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Faders As EQ

Daily Blog - April 29th 2021

While I believe you should be able to get great tones from using just one mic on any mono source (guitar cabs, snare drums, etc.), there is an approach that I absolutely love which involves two mics. Next time you record a guitar cab, for example, try picking two mics that sound drastically different. Pick one very dark and one very bright mic. A ribbon and a dynamic mic, for example. Then increase the difference even further by putting the bright mic in a very bright spot (close to the center of the speaker cone) and the dark might in a very dark spot (close to the edge/outside of the cone). 

Faders As EQ

Why would you do that and what about the "faders as EQ" thing?

Make sure you align the capsules, so you won't run into phase issues, record the two mics to separate channels and you'll end up with a "dark" and a "bright" fader that you can balance against each other.

Now the beauty of this is that you can completely change the tone of your guitar recording without ever touching an EQ. Just by moving the faders. This means that the harmonic balance and general character of your tone stay the same, which isn't the case when using EQ, because EQ leaves parts of the signal untouched but changes the volume of others. The relationship between fundamentals and overtones changes and certain chords or notes will get louder or quieter. With this "extreme fader" technique you don't get these unwanted side-effects of EQing guitars as much. 

And now, throughout the song, you can easily and quickly create "scene" changes without having to automate an EQ, all while keeping the basic harmonic character the same. 

You can also adjust for different parts that need a different tonal balance. For example you might want to turn up the "high" fader during a palm mute part or low chords that need some extra definition, pick attack and clarity. But then after that you might have a part with high chords or a quick single note lick that needs a rounder, warmer tone to not sound harsh. No problem, just change the balance, turn the "high" fader down and the "dark" fader up and... aaaah, so smooth.

This also works for snare drums, for example. You could have one dynamic mic and one condenser mic very close to each other with the capsules aligned to not mess with the phase. Now you have a fader for the aggressive midrange "crack" and ring (dynamic) and one for a more open top end, the stick attack details and also body and low end of the drum (condenser). Depending on the part you can slightly change the balance and bring out ghost notes and details with the condenser, or turn up the ring/crack and make the snare cut more with the dynamic. 

Have fun experimenting!

-Benedikt

PS: You'll also find these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

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