loud distortion

if i want to record my guitar with very high gain at a pretty loud level how far should i place my condenser microphone away from the amp?

Mic placement depends on what you want really, The sound will change depending on where the mic is. e.g if you place the mic in a far corner of the room then you are more likely to get a “roomy” sound with a natural reverb of sorts (depending if you got carpet or floorboards or very reflective walls) If you close mic the amp you will be morelikely to just capture the sound from your amp and less of the sound bouncing around the room, If you mic above or behind your amp you are likely to lose some of the high end frequencies. The possibilities are endless. The best way is to experiment and see what sound you like the best. Do some reading also, you should be able to find some info on the web of micing technique for guitar. ie http://emusician.com/tutorials/emusic_recording_electric_guitar/ (just picked this at random dont know if its any good)

If you are wondering how loud to have the amp for audacity’s sake then it will depend on your set up. So long as you arent clipping then your level should be ok. If your mic goes straight into the computer then you may have a little trouble reducing the volume before it gets to audacity but by adjusting the recording level in audacity and of your soundcard youmay be able to reduce the input volume enough to record with a loud amp sound (ive never tried). If your running your mic through a mixing desk then set your levels and your master volume at level that doesnt clip in audacity, this is easy done with a mixing desk and you should get a pretty good sound that reproduces what you are hearing with your own ears.

hope that helps

how would i lower the input level into audacity

I would not be using condenser microphones. They are totally the wrong mic for a high sound environment.

Dynamic microphones are very difficult to overload and perfect for this. Shure SM-58, etc. Dynamic mics will get loud enough with no distortion that they will overload the microphone pre-amplifier electronics giving you other headaches.

Shure makes a microphone attenuator just for these conditions. This one allows you to switch three different amounts of signal attenuation depending on how bad the overload is.


Condenser and ribbon microphones are the two mics that don’t stand up to high volumes well. The ribbon will stretch and break and the condenser plates inside the capsule will touch creating huge distortion–and usually destroy both microphones.


Possibly, or should I say “usually”. Condenser microphones are typically used when low level sounds, or sound that have a lot of high frequency components are being recorded. Some are designed for use as a “stereo pair” for ambient recording, and others are specifically suited to recording vocals. However, some condenser microphones are capable of very high sound pressure levels (SPL) and can be used for close mic’ing. Such microphones are usually quite expensive (>$500), but can offer advantages over using dynamic microphones. The improved high frequency response is not the issue, as a dynamic microphone should be able to cope with the frequency response of a guitar amp, but for subtle playing, they can catch more detail in the sound, and if it is an omnidirectional microphone it can be used quite close to he amp without producing the "proximity effect£.

Different microphones have different characteristics, and for optimum results you should use the appropriate tool for the job.

The “standard” mic for close mic’ing guitar cabs is probably the Shure SM57. This is an excellent cheaper copy of a SM57 http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_mb75.htm (not sure if they are infringing on Shure’s copyright, but it’s great if you are on a tight budget).

If using a mixing desk, this is not usually a problem, as turning down the input gain will do the job, but they can be useful with some microphone pre-amps.

When starting out, which frequently means a tight budget, the choice of which microphone to buy is an important decission. I would say that for typical music work, the most versatile is a decent dynamic vocal mic, such as a Shure SM58 beta (or similar, or a copy) http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/WiredMicrophones/us_pro_Beta58A_content

<<<Condenser microphones are typically used when low level sounds, or sound that have a lot of high frequency components are being recorded.>>>

Ummmmmm. Yes, but it doesn’t have to be. They’re just more accurate. They use an impossibly light and delicate sound membrane inside the capsule that responds to the slightest movement of air and produces (or can produce) excellent electrical representation of the live sound.

I saw a demo once where the instructor dropped the sound element from a dynamic microphone and a condenser microphone onto the table. The dynamic element dropped to the table with a thump and the condenser element took fifteen seconds to fall, moving around with the air currents as it came down. Picture a 25mm circle of Saran Wrap.

This is their problem. Grown-up condenser microphones have several hundred volts on those delicate sound elements. If they touch in a high sound field, the voltage blows a hole in the element.

But before they touch, the sound is great!


Have a read of this


You can also adjust the volume going into the computer (in windows). At the bottom right of your screen you should have a clock. next to this there should be a speaker icon (it may be hidden so click on the arrows (<<)if you cant see it) Double click the speaker icon and this will bring up a screen with some volumes sliders. Normaly it shows by default the playback volumes so click on the menu "options " then go to properties. Click on recording and tick the boxes of the inputs you want displayed, ie if you are going into the line in of you pc’s soundcard. click ok and a new lot of volume sliders wil appear. if you are using the line then adjust the slider for this, if you are using the microphone port then adjust this one.