EQ Magazine article
David Cole
(Producer for Cake, Bob Seger, Melissa Etheridge)
EQ: You’re stranded on a desert island, and you can only have a pocket’s worth of mics to track Gilligan’s guitar with. What do you bring?
David Cole: Stranded on a desert island, I would put a Shure SM57 in front of any cabinet and work with the guitar player to get the tone we are after.
EQ: Alright . . . something other than a 57.

DC: I’ve found adding a second mic to the second speaker adds a nice alternate color and depth to the sound. I gravitate toward ribbon mics here for their warmth and thickness, figure 8 patterns, and contrast to the dynamic 57. Both mics would be placed about three inches off the grille cloth, three inches away from the center of the cone, and slightly angled toward the center. Moving the mics closer to the grille, more or less angle, and popping the phase of the second mic before adding them together all make huge differences. If I put the ribbon around the back of an open cabinet, I’ll reverse the phase.
I tend not to use distance mics on cabinets because, invariably, the sound is never 100% ideal to the finished record and you are locked in. I’ll make space around the amps, if needed, with effects.
EQ: You can bring one pre. What is it?

DC: I grew up on Neves and will always gladly use one — the 1073 or one of its clones is a nice, fat choice. But the API pre/EQ combo works too. I tend to brighten up the 5kHz region, or point up the 700Hz region, depending on the overall tone and vibe of the part.
EQ: And compression?

DC: We’re talking tracking? I try not to kill the guitar with compression upon recording. I can always do more later — and it’s impossible to do less. I’m a sucker for that thing called “dynamics,” Anyone remember that?
EQ: So . . . I’m an acoustic guitar player and I’m coming into your studio. What can I expect?

DC: For acoustic guitar, I use two mics: one on the 12th fret, and one down by the bridge, about 1half-way way toward the bottom of the guitar. These are two distinct colors and both have their strengths. The Audio-Technica 4051 is my first choice at the neck position. And I’ll use a 4050 on the body. These two get EQed and compressed pretty good: Lots of top for clarity and percussion (+6 at 8kHz), scoop out some boxy/boomy-ness at 400Hz if needed, and maybe boost the bottom a little, around 150Hz. UREI 1176s at 4:1 compression, pulling maybe 6dB of gain reduction is not unlikely. I’ll grab a dbx 160A compressor with similar results if the rack is short on 1176s. I’ll print the two mics separately, and often pan them a bit in the finished record. If the part is doubled, I’ll spread them hard left and mid-right for the main guitar, mid-left, hard right for the double. Or hard pan them if the track needs more space in the center.
DC on recording guitars
Monday, August 6, 2007