Element 4 - Guitar, direct
Sorry for the delay - the past few months have been busy getting the actual record prepared. But we kept notes on all the work we did in prep, so on we go.
Even though we've decided that the HF cabinet will be miked by the beyer M160 and the Royer 121 while the LF cabinet will be miked by the Earthworks TC30K, we still need to narrow down our choices of interest before running a preamp test. Mainly - we decide quickly that we're not going to try all 16 possible combinations for the preamp/microphones. Rather than try each possible alternative of m160 & 121 into each preamp, I figure that we'll see how drastic the difference is running each mic into a channel of the same preamp. If the differences are, crazy, maybe we'll try the mix and match approach.
For the moment, mic placement is the same as before - 4cm away from the grille and 4cm off-center of the cone.
CHOICES - (HF guitar cabinet only)
1. FMR RNP
2. Sytek MPX-4A (stock channels)
3. Sytek MPX-4A (BB channels)
4. Hamptone HJFP-1
Again, two versions: one with the guitar soloed and one blended into the rest of the stuff.
Guitar - 4 way preamp comparison for HF cabinet mic - solo.
Guitar - 4 way preamp comparison for HF cabinet mic - full.
I'll just say that the distinctions here are pretty slim. The difference are evident on our studio monitors, barely evident on our good headphones and not at all evident on our laptop speakers. The Hamptone seems to be most different, brighter and lacking a little more definition in the bottom end. As for the others, the RNP and BB channels of the Sytek are similar and both sound fine. There's a part in the playing where Justin goes from a muted power chord to a 16th note strummed power chord - on this second part, the sound of the strumming was less apparent on the FMR, making the notes blend together a little more. We like that effect for that part and we haven't preferred the RNP much for any of our choices. So let's go with that.
But really, they all sound fine. We're not able to easily mix and match between different preamp combos for each of the ribbon mics (such as using the RNP for one and the Hamptone for another) but the minor differences here make us not too worried about that. The interactions between two preamps may give us wildly different sounds, but it's not likely and - given that we're happy with what we're hearing - not that imporant.
Oh, and we're not posting it but the differences on the low frequency guitar cabinet with the TC 30K were also very, very minor. So we'll just use it on one of the Hamptone channels and get along with the rest of our lives. Why that one? Because both RNPs are taken up with the HF guitar, and the bass and room mics eat up all the channels on the Sytek. If we want to record all of these things going at the same time, using the HFJP-1 for the guitar LF cabinet means we don't have to use something we've already established a real prefernce for on something else.
DECISION AND NEXT STEPS
FMR's Really Nice Preamp (aka the RNP) gets both high channels of the guitar and the Hamptone picks up what's left - the single mic on the guitar's LF cabinet. Now let's enter the dragon - mic placement on a guitar cabinet.
Also, I think I've switched my slang typing for the word I've been using to place a microphone - I'm not longer typing mic'ing and I'm instead just going with miking. Hmm.