Skip to content

How to record insanely loud guitars at home without having the police round.

July 21, 2012

Something which has always interested me is finding ways to be as noisy as I want, but at the same time not annoying the neighbours and having the police round. At home, I have a Marshall 1936 cab and an Orange Tiny Terror head. I wanted to see if I could get REALLY cranked levels (halfway-3/4s of the way cranked) without causing too much noise to upset anyone, and I think I’ve found out how to do it. My house is pretty unideal to be cranking guitars in, I live in a terraced house and my walls are so thin that I can hear my next-door neighbours talking as if it were someone in another room of my house when they go into their bathroom.

With this way of isolating the sound of your amp as much as possible, I thought I’d pass this onto you. There’s nothing really new here, but I think it’s a good idea which needs to be shared more.

Firstly – Decouple your amp/cab from the ground. This will reduce the amount of vibrations travelling through the floors and upsetting your neighbours. More importantly though, from a recording point of view, is that you won’t get those vibrations travelling up the mic stand and getting recorded by your mics.

Secondly – Spend time positioning your mic(s) to the right spot. Perhaps even play the guitar at a lower volume to hear how the mic(s) sound in context. I know that an SM57 and either an MD421 or a D112 is going to get me onto the right path for getting a good recording when positioned correctly. If you know your equipment and where the mic generally sounds good, you’re golden. You can then use the amp’s EQ to dictate the tone more than the mics.

Thirdly – Take a fairly long speaker cable from your cab and connect it to your head (not literally YOUR head), doing this gives you the ability to change volume/EQ/gain settings without digging through the isolation you’re going to put around the amp. Combo amps maybe a bit more troublesome here, perhaps just cover the amp but so you can still see the knobs – although be careful that the amp doesn’t get too hot amongst all the isolation.

Fourthly – Here’s where the isolation comes in. Use ANYTHING that you can find which’ll isolate the sound and use a lot of it! Use some spare mic stands to use as supports for the isolation – you’re effectively building a tent for your amp. Using mic stands to hold up the duvets/blankets means that the cab has some room to breathe and can push that air without the isolation muffling the speakers. When I say “room to breathe” I mean about 2ft max. Cover every part of the cab so that you can’t even see it, secure the sides with pillows just to seal everything in. For what I tried, I used three duvets, and probably four pillows. Also, shut your windows fully and close the curtains.

Conclusion

So there you have it, it’s no big secret particularly, just use loads of isolation making sure your speakers aren’t muffled because of the isolation. My Tiny Terror is only 15 watts, but it’s still really loud! I walked out of my room shut the door and used the long guitar cable to walk around areas of the house to hear how much of the amp I could hear. The sound was drastically reduced and I had the amp cranked 3/4s of the way. I’ll probably do another post relating to this one with pictures and sound examples.

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: