Old 11-16-2017, 11:42 PM   #1
Kyoto
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Default Condenser mic distance?

Hi all,

I have an AKG P220 (large diaphragm condenser) and I want to record my electric guitar through a Bugera V5 (5 watt tube amp with 8' speaker). I tried to find on the web and youtube the distance I should place the mic, but I only found info about off/on center. What are your recommendations and experience? Also, Do condensers benefit from off axis like dynamic mics?

Any info would be much appreciated.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:50 AM   #2
Bri1
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Any info would be much appreciated.
Hello-try the linked playlist > it covers a few different types of instruments abd mics// mic placements. Clear instructions.
GLHF!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqef...YWR-rUOtAK3m4N



ps.-there are no actual 'rules' ->just guides.
People who create their 'own' sounds and techniques,sometimes must breaks all 'rules' to get them. =)

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Old 11-17-2017, 07:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
Hi all,

I have an AKG P220 (large diaphragm condenser) and I want to record my electric guitar through a Bugera V5 (5 watt tube amp with 8' speaker). I tried to find on the web and youtube the distance I should place the mic, but I only found info about off/on center. What are your recommendations and experience? Also, Do condensers benefit from off axis like dynamic mics?
Mic position in front of the speaker is super important no matter what kind of mic you use. Use your ears and find what suits the track you will be recording to. Forget what you think sounds good on its own, it has to sound good in the mix too and those can sometimes be two very different things. On- and off-axis is always important but so is distance too. Some microphones exhibit the proximity effect, which can massively inflate the low frequencies when very close to the noise source. Further back reduces proximity effect but also changes the sound in other ways and introduces room ambience.

What you'll need will change depending on recording a clean tone or distorted, what speaker you have, etc. In time you'll learn what works with your guitar gear and mics in different musical situations. Until then, you'll spend time on-the-job learning so allow time to experiment.

Personally I prefer to start off axis and a few inches from the grille cloth. If proximity effect is an issue, I start by seriously cutting the low frequencies (below 100Hz) on the recorded track and add back in only what is needed. Those low frequencies are another instrument's space, not the guitar's.

Make NOTES of EVERYTHING - session time and dates, which microphones, positions, distances, amp and effects settings. It'll allow you to re-record things at a later date and match the sound of the original recording.

Also, if you have a DI, record an uneffected un-amped guitar take with everything else you do. If a sound recorded with amp and mic for some reason doesn't work out but the performance is good you have the option of re-amping at a later date, or using amp sims in the box.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:35 AM   #4
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If a distorted tone using an LDC, most people will consider the result too bright and fizzy when close micing. Try it anyway but be aware of that fact especially since distorted guitar amps/pedals essentially have no useable information above 6-7k.

The solution to that is backing the LDC up to allow the sound to develop and air to attenuate some of that fizz. Some of the best recorded guitar tones I've achieved were with an LDC 4-7 feet away from the amp. Of course the room you are in plays a part - if the room is terrible sounding then this just isn't going to work well.

Many want a recorded guitar tone to sound like what they are hearing when playing, then the first thing they do is cram the mic right up against the grill and wonder what happened. It's not that micing that close can't sound great, it can but at that short distance it is nothing like what your ears are hearing and are down to millimeter changes making large differences again, because it is so close it is unable to pick up what the sound develops into and instead picks up very narrow areas of the cone.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:57 AM   #5
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Many want a recorded guitar tone to sound like what they are hearing when playing, then the first thing they do is cram the mic right up against the grill and wonder what happened. It's not that micing that close can't sound great, it can but at that short distance it is nothing like what your ears are hearing and are down to millimeter changes making large differences again
With an appropriate microphone choice and careful placement/auditioning, and EQ to counter the proximity effect (-15dB @ 80Hz is often not too much), you can get very close to what the ears hear in a not too big or lively room. I find the Sennheiser e906 is a good choice for that (which is whay it is my preferred live amp mic). Many ribbon and condensers can be too bright as you correctly say.

With inexperienced, low volume home players they usually trying to match the mythical tones from their favourtite albums. Those fat, rich tones are often the result of two or more layered takes, not just one, often with two or more amps and guitars, and EQ and compression added in the mix. One guitar cannot make that noise! As a result they dial in a sound that is too bassy and use too much distortion, which makes the problem worse.

But as already noted, a recorded signal that matches our ear's/brain's impression is not always what we need when recording. We should think of mic choice and positioning as an EQ that allows us fit the guitar tones to the track, rather than trying to shoehorn a tone that sounds great with the solo button but lousy in the mix.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DrKev View Post
With an appropriate microphone choice and careful placement/auditioning, and EQ to counter the proximity effect (-15dB @ 80Hz is often not too much), you can get very close to what the ears hear in a not too big or lively room. I find the Sennheiser e906 is a good choice for that (which is whay it is my preferred live amp mic). Many ribbon and condensers can be too bright as you correctly say.
I don't disagree per se but it is always harder to get that micing close vs far. I'm aware of what we need vs what we hear which is something I often preach but what I'm speaking of is the person's expectations more than the reality of what works in a mix (see next paragraph where I think we are on the same page). If they have a decent room they should try far as well as any other combo of micing. That's just an other testament of needing a decent sounding room that isn't too lively, once I had a good room I went from micing defensively to micing creatively and cannot stress enough the vast difference between those two choices. To be fair some genres require micing close regardless of difficulty.

I don't see ribbons being too bright in any case, that isn't what they do, they are usually much darker by design. At least my R121s and other brands I own are.

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With inexperienced, low volume home players they usually trying to match the mythical tones from their favourtite albums. Those fat, rich tones are often the result of two or more layered takes, not just one, often with two or more amps and guitars, and EQ and compression added in the mix. One guitar cannot make that noise! As a result they dial in a sound that is too bassy and use too much distortion, which makes the problem worse.
I do agree people go to great lengths with multiple mics and amps but I'm often surprised to do exactly that only to find the single mic worked just as well and sounded just as fat. The exception is two amps mic'd and used in stereo but in that regard it's the stereo difference for the most part. I agree more on the fact that when listening to their fav players they A) tend to use too much gain, B) hear only the final result post mix which is typically far, far from what the source track actually sounds like and they tend to over compensate.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
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You got some good advice there, I'll add one thing.

Don't put your amp on the floor. For one thing, this can bring up the bass end over what you want. But more important, you'll be twiddling yr knobs to try to get your sound - while listening to it standing up with your ears way off axis - and then surprised when the mic-ed sound isn't like what you were hearing. Use some kind of amp stand, preferably angled.
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:32 PM   #8
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You got some good advice there, I'll add one thing.

Don't put your amp on the floor.
True, I ended up getting a few little wooden crates at the hardware store and all my amps sit on those.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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You got some good advice there, I'll add one thing.

Don't put your amp on the floor. For one thing, this can bring up the bass end over what you want.
Just like positioning monitor speakers, proximity to floors, walls, and corners of rooms make a difference to bass response to us sitting away from the speaker, but perhaps not the close miced signal. I seem to recall testing with short recordings at home and heard no difference. And I EQ my mic's proximity effect out anyway so I don't care.

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But more important, you'll be twiddling yr knobs to try to get your sound - while listening to it standing up with your ears way off axis - and then surprised when the mic-ed sound isn't like what you were hearing. Use some kind of amp stand, preferably angled.
Yes. I put it this way: "Mic position follows listening position".
It's a useful rule of thumb to get a decent starting place.

If you listen off-axis (amp flat on floor and you standing), mic off-axis.
If you listen on-axis (amp angled at your head), mic on-axis.

Listening off-axis we tend to hear less highs which beam straight forward out of the speaker. We tend to dial our amp EQ higher to compensate. If you then mic on-axis you are placing the mic in the brightest possible position for a sound you've made brighter. Result: too bright from the mic.

Conversely, if we listen on-axis, we get the full brightness of the speaker. We dial the treble down and perhaps the mids too (mid control on most amps also affects the treble). Micing off axis will be darker and bassier than what you want to record.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:07 AM   #10
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Well, I'm a believer in getting a good sound at source. For me this would mean getting the amp sounding "right" with my ears in front of it. Then I'd want a mic choice and placement that captures this sound.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the input! I never really thought too much about the fact that my amp is on the floor, so I'll try sitting on the floor and adjusting from there. Also, I know that a condenser isn't the ideal mic to record an amp by itself, but hey, I like to experiment
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:01 AM   #12
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You can get an perfectly good sound with a condenser, even close, on a guitar amp. I've currently got set up a Rode NT2 4 inches in front of a Hughes and Kettner ATS 60, towards the edge of the cone. But we may end up using something else. Whatever, we'll be doubling the guitars, and EQ-ing like heck :-)
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:05 AM   #13
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You can get an perfectly good sound with a condenser, even close, on a guitar amp. I've currently got set up a Rode NT2 4 inches in front of a Hughes and Kettner ATS 60, towards the edge of the cone. But we may end up using something else. Whatever, we'll be doubling the guitars, and EQ-ing like heck :-)
Since my amp is small and pretty dark, I should start from placing the mic right in the middle of the cone and start moving to the edge, right?
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:26 AM   #14
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Since my amp is small and pretty dark, I should start from placing the mic right in the middle of the cone and start moving to the edge, right?
Try a few positions and see which you prefer. There's no one right way of doing this.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:00 AM   #15
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I you're alone, you could use delay in your monitoring headphone, something like 4s full wet and play intermitently so direct sound won't mess up with it...
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Old 11-25-2017, 02:04 AM   #16
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I just wanted to update that I got great results doing the following:

- Moving the condenser from 30 cm away to 18-20 cm away. Helped me get the fullness of the sound without adding too much bass.
- Having the mic just a tad off center, but in front the middle of the speaker.

In one track I had two clipping sounds, but I have a feeling it has nothing to do with the sound levels (The mic pre was green even when strummed hard). Probably the electricity in this 50 year old apartment. I will try to use the Pad function on the mic and re-record the part.

Thanks again for all the input.
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