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Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:49 am

So, when you have recorded a miked up guitar amp with more than one mike, how do you place it in the mix?

I have used two mikes, SM58 and a Rode NT1, and I wondering how I could place them in the mix...

Would it be better keeping them in the same stereo position, so it is like the sound of an amp from one point?

...or I could put them in different positions to get a fuller sound?

I suppose the answer is going to be "whatever sounds good" but has anyone got any thoughts, experience or advice....
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:59 am

As you say: 'it depends'!

Why did you dual mic?

If it was to get a better composite sound (and in this case I might assume they were co-incident?) then it is likely you would want to treat the mic's as one signal.

If one mic was distant (or behind the cab, for instance) then it might be worth trying spreading the mic's to see what they add to the mix. Often I'll take an omni room mic and place close and room mic's hard L/R to get some spread. But I would mic with that in mind.

But only you know why you double mic'd the cab, so what were trying to achieve at the time?
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:21 am

Added to which you always have to bear in mind the effects of combining the outputs of two separated mics, and what phasing issues might result. They might sound great panned wide apart in stereo, but in summed mono they might sound like the guitar is going down the bath plughole!

There are good reasons for sometimes using two (or more) mics in some situations, but the random rigging and mixing of two mics is rarely helpful. if you do it, do it for a specific reason -- to achieve something that can't be obtained using a single mic. Otherwise it is far better to choose and use one mic, placed carefully.

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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:38 am

The Elf wrote:

As you say: 'it depends'!

Why did you dual mic?


I wanted to get a fatter sound, the Rode captures more top end, and a bit of room ambience, than the close miking with the SM58.

Placing the two tracks in the same place, in the stereo field, worked as did spreading them a bit.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:13 am

thefruitfarmer wrote:
The Elf wrote:

As you say: 'it depends'!

Why did you dual mic?


I wanted to get a fatter sound

Then it's not really about spreading the sound into stereo, so I wouldn't. But if you feel it gives you something then go for it.

However, as Hugh advises above, make sure they play nice together in mono.

I'm also with Hugh about multi-miking in general. It rarely gives me anything that good choice of mic and careful placement can't give me for less hassle and fewer phase problems.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:30 am

It completely depends on your track.

With the bass and drums, does the guitar want to be fatter, or does it work better with just one of the mics? Does it want to be more ambient, in which case, was the second mic far enough away to really contribute any ambience or are they both close? If you do want it fatter, are the mics together providing that, or is the phase relationship odd? Etc

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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:22 pm

Thanks Guys...

I did spend a bit of time getting rid of the out of phase sound by experimenting with the positions of the mics. Also, I always check things are okay in mono too....

I appreciate the advice from the experience of knowing that often one mic is the best way to go and that using two mics can cause more problems than potential advantages.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby 4TrackMadman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:19 pm

Usually on my guitar sounds I do a close miked dynamic and a condenser a bit back for a fuller sound, then blended in the same position, so the composite of the two tracks get either blended on a new track or share the same bus, where I mix enough of each track to taste. In my case as I usually do minimum of two guitars, these most of the time end hard left/right in the pan.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:18 am

4TrackMadman wrote:Usually on my guitar sounds I do a close miked dynamic and a condenser a bit back for a fuller sound, then blended in the same position, so the composite of the two tracks get either blended on a new track or share the same bus, where I mix enough of each track to taste. In my case as I usually do minimum of two guitars, these most of the time end hard left/right in the pan.

That is pretty much what I have started doing although I had better results in the living room rather than the small and deadened studio room.

In the studio I can only get the ambient mic about 1 metre away from the amp but in the living room there is a point about 3 metres away from the amp which seems to work quite well. It captures the room sound which includes the reverb from the kitchen behind the mic.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby 4TrackMadman » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:02 am

I recently discovered a great way to mic with dynamic/condenser, by pointing both at the same point on the speaker. Accidentally the condenser was actually facing out (opposite of the speaker) but it got a great room tone so I let it sit that way in the mix.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:37 am

The Elf wrote:

I'm also with Hugh about multi-miking in general. It rarely gives me anything that good choice of mic and careful placement can't give me for less hassle and fewer phase problems.



The problem I have is that I only have two mics and the room is not brilliant either, so I have to experiment with what I have to get a decent sound.

When you have a preference for just using the one mic I am guessing that you have a choice of mics at your disposal and a good sounding room as well...
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:08 am

I have a choice of mic's, yes, but for guitar cabs it's nothing esoteric. I can record a good-sounding electric guitar cab almost anywhere - the room is practically irrelevant.

A 57 up against the grille is my most used approach. But I sometimes use an Audix D6, or an ADK S7 that have become my favourite alternatives. The most I typically get away from the cab is a foot or two. Either way the room plays very little part.

On rare occasions I'll add an omni LDC specifically to get the room, but then I can be 20-30 feet away - I use this to add ambience, so phase is not an issue at that distance.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:19 am

Yeah...For me, if it's a room thing it'll be a good distance away, and I might use a fig 8 with the null pointing at the amp. I often find a 57 pointing at the ceiling is a good approach. If there's more than one mic close up on the cab they're going to be either absolutely phase aligned (with noise) or very close to that. I'd be looking for the attributes of two different mics to make up a single coherent sound. Eg a royer and a 57. I've never got anything but comb filtering from the close mic with one a couple of feet back approach. I know some people like that but it doesn't really work for me.

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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:19 pm

The Elf wrote:I have a choice of mic's, yes, but for guitar cabs it's nothing esoteric. I can record a good-sounding electric guitar cab almost anywhere - the room is practically irrelevant.

A 57 up against the grille is my most used approach.


It seems to sound a bit "duff" when I do that.

I am using an SM58 though...

Maybe I need to experiment a bit more and keep that as an option...
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:59 pm

The grille of an SM58 does cause some slight colouration, but not so much that it would stop me using one if I didn't have a 57 to hand.

Try moving the mic around (or getting someone else to move the mic around while you listen on phones, maybe?). Try pointing at different parts of the speaker and different angles to the speaker. Moving the mic by and inch or two back to front, or side to side, can produce pronounced differences.

If the cabinet has multiple speakers then give each speaker a try. With a mic in very close the subtle differences between supposedly 'identical' speakers can be very evident.

Try the amp at different volumes. For thicker rhythm tones I very often find that backing the amp off produces a fuller sound, whilst cranking the amp up helps to emphasise the upper-mid range for lead work.

Don't rule out unorthodox methods, such as miking the rear of the cabinet, hanging the mic vertically in front of the cab, pointing the mic the wrong way, or pointing the mic at a baffle in front of the cabinet. I've sometimes used a very heavy old mirror with a PZM attached to it - great for jangly telecaster rhythms!

There's a lot you can do, so don't rule anything out until you've tried it.
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Re: Mixing multi miked guitar amps...

Postby thefruitfarmer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:12 pm

Thanks Elf

I will try a few more things out and see what works for me...
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