mic for recording acoustic guitar only! which one?

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mic for recording acoustic guitar only! which one?

Post by versuviusx » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:51 am

ok so i'm looking for a fantastic mic for recording acoustic guitar only. currently i'm using my sm57 for it and its not bad. but i bet it could be better. the only other mic i have is the S.E. Electronics tube condenser mic wich i use for vocals. so i was thinking maybe i could sell the 57 with some other stuff and get a better mic for recording acoustic guitars.
any suggestions would be great. looking for the best bang for the buck.

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Post by mjau » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:54 am

What's wrong with using the SE?

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Post by slowblue » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:04 am

Gotta say I like a 57 jammed at the 12th fret, facing slightly back towards the soundhole, what kind of sound you looking for? I've been chasing a great AG sound for a while and have purchased/used a ton of different SD condensors (SM81, KM184, Peluso, ADK) sometimes in conjunction with a LD condensor (too many to name) on various Martin, Taylors and Gibsons, still haven't found it. I'm sure it's not what you wanted to hear but I'm moving on to ribbons (royer 121 or naked eye) to hopefully get what I'm looking for, all that said when it's in a mix with drums/electrics the 57 cuts through nicely.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:17 am

i recently picked up an sm81 and like it so far. haven't had a heck of a lot of time to experiment with placements and such, but so far i'm enjoying it. very natural sounding. really lets you know how good your guitar sounds in the room. can be really thick too.

ribbons are great too, and i'm really liking my senn. 441 on ac.... a lot.

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Post by Mudcloth » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:14 pm

So much depends on what you're going for, what kind of guitar you have, the room, mic placement, etc. I recorded a friend this week who wanted a more jangly sound out of my J45 that he was using. Normally this guitar has a boomy low end. I gave him a thin pick and we ended up using an AT4031 [pencil condensor with a little high end bump] pointed at the 12th fret a little toward the sound hole. A thick pick and a 57 would have sounded much different, but still cool.
To me, a good acoustic guitar sound varies on the song as well. What other instruments are involved? What sounds good with an electric piano in the mix might not sound as good if there's a couple of electric guitars involved.
The point is, I don't think you'll find a silver bullet acoustic guitar mic. That being said, something like an AT4050 will give you some good options like cardiod, figure 8, an omni. With it on figure 8 and and coupled with your SE you can try M/S micing as well. On the omni setting you can get close to the guitar without getting the proximity effect that you would with a cardiod. Plus, you end up with a good room mic, vocal mic, all around workhorse mic.
I hope this helps.
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Post by KennyLusk » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:51 pm

for incredibly acurate mids that are almost "agressive" to tight bottom with smooth highs I love Scott Helmke's (scodiddly) "Alice" mic on acoustic guitar for miking at the 12th fret.

Another fave for me is the 4033 and in stereo X/Y config, 2 4033's or a 4033 and a 3035.
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Post by meblumen » Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:10 pm

Are voice and acoustic guitars the only two things you ever want to record? I imagine not, which is why I would work on building a well rounded and versatile mic collection. Even if you never wanted to record anything else, you need to take into account the fact that all instruments not only have a sound that is different from other types of instruments but also from different makes of the same one (sometimes even the same make sounds different). Hence, someone's Martin acoustic will sound quite different from my Taylor, a Gibson will have different sonic qualities than a Guild etc... Then you have to take into consideration how you are trying to reproduce each instrument's sound. As a result no one single microphone is going to work or be the best on acoustic guitar or any other instrument for that matter.

So...to answer your question, keep the 57 they are great mics to have around and have been used with great success on acoustic guitars on a number of records. Look into purchasing a pair of small diaphram condensors next and from there continue to build your mic locker. Pick up some more dynamic mics, a couple more large diaphram condensors, maybe a few ribbon mics. Eventually you will find that no matter what recording situation presents itself you will have the proper and best tools at hand to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to do.

As far as specific mics, do some searches you will turn up a million threads with a bunch of different opinions, everything from avenson, earthwork, audio-technica, beyerdynamic, shure, royer, oktava etc...

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Post by AstroDan » Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:56 pm

slowblue wrote:I've been chasing a great AG sound...
Andy Gibb? Arlo Guthrie? Al Green?

Oh, acoustic guitar!

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Post by rydaken » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:10 pm

I agree with Mudcloth on the 4050 recommendation. Though, I'm not familiar w/ that SE mic, the AT 4050 really shines on acoustic guitar. It's a great "all rounder" too.

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Post by channelcat » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:50 pm

KennyLusk wrote:for incredibly acurate mids that are almost "agressive" to tight bottom with smooth highs I love Scott Helmke's (scodiddly) "Alice" mic on acoustic guitar for miking at the 12th fret.

Another fave for me is the 4033 and in stereo X/Y config, 2 4033's or a 4033 and a 3035.
I've had my eye on the "Alice" for a while. Scott's "Bluegrass Project" looks really nice too.

I recently got great results using a 4033SE and a C414B-ULS on my Martin HD-28. The 4033 was placed about 6-8" off the body, right behind the bridge, w/ low-cut engaged. The 414 was placed about 8-9" off the 12th fret, running parallel with the neck, in omni, w/ low-cut engaged. The 4033 fed into my UA 2-610, and the 414 fed into my Hardy M-1 Deluxe. The Martin came through clear, kinda sparkly but not overhyped, and full but not tubby.

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Post by kayagum » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:18 pm

Other candidates:

oktavamod 219/319
Heil PR40
Any ribbons you may want to try (Fathead, etc.)
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Acoustic guitar mic

Post by Freakmagnet451 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:08 pm

Recently did some acoustic solo stuff for my Mom's 80th birthday present. I have an early 70's Martin D-35 that sounds like no other. My favorite sounds came from using a Shure KSM44 in figure 8 and a Peavey 520i directly above it (this is a cardiod mic used for live sound, mostly considered a kick mic). I put the Shure 10" out at the 12 fret with the null at the 12th and the roundy parts of the 8 pointed towards the bridge and the nut. I aimed the Peavey slightly upwards to reduce proximity, it was just above the Shure. From there I just went into the classic Mid/Side and mixed to taste. It was sounding really good but totally came to life when I switched from 12-54 guage to 10-47. The lighter strings sounder bigger and fuller, probably because I played more gently so as not to make them buzz. Guitars have a dynamic range and bigger strings will exceed the headroom of the instrument, making things sound squashed and tiny sometimes. That's all I know for now, there are a million other great ways to go.
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Go To Guitar mike

Post by RYCLEA » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:36 pm

I can sympathize with seeking the one mike solution. It would be nice if we could all have a cabinet full of great mikes. I need more shelf space to put all my Neumanns and Telefunkens I've got just laying around by the pool and in the trunk of my Bentley, but for the rest of the hoi polloi who only have money for a few mikes, what about the AKG C3000? I've used one on everything from acoustic guitar to drum overheads to a bubbling bong, but I haven't bought my own yet. I think they run about $350. Any thoughts?

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Post by Jeff White » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:06 pm

EDIT: Moving this to it's own thread.
Last edited by Jeff White on Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:13 am

I'm a little confused by this whole 'microphone for acoustic guitar only' thing... I was going to recommend a Soundelux U95, or a Neumann U67, or something like a Groove Tubes GT44, but unfortunately, those are all good at recording lots of different things...

a great mic is a great mic is a great mic is a great mic.

If you are looking for a suggestion because you want to record live vocals with guitar, using your SE tube mic for vox, then my suggestion would be different than if you are overdubbing... if it is overdubbed acoustic, what is wrong with the SE?

remember, there is no such thing as a 'vocal' studio mic or 'guitar' studio mic.... just lots of different sounding mics.

if you are just looking for some variety that would be really good on guitar, get a good small diaphragm condenser... or another LDC.

I dunno. I have lots of nice mics, and none of them are 'guitar' mics or 'vocal' mics.

i like to make music with music and stuff and things.


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