CHAPTER 4 :
How to record in your home studio
Brass & Reed Instruments
Before recording an electric guitar, you first have to get a tone in the studio that everyone can live with. We’ll assume that you’re not going direct to tape (or disc), though that is a viable option.
Amp emulators are very useful and sometimes
necessary in a home studio environment, but
we’ll address the prospect of recording a live
amp in the studio.
A guitarist’s go-to sound will often include a
maxed out amp at serious volume levels, but that
might not be a possibility for the studio environment, which means you need to be able to get a tone both the guitar player and the engineer can love at a workable volume. Take the extra time to do some source monitoring - listening back to the recorded tone to make sure what you have on record matches everyone’s expectations.
Miking a guitar amp is simple enough, though
there are many variations to consider. Finding the sweet spot, just as you would for an acoustic
instrument, requires varying your distance and
spot relative to the speaker. Don’t point the microphone directly at the cone; you need it at a
slight angle to aim it at the sound source. From
there it’s about slight adjustments to the angle,
placement, and distance.
When it comes to mic choice, dynamic mics are
the overwhelming recommendation, mostly as the tone of an electric guitar, across most any
genre or style of play, comes down to the mids.
The reason why guitarists predominantly use
12-inch speakerscomes down to balance. A 12-inch speaker does not have lots of highs or lows. It’s the middle, the crunch, the bite. That’s why I tend to use dynamic mics on amps. If you use an expensive large or small diaphragm condenser that has lots of high- and low-end extension, you’re collecting sound that’s not going to benefit you but that you’ll have to deal with when you mix.
"A dynamic microphone close up on the paper
cone gets me the results I want. If I want to add
a second mic, I’ll put it elsewhere in the room,
sometimes faced away from the cab. That allows
me to pick up the ambient tonality of the amplifier driving the acoustics of the room.”
HOW TO MAKE HOME