Recording Electric Guitar though amp

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by The Truth, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. The Truth macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2005
    at my wits end (in Australia)
    I want to record electric guitar though an amplifier (not plugging directly into the computer). Should I use a condenser mic or doesn't it matter? What should I look for in an amp? Does size matter at all? Thanks.
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    for more than you ever wanted to know about recording electric guitar, have a look at MARSH: Slipperman's Recording Distorted Guitars Thread From Hell.

    short answer: it's possible to get good sounds with condensors, dynamics, ribbons and a combination thereof. the size of the amp does make a difference in the sound, of course, but one size isn't necessarily better than another.

    have fun with the slipperman thread.
  3. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    I use a mic to record guitar audio off my Fender Super-Reverb. I really like the tone of this amp, so I usually use a mic. The results are fine for me, but I'm nowhere near pro-level audio.
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    People have used condensor, dynamic and ribbon mics for micing guitar cabinets. The classic is the dynamic Shure SM57 on a short mic stand almost up to the grille cloth in front of the speaker. You can experiment with the placement of the mic off-centre of the speaker for different tones and speaker colourations.
    Shure tips

    As far as an amp goes, the classic rock guitar sound is made by overdriving the amplifier to the point where the sound is compressed and clipped and eventually totally distorted. Therefore, if you get a 120 W amplifier, the sound levels will be thunderous to get the distortion and drive that is desired. Many guitarists are getting "mini" amps - 2W to 10W - for recording, because they can be cranked up to get that "creamy" sound without risking building demolition. (Many of Brian May's characteristic guitar sounds on Queen records were recorded through his "Deaky Amp", a tiny amplifier hand-built by John Deacon, Queen's bass player) Solid state amps and vacuum tube amps have different characteristic overdrive and distortion sounds, as do variations between brands, speaker sizes, etc.

    Major page on amp tone
    Digidesign Guitar Tools article

    The other way is to avoid the use of an amp altogether, and use an amp simulator effect - which creates the overdrive, speaker colouration, and other effects electronically. The Line6 Pod series, the Behringer V-Amp, Korg Pandora, Digitech GNX series, Zoom, Boss/Roland COSM, and others are popular. They will give you a line level signal to pass to the recording interface with no amp, speaker or microphone needed.
  5. e-clipse macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
    Definately! ^^^;) ^^^Use a good ole Shure SM57. The angle of the mic affects the tone. Little amps combined with after tracking eq and compression = big sound.
  6. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    As above...:D

    It's a very broad church this guitar recording lark, and there are as many solutions as there are guitar sounds.

    The bottom line for me has always been to assess the sound of the guitar out of the amp, if it's a good sound then I have to try to capture that faithfully (difficult) if it doesn't do what I need then one of my options is to use mic technique to compensate.

    For the record, the SM57 is a great mic for distorted guitar IMO, but lacks low end, adding a Senheisser 421 or Beyer M88/99 gives a real grunt to the bass. A U87 or C414 about 6 feet out in the mid-field gives a rounded ambience, but you'll need a good room for that.

    The 57 doesn't really cut it for clean guitar though, not enough HF response, a closer U87 or a pair of DPA2009 Omni's is good but pricey.

    I mic slightly off axis to begin with and work from there.
  7. beatsme macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2005

    I've got a Shure SM57 that works like a charm for me. I use it to mic my beloved Fender Twin Reverb. You can, as CanadaRAM says, just skip the amp thing and go right through a signal processor. I've done this (with GarageBand built-in amp modeling) and it sounds pretty good, though I will always prefer the sound of the Twin over anything else. But that's just my PERSONAL may find you like something else better.

    As for the distorted sound you want, yea you're really going to have to drive a tube amp to get a super-distorted sound. IMHO, tube amps sound a lot better when they're just "dirty" i.e. slightly overdriven but not on the verge of explosion... kind of Rolling Stones-ish. If it's heavy distortion you want, use an effects pedal. The Ibanez Tube Screamer is a nice little unit, and not terribly expensive. Check it out here:

    this is the best one, though there are several models that are less expensive and probably just as good for what you want to do.

    hope this helps
  8. DonovanBomb macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2006
    Hi guys this is my very first post to the mac rumors thread

    Sorry if I'm making a quick judgment about you but it seems this guy hasn't had too much experience with recording so my advice is to look into a company called "Line 6"

    The advantage of using a Line 6 is that most of them come with direct line outs that you can plug either directly (not recommended) or through a Analog to Digital converter to get to your recording program.

    I wouldn't suggest anything I dont use myself so I suggest you get a Line 6 and an Mbox

    Have fun!
  9. The Truth thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2005
    at my wits end (in Australia)
    Thanks Donovan, but that is the method I am currently using (and trying to avoid). I connect the amp to an M-Audio Firewire 410 but I would rather record the noise the amp is actually making to get a more realistic sound.
  10. john82 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2008
    You really don't need a condenser mic - guitars are usually best recorded with a dynamic mic. a good shure dynamic mic will do a good job.
    you can also try connecting to a preamp and from there direct to the computer.


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