Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video Miking the amplifier: Technique one, part of Audio Recording Techniques.
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Electric guitars don't need anything fancy to capture their sound, but there are a few techniques that can improve your recording. In this video I'm going to show you the basic tried and true technique for recording a guitar amplifier. The frequency response of the electric guitar doesn't go that high or that low, and the more distorted it is the fewer transients the signal has, making it somewhat easier to capture than other instruments. As a result, dynamic mics are frequently used with good results. That said, sometimes it's surprising just how good an amp can sound when a large diaphragm condenser or a ribbon mic is used, so don't be afraid to experiment.
While many engineers like to use our friend, the Shure SM57 in this role just about any mic can work. If there's more than one speaker in the cabinet, listen to them all to find the one that sounds the best. That means the one with the best balance of frequencies that's not intentionally distorted. Use a set of high quality earplugs like the Etymotic ER20s to protect your hearing while you are listening. Place the mic an inch or two away from their best sounding speaker in the cabinet, at about three-quarters of the way between the edge of the speaker and the voice coil, or the center of the speaker.
Have the guitar player play the song you're about to record and listen on the monitors. (music playing) Move the mic towards the voice coil, which is the middle of the speaker, then move it towards the outside edge of the speaker. (music playing) Notice how the sound gets brighter as the mic approaches the voice coil and gets more mellow sounding as it moves towards the edge of the speaker.
Find the place that gives you the best combination of body and definition. That's the most basic technique for miking a guitar amplifier.
- Optimizing your listening environment
- Listening to how different microphone types affect recording
- Choosing the right microphone for the right recording application
- Positioning microphones for a wide variety of recording scenarios
- Utilizing proper gain staging, preamps, and direct boxes
- Avoiding phase cancellation
- Using a compressor, equalizer, and high-pass filter during recording
- Setting up a headphone mix
- Adding the right amount of compression or equalization
- Capturing great sounds from drums, guitars, basses, keyboards, pianos, strings, and vocals
- Creating a great drum set sound
- Getting the best out of any singer
- Dealing with microphone leakage
- Utilizing a variety of stereo miking techniques
- Setting up and producing a recording session
- Creating a rough mix in any digital audio workstation (DAW)