Recording guitar with a Slate ML-2 microphone

As a guitarist, I’ve spend quite some time on achieving a perfect guitar sound. Over the years, I played with different set-ups, depending on the band I was in. When recording guitar in the studio, recreating this sound always seemed to be a challenge. When I started with my first recordings, I was introduced to amp sims and I was always blown away by the amount of choice you get with these plugins. I remember a session where I’ve spend weeks on tweaking a sound in Guitar Rig 5, with multiple virtual amps, speakers and microphones, microphones angles and tweaked the EQ’s and gain settings endlessly.

The oldest trick in the book

Then I was introduced to Jordan Valeriote of Hardcore Mixing. In his videos and podcasts he always talked about he keeps his guitar recording technique simple: he put a Shure SM-57 in front of a cabinet, like countless other recording engineers have done in the past. I tried this technique and voila: best guitar sound I ever had. It didn’t need much: almost no EQ and no compression. No more amp sims for me!

Enter the Slate ML-2

Slate Digital is a company that produces plugins, interfaces and microphones. They are known for recreating famous analog hardware in the digital domain. There are things I like about Slate Digital, and things I don’t like. Let start with the likes: their plugins sounds amazing. I don’t really care if their FG-S sounds exactly like a SSL EQ but I do know it adds a very nice touch to my mixes, as all their other plugins do as well. Here’s what I don’t like about Slate Digital: they announce their products with a lot of hype and then they keep pushing back the release date of that product. So when they introduced their ML-2 microphone I was really intrigued but it actually took 15 months before I had that microphone in my hands. This microphone is able to emulate 13 microphones ranging from Shures, AKGs’, Sennheiser and much more.

Kick, snare, guitar cab

So far I used this ML-2 on quite a few sources and it works really, really well. This tiny microphone is a beast on a kickdrum or a snare, sounds beautiful on overheads and rocks on guitar cabinets. When double tracking guitar, the mic gives me a variety of options. The mic can emulate two types of a Shure SM57: a vintage and a modern one. The vintage one gives a little more bite so I use that a lot. For the doubled take, I use the emulation of a Schoeps 222. This was a mic I never heard of before and so far I haven’t even found a online store that has it. Let me tell you: combining the vintage 57 with the 222 emulation gives a great guitar sound and the best thing is that I don’t have to change the microphone in front of the amp itself!

Needles to say: I highly recommend the ML-2. The only thing that sucks about it, is that it is virtually impossible to get more. They are always sold out!

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