This is the fifth installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on Guitars & Bass in a Live Setting, and the third part of the discussion on selecting and placing mics on stage – if you missed Part 2 of his post on selecting and placing mics, you can read it here.
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Steve’s ‘view from the office.’ (Photo: Steve Lagudi/Instagram)
Now, let’s discuss placement. For a brighter sound, having a mic pointed directly at the center of the cone will give you that. If you want something darker or need more low end, start going towards the middle or outer part of the speaker. Some folks like to do the off axis thing, or straight on the speaker. My thoughts on all of that? I don’t think it really matters either way. I obviously have tried both and there are times I have heard mics straight on that sound the same as when they are off axis. Why is that the case? Because believe it or not, with a small 10 or 12 inch speaker, there is soooooo much surface area to cover for a mic to capture that the slightest movement can’t dramatically change the sound. So instead of arguing which is better, I just keep it simple and point it straight on the speaker if I am putting a mic on a guitar cabinet on stage. Plus, since the mics have a cardioid pickup pattern, going straight on helps keep leakage down.
Now you probably are wondering why I said, “…if I am putting a mic on a guitar cabinet on stage”, reason being is this – I like to use isolation boxes. For those of you who do not know what an isolation box (cabinet) is, it is a speaker enclosed in a box where you can mount mics inside, and not only keeps sounds from bleeding in, but it also keeps it in. I love ‘em, they are awesome in a live setting to keep the guitar, and even bass, super clean and quiet from leakage. Iso boxes are also great when you want to record and can’t make a lot of noise, so if you want to track guitars at home at 3 in the morning, you can go ahead and crank up your amp and record using a real guitar amp, not some fancy magic box that everybody seems to love these days. Not me. I like air movement. No fancy box can give you that sound of a microphone on a speaker, going through a real good mic preamp.
My placement inside the isolation box? I have my mic off axis, pointing directly towards the center. Since the AE2500 has the dynamic & condenser, I have it turned so that the dynamic is on the bottom and the condenser is on the top. This allows the dynamic to really get just the center of the cone while the condenser gets more of the middle of the speaker without getting too scratchy or bright.
Don’t miss Part 4 of this post next Wednesday when Steve finishes up talking about mics and placement!