Microphone Placement

Microphone placement is an important piece of the tone puzzle, so it’s good to know how your tone can be changed by simply moving the mic a little bit.

The basic thing to remember is that generally, the closer to the center of the speaker, the brighter your sound. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in my experience that’s the scoop.

Another factor is distance – the closer the mic to the speaker, the more bottom end and low midrange you get. The examples below should shed some light on the matter…

The gear used for the test is a Les Paul w/BurstBucker Pro bridge pkp into a Fender 65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb, Eminence Red White & Blues spkr. Volume on 2.5, Treble 3, Bass 3. SM57 microphone straight into an Aphex mic pre into protools.

No effects or extra EQ, compression, etc… And no volume adjustments between mic placements.

The first example is the sm57 at 4 common positions, 1/4 inch from the grillcloth. Click the red dots to listen. Notice how the sound gets a little darker and lower as you move away from the center.

The next example is with the sm57 3 inches away from the grill, same positions. Notice how the sound is thinner, with less low-end and quieter volume.

The next example is another variation you see a lot of people do, with the mic off-axis. I included 2 positions here. Tone is darker, a bit queiter, and has a slight midrange coloration happening.

(Click the microphones to hear)