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I'm looking to start getting into recording - electric guitar specifically. Although I've noticed people place a microphone in front of the amp's speaker. Wouldn't it be easier to use a male to male audio cable and plug that into an amp. I thought about doing it like this:

Guitar -> Effects Pedal(s) -> Amp -> Computer

Sorry if I'm not getting something, I'm just getting into this.

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Yes, in a way it would indeed be "easier", as long as there is a line output on the amp.

The reason for using a microphone when recording an amplified electric guitar is that the speaker is a significant part of the sound, not to mention the room (although to a lesser extent). Even the microphone is part of the sound!

(Of course you don't have to use a mic to get a good sound. You could even plug the guitar directly into the recording interface. As long as it sounds good...)

  • Thanks for the answer, I'm not sure which route to take, I have a bad amp Marshall MG15CF, and am recording in a small bedroom (about 5m x 5m). Which would you recommend - bearing in mind sound quality is my main priority. Also what role does an audio interface play? Thanks :) – finnthomas99 Dec 25 '15 at 22:42
  • Try everything! Experimenting is the way to go. Only you can be the judge. "Sound quality" can be very subjective... The audio interface does make a difference, but as long as you don't get excessive noise or strange artifacts I wouldn't worry about it to begin with. – Johannes Dec 25 '15 at 22:49
  • Anyway I'm aiming for a nirvana type grunge sound so I guess after the distortion quality doesn't matter as much, also could explain where the interface fits in, and suggest a good beginner interface, Thanks. – finnthomas99 Dec 25 '15 at 22:54
  • To add to your point about the room making a difference, I've often pointed the speakers at a corner with a mic inbetween to get some interesting reverb effects. – Dave Halsall Feb 15 '16 at 15:47
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There are many different ways to record your electric guitar in your home studio. In the old days, the only way to record an electric guitar was by placing a microphone in a position where it could pick up the sound of the guitar amp.

Today, many guitar amplifiers have line outputs that will facilitate sending the signal from the amp directly to your recording interface. In fact, you don't even have to have an amplifier at all to record an electric guitar. There are many amp simulators that can digitally reproduce the sound of any number of different type amplifiers - including all the effects you can imagine.

You can also plug your guitar into an interface or a direct box and input a dry signal into your computer and use your DAW to process the dry signal and add effects such as reverb, distortion, delay, and many others using your software.

But what all of this new fangled digital amp simulation software is trying to do is emulate the sound that the old vintage amplifiers were capable of producing. So if you own one of the older vintage amplifiers (like one of the amps the simulators attempt to reproduce the sound of) you can achieve some very good results if you position a good microphone in the right spot to capture the sound of the amplifier.

If you do have a really good amplifier and you want to mic it, you should use a good instrument mic like a Shure SM 57 or Sennheiser e906. Attach it to a stand designed for the task at hand and point the mic towards the speaker cone either perpendicular or at an angle. You will get a different sound depending on the angle of the mic and whether it is closer to the center of the speaker cone or the edge. You have to try different positions until you get the sound you like best.

Most folks making a low budget home studio type recording are able to get more than satisfactory results with a direct input of the guitar through some type of simulator or effects module that can connect to their computer.

If you have an old vintage tube amplifier and want to capture the authentic sound, and you have a good quality instrument mic, feel free to experiment with miking the cabinet.

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Partly the reason people do it is because it used to be the only way.

However a mic'd up amp sounds SO good recorded, particularly if you stick a couple mics on there and really catch the sweet spots.

Thirdly, the same guitar, played by the same player can sound massively different through different amps. So the reason why you mic up an amp is because THAT is the sound you're trying to capture. That warm, tube sound is largely the amp/speaker and not the guitar/player.

If you really don't want to or can't then I recommend Ik Multimedia's Amplitube software.

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