Mic'ing a Guitar Amplifier
Monday, June 04, 2007
By Stephane Brault
Today we'll go a different path a little bit. Up to this day, I've mostly written about DAW softwares and computer recording. Now we're going to see how we mic an electric guitar amp. Often I like to create backing tracks to jam along so I record the bass and guitar parts which are backed up by a synthesized drum.
We're gonna see a pretty basic setup so that most of you at home can afford it. You'll see it's pretty simple to get a decent guitar sound.
Most of the time, recording guitar players who do not have a lot of experience will have a hard time getting a good guitar tone. This is the first thing you want to get right. Get a good guitar tone before you even start placing the microphone. When you play guitar through an amplifier, the sound will be different depending where you are standing. So move around your amp while playing until you are happy with the tone you have. You have to remember though, that the low-end will be increased as you place the mic closer to the amp.
Choosing a Microphone
To record an electric guitar, you will need a dynamic mic so it will stand high volumes. There are several good affordable microphones on the market. I have always been using a Shure SM57 Instrument/Vocal Mic but the Sennheiser E609 Silver Dynamic Guitar Microphone is also a really good choice.
Don't forget to get a mic stand like the DR Pro Low Profile Mic Boom Stand.
Placing the microphone
Now that part may require some experimenting. If you want a clearer sound or a more trebled sound, place the microphone toward the center of the speaker's cone. If you want a warmer sound, move the microphone the opposite way. It is also possible to use two microphones at the same time : one microphone to record the higher-end and another one to record to lower-end. You can also move the amp around in the room. A guitar amp close to a wall will sound different than in the middle of the room.
Well that's it for now. Later we're going to see how to actually record a guitar track.
Suggested reading : The Tone KB37 from Line 6