I’m not sure where the idea came from but the other night I decided I’d drag that whammo Behringer Condensor mic from the back of the wardrobe and try recording with it and using some headphones to monitor. I’m not a big fan of monitoring with headphones for many reasons – it’s hard to get the balance right; it shreds my ears pretty quickly; it’s just not the same as playing in a room in front of an amp. In the process of doing this I learnt three things.

Having no decent mic pre to hand I had to use the Zoom H4n as the mic pre then put the signal through the pedals. Then the output of those went through my Samson S-Mix and into a Minidisc (YAY!) to record ‘the action’.

First thing I learned? The mic preamps on the Zoom are pretty rough. They’re really noisy and only slightly better than those on the S-mix (which when using a phantom powered mic are awful). So a dedicated mic pre or a mixer with a decent gain section would have been most useful.

Second thing. All though the sound that came out the other end was quite natural sounding there is, as you’d expect, little movement in the audio field, which makes it a bit dull to listen to. On a psychological note – I did notice that when I heard a picked chord being played, the notes going low to high did feel as if they were moving in the sound field. Here’s how some of it came out.

The third thing? In this modern age, possibly the most important instrument any musician can have is a mixer. Any mixer with a couple of mic inputs, an aux send and a couple of outputs is the most versatile tool you could ever own. If I only I didn’t just sell mine. Doh!