Zone Recording: Two Heads Are Better Than One

Welcome back fine people out there in computer land! I have been working on the next Martone record and it is coming along quite quickly! This brings me to my topic for this column - two heads are better than one. I never thought this to be true, or actually really even cared for it.

What I am talking about is combining two amps simultaneously to create one unique sound. On past recordings, I usually would haphazardly mike up an amp and be done with it. The fine folks at Radial Engineering (Peter and Corey) put one of these fine boxes in my hand!


It is called the Switchbone and anyone that is serious about tone needs this unit!. It is an ABY switching system for amps that has all kind of goodies on board. The magnetic output from my Fly "Blackie" goes into the input of this unit. Then Out 1 went into a Vanous Evolution Half stack with a Boogie 4x12.


This was miked with a Shure SM57. I will get to the second amp in a second.

I must deviate for a moment. I have some fine friends here in Vancouver named Jim and Nikki. They play in a kick ass group called Fluffy Starr. They kindly let me borrow their "fridge" so to speak. Wait till you see this thing.


The 57 went into a unit called Germanium by Chandler Ltd. I had the Fat switch engaged of course.


This then went into one channel of the Smart Research C2 for a fat compression!


Click here to listen to a sound clip of this signal chain.

Pretty cool sound, right? But wait - it gets better!

Remember I still have the other output from the Switchbone to deal with. Well then. Output 2 fed one of the new Vox AC100 high gain stacks. Check it out.


This was miked with a 421, as you can see. The signal chain then went straight into the Drawmer 1960 mic/pre compressor.


Click here to listen to a sound clip of this signal chain.

Now it gets fun. We step on a switch on the Switchbone and both amps are on at the same time! Wicked. Just for your information, I set the Vox to be more present and the Vanous a bit more dark so when combined, they would rock.

Here is a sample of both amps combined. Before you click this I must tell you that this is a sample in which the phase was not correct. Check it out.

Now, let's listen to the sample with the phase flipped on the Vox amp.

Sounds much much better. Basically you chug on a low E and see which one sounds better, or has more bass. Then set the phase that way!

Now for something even better. My Parker has another output for a Piezo sound. I decided to track this as well. This was a direct signal that went into the UA 6176.


This was then sent into the other channel of the C2 compressor for some spank! When the sounds were recorded, I summed the two electric amps to mono. I then recorded the Parker piezo to another track to mix in the amount I want at a later date.

Check out this sound with all 3 going combined to a mono signal. Now that is a kick-ass guitar sound if you ask me! I can't wait to double it!

So as you can see, there can be a whole world beyond the single amp and mic, or god forbid, a direct amp sound! Urrgg!

May the tone be with you.

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone

In 2020, Martone along with Nickelback, recorded a cover of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

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