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As my external soundcard does not perform good when I record two guitars simultaneous, I want to take a shot at miking my amp.

Is it possible listen to a metronome or drum pattern without ruining the recording by bleeding into the guitar sound? One solution I could imagine is to use headphones, but I think this would be rather distracting as we couldn't hear the amp signal very well. How is this done usually? Or do you have any other tips for holding the tempo while recording?

  • You might find that the relative volume your mic picks up of a loud amp 1" away and a click track several feet away means the click is pretty much imperceptible. Could be worth checking you need a solution before trying to solve the problem. – Mr. Boy Sep 17 '15 at 16:04
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We always used to put on our headphones the half-way (only on one ear) so you can hear the real sound better. But tell your engineer to switch of the signal of the open earpiece in order not to hammer the click into the microphone. More of a problem with not so loud sources like voice-recording...

Another trick is (and in these days with a lot of tracks available very easy to achieve) to have a loud click track from a speaker in the same room and later on make a second track with only the click and phase invert the click-only-track against your actual recording. This will eliminate the click! But of course you may not change anything in the room, speaker position or volume of the click for the two recordings... - but sometimes this works well.

Last one - if you don't need the interaction of the feedback of your amp and your instrument, you could split the instrument's signal, go into another room where you get the loud click on a speaker. The original recording in the other room stays save...

  • Thank you, that sound promising - I will try these solutions tomorrow during our next session! – saxum Sep 17 '15 at 12:45
  • Do you have a citation for the click phase-inversion? With all of the subtleties in changing room response due to anything from the temperature to the humidity in the room (never mind the position of any equipment/baffles/people) that seems highly implausible. – Matt Taylor Sep 23 '15 at 17:02
  • Well if personal experience counts, I actually do ;-) - As I already said: 'sometimes this works well'... – mramosch Sep 24 '15 at 10:56
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How this is done usually:

  • Both the metronome or click track and the guitar sound are routed into the headphones. If your sound card has "low latency monitoring", that's what this is for.

OR

  • Many headphones do not block out sound from outside the headphones very well. You can use a set of headphones that let you hear both the amp (through the air) and the metronome or clicks (through the headphones).

In either case, it can take a little work to get the levels of the click and guitar to be right, so that you can always hear both of them. That's normal.

  • Thank you for your fast response. Unfortunately my amp (Fender FM212-R) doesn't have an output channel. That's a great pity... Can you maybe provide me an example for the headphones you mentioned? – saxum Sep 17 '15 at 11:51
  • I don't know what you mean by an "output channel". In both of my options above, you would be using a microphone on the amp. The vast majority of headphones do not block out that much sound. Just don't use noise-cancelling headphones. If you have to, take one earpiece of the headphone off your ear and just have it on the side of your head. Then you have click in one ear and guitar in the other. – Todd Wilcox Sep 17 '15 at 11:59
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Use a flashing metronome that doesn't click

or

Cheap earphones that let lots of sound bleed through and turn up your amp so its as if your not wearing them. (amps sound better loud anyway!)

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