How to Mic a Guitar Amp

How to Mic a Guitar Amp

Sound engineers are an important part of every guitarist’s show. They are responsible for miking and recording the music, which, of course, is an essential component of any show. Miking can be a pain though, as there is no “standard” way of getting the job done. Whether you’re a pro or trying to do some home recording, read on for some useful tips.

How to Mic A Guitar Amp

There is a wide variety of techniques for successfully miking amps. In fact, it seems like there are nearly as many unique techniques as there are guitarists. This being said, what are the best and easiest techniques?

Here are a few.

Technique 1

Position your favorite condenser mic about 8-12 inches away from the front of your speaker cabinet. Make sure the mic is at a 45-degree angle and set to a cardioid pattern.

Generally, the mic placement will be right in front. However, you can move the mic to position it higher up. This easy technique is ideal for producing a guitar tone that is clean and features a large amount of mids and highs.

Technique 2

Start by positioning a dynamic mic against the grille cloth. It should be touching it and located directly in front of one of the speakers. Position any ribbon mic at the rear end of your open-back cabinet, leaving it at a distance of approximately 8-inches and angling it off center to one of the existing speakers.

Flip the phase of the dynamic at the mixer. From here record both mics to a separate track to make for easy mixing of the two distinct sounds.

Technique 3

Position a dynamic mic near the speaker. This will be excellent for picking up dry guitar sound.

Position a condenser that features a cardioid pattern approximately 10 feet from the front side of the amp and at a height of six feet, making sure that the mic is pointed towards the middle of the speaker cabinet.

Technique 4

Once you have chosen the right overhead drum microphone that fits your style and needs, you will need to know how to set Using one or two mics, experiment with moving the mic of choice different distances towards and away from the guitar amps. Make use of distances as small as three feet and as large as the entire length of the room you’re in.
Ideally, large condenser diaphragm mics would be used for this. If you’re recording in a room that is rectangular or square in shape or if your condenser can be used omni-directional, consider positioning the amp one or two feet away from a wall with the mic in the center of the room.

Tips

Record in different locations

Much like the way the unedited human voice sounds different in various locations, the sounds recorded and put out by mics sounds different based on location. This being said, recording in various locations and rooms can provide a whole host of interesting sounds.

For example, a room such as a laundry room with hard, reflective surfaces and very little furniture will have a long reverb time, while a fully upholstered, furniture-filled living room will have a shorter reverb time. After recording in a few different places, you’ll discover your own unique miking technique and even hone your preferences.

Aim for an isolated amp

It can be surprising how much background noise can find way its way into a close-miked track. To keep this to a minimum, always try to isolate your amp as much as possible before starting to record.

Use acoustic panels, heavy blankets, and other simple materials to build a sort of “shelter” around your amp and connected mic. This will ensure that the sound produced is a dry as can be.

Find the best speaker

When your amp has any more than one speaker, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time finding the best speaker. Although they are supposed to sound the same, they rarely do.

Record a simple track for testing purposes, using the same mic, position, and general setup but on each individual speaker and compare the tracks. The one that sounds the best should be your primary speaker.

Mic the front and back

Have a front and back microphone placement. If you have an open-back amp and two available mikes, try miking both the front and back of the amp. You can use any two mics; two condensers, two dynamic mics, or one of each. If you opt to use a condenser (or two) set it to the cardioid setting.

Place one mic slightly towards the left and the other slightly towards the right -it doesn’t matter which one is positioned which way so long as there is a mic pointing in both directions.

Conclusion

As a rule of thumb, never stop experimenting! Experiment with your miking techniques and don’t forget to play around with position, distance, and multiple mics to find the best and most unique sound. With a bit of patience and a whole lot of practice, you can make your amps sing using the techniques and tips above.

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