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We Visit AMS Neve [And Go Through The Basics Of Recording A Great Guitar Tone]

Published 12 April 2024

"So you want to record a great guitar sound?

Welcome to the show. A slight change from the norm today as we visit a company and brand that has made an absolutely stellar contribution to recorded music across six decades to date. Whether it’s a giant digital console handling the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or a simple 500-series preamp at the heart of your recording channel, Neve remains a pillar of sound design and production.

However… as interesting as a factory tour would be – AMS Neve products are still made in Burnley, Lancashire – we thought we would tackle something a little more practical: the basics of recording a simple guitar tone using an amp and mics.

We look at close mic’ing, room mics, preamp gain, EQ and a little bit of compression, all explained by professional audio engineer and Neve product specialist and Joe Heaton. Thank you Joe!

Enjoy the episode!

But but but…
Q1. Oh come on, are you saying I need mics and recording gear costing thousands?
Emphatically NOT. Use whatever you have. We do mention this in the video, but regardless of the gear you’re using – mic type, interface, hardware, plugins etc – the principle and process is the same.

Q2. You didn’t talk specifically about close mic placement – why not?
Yes, sorry about that. The slightly annoying truth is that you can put it more or less where you want. People will argue about on- or off-axis, distance and position but you need to move it around and see what you like. Our sweet spot with a loud amp tends to be about 10-12 inches away the grille, pointed at the spot where the speaker’s dust cap (the round bit in the centre) meets the cone. If your amp is quieter, move it closer.
- The more you move away from the dust cap towards the outer edge of the speaker when close mic’d, usually the darker the sound will become
- The more you move away from the speaker in terms of distance, you’ll get a less pronounced change in high end, but the bass can drop off

Q3. Where do I put my room mics?
Phase can be an issue when using room mics in addition to close mics, especially when summing to mono. It’s probably worth reading a little about this online… but don’t get too bogged down in it before you start. Put the mics up, listen, move them, listen, repeat. You’ll learn way more doing that than reading anything.
- The more reverberant the room, the more the room mic(s) will have a dramatic effect
- The further away you put the room mic or mics, the more ambient the sound
- The louder you mix the room mics, the more ambient the sound
- You might not want any room mic at all in a busy mix

Pedals & stuff used in this show
No pedals today

• Sontronics Delta 2 Ribbon (close mic)
UK & Europe:

• AKG C414XLII (room mics)
UK & Europe:

• Neve 88M Audio Interface

• Neve 1073 SPX D

Interesting bits and go-to sections
0:00 We’re at Neve
0:36 Dan’s happy place
1:06 What are we doing today?
1:55 Here’s Joe!
3:10 What is a Blumlein Pair?
3:50 What we’re using to record
5:08 Our setup
6:40 Phantom power
7:10 Setting the input gain
8:35 Analogue & digital headroom
10:20 Push the mic pre for distortion and colour
13:50 Using EQ when recording
17:06 EQ also is gain
19:30 A/B your EQ, let your ears decide
20:06 EQ in pre or post?
20:20 Room mics
22:15 Blending room and close mics
23:10 Turn the Deluxe up… yeah baby
26:34 Adding compression pre/post eq
28:00 Turn up the amp, decrease the gain
28:56 Post recording tweaks
32:00 EQ’ing and reprinting the recorded track
36:40 Latency
44:25 So much more than the guitar gear
48:30 Great studios will never die
50:49 Play us out

Guitars used in today’s show
• 1962 Gibson Les Paul (SG)

Amps used in this show
• Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb with stock speaker
UK & Europe:

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