Greetings, VOX fans! This is Bob Rock, producer for Metallica, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Our Lady Peace, The Cult, Bryan Adams and Cher, checking back in with you for another installment of “Bob Rock’s Tone Tips.” Last time we touched on recording with the AD120VTH and using both the Low and High inputs when recording. This time, I’m going to focus on a mic’ing technique that I use with my VOX AD120VTH, AD412 and my AC30.
When I was a kid and heard Brian May of Queen’s tone, I thought, “There’s no way he’s playing through a VOX!” Of course, that was before I became intimately familiar with the AC30 and all of its tonal capabilities. Of course, now I know differently. I was even able to apply some of the same mic’ing techniques used with my AC30 to my trusty AD120VTH/AD412 Valvetronix rig.
A couple of years ago while in the studio with Metallica, I was fiddling around with James Hetfield’s amp rig in an effort to get more weight or low-end rumble from the speaker cab that he was using. That’s when I remembered an old trick that I had stumbled upon during another recording session. When looking for a little more low-end rumble, I had mic’ed the back of the cabinet. So, I gave it a try.
I took a Sennheiser MD 421 and aimed it at the lower part of the rear panel of the cab. Then I added a considerable amount of compression to the signal and put the mic out of phase. Next I added the rear-mic’ed signal to the mix (which already included the signal from the cab mic’ed from the front), and it added some killer low-end rumble and weight to the guitar sound. This is a trick that I’ve been using for years. I never expected a crazy idea like this to work out!
So, I’ve included some studio pics (left) of both the front and back of the amps showing how I use this set up with my AC30 and Valvetronix rig. Also be sure to check out the sound clips (left) that I recorded of this mic’ing technique in action. The sound clips show you the desired effect (before and after). When recording these clips, I used a ‘60s Gibson SG Custom with PAF humbuckers. Amp wise, I used my VOX Valvetronix AD120VTH head and AD412 cab. The amp model that I used was “UK Modern.” That model is one of my absolute favorites. So, give it a try and ROCK OUT!!! Until next time.
By Bob Rock
Photo by: Jay Blakesberg