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Old 15th October 2008 , 08:55 PM
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Default Recording acoustic guitars

So what do you have to think about when you want to record the perfect acoustic guitar for the song you are working on? Let's break it down step by step (this thread is work in progress so please bear with me):

(This bit is predictable) - get yourself an awesome guitar player with the particular skills your are looking for on that record playing an awesome guitar (which is appropriate for the sound you are shooting for) in an awesome room recorded with awesome mics (appropriately placed) going through awesome (yet appropriate pres) pristine converters etc etc (you get the idea).

Here's what we'll cover then:

1. Awesome guitar player

2. Appropriate skills - (there's no point getting Angus Young for a flamenco track)

3. Awesome guitar:



wrong type of axe dummy!



Hmm. I guess that's a bit better. Anyway, as on other posts lets split them into my favourites in the low middle and high end:

Low end - take a very close look at the Adam Black range of guitars. Monstrous bang for the buck. List price is less than 200 but street price can be a third of that.

Mid-range - I would put Adam Black here save that the street price drops them into the low end.

High End - Taylor and Martin tend to dominate here. My favourites for studio work are the Taylor 6 series (614, 615 etc). L'arrivee guitars are also excellent. YMMV

Of course it isn't just a matter of low end and high end. You'll want to choose the right guitar for the right job and, like microphones, that means thinking in advance about what sound you want in the mix. Is the acoustic guitar a central plank of the song? If so you may choose something quite different than if you just want to use it for texture. Note the difference between the acoustic guitar sounds on the first and second songs currently on myspace [once I get my new site up I'll host a few tracks here as examples]. In the second it's up front and in your face. In the first it's a texture thing (who's gonna be first to admit they can't here it at all in the first song and then I'll tell you where to listen).

4. Awesome room.

What's the first thing you notice when you walk into the acoustic guitar room in any quality guitar shop? Probably that it's wooden and that there is some significant diffusion. Why's that? Well, in a nutshell, it's because it brings out that sparkle that you hear in a well recorded guitar. They want to show off the instruments at their best so you will shell out your hard earned. Think about how you can replicate that in your room. If you record here at Circle we'll be turning around a number of the revesible diffusor/absorbers until we hit just the right sound. Think about how you can do it in your room too. A couple or three carefully placed hardwood (or even covered in ceramic tiled) gobos can give a nice effect. The key here (as ever) is to experiment and see what you like the sound of.

5. Awesome mics

So what type of mics first of all? Well for the most part dynamics aren't the greatest on acoustic guitar. Workable in a pinch but not a go to if you have a choice. So SDC or LDC? Well, what flavour of chocolate do you prefer? Or rather what flavour of chocolate will taste best in the mix? (As I keep telling you) there are no hard and fast rules! As a general rule SDC's will be a little fast and will capture a little more detail. LDC's will colour the sound more (which of course might be just what you are after). Again, trial and error are the key. For the most part where I end up is a pair of SDC's 75% of the time to which I might add an LDC 20% of the time. The rest of the time I'll mess around with ribbons or a single.

6. Appropriate mic placement

Again guys, you gotta work out what sounds good to you. Why not try and x-y ( X-Y and Blumlein Stereo Recording ) like this:



What I quite often find I like is an sdc right around the 12th fret and another pointing over the player's shoulder (the further one from the neck) pointing roughly in the direction of the picking hand (ensure you keep the mic's equi-distant and check for phase cancellation before rolling the tape) like this:



As always the key here is experimentation

7. Awesome pres

Again it's gonna depend what you are looking for in the song. Generally speaking you will be looking for a cleaner pre for an acoustic instrument. Choices (from low to high end) might include:

Fivefish SC-1
Grace 101
True Systems P-Solo
DAV BG1 (clean, slightly smeared upper mids, a little slow)
Pacifica (slightly coloured but detailed and fast)
NPNG (clean, huge)
GML 8302 (very clean)
Thermionic Culture Earlybird (huge, detailed, 3d)
Gordon (ultra transparent, fast transients). What you put in is what you get out. Does not play well with less than pristine input chains)

You'll get very different results from these though so try before you buy!

8. Awesome converters (I discussed this in my awesome drums thread)

9. Anything else to think about?


Here's a starter (or two) for 10 to whet your appetite:




Oh go on then, here's another:

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Old 15th October 2008 , 09:05 PM
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Damn i was hoping i wouldn't have to grow a fashionable beard and wear a wooly hat to record guitars
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Old 16th October 2008 , 02:33 AM
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Trev, how far away is your mic?

I tend to use a pair, one aiming at the hole/body, and another one toed slightly further in, but right on the neck. Sometimes I like the detail you can get with certain styles of guitar player.
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Old 17th October 2008 , 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdRyan View Post
Trev, how far away is your mic?

I tend to use a pair, one aiming at the hole/body, and another one toed slightly further in, but right on the neck. Sometimes I like the detail you can get with certain styles of guitar player.
Can't remember how far on that particular recording. Typically somewhere beteen 9-18inches. Whatever works for you, works! That's what I love about this stuff. I'll mention a few different approaches above.
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Old 17th October 2008 , 04:39 PM
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in the first pic the mic closest to the camera looks like a perception 150? is it? as you know i won 2 i was thinking should i hook them up so 1 is near the hole of the guitar and one on the neck then run them through my pre amp into my A/I
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Old 17th October 2008 , 08:41 PM
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Quote:
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in the first pic the mic closest to the camera looks like a perception 150? is it? as you know i won 2 i was thinking should i hook them up so 1 is near the hole of the guitar and one on the neck then run them through my pre amp into my A/I
Sorry to disappoint. It's a Mercenary Audio KM-69. Slightly higher end than the perception at about 1200 a pair. ;-) Sadly I note DV don't sell them which is a shame because they are incredible (you're missing a trick DV! Kev at Unity is the distributor... get your buyers over to see him quick!)

Here's the manufacturers website:

http://www.ma-mfg.com/products/products.html
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Old 17th October 2008 , 10:41 PM
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Oh would i still position my 150's in such a position oh man who uses very expensive microphones
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Old 22nd October 2008 , 08:36 PM
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Oh would i still position my 150's in such a position oh man who uses very expensive microphones
Missed this first time around. I won't tell you where to stick it (your microphone I mean obviously).
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Old 22nd October 2008 , 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevCircleStudios View Post
Missed this first time around. I won't tell you where to stick it (your microphone I mean obviously).
why how kind of you sir
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Old 23rd October 2008 , 02:41 PM
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Is that an MXL 603?
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Old 17th November 2008 , 11:48 AM
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Default using two ribbons

There is a load of stuff on recording the acoustic here
[url]http://www.recording-microphones.co.uk/recording-Acoustic-Guitars2.shtml[/url]
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Old 17th November 2008 , 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnreelsound View Post
There is a load of stuff on recording the acoustic here
http://www.recording-microphones.co....Guitars2.shtml

Excellent link John. Lovely addition to the thread. Loads of useful tips in there. Thanks
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Old 17th November 2008 , 01:35 PM
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and an excellent prompt for me to get off my backside and finish the thread! Thanks John!
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Old 17th November 2008 , 10:17 PM
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Backside duly lifted. More info added.
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Old 17th November 2008 , 10:39 PM
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And a stickie! Top man Trev
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