so basically ive decided to make some basic home demos so that i can get some of my own stuff down without having to deal with anyone else etc. im using a supremely basic setup of audacity and a cheap mike (currently alternating between a built in mike on my computer and a guitar hero world tour mike) and my guitars and amp of course. i dont have the funds or the need to use anything better. anyways i was wondering if i could get some basic help on where to place mikes when recording differents sounds (distorted/clean etc) and that to gain the best quality sound out of what ive got.
I'm sure someone else will give a really great answer or direct you to somewhere else with more information, but I've found trial and error works best. I'm in the same situation, I use a cheap microphone and audacity. What I do is play a simple riff with the mic in one place, move the mic, play it again, and keep doing this for several positions (pointing mic at the center of the amp, to the left, right, closer, further away), all while recording in audacity. It also helps to say where the mic is positioned into the mic while recording so that you know which recording is which. This way, I know where to put the mic for the desired sound. My mic seems to record sounds better from the sides, so I usually place it about 20-30cm away from the amp and put the mic on an angle.

I record bass on a cheap mic, so sometimes the sound gets really dirty for some reason, perhaps due to the air being pushed out of the amp, or the mic being too close. As a workaround, I turn the amp down, move the mic to a different position, and then boost the volume a bit in Audacity later by sliding the volume bar up to around +12dB. This all seems to work for me to get a very basic recording. As I said, I bet there's far better ways to get a good sound with such limited tools, but this works well enough for recording those riffs you wanna put down while it's in your head.
What the above person said, trial and error works best, but here's a few general guidelines:

Closer to the speaker cone will produce a more trebly, biting tone, while closer to the speaker edege will put more emphasis on the mids and bass frequencies.

Get the amp as loud as possible while still keeping your tone.

If you can run two mics at once, try putting one behind your amp and see if you can blend the two together. Can get some interesting stuff with that.

Hope this helps.
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Honestly I would try recording direct first. The line 6 gearbox program, a $50 toneport guitar interface, could bring outstanding results, and can easily sound better than a very expensive mic/rig set up. Also, M-audio has a program called session, it also is in the 50$ range and is a very good basic recording program loaded with eq/reverb/effects/drums/keys etc... Best of luck!

Last edited by zephyrkillz at May 24, 2010,