SAM Systems have designed a new method for micing up guitar amps and cabs. They say that ‘INTEGRAL’ is a “revolutionary concept”, which they are turning to crowd funding to help release this product. Their Indiegogo campaign has just begun, so now is a good time to jump on board if this looks the solution for you.
SAM Systems INTEGRAL retro-fit and forget guitar cab mic
What is ‘INTEGRAL’? Well, technical explanations and diagrams are thin at this stage, but it’s clearly a circular frame which you can retro-fit onto most 10″ or 12″ speaker sizes. The frame is then sandwiched between the driver and the cabinet, holding a dynamic microphone in place. Analogue XLR termination allows sound engineers to record the output in the studio, or use the signal on the stage just as they would with any other microphone. It seems so simple, but apparently this hasn’t been done before.
There are many clear advantages this design brings to the ‘stage’. Obviously, there are countless methods and beliefs for how to mic up a guitar cab, but in it’s simplest form, it normally begins with a mic placed close in front of the grill. This mic can then be susceptible to being knocked and moved, which is every engineer’s nightmare. Sometimes bleed from other surrounding sources can be of concern, but to be honest I think SAM Systems are blowing this idea up slightly. However, with INTEGRAL the mic will always be in exactly the same place and can’t be knocked. The distance from the driver to the mic also couldn’t be much closer. Above all, I like the idea that a guitarist can deliver a consistent sound, every time.
There are some potential concerns around the product however. I find it quite interesting that they haven’t provided any listening examples – this might not deliver the sound for everyone. Besides the drawbacks of using mics on stands in front of cabs, the choice of mic(s) and their placement(s) are fundamental when tracking electric guitar. Here we have one mic in one position that can’t be changed. What’s more, this mic is placed centrally and set off-axis, which is not to everyone’s liking. I’m sure it will sound great for some players, but I think we need to hear it, please.
I would really like to see this product do well. However, with the onus lying in the hands of the guitarist, I don’t see many guitarists going to the extent this solution requires. Perhaps it’s up to engineers like me to recommend the system? I remain reserved about their prospects for success, and their 100,000 USD target looks like a tall order. I sincerely wish them all the best with this release and if anyone fits one to their cab, I’d love to hear it in comparison with a standard SM57! The advantages this system brings are clear and there has been many occasion where I think this would have been a huge benefit. There are other situations however, where perhaps this system would have been quickly disregarded if it didn’t sound good enough.
Head over to the Indiegogo campaign page for INTEGRAL to see what’s on offer to early backers. You can either pledge just 5 USD for a signed Gil Norton T-shirt, 60 USD (+ postage) for a 10″ INTEGRAL, or 70 USD (+ postage) for a 12″ INTEGRAL. If this looks like the product for you, then these are great offers compared to the retail price of these units. These prices are exceptionally good when you consider the cost of SM57, which would be the most reliable and cheapest alternative method to mic your cab. I guess the difference here is that the cost and install time is placed on the guitarist, rather than the studio/venue/PA hire company. For further information, check out SAM Systems‘ very modern website.
Here’s the video from SAM Systems’ YouTube channel that they are using to promote the Indiegogo campaign.