Recording Vocals

In this post, I shall explain the necessary steps needed to record vocals of the highest quality. I shall also discuss common mistakes that people tend to make without the proper knowledge. Precautions/Setting Up When recording a vocalist, it’s imperative that you use basic psychology to get the best performance out of them as you […]

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Recording Percussion

When in the middle of a big recording session, you might feel the urge to add some light percussion as an uplifting change of pace, if so then continue reading as I’m going to run through three scenarios in which you can learn to record a tambourine, granite blocks and a conga. Conga The conga […]

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Recording Acoustic Guitar/ DI Bass

Recording an acoustic guitar can be accomplished in a number of ways because there are so many variables. I’m going to show you how I recorded my acoustic guitar for this audio example. I’m also going to show you another way in which you can record electric guitars and basses called DI (Direct Injection). Precautions/Setting […]

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Recording Piano

Recording a piano is no small task but I can assure you, with perseverance and a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be able to record a piano with ease. A piano is an instrument that can never truly be recreated with absolute accuracy as when you play a note on the piano, the strings surrounding […]

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Recording A Drum Kit

Today I will be showing you on how to create a ‘standard’ drum mic set up. I will walk you through all the necessary parts of the kit and for those of you who are advanced in audio recording, I will also be discussing how to shape and sculpt the tone of a drum kit. For […]

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Recording Electric Guitar

Today we shall be discussing the ways in which we can record an electric guitar through micing the amp. I shall be dividing the post into two halves. The first of which will be a step-by-step walkthrough on how to produce different sounds through the amp for those readers who aren’t sure how to create a clean and distorted tone through the amp itself.

The second half will consist of the possible micing positions and combinations for both clean and distorted amp scenarios and review the merits and drawbacks of a select few.

A Brief History of Distortion

‘The familiar overdrive sound was almost certainly discovered by accident when early amplifiers were driven beyond their design limits in an attempt to obtain more volume, but because of the restricted top end of the speaker systems employed at the time, the distortion was stripped of its more abrasive upper harmonics and actually sounded quite musical’ (White, 2002).

How to achieve a distorted/ dirty sound from your amp

  • High level of drive/gain
  • Low level on master volume
  • Treble, mid and bass are sculpted to personal preference.

How to achieve a clean sound from your amp

  • Low drive/gain
  • Mid-high on the master volume
  • Treble, mid and bass are sculpted to personal preference.

Micing the Amp

The first microphone you’re going to place is going to face the grille of the amp and an important rule to remember is: ‘The sound will be brighter if the mic points towards the centre of the amp’s speaker, becoming less bright the more you point it towards the edge of the speaker’s cone.

Marshall Amp + E906

There is a lot of variation available from the choices given by the choice of amp, the room, the choice of guitar you’re playing and the microphones and their position. I would strongly recommend thinking about what you’re recoding electric guitar for. It’s imperative to at least have an idea of how you want the guitar to sound let alone its role and position in the mix.

Marshall Amp (Settings)

Below I have a video of the set-up that I was using. I have my friend Jordan Mackampa wanting a clean tone from the amp but with plenty of bass and mid with not a lot of treble. For this request it’s not uncommon for recording engineers to mic the back of the amp as well.

E906Marshall Amp + Shure SM 57







As a rule, open-backed cabinets tend to have a different low-frequency characteristic to closed ones, partly because no air is trapped inside the box to act as a pneumatic spring.

‘One characteristic is that low-frequency sounds, such as damped lower strings, cause the speaker cone to move a considerable distance, producing what is affectionately known as cabinet thump’ (White, 2002).

The Sound Achieved

For my set up, I used a Fender Squire electric guitar, Marshall (Closed Cabinet) amp, with a Sennheiser E906 on the front of the grille and a Shure SM57 recording the back of the cabinet for an added ‘thump’. The amp settings were set to produce a clean tone with added bass for personal preference. I also experimented with the Audio-Technica RE-20 pointed in the middle and away from the guitar and the amp itself.

Neumann U87 (Room Mic)

Phase Cancellation

Since I am using a Marshall amp with a closed cabinet, I’m going to record the back of the cab for the ‘thump’ of the bass notes. It gives me plenty more options during the mixing stage to layer the two together without having to do much EQ-ing. I do have to be aware of phase cancellation and so I would naturally apply a trim plug-in on the channel that recorded the back of the amp as that would naturally be 180 degrees out of what the microphone at the front would be hearing.

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