 pm

Do you have a garage or something you can park it in, and record it from behind just outside the door with the door open, so all the exhaust noise is combined?

Ever heard Jeff Beck's song, "Roy's Toy?" I think it's just the sound you're trying to get. It starts with what sounds like a cammed 350 Chevy starting and revving all to hell. It sounds so good.
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curtiswyant
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Post by curtiswyant » Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:37 am

Unbolt the exhaust and run open headers! Record from a few feet back.

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Post by Spark » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:46 am

I had to do a simular recording a few years back. What I found was my buddys car didnt cut the mustard and my truck (81 chev in rough condition) sounded better. I think we miced underneath it with a 421. We might have also recorded under the hood with a 421.

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Post by apropos of nothing » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:59 am

If you mic it in the garage, make sure to leave plenty of air space -- don't poison yourself with carbon monoxide!

If I was doing it, I'd make sure to get an off-axis reflection off of the garage, too.

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Post by Professor T » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:06 pm

A little advice I'll pass on:

I used a 58 right by the exhaust tip. I didn't want any wind, so I put one of those foamy pop screens over it. The recording turned out great, but the pop screen still smells like Mustang after all these years.

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Post by craigb156 » Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:49 am

Start the car. Get on your hands and knees and crawl around it until you find the 'sweet spot'...

New here, love this thread..

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Post by Judas Jetski » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:22 pm

Oh, I've spent enough time crawling around under the car to last me for quite some time. :P

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do: 635a (omni) at the rear, a few feet back from the center of the tailgate and inside the garage. Unidyne III off axis from the exhaust pipe outlet & a few feet back (I've smelled the car quite enough, thank you) , and possibly another 635a under the hood. That should keep my more expensive mics safely indoors while giving me a fairly good spread of what the car sounds like. Hmm... I wonder if a Beta 52 might do a better job of conveying the low frequency info? I could stick it right between the mufflers...

I find myself wondering about phase here as well. D'you suppose I should make sure all the mics are equidistant?

And what about cold tape? It's likely to be only like 45-50 (Fahrenheit) degrees out there.

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Post by Judas Jetski » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:06 pm

OK, it's done!

Here's how we did it: Beta-52 beneath and behind the car between the right angle at the end of the tailpipes (remember, station wagon = dual side-exit exhaust). Lot of low-end rumble there. Unidyne III at about 4' off the ground at about 3:00 to the tailgate, maybe 8' from the B-52 and pointing down at the tailpipe outlet (for detail). It was probably 5 or 6 feet back from the tailpipe so it didn't get stinky.

Shure PE-56 equidistant to the other two mics, pointed at the junction between the headers and the exhaust on the drivers' side. Nice crackle coming out there--a good, crisp accent.

EV-635a maybe 25' back, 6' off the floor, just to give it some space. I'll have to figure out the panning later, because it sounds so HUGE that it'd be a shame to run it as a mono signal. :D

We recorded about 20 minutes worth just to make sure we had what we needed. Sounds great. And nobody even called the cops. Beautiful.

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Post by Professor T » Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:47 am

Post it, man!

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