Miking Guitar Amps

Let's look at how to mic a guitar amp. Miking the amp in different ways can

drastically change how the guitar will sound in the mix. This is a very

crucial step. If you're a guitar player or have been around one, then you know

how much work goes into getting just the right guitar tone.

Choosing a microphone that can work with high levels is really important.

Because of this, dynamic mics work exceptionally well. If you choose to

use a condenser microphone, make sure that the mic isn't overloading from the signal.

To get around this, you may want to move the mic further back from the amp

speakers. You can also use a condenser mic that has a pad switch on it.

Now, you have a mic picked out that you're ready to use. Deciding what you

want to pick up is the next step in mic placement. The further away from

the amp the mic is, the more room sound there will be in the recording.

If you're miking the amp close to the grill, you can now choose where to

place the mic. Small adjustments around the cone of the speaker will have

large results. Generally, the closer the mic is to the center, the more

the guitar will sound bright and edgy. Moving towards the outer edge of

the cone will produce more low end and smoother tones. Another option is

to aim the mic off-axis. Aiming the microphone straight at the speaker

cone is called on-axis. Having the mic aimed at an angle towards the edge

of the speaker cone is known as off-axis.

Another way to go would be to use two mics. This could be one dynamic on

the grill of the speaker, while the other is a condenser mic put back away

from the amp. The condenser would pick up more of the room sound. You

could instead choose to use two different dynamic mics close to the speaker.

This is a really common guitar amp miking technique. The shure sm57 and

sennheiser md421 are really popular choices for this set up. Other options

to look at are adding a DI signal or adding a microphone placed behind the

guitar amp speaker. If you choose to place a mic behind the amp, make sure

the phase is reversed on the microphone track.

Alright, turn that guitar amp up, dial in the tone, and get those mics

placed right where you need them to get that guitar track recorded the way

you want it to sound. After that you can make it sound great in your mix,

instead of having to spend lots of time correcting things on the track that

are a result of bad miking techniques.

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