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Author Topic:  Microphone - Why it is needed
Eric Ibarra


From:
Tyler, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2022 12:24 pm    
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Hello,

I am new to recording at home. I am currently making of a list of all the equipment I need. I have a good idea of what is going on but I did have one question:

Why are the microphones needed to be placed in front of the amp and into the interface? If you are connecting your amp to the interface, wouldn't that record the pedal steel's sound? The same way if an acoustic guitar was hooked up to the amp and connected to the interface.

Thank you,
Eric
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2022 1:10 pm    
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Your question is not quite clear to me however, here's a broad answer(s).

Some folks prefer to mic the amp to get the amps unique tonal character.

Some amps have "line outputs" , enabling you to go amp out==>interface in. Many amps lack this feature.

Some players prefer to bypass the amp entirely going directly from the guitar's pickup to interface.

There are many other variations as well.

Hope this helps.

hp
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2022 2:22 pm    
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I like the sound I get plugging my amp line out into the interface directly, so no mic necessary. But as Howard says, sometimes the sound coming from the speaker cone is more suitable. It all depends. Some sort of mic is useful to have around, for instance if you want to make audible notes of what you're doing.
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2022 5:32 pm    
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Both the amplifier and the speaker cabinet are important components that create the sound.

Many amplifiers have two parts, the amplifier and the speaker cabinet. Combo amplifiers include both parts. The speaker cabinet can have 1, 2 or 4 speakers. The cabinet may have an open back, semi-closed or closed back. Closed back cabinets may have a tuned bass port. Speakers can be manufactured from a variety of materials. All of these help construct the sound you hear.

Many people believe you need a microphone to accurately capture the sound of an amplifier system.

If you don't want to use a microphone there are speaker cabinet software emulators.
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Dale Rottacker


From:
Walla Walla Washington, USA
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2022 4:45 am     Re: Microphone - Why it is needed
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Eric Ibarra wrote:
Hello,

I am new to recording at home. I am currently making of a list of all the equipment I need. I have a good idea of what is going on but I did have one question:

Why are the microphones needed to be placed in front of the amp and into the interface? If you are connecting your amp to the interface, wouldn't that record the pedal steel's sound? The same way if an acoustic guitar was hooked up to the amp and connected to the interface.

Thank you,
Eric

Eric you have a great resource right there in Tyler Texas... David Mitchell is a LONG TIME recording Engineer/Producer who's recorded the likes of Chuck Cusimano, Junior Knight, Ray Price and Walter Haynes to name a few.

Personally I've mic'd up to 2 amps at a time all the while while recording direct with the DI. The simplest way would be to just record Direct, but if you do that you nay find putting something like a Black Box straight out of your guitar to remove some of the sterility that recording Direct seems to introduce. Or so I've been told by MUCH better ears than mine.

For a few years now, I've been recording almost always with a Mic (Sennheiser MD 421ii) though I do usually also keep a DI hooked up for, Justin Case Wink that just gives you the option to blend if you so desire.

Good Luck
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Jim Pollard

 

From:
Cedar Park, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2022 5:08 am    
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I'm not anybody's idea of a recording engineer. I have done some recording using both mic's and direct. If I'm honest I mostly can't tell much difference after I've taken a direct signal, eq'd it and added reverb, compression etc. For bass I actually prefer taking a direct signal as it seems sort of already compressed and you don't have to eq out that boominess you can get in a room. Also, I happen to record in a bedroom in a house with other human beings and so. 1. They don't always want to hear what I'm doing (especially if I'm having a hard time getting a take I like. 2. A slammed kitchen cabinet may mean a new take on an otherwise perfect run through. I haven't done it yet but I'm very very tempted to try something like the Humboldt Simplifier which has cabinet configuration and mic position simulations all in a direct out. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SimplifiGtr--dsm-humboldt-electronics-simplifier-zero-watt-stereo-amplifier
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Eric Ibarra


From:
Tyler, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2022 5:57 am    
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Thank you all for the replies.

So from everyone's replies, my understanding is: you don't need to have the microphone when recording? The microphone is used to capture a "fuller" sound from the amp.

If no mic is used, and the amp is plugged in directly to the interface, you can still record but the recording may not sound as great (thin, flat...etc)

Is this correct?
Sorry if I am getting the terminology wrong. As stated, I am new to all of it.. ha

Regards,
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2022 1:30 pm    
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Eric - I reckon you've grasped correctly what folks are telling you. If you have the capability to add reverb and EQ to the clean direct sound you've recorded then you can create an amplifier and put it in the room of your choice. That's what I do, and I have never had a good take ruined by our mutt barking at the birds in the yard.
Good luck! Smile
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2022 6:46 pm    
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Eric Ibarra wrote:

So from everyone's replies, my understanding is: you don't need to have the microphone when recording? The microphone is used to capture a "fuller" sound from the amp.

If no mic is used, and the amp is plugged in directly to the interface, you can still record but the recording may not sound as great (thin, flat...etc)



More or less, Eric. It's not necessarily a fuller sound, just a different one, and more like what you're used to hearing from an amp/speaker. "Direct", or listening with headphones, is a completely different experience. One might compare it with watching a baseball game on TV vs. actually being at the game.

And for the same reason, I don't really care for "sound systems" amplifying everything. I'd rather hear 3 or 4 amps on stage, the drums, and the singer going through the PA as opposed to hearing everything jammed through a PA system and coming out of the same speakers.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 20 Jul 2022 2:07 am    
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I do so agree with that last paragraph.

(and the other one)
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Dale Rottacker


From:
Walla Walla Washington, USA
Post  Posted 20 Jul 2022 5:06 am    
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For the first time in a LONG time, I recorded two tracks, 1 with an MD 421ii and 1 DI. When I listened back I remembered why I liked the Mic track over the DI track.

The Mic was fuller, warmer and rounder, while the DI was thiner, colder and brittle. Thats not to say that there isn't value in the DI track for me, because you can still bleed a little of that DI track into your mix if your needing a little added spark.
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*2021 Rittenberry, "The Concord" D10 9x9
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 20 Jul 2022 11:08 am    
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With any instrument where both are available I like to record both mic and DI to be able to blend the two. The more different they are (e.g. bass) the more useful I find it.
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Bill Hatcher

 

From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2022 4:33 pm    
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99% of the people who hear your recording won’t know the difference….

That being said. Get you a good preamp. Plug your instrument in and run a line out of the pre into your recording interface. You are now a recording engineer.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 9 Sep 2022 3:23 am    
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I'm late to this discussion and thanks Dale Rottacker! Dale gets the biggest, richest, fattest most beautiful steel tone I've ever heard for playing steel guitar instrumentals and that's including all the famous players mainly because 1- He seriously pursued the ultimate sound for his instrument and 2- He has a good ear for what a good sound is and 3 he just has a master's touch that's all his own. There is many ways to plug up for a good sound but you have to know what you want and what works best for you as already stated in this thread. Setting the tone issue aside for a moment let's discuss other important issues. Using an amp with speaker has the advantage of letting the player feel the sound as in a live performance which may make the player play better since he/she gets more sound in return than they actually put in the amp. Coming out of the line out of the preamplifier of a guitar amp allows the player to get the sound of the electronics in the amp without having to use a microphone. This can be a big advantage if you are in a noisy house or the yardman is mowing. Going straight from the guitar or volume pedal to an instrument input on an audio interface allows all tone and effect decisions to be made at a later date and this is an advantage because you can use software digital or convolution reverbs and delay and any other effects and make all those decisions after a song has been recorded. As far as tone is concerned a good EQ you can fix about anything in a mix to a degree but keep in mind you can't remove effects that have been printed and it's easier to thin a tone that's fat than to make something that never was bigger. For that reason you need the hottest, cleanest signal you can print on a recording to start with. Understanding gain structure will get you a much better tone than any other recording technique. It's possible to have the world's finest music and audio equipment and get a really bad sound. Get the gain up and get it up fast. When there isn't enough level on the recorder pushing the gain up in the mix only raises the noise floor and robs you of a crystal clear sound. Hope this helps and explains the advantages of each. One more option, that's re-amping. Record your amp with a mic on one track and at the same time record on another dry signal track direct to the recorder/computer. That way you heard the sound of your amp while you recorded and have a copy of that. On some other day you might think, I wonder what it would have sounded like if I had used a Fender amp instead of my Peavy? No problem and no need to record your spectacular performance again. Simply play that dry direct track into another guitar amp of your choice and record that with a mic on another channel. See, changed amps and sound but didn't have to re-record it again. You could even do a recorded amp shootout with a direct dry signal previously recorded.
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