Why do guitar players use micophones in front of speakers?

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Why do guitar players use micophones in front of speakers?

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Getting the desired tone depends a lot on what amp/speaker cabinet you’re using. To plug directly into the soundboard would mean losing a lot of that tone since you’re bypassing that setup. So better just to put a mic right up to the speaker and get the exact tone you want.

The speaker is generally loud enough for a small crowd but when you’re dealing with a large crowd or a whole band with multiple instruments it’s nice to be able to play it mixed together through a large system as well as having the individual instrument speakers turned up

The “electric guitar sound” comes mostly from the amplifier. The raw signals from the pickups on the guitar sounds very dull. Part of this is due to the missing reverb chamber on most electric guitars which you get on acoustic guitars. So the amplifier needs to have electronics which improves the sound. This is where you get all the reverb and distortion from that you associate with the classic electric guitar sound. Different amplifiers have different sound and is set up by the guitarist to get the exact sound he wants. So the sound needs to go thorugh the guitarists amplifier before going to the sound system.

Some amplifiers do have a line out for this purpose. But especially for older tube amplifiers the different stages in the amplifier were not isolated from each other and you end up with signals feeding back from later stages to the earlier stages changing the sound. That means that the speaker itself is part of the finely tuned setup of the amplifier to get the exact right sound. If you disconnect the speaker or even just taps into the audio with a mixer deck you might end up ruining the sound of the amplifier. And that is of course assuming that the amplifier that the guitarist loves even have a line out. So the safest option is to just put a microphone in front of the speaker to capture the sound.