Multiple Mic Setups For Guitar
Todd Simpson
Oct 20 2020, 03:37 AM
GMC:er
Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Attached Image

This is the second article in my RECORDING YOUR GUITAR series. In the first one, we talked about the basic concepts of recording your guitar and various ways to do it in a home studio. In this one, let’s talk about one of those techniques, using real microphones and a ream amp, and expand on it by using more than one microphone.

MULTIPLE MICS? BUT WHY?
So why would you want to use more than one microphone? Well, various mics have different tonal qualities. There are many different types of microphones to begin with. For example, you can have a DYNAMIC, CONDENSER or RIBBON mic that you may want to use. Then you decide that you want to use more than one in order to get the best qualities of each mic. First, let’s talk a bit about each one. The DYNAMIC mic is the most common type of mic. The SHURE SM57 is one of the most popular mics on earth and for good reason. They are relatively cheap, just about $150, and they are all but indestructible in standard use. Also, they sound pretty good on just about anything. If you were going to get by with only one mic, it’s the one mic I’d say you should buy. It also can take a LOT of sound pressure so it’s great for loud amps. You can play at top volume and still get a clean recording. As for it’s character, it was designed as a vocal mic so it’s sensitive to mid range. The guitar is a mid range instrument. So they work well on guitar amps. Secondly, the CONDENSER mic. These are mics that work just a little different from dynamic mics and they sound a bit different as well. They have more of a “HiFi” type sound where the bass and treble are a bit more pronounced than say the SM57. These mics are a bit more sensitive than dynamic mics so hitting them too hard with too much volume can cause them to distort in some cases. RIBBON Mics can be a bit more expensive. These mics have a roll off in the high end so a bit less treble. They have a very round sound. So you might pick two mics for your amp setup to combine these qualities. For example, you might use a Dynamic and a Condenser together. Then mix them together during mixing. You can pan them apart and increase the stereo field.

AXIS ISSUES
You typically place a single mic “ON AXIS” meaning pointing straight and directly in to the speaker cone. You can also put a mic “OFF AXIS” or not pointing directly at the speaker cone. If you are using two mics, you might have one on axis, like the SM57 and one of them off axis such as a condenser mic. You might point the condenser straight up at the ceiling. This will pick up the guitar cab, but will also pick up some “Room Tone” to make things sound a bit bigger. If you have an open back guitar cabinet, you may even have a third mic in the port in the back of the amp. You also might use a third or fourth mic in the room away from the amp, or you might use two mics in the room to pick up a stereo capture of the room tone. If the amp is closer to one corner on the other side of the room, or the room is not symmetrical, it will impact which room mic gets what information. So, if you have several mics, you may end up using all of them just to experiment with capturing tone. It’s important to move your mics around until you find a placement that sounds good. This takes time so be patient. Also, when you add more than one mic, you can end up with some “phase issues”. You may notice swooshing or some cancellation going on. Without going into an enormous amount of detail, experimentation is your friend here as well. If you hear something you don’t like, start with one mic, add one more. If you still hear it, move one of the mics position or angle.

Here is a good video with demonstration on mic placement.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Oct 20 2020, 03:39 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
klasaine
Oct 20 2020, 05:16 PM
GMC:er
Posts: 3.852
Joined: 30-December 12
From: Los Angeles, CA
Using multiple mics on a source is a skill that, as Todd notes, takes patience. Regarding phase ... "If" you can keep the capsules (inside element/part that picks up the sound) equidistant, you won't have a problem. This is the general technique for using a dynamic and a ribbon. But you may want/like the sound of one of them a little further back. That can cause the phasing issue. Lowering the gain on the farther back mic will usually help as will moving it far enough back that the gain is naturally lowered by the distance. *Search "3 to 1 rule when multiple micing". Flipping the polarity switch on your interface or in your daw can correct the problem. A lot of the time just moving the mic a couple of millimeters in any direction. You can slide one track forward or back in time a few ms. There's also plugins (as well as hardware) that can phase/time align ... https://www.google.com/search?client=firefo...software+plugin

Here's a photo of the classic, rock and roll positioning for a dynamic mic and a ribbon mic ...

Attached Image

If you dig the out of phase sound for your track - go for it. It's not a "rule".

There is a ton of info on which mic is good for what sound/source. As far as electric guitar goes, the general starting points are these: Dynamic for the punch, Condenser for the clarity of both highs and lows and Ribbon for the mids (especially distorted mids). This is just a a general starting point. All 3 are used interchangeably and again, there are no rules. As an example, when the Ramones recorded electric guitar, they usually mic'd Johnny's cabs with Neumann U87 and U67 microphones which are classic vocal mics known for their warmth and detail. And if you're familiar with the Ramones you know that "warmth" is not exactly how you'd describe Johnny's guitar sound.
Bottom line - use your ears.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Mertay
Oct 21 2020, 09:38 AM
GMC:er
Posts: 4.708
Joined: 27-May 13
From: Turkey / izmir
Very well covered info and comments (as usual), I'll just add a personal note.

Plug-in's though are capable, usually designed for the user to blend cab.s rather than mic.s. I see this more as a sound design approach. Multi-mic.ing to me has differences.

Once acoustically we get the amp to where it we want, multi-mic.ing to me sort of replaces eq'ing in the mix process. So after a rough setup and listening the mix, you can continue adding/decreasing mic.s to get the sound cut-through more. You get better dynamics and more organic tone as you insert less plug-ins. Compared to blending cab.s obviously changes won't be as drastic, but still a musically more complicated sound is achievable.

I noticed film music composers who use orchestral samples do this too, thats why orchestral samples these days are sampled with 3 or more mic.s and user blends them inside kontakt. You take advantage of the room too as reverb.

So any mic. can be userful, if one has a mic. for vokal besides a standard sm57 definitely take the time and do tests.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!


This post has been edited by Mertay: Oct 21 2020, 09:40 AM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 




RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 27th November 2020 - 04:50 AM