This is the third installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on Guitars & Bass in a Live Setting – if you missed his previous post on controlling volume on stage, you can read it here.
Getting back on track here, once we have determined our music style and what we are looking to capture, we can now make a decision on microphones and their placement. Typically most people use a single dynamic mic for this application and that is ok. I personally like the two mic combination of both a dynamic & condenser on my guitars. I find it results in a fuller sound that really captures the detail and presence one would expect with a great guitar sound, however, you can still achieve similar results using only one microphone…so if you only have dynamic mics, don’t worry, use what you got.
For most of the live stuff I do, dealing with heavily distorted amps, the guitars are very up front in the mix and need to be big & fat, have a solid bottom low end, clear mid-range & sheering highs in the top. Using the two mic combination of the dynamic & condenser is totally the way to go.
Dynamic mics give you the mid-range and upper mids, and for me seem to make it easy to get them to sit right in the mix nicely. Condenser mics give more air to the sound and provide an awesome amount of clarity, which results in a bigger, full-range sound…not to mention they pick up the low end better. Blending the two together, you can’t get anything better in my opinion.
On guitars I use the AE2500 mic – this is a dual element mic, which houses a dynamic and condenser in one mic. The best part of this mic is that the 2 capsules are side by side and are perfectly in phase. It’s designed to be a kick drum mic (which it is great for a good “rock” sounding mic), but a lot of folks use it on guitars. By no means is this a sales pitch, but seriously, this is the holy grail of guitar mics. I LOVE these mics. There are so many reasons as to why I love them. I can walk up to any console, turn my gain up to about 10 or 11 o’clock, roll off 80-100 Hz, push the faders up and I got this insane guitar sound. THAT is what you want. With any mic, or gear, you wanna have the sound you’re looking for right away. No one, including myself, wants to sit there and carve all sorts of EQ to get what you are looking for. Using the AE2500, I almost always run them totally flat, sometimes I might add a ‘lil top on certain songs around 4-8 KHz, or take out a ‘lil from 300-400 Hz, but for the most part, flat is the way to go.
In Steve’s next installment he’ll continue to discuss mics and their placement on stage – look for Part 2 to be posted next week!