BONUS VIDEO: Micing Guitar Cab
So in this segment, I'm gonna talk about placing microphones on a guitar cabinet using a method that I kinda call the pink noise method. I didn't invent this method. Actually I heard about it from a really good engineer in Ireland called Michael Richards from Trackmix Studio. He very kindly posted about it on the internet. I don't know if he invented it, but... For those of you that haven't miced up a cabinet before, just some very rough basics. We're not gonna look too much at the tone, or any aspect of this apart from the mic placement. Generally, the closer you place a microphone to the center of the cone, the brighter the sound you're gonna get, and the further off to the side, the more dark it's gonna get until it's very kind of muffled sound. When you are placing a microphone on a cabinet, it's very normal to aim for somewhere around where the central part, the dust cap, meets the cone. And as a general rule, you can pretty much eyeball that and get something that's gonna be good...
. But this technique allows you to really hone in on the perfect spot where you've got the brightness of the cap plus the fullness of the cone, and none of the harshness that comes if you get really close up on the cap. So, the first thing I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna run some pink noise through the cap really quietly, and I'm gonna just listen to that on my headphones and move the microphones around. Basically, what I'm gonna be aiming for is to find the area, I'm gonna start in the middle and kinda scan out to the side, and I'm gonna find the point where the brightness is just starting to roll off, and that's probably gonna be the sweet spot right there. So, let's get stuck into it. Alright, so I'm gonna start with the SM57, and I'm just gonna look at it and find the point where it's brightest. You can probably hear already that there's now some very strong hissing frequencies coming from the speaker there. I've got the microphone right up on the cabinet. And what I'm going to do is just gradually move it out to one side and listen to what happens as I do that. (hissing) So hopefully what you can hear there, is it's gone from being very bright and hissy to very dark. That's as I've kinda scanned from the cone, sorry, from the cap over to the cone. Now I'm gonna go back, and I'm gonna try and find the position where it's kinda got both characters happening at the same time. (hissing) Right around there is sounding good to me. Now what's gonna happen, is if I pull the mic away from the cab, we're gonna get a reduction in the amount of low end and the amount of fullness to the sound. I'll demonstrate what that sounds like, but generally, for metal usage, I'm gonna keep the mic very close up on the cone. (hissing) Also, as you back up with the microphone, you're gonna find that you start to hear both components of the sound combining more. That can be really cool for some uses. Again, I'm just gonna try and find a really, really great direct sound by being close up on the cab. (hissing) Cool, right. So the next stage is, I'm gonna add a second mic to this. We're gonna use a Sennheiser 421. This is a very common combination to use for distorted guitars, and what I'm gonna have Alex, our engineer do, is flip the polarity on this microphone, and I'm gonna use the pink noise to try and find the perfect spot where the two microphones are gonna be in phase. What I'm gonna listen for is maximum cancellation. Hopefully what you'll find, there's gonna be a point where the two mics really are kinda fighting each other, and it goes very, very quiet. Let's see what happens. (hissing) So, I'd say right around there is giving us a pretty good cancellation. I'm just gonna check where we're at across the cone. (hissing) Cool. So, to me, we're getting a really good cancellation at that spot. Can you just flip the polarity on the 421 now, and let's see. We should find we get a very full sound coming back at us. (loud hissing) There we go. Cool. Next step, let's see what this actually sounds like with a guitar signal going through it. Cool, so here we're gonna listen to the SM57 on its own first. (rhythmic guitar chords) Can you now solo the 421? (rhythmic guitar chords) Now can you give me a 50/50 blend of the two, and let's see what happens? (rhythmic guitar chords) Maybe bring down the 421 just a little bit in the blend. (rhythmic guitar chords) Sounds pretty good to me. Cool.