Mic Comparison - Guitar Cabinet

As you’ll all be aware, we’ve been doing our best to bring you comparisons of all our current large diaphragm condensers (LDC’s) to help you in selecting the best mic for your projects and in your studio.

We pride ourselves on having professional tools to best serve the needs of all who use them, and by making these comparisons we hope to assist you to make a better choices before you buy, through hearing them for yourselves!

So let’s dive in and discuss what I found while putting this together for you, and hopefully it’ll give you a little extra help deciding what you need!

Constant Variables

As always, we’ve endeavoured to make this as accurate as possible, so that when listening back there aren’t any falsehoods colouring the sound (such as increased input gain on the preamp which has transformers at the input and output stages, adding distortion if pushed and in turn adding harmonics). Below are the constant non changing variables:

  • Preamp Input Stage remained the same
  • Preamp Output stage remained the same with a pad engaged to reduce THD
  • Preamp (1073 Clone) itself remained the same
  • Height of the mic on the stand
  • No Interface gain at all
  • Interface (Focusrite 3rd Gen 18i20) stayed the same
  • Placement of the mic was 1 inch away from the grill with the angle completely straight, aimed just off the dust cap approximately 3 inches from the centre of the speaker.
  • We lined the mic’s up with each other, replacing one with the other as carefully as possible.
  • The same signal was sent and reamped through a Line6 POD HD Pro (because I still love the sound of it).
  • The pedal used was the Blood Oath from Ground Control Audio. The version, as I have two of them shown in the video, is a silicon diode used to push the signal as a second gain stage into the clean amp simulated by the POD HD Pro. All the dials and level into the pedal and out stayed the same consistently.

Inconsistent variables

There’s always only so much we can do to make sure this test is as accurate as possible. Human error dictates that there are very slight changes from mic to mic, example to example - although to my ears, after using these mics over and over, this to me sounded as it should, but

I’d be remiss if I didn't mention it. Below are the inconsistencies that we could think of that we have little control over:

  • Varying slight movement between capsule to capsule of each microphone. We measured as best we could between each mic replacement to try and be as close as possible to bring the best results possible, however human error dictates that there’s perhaps millimetres between the capsules being perfectly aligned.

The Results

A quick foreword as the HH1 has been included as a reference of the ‘typical’ tone you’d maybe expect from electric guitar cabinets being mic’d up. This is similar to almost all live tones you’ll hear due to the dynamic capsule withstanding such large amounts of SPL, and also having a typically much more acute polar pattern allowing less bleed - because of this, I’ve made sure to include it at the end to help show the true defining timbre between these two types of mics, and help you accurately discern between the main LDC mic’s within this shootout.

Vintage 67

As expected, the V67 performed admirably on a guitar cab. This mics ability literally knows no bounds it would seem, and as well as being my main go to for almost everything else, it’s now a strong contender for electric guitar cabinets for me within studio reamping sessions.

The only thing for me that it seemed to lack was a clarity that I found within its counterparts, although this can sometimes be too much; therefore, my best recommendation would be to couple this with either clean guitar tones as heard in the first part of this example, but maybe a better pickup position (this was the bridge for every example), or with a mic that will allow you to bring some more of the bite out, such as the HH1, heard as the reference example.

BH1S

Comparatively, the BH1S has a much more defined and prominent upper mid range than the V67. This almost masked the pleasing low end, but within my own small experiment I dialed in an EQ setting I was very happy with.

This could be of great use on bass cabinets, and speakers such as G12H Greenback or Creamback speakers from Celestion, or perhaps the Eminence range - the Vintage 30’s in this example have a lot of high end with a relatively scooped tone that was only accentuated further with the BH1S; however bear in mind my amp settings stayed the same as well! A little tweaking and this would sound incredible without a doubt.

Amethyst

Very much like its counterpart, the V67, the Amethyst has a rich mid-range coupled with a blossomed low end - however, the presence has shifted slightly due to what I believe to be the capsule housing.

The capsule of the V67 and Amethyst is identical, so these are incredibly similar mics, but definitely have their own voice on every source you put them in front of.

For me, the Amethyst was slightly more preferable, due to the presence shift, but both would’ve worked great within a mix. I do stand by my earlier findings though in that this would’ve performed even more admirably on something like a G12H greenback where the lower midrange feels less scooped and there’s a less ‘hyped’ upper bite to the timbre of the speaker.

BB29

By far the brightest of the bunch! I won’t lie, this took me by surprise in how much I liked this tone. I’m guilty of processing my guitar tones with a high and low pass filter, and then absolutely diming out a musical and gentle high shelf on a mastering EQ such as the BX_2098 from Plugin Alliance to bring out the sizzle of the guitar cab; but this would be totally unnecessary in the case of the BB29.

The top lift of this mic is outstanding, and as we designed it to make your tracks stand out, its use on a guitar cab is no exception! Clean guitar tones feel like the attack of the pick is brought out even more than any other mic in this comparison, and the lower mid-range is beautifully married with the clarity the mic has to offer.

Overdriven tones may however feel a little ‘too much’ but again, this could be easily rectified with minimal tweaking, just like with the BH1S.

Vintage 11

My favorite of the group. You might have seen this mic in many YouTube guitarist videos, and for good reason - the harshness typically associated with a guitar tone (3Khz to say 5Khz) just isn’t prominent by any means, but the detail and clarity of the tone hasn’t been diminished either, simply balanced perfectly to my ears at least.

Coupled with the depth and boldness in the lowend and lower mid-range, to me this mic is a perfect choice for my cabinet and this speaker in particular. I’ve used this mic for countless records now after having done this test multiple times in my own spare time and always coming to this conclusion despite the cabinet, amplifier, guitar or player changing from record to record.

The V11 is the most inexpensive LDC microphone within our range, and the most understated hero of many Grammy winning releases, home recordings, and more. It’s often considered the darker option, but placement is key with this mic for most sources – on guitar cabs it would seem, however, it will perform without fail no matter the placement (within reason, I can’t imagine a tone sounding great over the dust cap with any microphone on the market!)


German