Seven times out of ten, when we get a multi-mic’d electric guitar capture in the mix we are hitting the mute button on all of them except one. Blends can be cool, but usually, they’re just riddled with comb filtering. SWEET: MUTE.
If we get a drum kit with two overheads, one close snare, one inside kick, and maybe tom mics — cool, we’re good. Want to add a snare bottom and outside kick — ok, get your phase right. Want to add a front of kit mic … ok … you’ve done this before I assume? Close captures on the cymbals … alright we might be going down a rabbit hole here. Do complex setups work: absolutely — if you have time to do it right they can be great. But it’s much easier to get a simple set up to fly.
Additionally, if you’re on a large format console, start with the onboard preamps. It’s true, there are certain dedicated outboard preamps that are really great and often better than the onboard ones, but your onboards are gonna be pretty good. Even in the less expensive consoles like MCIs or Tofts, the pres are actually pretty cool and you can get some really great results (I actually really like the MCI onboards, they have a vibey sound).