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Saturday, June 28, 2014

DUAL MIC GUITAR RECORDING TECHNIQUES! (The Fredman Technique and More)

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to expand our "microphoning a guitar amp" article, talking about some advanced technique, that involves two microphones.

Using more than one microphone on the same cabinet means getting the sound from different points and reproducing it in a more accurate way, since every microphone just takes a snapshot of the spectrum tracked from there, and there will be unavoidably some predominant frequency area, and some other that will go lost.

We could add as many microphones as we want, keeping in mind that the more mikes we use, the harder will get to make them all glue together, but it's pretty common to say that using just one microphone is usually not enough to track the body and at the same time the crispness of a guitar tone.

Today we're going to focus on the three most common dual-microphone techniques:

1) the Fredman Technique: used by Van Halen and the producer Frederick Nordstrom, this technique was used on many albums, for example the In Flames' masterpiece "Clayman":


As you can see it's a "Close Miking" technique, which means that the michrophones should be 1-2 inches (3 to 5cm) from the grill, and it's usually done with 2 shure sm57, but nothing forbids to try different combinations.
One microphone should be set straight towards the dustcap or its edge, taking the full body of the sound and many low frequences due to the proximity effect, while the 45° offset one should take the higher frequences, adding some grit to the tone.

2) the fizz-killing technique: this technique takes advantage of the phase alignment (click on the link for a dedicated article about the phase). It consists in using 2 Shure Sm57, one straight to the edge of the dustcap, the other near. The core of the technique is to back off the second microphone until the phase cancellation doesn't take away only the "fizz", the annoying high frequences that make our tone sound like a mosquito. Once we get rid of them this way, only the "beef" of our tone will remain, and the sound will be tight and punchy.


3) The Condenser technique: this technique is used mainly with clean and overdriven guitars, and it consists in setting a dynamic microphone near the edge of the cone, to capture only the mids and the lows, and putting a large diaphragm condenser half a meter away, to catch some room, the higher frequences and the low-roar of the tubes. These two microphones combined will give a very warm and rich clean tone, especially with tube amps.


I hope this was helpful! Comment if you have some other interesting technique to share!


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3 comments:

  1. another cool mic technique for guitar amps is a SM57/Ribbon mic combo. Put the 57 in tight as you normally would, facing directly into the dust cap of the speaker, and then use a Ribbon mic, backed off the amp by 1-3 feet; and you can get a very "warm" tone - depending on the amp, too, of course. On a tube amp - either combo or cab ( Fender, Marshal, Mesa, Peavey, etc.) you can get some very cool "space" to the sound, because ribbons are almost always Fig 8 exclusively, and this is advantageous because it can pick up the amp's off -axis sonics. If you haven't tried it, you should. ;)

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  2. thank you very much! this is a really interesting technique, when I'll be able to try some recording with a ribbon mike, I'll make an article!

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