Sunday, May 4, 2008

Miking your cab - Part 1

The very last step in your signal change - that you can control - is the mike and it's placement on your cab. This last step can really change your tone and shouldn't be overlooked or left to the sound guy. No offense to sounds guys! But there's no absolute rule on where to put a mike on a cab so when they mike it they're just guessing. Each cab will sound different so even if you and I use the same mike, it won't sound the same and might sound terrible if you place it the same as I do. The only way to know where to put the mike is by trial and error.

I literally bring my own mike to every gig and set it up myself. I'm always careful not to insult the sound guy by doing it myself, but in my experience the good one's don't mind at all. If you're planning on buying a mike you should see if you can borrow a few and see how they sound on your cab first. If you're not going to buy one try to borrow a Shure SM57 (since that's what almost everyone will put on your cab if you don't bring your own) and find where it sounds best on your cab.

Ideally you'll be able to make a recording with the mike in a bunch of different positions to hear where it sounds best. If that's not possible, see if your church's sound guy will let you come to practice early and experiment with mike placement.

While there are no rules on where to place the mike, here are the general guidelines:

- Use a dynamic mike (not a condenser) because it can handle the loud volumes your speakers are putting out
- Go ahead and put the mike right up to the speaker grill, or within an inch of it. The further you put it away the more noise it's going to pick up from other instruments or echos off walls
- Aiming the mike at the center of the speaker will give you a bright (lots of treble) sound, the edge of the speaker will give you a dull (lots of bass) sound, you'll most likely want to be somewhere in the middle of those two.
- Moving the mike toward the floor will add more bass (reflecting off the floor), moving the mike higher will not add bass.
- Aiming the mike strait at the speaker will give more bass than angling it 30-45 degrees to the side. In my opinion, angling the mike also gets ride of shrill high frequencies.

Go experiment if you haven't already. Find the best placement and make sure the mike ends up in the best position each time you play!

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