Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] Many engineers seem to regard using multiple mics on electric guitar cabinets as must-do these days. I remember the first time I put two mics on the same cabinet right next to each other, blended them together, and I really liked the sound, and I still do. I frequently, almost always, put two mics on speakers for guitar amps to get a fuller sound, something about blending them together really works for me. But, a lot of times when I get something mixed, there are problems with multiple mics on the cabinets and most of that has to do with phase.
For the examples we're going to play here, I put two mics like you see right here, right up on the speaker. I've got them on a stereo bar and they're pointing right across each other, hopefully as close in phase as I could get. You can see it from above there, too. For the next mic, I put one just a bit further back here pointing towards the speaker as well, and then I put one more mic up on the far right there as sort of a distant mic to see how that would work. Here's a view from that looking towards the amp.
And then here is another view from the other side looking across at all four microphones. All the same kind of dynamic mic, all pointing at the same speaker. Let's see how this all works. So, I've recorded all four of those microphones just playing the same riff here. Let's listen to one mic by itself. (upbeat guitar riff) Sounds nice, let's add in the other mic. These are the two mics that are right up on the speaker.
(upbeat guitar riff) Of course it gets a little louder, we've added another source, but it also seems to fill in some of the low mids and information in there. Let's go over here and let's flip the phase between those two mics, I'll use the trim plugin and the little phase button here. (upbeat guitar riff) And by flipping that, you can hear the sound disappear, which means more that that sound actually does disappear, the closer they are in phase and these are really tightly in phase because of their leaning on the stereo bar, being close to each other.
Now let's go and hear the next mic against the close mic. So we're going to turn off the one extra mic there so this will be the two mics, one close and one just a little bit further in the middle. (upbeat guitar riff) So that's making it kind of hollow sounding, let's try flipping the phase and see if that helps. (upbeat guitar riff) I mean it brings in some of the lows, the low mids a little better but it still doesn't sound right, it sounds very strange and hollow.
What happens if we try just the distant mic and the close mic? (upbeat guitar riff) What about if we flip the phase on the distant mic to the close mic? (upbeat guitar riff) Still not a desirable sound, if we hear those mics alone the distant mic here. (upbeat guitar riff) It's okay but it just seems to lack in any kind of presence.
The slightly closer mic in the middle. (upbeat guitar riff) That's still not so interesting. The single close mic. (upbeat guitar riff) A little more focused, a little more texture, now let's hear the paired mics again up close. (upbeat guitar riff) Sounds great, now can we utilize this mid mic to bring in a little different texture? (upbeat guitar riff) You can, remember we've got the phase flipped on that, the other way wasn't working as well.
(upbeat guitar riff) It fills it in a little, it gives us a little extra texture, but if we are only working with say these two mics like we played earlier. (upbeat guitar riff) That doesn't give us as much to work with, so whenever you're setting up multiple mics on a guitar cabinet, check with all of them make sure that they're all working together in some way that's going to really give you what you want. I find that a lot of times people try varying distances without thinking about how that effects the phase and really just leave me with a lot of sources that I'm not able to use in the mix and not able to get great guitar tones with, whereas if they'd just done two mics up close to the grill, we would've had something easier to work with in the mix and we would've had something easier to fit in the mix and make the guitars sound pretty natural.