Double-Mic'in'

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Double-Mic'in'

Post by vvv » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:07 pm

Anybody into double-mic'ing a source?

Lately I find myself doing this a lot, with a off-panned room mic with the close-mic'd guitar amp, or a double-mic'd vocal where one is mebbe pass-filtered and limited, the other track more heavily EQ'd and effected ...

It's nothing new of course; it's even trad to D.I. and mic the same stuff (ex., bass) sometimes, or have a close and farther mic (or rear mic, flipped) onna guitar amp, amnd combine them to make a single sound.

I'm just wondering if anyone else is seeing the value in and does mebbe consistently double-mic'ing of untraditional sources like vox ("Heroes" aside) or mebbe guitars for panning and effects purposes.

Me, I find myself using a double-mc'd track as I would a parallel track, but with a inherently different EQ (different mic and placement), or even a natural delay, etc., and I like a little panning (static or moving) in there as spice ...
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Post by fossiltooth » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:51 am

Totally! As an experiment, I once did a record where every overdub used one room mic in the same position, in addition to whatever close mic was on the source. It provided all room-style reverb for the entire session. Ate up a lot of extra tracks though!

For that record (Josh Dion, I think) it was a bi-directional ribbon mic - I even put most of the new sound sources right in the mic's null spot and cranked the gain. The idea was to make the sound of natural room bleed on overdubs to maintain a live feel. Sounded cool as sh*t, I think. You can hear it on my website reel.

I used to try all sorts of multi-micing stuff, but now I do so a little less. I think as your chops, decisiveness and access to great microphones grow, it becomes less and less necessary. I mean, once you have a U67 in the room you don't have to do a lot of crazy sh*t to make it sound good! Just point it in the right place, and work on the instrument, performance, and arrangement.

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Post by Anthony Caruso » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:22 am

I'd never done it consistently until recently, but now in my little studio room at home I have a homemade Rat Shack omni electret mic hanging from the ceiling. It's hanging off the top of an angled wall/ceiling absorption panel so it isn't subject to too much in the area of nasty close reflections, theoretically about 50% of the pickup is "infinite" space. I use my console to mix it in with close mics to the same track, though I could track it separately with a flip of the pan/group assignment. I'm mostly tracking guitars, wurli, small percussion and the occasional painful vocal and I'm really liking being able to automatically dial in some kind of room tone/ambiance and just print it with the track. The room is small so keeping the mic in one place has been fine.

I set it up after reading a bunch of Bruce Swedien's GS posts and how he always sends synths through an amp to get room sound (I think it was specifically for first reflections?) around them.

I like the idea of automating a panning ambiance track while the close stays put. Gonna have to try that.
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Post by sessionsatstudiom » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:21 am

Do the double mic thing regularly. Put up 2 to 3 mics on guitar amps etc... Pan them or not. Depending on what I am looking for. But I have used the same room mic angle to get a real vibe when the overdubs happen. Is cool at times and with the right group.


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Post by jgimbel » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:15 pm

I've rarely been happy with using two close mics on guitar amps - usually I find it more natural and taking less processing just to use a different mic that has the qualities I'm looking for. However I almost always use a room mic with the close mic on guitar amps, sometimes two, like a far distance one and one in between. The last EP recorded here was a blues album with one gritty guitar on each song, no guitar layering except the occasional solo. The music was very guitar-based though so I wanted it to be pretty full in the mix. I did a close mic down the middle, far mic heavily compressed and hard panned L, middle mic compressed and hard panned R. Sounds like it'd be unbalanced, but with some playing of volumes and put in the context of a mix it's a really nice way to have a bit of "stereo" action with a bit of difference from left to right.

On bass cab I've done two mics, definitely. I've done a LDD with an SDC and that's worked really nice. I always forget just how nice SDCs can be on bass cab, they just don't always pick up that really deep low end, hence the LDD. I've even done the occasional room mic on bass with the close mic. Room mics on vocals every once in a while. Definitely on guitars though, doesn't sound as much like an electric guitar to me without one in there at least a little bit.
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Post by Tim A » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:31 am

kinda off topic. but the other day i was tracking a song and for all the drums and electric guitar over dubs i miced up the grand piano in the room and put some heavy books on the sustain pedal. after every drum hit or loud guitar part there would be this crazy harmonious decay from the piano. was wicked.

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Post by SafeandSoundMastering » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:51 am

Very often Ac. Guitars always. Guitar cabs almost always if not triple. (421, 57 or i5 and At4033 distant mic).

It gives you choice and breadth of sound and you can test budget or "odd" mics out by getting a good sound with what you have and then bunging another on to see what happens, great fun.
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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:07 pm

Another +1 for double micing guitar amps. I do that more often than not on amps with two speakers. Sometimes on single speaker amps too.

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Post by LupineSound » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:02 am

Sorry, I have to ask newb question here: Wouldn't double mic'ing the same source cause a phase cancellation effect?

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Post by Anthony Caruso » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:25 am

The MO is typically to use different microphones, like people mentioning a dynamic (57 or whatever) condenser (414 or whatever) and a ribbon (121 or whatever) all on the same guitar cab, for example. Not only are they different mics with different electrical outputs/sonic characteristics, none of them are in the exact same spot. Even right next to each other, capsules like 1/2" away, they are picking up very different sounds from the source, as the speaker's surface is a constantly varying source as you move around it. So even if you used 3 of the same mic, they are not putting out identical signals. Close but never identical.

So yeah, there's a lot of additive and subtractive stuff going on as they combine, but it's not interactions of a) the same exact electrical signal or b) the same exact sound source, such as if you dup a DAW track and knock it back 100 samples and get that hollow phasey weirdness. Not to say multi-mic'ing can't sound like shit, but done well the sum of the signals offer a "bigger picture" so to speak.

When you start getting into close mic/far mic stuff, it seems to be a bit more susceptible to sounding weird, but again it's just a matter of finding the sweet spot where the cancellations/additions are of benefit to the overall combined sound.
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Post by LupineSound » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:47 am

Very interesting. That makes sense. Now I see why one would double-mic as opposed to copy/pasting in the DAW. I can't wait to start trying this now. :D

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Post by Anthony Caruso » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:49 am

And going back to vvv's original thought about multi-mic-ing vocals, I remember reading something about Bowie vocals (don't remember which).

Vocal close mic as usual, and 3 room mics of increasing distance. Closest room mic is ungated, to give a little ambience. Middle and far room mics are gated, sidechains of each gate being fed by the close mic signal. Thresholds are set in such a way that when he's singing quiet, it's just close mic and closest room mic. As he gets louder, the gate on the second room mic opens up. As he gets louder still, the third room mic opens up. Add in a dynamic singer with good control like Bowie, and you have a very cool effect!
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Post by vvv » Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:31 pm

That was Tony Visconti recording Bowie on "Heroes".

Somewhere there's a cool article about it, mebbe at Mix magazine in their "classic tracks" ...
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Post by Sean Sullivan » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:59 am

I like to stereo mic most acoustic instruments and pan them slightly. Like...2 o'clock and 4 o'clock on the pan pots (or 20 and 40 in a DAW haha!)

This works great with bluegrass, it helps the instruments fills up a lot of empty space. Fiddle can be difficult to stereo mic. Well, easy if you have a STEREO microphone but using two microphones is difficult especially since fiddlers tend to move around a bit.

I don't usually pan a source hard left and hard right unless I want the listener to be "inside" an instrument. Good a B3 leslie...having it swirl around the listeners head.

But, electric sources, I usually find one mic about a foot out from the speaker captures the full range of the amp and I don't have to supplement it. I usually use an Electro-Voice RE20 or an Audio Upgrades AKG C 414 B-ULS.
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Post by vvv » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:45 pm

The "Heroes" link is here.

They also write about how Tina Turner was double mic'd, here.

(I was just killing time net-surfin' ...)
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