How To Mic A Guitar Amp For Live Sound [Detailed Guide]

Do you want to know how to mic a guitar amp for live sound? Then, read this article to learn how to do so. This article explains the steps required to mic a guitar amp.

No matter which venue you are playing at, be it an open arena or a small room, you will have to engage yourself in the easiest yet toughest job eventually which is: mic a acoustic amp for live sound. 

Once you have made all the creative adjustments you want for the tone, once you are absolutely ready to rock this show, it will be time for the said “miking up your acoustic amp”.

Now, you might wonder why can’t you simply use your amplifier as a stand-alone? I mean, it does the job well during practice sessions. Well, putting aside the obvious, in most venues, your acoustic amp alone will not do.

Miking it up does wonder in terms of sound and presence. Now, you don’t need to be a sound engineer to mic up your amplifier as a best acoustic amp for live shows, its fairly simple once you understand how to do it and what all equipment you would require.

How To Mic A Guitar Amp For Live Sound - STEP BY STEP GUIDE

1. Choosing a Microphone

Since we are “miking it up” and we aren’t talking about a dude named mike rather a microphone; that is what you would need. There are many different types of microphones, but you have to choose the dynamic microphones one of the fantastic option for live performance when it is paired with a elite guitar amp. There are several companies that make dynamic microphones and finding a good one should not be very tough.

2. Positioning the Microphone

The positioning of the mic is just as important as choosing a good microphone as where and how you place it for your acoustic amp would make the sound generated much different.

Find the speakers inside the acoustic amp and place the microphone right in front of them. You would need a mic stand for easy placement. The placement of the microphone is crucial as simply moving it an inch would change the sound that comes out.

How To Mic a Acoustic Guitar Amp for Live Sound

Most sound engineers suggest that a good spot for miking a dynamic microphone is halfway between the center and the edge of the speaker cone, pointing the microphone right at the speaker.

Leave just enough room so that you could slide in your pinky (little finger) and perhaps a grille cloth (transparent cloth that is stretched across the grille of an amplifier or speaker).

3. The difference in Sound

Now, coming to the part where I said: “placement of the microphone is crucial as simply moving it an inch would change the sound”. In simple terms, the closer you place the mic to the speaker, the more bass (low end) frequencies will be felt and as one would expect.

Furthering the mic away from the acoustic amp will reduce the bass frequencies. (note: Omni-directional microphones are an exception to this rule). You can manipulate the sound a lot simply by positioning the microphone differently. Say, you want to play around more and want to reduce the mid-range and upper frequencies.

Well, in that case, move the microphone sideways, closer to the edge of the acoustic amp. The more you move the mic sideways, you will notice a reduction in those desired frequencies (mid and upper).

Every genre of music requires different tones so play around with the positioning of the microphone till you end up with that ideal sound for whichever genre you are playing, be it metal, classic rock, blues or any other.

4. Where is the speaker?

There is nothing to be embarrassed about in case you did not know where the speaker is located. A lot of times, especially nowadays, with a grille cloth being used, it can be a bit hard to locate the speaker.

All you really need is your phone. Well, you actually need a flashlight, but you might not always have that on you while your phone has a flashlight in it (technology, wow).

Flash the light in front of the grille, the light will make the speaker visible. Since you are already down, can hear exactly where the sound is coming from and can now place the mic and the acoustic amp exactly at the ideal position.

The closer you are to the center of the speaker, the louder and brighter the sound will be and the more you move to the edge, it will get duller and duller.

5. Sound tips

If you have read everything above, you are good to go. You now know how to mic up your acoustic amp. Here, I am going to provide you with some sound tips to get that ideal tone. 

Unless you know what you are doing, don’t play around with the kind of microphone you get. Simply go with a good dynamic microphone. Dynamic microphones are able to handle the pressure emitted by the sound of the speaker and in-return is able to provide great, warm sound for live performances.

No wonder professionals themselves use dynamic microphones during live sets. Coming to the tone, we already discussed that a bit in detail above so I will keep it simple and direct here.

  • Sound is brighter, the closer it is to the center of the speaker
  • Moving to the outer edge will decrease the brightness and increase bass frequencies
  • Moving to the surrounding edge will decrease the mid and upper range frequencies
  • Need more bass? Close in the gap between the microphone and the speaker.
  • In order to decrease the bass, just move back the microphone
  • In order to precisely fine-tune the sound that you are hearing, place the microphone at an angle of 45 degrees

Conclusion

If you are performing somewhere and you are in a situation where you must mic up your acoustic amp, follow the instructions I have provided above, and you are good to know.

Keep in mind, there is another option available to you which is running a “line out” out of the acoustic amp to a PA system, but the sound you get will never be as good as that which miking up your amplifier would provide as it is, this is what I would call, the true sound. Happy playing!

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