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Author Topic:  Mic placement when Mic-ing an amp
Dan Kelly


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2021 4:24 pm    
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Is there some way to monitor, in real time, the sound while trying to find the optimum mic placement for recording an amp?

Right now, I am positioning the mic, recording it through my Sonus Studio 68c into Studio One 5. Then, I play it back and listen to the recording. I keep each track and notes for that track to compare between different mic positions.

It would be a time saver to just move the mic and judge the effect of mic placement in real time. How do I do it?

I have heard it said, "A fair mic in a great position is better than a great mic in a fair position."
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 3:23 am    
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Not really, but you could refine your approach by rigging a second mic and making verbal notes as you try different positions.

You could then edit out the rumbling and fiddling about to give a fairly slick comparison. The ear has a short memory, so the tighter the better.
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 7:58 am    
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Tommy Detamore had some sort of gizmo on demo from the manufaturer a year or two back, that was a 'remote controlled' mic adjuster.. It sat in this fixture that moved the mic along both x and y axis remotely, i.e. in and out, and left and right. It had some kind of mix position control, so you could hear the sound as the mic position changed without getting up and moving it by hand.

Maybe he'll see this, I can't remember the name of the company.. I'm sure it wasn't cheap, and that may not really be what you want, but it was kinda cool.
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Ken Morgan

 

From:
Midland, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 10:09 am    
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Or try this? Seems extreme though

https://reverb.com/item/26859506-motorized-mic-stand-dynamount-x1-r-2018-black
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John Macy

 

From:
Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 10:10 am    
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I have one of those, too, Bill. Mine is called an assistant engineer... Smile
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 12:01 pm    
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The Dynamount is the one Tommy had.. it was kinda cool.

https://dynamount.com/products/axial/

.. and here's a video he did that they had on the web page for a while:

http://www.lostpinesstudio.com/mp4/Dynamount.mp4

Quote:
Mine is called an assistant engineer...

Mine is called a wife... but her work hours are a bit difficult to accommodate. Smile
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 3:30 pm    
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Bill Terry wrote:
The Dynamount is the one Tommy had.. it was kinda cool.

https://dynamount.com/products/axial/

.. and here's a video he did that they had on the web page for a while:

http://www.lostpinesstudio.com/mp4/Dynamount.mp4

Quote:
Mine is called an assistant engineer...

Mine is called a wife... but her work hours are a bit difficult to accommodate. Smile


That's a neat rig. I can see myself building a setup using a SM-57 and some kind of kids remote control toy, or maybe a pan/zoom wifi camera. I'm cheap. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

That video is great just to compare the effects of different mic position. Thanks for posting.


RC
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2021 3:35 pm    
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Maybe a remote control fire truck toy, with the mic mounted on the ladder? You can roll side to side and position the mic with the ladder. It wouldn't have the fancy display, but.....

RC
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Dan Kelly


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2021 7:59 am    
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Great stuff. Thanks for your input. I appreciate your replies.

That video from Lost Pines Studio was enlightening. It is a very cool demo! What a difference a small move in mic placement makes.

I have a great assistant engineer / wife... but she hates to be told what to do. "OK, honey, 1/2" to the left... 1 inch to the right... OK up a little." That would last for about 10 seconds! Smile

The Dynamount website has a number of very interesting video links. I can imagine that their product line has a bright future.

Thanks again to all who responded.
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Last edited by Dan Kelly on 16 Jan 2021 8:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2021 8:16 am    
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Quote:
That video from Lost Pines Studio was enlightening.

To be very clear, I had a copy of that video I got from Tommy, that I just shared via my website. I had nothing to do with any of that excellent production. I did ask him if it was ok to share, and he was of course fine with that.

Tommy's place has turned into one of the go-to recording studios for traditional country artists around Texas as well as from places all over the US and Europe.

https://www.cherryridgestudio.com/
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2021 9:13 am    
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Bill Terry wrote:
Quote:
That video from Lost Pines Studio was enlightening.

To be very clear, I had a copy of that video I got from Tommy, that I just shared via my website. I had nothing to do with any of that excellent production. I did ask him if it was ok to share, and he was of course fine with that.

Tommy's place has turned into one of the go-to recording studios for traditional country artists around Texas as well as from places all over the US and Europe.

https://www.cherryridgestudio.com/


For good reason. Tommy is the best. He knows the whole process and how to make it all work. Traditional country music has a great friend and mentor in Tommy Detamore.

RC
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Dan Kelly


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2021 9:58 am    
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Thanks Bill! Got it!
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John Macy

 

From:
Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2021 5:57 pm    
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I wish I could get back those hours I spent moving mics like that Smile. A good friend of mine did a ton of those guitar band records in LA and spent hours and days in the studio moving mics like that. But his favorite guitar sound record was one they were strapped for time and just put the mics in the appropriate places and never touched them. Best sounding guitar record he ever made. Most session players know their sweet spots on their amp and I know the ones on our extensive amp collection, so I hardly ever move mics on an amp unless there is an obvious problem. My favorite electric guitar mic is made by a company in South Africa named Tul Microphones, and it is made to go directly in the center of the cone right on the grill cloth, where you normally would never put a mic. It’s made to work there, and only there and it’s amazing. Plus you never have to wonder where to put it!!
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Godfrey Arthur

 

From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 15 Feb 2021 8:30 pm    
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Some would say, "use the force" and just use your intuition.

If you use headphones enough you would be able to tell using those. It's hit and miss and will always be a little different per song.

Here's guide clip made by my friend Brian Wampler.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcnXKXIZxLg
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Last edited by Godfrey Arthur on 16 Feb 2021 8:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2021 4:38 am    
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What about recording a repeating steel part straight into the board, then play it back through the amp while you (or someone else) fiddles with placement with you with your headphones on? I have trouble judging recorded tone while I’m playing.
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ajm

 

From:
Los Angeles
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2021 6:58 am    
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Time saver tip for the day: Do yourself a favor and get either a Friedman MicNoMo or a Palmer PDI-09 (harder to find and about the same thing).
They're each in the $100-125 range, about the price of a decent mic.
There are other devices out there that are the same thing, but I'll leave it to you to do your own research.

NOTE: They are NOT load boxes. They are DI boxes that are meant to go between the amp and speaker. This is ESPECIALLY critical for tube amps.

Since almost everybody these days is using a DAW, you basically have unlimited tracks to use. So....

Mic your amp any way you want and run it to one track.
Set the couple of settings on the above mentioned DI boxes and record them on another track using the XLR out. Done.

Now you can pick which track you want, or mix them together.
You may need to tweak the phase of one track in your DAW, adjust the EQ, etc etc etc.

Does it sound exactly like a well mic'ed amp? Maybe, maybe not.
Does it sound better, or worse? Maybe, maybe not.
However, no more mic placement issues. Potentially a huge amount of time saved. Repeatable.

And.....especially for tube amp users.......if you get a load box or attenuator so that your tube amp always sees a load, you can also do silent recording.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 17 Feb 2021 12:21 am    
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I would re amp your dry signal and then listen to the amp with headphones while moving the mic around. Or just find a spot that works and start recording.

What kind of mic, room and amp ?
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 17 Feb 2021 7:50 am    
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The main problem areas to listen for is the proximity effect where you pick up way too much low end. And the spike/beam in the highs that moves directly out of the cone. If you use two mics you get to deal with phasing. Those sound problems are pretty obvious once you notice them.

You can fix that stuff with eq but it can sound much better if you don’t create those problems at the source.
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ajm

 

From:
Los Angeles
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2021 9:24 am    
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To sort of twist what Bob Hoffnar said about using two mics.......

If you buy two of the DI boxes that I mentioned, you could connect them in series, and set them to different cabinet/mic/whatever types and record those individually to separate tracks.
Then you could mix them as required later.
And if you still use a mic, you could add that in as well, giving you three different sources.
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Ron Funk

 

From:
Ballwin, Missouri
Post  Posted 17 Mar 2021 12:29 pm    
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Wasn't the best place to put a mic at a point between the center of the speaker cone and the edge of the speaker?

I have some mic holders that our sound man created for me that placed the mics at that location.....NOTE - for live band applications.
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Dan Kelly


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2021 3:21 pm    
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Thanks for all the input. I appreciate it. Re-amping, the MicNoMo and other thoughts / ideas... all worth the follow up. Thank you!
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John Macy

 

From:
Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2021 5:24 am    
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And something else to consider-when you have a tracking session with 5-7 musicians showing up for a 10AM downbeat, there is little time for mic moving and looking for a sweet spot. You use your go-to mic and put in the place that works most often (halfway between the cone and the edge, with the exception of the TUL mic) and get after it, unless there is something obviously wrong. I have recorded many of the top session guitarists and never moved a mic on them (sometimes they will tell you a certain speaker sounds better in a multi speaker cabinet).

I miss certain aspects of the old days. On tape, you had a track for a guitar part, and if you wanted to use more than one mic, you combined them and printed it. I do a lot of remote mixing these days, and the unlimited amount of tracks makes commitment less likely, I get guitar parts with 5 tracks-a dynamic, condenser and ribbon mic with a close and far room mic. Multiply that by 6 guitar parts and all of a sudden I have 30 tracks to sort through. Big pain...
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Cappone dAngelo


From:
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2021 5:54 pm    
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If you're ok monitoring with closed headphones, play something into a looper pedal and put it on loop. Then move the mic while monitoring in the headphones. Once you have something you like, listen on monitors to ensure you're good with it.
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