Live mic setup for a stereo amp?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by feety, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. feety

    feety Member

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    :huh
    I've got what basically amounts to a stereo guitar amp (two little 10w tube heads hooked up to two independently wired speakers, which are mounted together in a 2x10 cab).

    I haven't played live yet with this particular project, so I'm looking for some opinions with regard to mics on this kind of setup. With the places we're probably going to be playing, two mics on the guitar amp every time isn't a realistic expectation, and nor is stereo mains in house for that matter.

    Has anyone tried putting a single mic on a setup like this? We generally have the mic right up in one of the speakers, and putting it between them seems like it might be out of projection, or at least, it would have to be a bit farther back than I am used to. I just wonder if that will significantly muddy the sound.

    I also wonder if this will create any serious phase issues when using stereo effects.

    Losing the stereo sound over the PA is not a huge deal to me, but crappy weak overall guitar sound kinda is. Thoughts?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    I've seen it done with setting up the two amps on a 90 degree angle and pointing the mic at the halfway point. Never tried it though.
     
  3. 21stcenturykid

    21stcenturykid Member

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    If the PA isn't being run in stereo it's not going make a lot of difference. Most bar's won't do this I imagine.

    but if the PA is in stereo I'd just use a mic that would be able to pick up both speakers in one go. Or if you have enough channels use 2!
     
  4. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    After reading through again, i vote use 2 mic's when able. How different are the sounds from each amp? Are you using them both together like a blend with some stereo effects every now and again? or are you using them as "channels"? or are you using some pretty far out stereo effects most of the time?

    If its the first case, then you could get away with just micing one of the speakers those times you're unable to mic both. If its the 2nd or third case, a mic that pick's up both speakers might work, but wouldn't be ideal...that would probably be a situation where i'd definitely use 2 mic's.
     
  5. Twitchey

    Twitchey Member

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    stereo effects that pan or 'ping pong' around are terrible for all but the most complex and high end live applications IMO. As are all that happens is less of the audience get an enjoyable mix.
     
  6. feety

    feety Member

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    The two amps (and the two speakers) are the same amp, with the same tubes. So they are basically the same. I am using them together as a blend. I don't have a lot of EXTREME stereo effects, but I am running a Boss GT-8 with stereo outputs -- and although none of the effects are ping-ponging per se, some of them do have a distinctly richer sound when run in stereo as opposed to powering both of the speakers with one signal.

    If this richer sound is not necessarily carried through to the mains by mic'ing with one mic, that's ok.. I just wonder if anyone has tried something like this and found that it causes phase cancellation issues or comb filtering on the guitar sound. I can re-save the stereo patches as additional mono patches on my GT-8, I just don't want to lose the stereo sounds all together... and I also don't want to have to memorize a different set of patches for mono vs stereo.
     
  7. Seektone

    Seektone Member

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    I would say two mics and two channels is the way to go for fat sound. If you only use one mic and try to get both speakers, you aren't going to get ideal positioning, and therefore you aren't you going to get ideal tone. I think if you only have one channel just mic one speaker up correctly.

    You shouldn't have phase issues with two of the exact same amp.

    BTW - Stereo rigs are killer aren't they!!!
     
  8. feety

    feety Member

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    Cool, thanks for all the input. 2 mics seems to be the general consensus -- which I guess is probably about right.

    I'm just trying to reduce the overall sound-guy-irritation potential. Of course any sound guy worth a damn is not going to have a problem with putting two mics on a guitar cab if that's what we require... But when we have special needs for the bass setup, and one of the two synths, and the drum kit is a hybrid of a regular kit and triggered electronics... and then you tell him you want BOTH of the speakers in your guitar cab mic'ed up.. now you've got small-venue sound guys rolling their eyes and tweeting about how lame the band he's working with is. And if it's a newer band who isn't willing to streamline their setup at all to ensure the show runs smoothly, then he's kinda right..
     
  9. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    What kind of places do you play? Getting rid of phase cancellation and dealing with the extra issues of miking the way you're talking about is indeed a potential pain for the sound guy, and reduces the time and effort he can put into making you sound GOOD because he's spending that time trying to figure out the stereo thing, and you yourself are saying that you often (mostly?) won't be in stereo in the mains anyway.

    I wouldn't do it. And I actually run a two-voice rig all the time. But I mix it together and send ONE source to the house.

    Ditch the stereo, brother man. Your life will be much much happier.

    Last thing. When you ARE in stereo... do you see those two people standing in the center sweet spot in the room? Yeah... those two... they are the only ones who can hear your cool stereo imaging.

    I say this because I have, in fact, tried it.
     
  10. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I'd think you would have phase problems with 2 mic's on a single 2x10 cab. And mic'ing one speaker is missing one side of the stereo field. I'd grab up another cab, put one on each side of the stage and mic em both. In the grand scheme, a single cab isn't going to provide much of a "stereo" field.

    Question....are the amps totally different in tonality? I prefer to have basically one preamp and two power sections/cabs. The only thing different coming from the cabs are the stereo effects.
     
  11. R0ADHOUSE

    R0ADHOUSE Member

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    Just make sure it's the hottest chick in the club and her not as hot but still cute bff are the ones standing there and you'll be fine.

    In seriousness though could you not mic each speaker and hard pan each one left and right? I have a similar situation to the OP.
     
  12. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    If your band has that much going on your best bet is to buy your own quality sound system and hire your own SE. On gigs where the house provides sound, be sure to bring the extra stuff needed to run your rigs and bring your SE along as well. Some house guys aren't very receptive of this, but if you let them know up front what you are trying to do and tell them your guy is there to HELP them, most sound guys are actual pretty decent about it.
     
  13. R0ADHOUSE

    R0ADHOUSE Member

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    Not sure if this comment was directed at me but my band doesn't have much going for it lol. I am just curious if panning one amp hard right and the other left was a viable way to mic stereo amps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  14. Valus

    Valus Member

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    Take this, print it out, and tape it over the power switch of your second amp so you can't turn it on, because it's by far the best solution. The average small-venue sound guy, paid with free beer and empty promises, isn't going to stand still long enough for you to explain this rig, let alone set it up correctly. Stereo rigs are great fun at home and in the studio, and that's where they should stay.
     
  15. R0ADHOUSE

    R0ADHOUSE Member

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    To push back a little bit here I play in smaller venues I run a stereo reverb to add some depth to the sound. I feel that it sounds pretty good. I know this because I can walk around the venue with my wireless receiver and hear it.

    However, I don't mic the amps. At least not yet. Curious if anyone had experienced the hard left/hard right idea I suggested. It makes sense in my mind at least.
     
  16. Valus

    Valus Member

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    Nobody in the audience notices, especially if they're not standing dead center.

    In the context of the original post, most small venue sound engineers just aren't going to run two mics to his amp, and if they do they're not going to take the time to get it set just right to fully realize his "stereo soundscape." And even if he does all that and gets it just right, the audience still doesn't notice or care. It's just reality.
     
  17. Silent Sound

    Silent Sound Member

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    What? Phase cancellations aren't a problem when you're close micing two amps on stage. That's the point of close micing them, so the mics only pick up the amp that's directly in front of it. And if you do run into that problem when the signals are combined in the mixing board, you press the phase reverse button on the mixer on one of the channels. It literally takes less than a second to fix.

    Also, if you bring big enough amps then you can avoid having to use the P.A. for your guitars anyway. Then it won't matter if they only have a mono FOH setup, because you won't be using it. If you're playing places that are so big that two large amps can't fill it up on their own, they will most likely have a pretty decent P.A. setup with stereo mains. Personally I hate running guitars through the P.A. unless it's absolutely necessary. I know how to control my volume better than a sound guy whose never heard me play before. I'm an extremely dynamic player. I don't want a sound guy riding the faders on me trying to level me out. Sometimes I want to hide and be barely noticeable. Sometimes (rarely) I need to drown out the rest of the band. I need the control.

    And if you don't point your two stereo amps directly at those two guys in the middle, the rest of the crowd can hear the stereo spread too. I play stereo, not for the hard ping-pong effect that makes people dizzy, but for the depth created by stereo amps and effects. Otherwise you could make the same argument for any stereo speaker system short of headphones. But people like stereo because it sounds good, even if both sound sources aren't completely isolated in both of your ears.

    I say this because I have, in fact, tried it. For decades.
     
  18. R0ADHOUSE

    R0ADHOUSE Member

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    I agree that small venue sound man might struggle with setting up the "stereo soundscape," but in my instance the extra depth is noticeable. You are right no one is going to know or care it's stereo per se.

    A similar comparison would be no one will know or care that I'm using a Klon versus a Soul Food, but it certainly sounds, albeit subtly, different.
     
  19. Humancapo

    Humancapo Member

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    I've used a stereo rig for a number of years and always run with a single mic placed between the speakers. The only time I've miked the amp with a pair of mics is when the house system was stereo (which is extremely rare) or when tracking at a session.
     
  20. Valus

    Valus Member

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    Noticeable to you. I promise you that's where it ends.

    Pedals aren't a similar comparison, because you're not generating extra work (with zero returns) for another person when you pick the Klon over the Soul Food. But when you show up at a club with a stereo rig and expect the poor sound guy to make it sound right (to you), you've just made his job much more difficult.
     

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