Guitar amps are one of the most popular musical instruments on earth. It’s no wonder; they make those sweet sounds that put a smile on your face and a skip in your step. But, how can you amplify these beautiful noises without ruining them? The answer is to mic the amp. In this guide, we will cover everything that you need to know about how to mic a guitar amp so that it sounds as good as possible.
How to Mic a Guitar Amp?
In a nutshell, in order to mic a guitar amp, most people use a dynamic microphone like a Shure Sm57 and place it 1/2″ from the amplifier and halfway between the center of the speaker and the edge of the speaker. However, there is a lot more involved in getting a good sound when miking a guitar amp.
- How to Mic a Guitar Amp?
- Why do you mic a guitar amp?
- Which type of mic should I use for my guitar amp?
- How do I mic my guitar amp live?
- How do I mic my guitar amp in a studio?
- What is the best way to mic a guitar amp?
- What is the best mic for a guitar amp?
- Why mic a guitar amp with an sm57?
- Sm57 mic placement on a guitar amp
- Miking a guitar amp with 2 mics
- How to mic a bass amp?
- Can I connect a mic to my guitar amp?
- Conclusion – How to Mic a Guitar Amp
Why do you mic a guitar amp?
The answer is that you are trying to replicate the natural sound of a guitar amp. This means that it needs to be captured accurately, otherwise there will be no point in micing it up at all.
Which type of mic should I use for my guitar amp?
There are a few different types of mics that you can use for your guitar amp, but the most popular option is the dynamic mic. This is because it can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting the signal.
How do I mic my guitar amp live?
The best way to mic a guitar amp live is to use a dynamic mic placed close to the speaker. A dynamic mic needs to have the mic capsule pointed at the speaker, and it needs to be connected directly to the mixer.
How do I mic my guitar amp in a studio?
The best way to mic your guitar amp in a studio is by using one or more condenser mics. Condenser mics are better at picking up subtleties, which is perfect for the studio.
What is the best way to mic a guitar amp?
There is no one right way to mic your guitar amp. This is because it all depends on the sound that you are trying for, so there isn’t a single best method of micing up an amp.
However, there are some simple techniques to help you get the tone you desire.
- Start by positioning the mic 1/2″ from the grill cover. Do not drape the mic cable over the amp and have the mic touching the grill cover. This may cause vibration noise in your mic that you do not want. Use a mic stand to place your mic close to the grill cover.
- Position the mic halfway between the center of the speaker and the edge of the speaker. If you cannot see the speaker, use a flashlight or the light from your phone to see behind the grill cover.
- Moving the microphone closer to the amplifier’s speaker will boost bass frequencies, and moving it further away will reduce your recorded tone’s overall bass response.
- Moving the microphone closer to the speaker’s edge will reduce midrange and upper-mid frequencies. Moving the microphone toward the speaker’s center will boost midrange tones.
- Angling the microphone at a 45-degree angle may help to reduce harsh high frequencies, but it’s dependent on the type of microphone you’re using. Point the mic toward the speaker for a decent start, at least until you’ve figured out how far and where to position the cone.
What is the best mic for a guitar amp?
Over the last 40 years that I have been a musician, the most popular microphone used for miking guitar amps have been the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone. It’s a great microphone, but it is not the best mic for every situation when recording guitar amps. In the studio, you may use a condenser microphone or you may add to your Sm57 set up with a second mic which I will talk about below.
Why mic a guitar amp with an sm57?
The Sm57 is a dynamic microphone, so it can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting the signal. It is also cardioid in a polar pattern which means that it rejects sounds from the sides and rear of the mic capsule. This makes it ideal for miking guitar amps because you don’t want any unwanted noise to be picked up by the mic.
The Shure SM57 is a great choice for micing guitar amps because it has been used by some of the best musicians in history, from The Beatles to modern-day worship bands like Hillsong and Bethel. It’s a standard microphone that every musician knows how to use and they know what kind of tones you can get with this mic.
Sm57 mic placement on a guitar amp
The placement of the SM57 is the same as I shared above. Start by positioning the mic at a distance of ½ inch from the grill cover. You do not want to drape the mic cable over the amp and have it touching the grill cover as this may cause vibration noise in your mic that you don’t want. Use a mic stand to place your mic close to the grill cover.
Position the mic halfway between the center of the speaker and the edge of the speaker. If you cannot see the speaker, use a flashlight or light from your phone to see behind the grill cover.
Angling the microphone at a 45-degree angle may help to reduce harsh high frequencies, but it’s dependent on the type of microphone you’re using. Point the mic toward the speaker for a decent start, at least until you’ve figured out how far and where to position the cone.
Positioning your mic on an amplifier cabinet is not rocket science; it’s about having fun experimenting with different positions of the microphone to see what kind of tone you can capture. If your guitar amp has two speakers or four speakers, try miking each one of them to see what type of tone you can get.
One thing to keep in mind is that the distance between the microphone and the speaker will also affect the tone you capture. The closer the mic is to the speaker, the more bass frequencies you will pick up. If you move the microphone further away from the speaker, you will capture less bass and more midrange tones.
Miking a guitar amp with 2 mics
A lot of bands are now miking guitar amps with 2 microphones. They are using a dynamic microphone like the Sm57 along with a ribbon mic.
Dynamics and ribbons, on the other hand, each have their own unique sound characteristics for recording electric guitar. Ribbons have a fuller, warmer tone that has some heft to it. In contrast, dynamic microphones tend to offer more presence in the midrange as well as more “bite.” While they are each wonderful alone, combining them brings a nice blended sound.
Shure’s SM57 dynamic microphone and the Royer R-121 ribbon are frequently used in this configuration. This approach has grown so popular that Royer now offers its own dual-microphone clip, designed specifically for the SM57 and R-121.
How to mic a bass amp?
The same principles apply when you’re recording a bass amp. Place the mic in front of the speaker, at least ½ inch away from it, and angle your microphone slightly to reduce or eliminate low-end rumble.
Can I connect a mic to my guitar amp?
Yes, you can but seriously you do not want to. It will sound like crud.
Conclusion – How to Mic a Guitar Amp
There are many different types of microphones you can use to mic a guitar amp. From large-diaphragm condensers, dynamic mics, and even ribbon-style mics that all have their own unique sound characteristics. The SM57 is one of the best because it has been used by some of the most famous musicians ever, but if this mic doesn’t work for you, experiment with other mics until you find the right one.
Plugin your guitar amp and start experimenting with where to position your microphone. The distance between the mic and speaker changes its tone so try moving it further away from the speaker or closer to get better tones. Miking a guitar amp can be easy but if it’s your first time, start by positioning the mic at a distance of ½ inch from the grill cover and then experiment from there.
One last thing to note is that when you’re miking a guitar amp with two microphones, try using a dynamic and ribbon microphone to get the best-blended sound. Many bands and artists use the SM57 dynamic microphone with a ribbon mic like Royer R-121.
Now that you know how to record guitar amps, try it out on your own!
Thank you for reading our article on How to Mic a Guitar Amp!