The distance from the speaker also causes significant changes to one’s tone. It’s very simple. So with so many possibilities, where do you begin when trying to record guitar? The thing about this X/Y technique is that you can play with it too – as long as you adhere to the principle and play within it. If you're using a larger amp, like a half stack, you don't have to raise the amp off of the ground, although you may want to mic one of the top drivers when the time comes. It’s exactly what it sounds like—you just record the same part again for added thickness. The most common combination is a bright mic (like a Shure SM57) and a dark mic (like a Sennheiser MD421). I think every guitarist in the band had about four Marshall heads and eight boxes and on that particular album, Powerage, I went through and matched every head against every speaker until I found the right combination. Of course it’s good for re-amping, but more importantly, if you’re editing a guitar track in a digital situation, to pick up the front end of the note it’s much easier to hear it off a clean DI sound than it is from a heavy distorted sound. I should start by saying that this technique in principle works regardless of the amp in question, whether it is small or large, loud or quiet, a Marshall or Fender. I had two weeks preparation beforehand, and that’s the whole secret to everything, the only magic trick – preparation. It’s not uncommon to see guitar mics literally touching the grill of an amp. The reason we’re using two microphones here is one of those happy accidents I came across in the ’80s when I was testing different microphones. What’s coming out of the centre of the cone and the edges of the cone has to reach the diaphragm of each mic at the same time. AudioTechnology: When you’re miking an amp with several speakers, does this technique always disregard the other speakers in the cabinet? Mark Opitz: Exactly, but not too far back because you’ve got to remember once you start moving back the focal length of the speaker’s going to change. Thanks for sharing your advice. AudioTechnology: Is this with them in the room waiting for you to hit record? A big part of getting the tone right is volume. 10 Ways To Mic a Guitar Amp with Brian Deck. It’s got to be dead centre, that’s the whole thing. It doesn’t matter what mic you use, just experiment with what you have, and use what sounds best. Although with this technique, nine times out of 10 when we blow it up it’s okay anyway. Terms of Service apply. We’re also facing directly at the bottom end emanating from the speaker. But that said, there are a few tried-and-true methods that will almost always yield good results. Thanks for this. This could yield some cool results. In this case obviously there’s only one, so we can skip that process. If you want to level up a notch and have more than one speaker and one microphone, you can mic up each speaker and record them to separate tracks. Of course, not all of these methods will work well for every song. We know the SM57 can handle it, we see them on stage on amps and drums all the time. Our setup involves these two mics placed at 90 degrees to one another (the 90 degree angle helps maintain the integrity of the phase relationship). At the time I was using a Sennheiser 421 and an AKG C414, but in the end I found the Shure SM57 worked better in this setup. Whether you’re talking about Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, or Eddie Van Halen, they all cultivated their own distinct signature sound, and recording it was part of the magic. Make sure they’re working by bringing them up in the control room monitors panned to the centre (mono). Editor's Note: Check out every installment in Brad Pack's series on home recording. In an X/Y configuration, where the two capsules are exactly the same distance from the speaker and inside the radius of the speaker (i.e., closer to the speaker than the distance from the centre of the speaker to its outer edge), the mics will effectively be facing the two sides of the inwardly projecting paper cone. One of the most important steps in recording electric guitar is getting the tone right at the source. With the close mic technique, try angling the mic off axis a little so that the mic is at a 45 degree angle to the front of the speaker instead of straight on. Get a torch, look at the grille, set the mics up so the centre of the X/Y configuration is right on the imaginary centre line, turn on the amp, start playing, end of story. It’s very common to see two mics less than 1/2" away from each other or even the amp itself. At this point, you should have a pretty well-balanced guitar tone, but there’s one more trick to getting big, powerful guitars… doing it again. There are two basic rules here. Once the mics are placed in their visually correct position, never assume that because a mic’s placement looks right it’s going to sound right. It’s amazing how many guitar players don’t realise that some of their speakers are not sounding as good as the others. Just remember the age-old adage: it’s better to record a DI and not need it than to need it and not have it... Mic placement when recording electric guitar can vary quite a bit, especially when you start getting creative with your mic’ing techniques. It’s very simple. Years ago, for example, with AC/DC, I used to go through their whole rig, trying every Marshall head and every speaker box. AudioTechnology caught up with Mark at Studios 301 in Sydney where he revealed one of his prized techniques for capturing the amplified guitar sounds. That’s how you get perfect phase. If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to start a fight, ask a room full of musicians who had the greatest guitar tone of all time. AudioTechnology: Wouldn’t it perhaps be easier just to move the 57 and the 414 back a bit than have that third mic messing up the phase relationship? Required fields are marked *, This might be one of the best articles I’ve read on guitar amp mic’ing … and I’ve read a lot! So the effect you’re getting is like a dovetailing of the two microphone tones. Your email address will not be published. One of the crucial factors is that the mics must remain set up in front of the centre of the speaker cone.

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