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The 'Recording Secrets' Library Of Microphone Positions:
Electric Guitar

The following audio examples were recorded with guitarist Tom Adams (playing a Fender Telecaster through a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier) in the Music Technology Department of Cambridge's Hills Road Sixth Form College. The microphones used were Shure SM57 cardioid dynamic models, the most common professional choice for close-miking guitar amps. Many thanks to the college's Director of Music, Jonathan Sanders, for the use of the recording facilities. The mics were preamplified via the mic preamps of a Tascam DM3200 digital mixer and recorded digitally without any signal processing.


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MULTIMIC SETUP 1

This microphone setup used three Shure SM57 microphones, which all recorded a single performance simultaneously.

  • Cone Position: These files demonstrate how the close-miked tone changes as you move the microphone from the centre to the edge of the speaker cone.


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.

Mic Polar Pattern Distance Position/Angle
A WAV/MP3
Cardioid Directly on the grille cloth Perpendicular to the grille cloth, pointing at the outer edge of the left-hand speaker cone
B WAV/MP3
Perpendicular to the grille cloth, pointing at a spot halfway between the outer edge and centre of the left-hand speaker cone
C WAV/MP3
Perpendicular to the grille cloth, pointing at the centre of the left-hand speaker cone


MULTIMIC SETUP 2

This microphone setup used three Shure SM57 microphones, which all recorded a single performance simultaneously.

  • Miking Angle: These files demonstrate how the close-miked tone changes as you angle it towards different parts of the speaker cone.


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.

Mic Polar Pattern Distance Position/Angle
A WAV/MP3
Cardioid Directly on the grille cloth Over the centre of the left-hand speaker cone, perpendicular to the grille cloth
B WAV/MP3
Over the centre of the left-hand speaker cone, angled 20 degrees outwards
C WAV/MP3
Over the centre of the left-hand speaker cone, angled 45 degrees outwards


MULTIMIC SETUP 3

This microphone setup used three Shure SM57 microphones, which all recorded a single performance simultaneously.

  • Miking Distance: In this comparison you can hear how the miking distance profoundly affects the recorded tone.


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.

Mic Polar Pattern Distance Position/Angle
A WAV/MP3
Cardioid 1cm A little to the left of the centre of the left-hand speaker cone, perpendicular to the grille cloth
B WAV/MP3
30cm
C WAV/MP3
90cm


MULTIMIC SETUP 4

This microphone setup used two Shure SM57 microphones, which both recorded a single performance simultaneously.

  • Different Speaker Cones: Although all the speakers in a guitar cabinet are usually meant to be identical, they never sound quite the same...


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.

Mic Polar Pattern Distance Position/Angle
A WAV/MP3
Cardioid Directly on the grille cloth Over the centre of the left-hand speaker cone, perpendicular to the grille cloth
B WAV/MP3
Over the centre of the right-hand speaker cone, perpendicular to the grille cloth


FURTHER READING

  • To read more about recording and mixing acoustic guitar, check out this Sound On Sound magazine article, to which the above audio examples directly relate.

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