Help recording acoustic guitar.

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zacktastic
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Help recording acoustic guitar.

Post by zacktastic » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:49 pm

Hi, I run a small home studio (I have recorded 4 or 5 bands, so i'm sort of just starting out, but I have had really great results so far as well as happy clients) anyway, I'm having trouble recording acoustic guitar for myself. I have been using a small diaphragm condenser and I have been getting a huge, boomy low end--way too huge. When I try and move the mic up the fret-board a bit, it thins out, but then I start picking up all sorts of room noise, including my own breathing as I have to up the volume because the noise from the guitar is no longer loud enough.

In general I have been placing the mic about 8 inches away from the guitar at or near the 14th fret. Does anyone have any recommendations about how I can go about this, or any other mic recommendations? I would preferably like a really rich, warm tone, as acoustic guitar is often the only instrument I use. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

RefD
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Post by RefD » Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:39 am

rule # 1: don't point the mic at the sound hole.

for a single mic, i prefer the so-called "BBC technique".

gives a good balance with a single mic.
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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:28 am

You might need to fill us is what that BBC technique is, Anglophile.

The think I always keep in mind with acoustic guitar, is there are a few starting points and then any motion can give you millions of shades of gray. Move it two inches and it will sound different. I usually see how much distance I can get while keeping the sound immediate, stretching the 1 1/2' starting point out another foot can bring consistency lower the boom and smooth things out.

The other thing I found is between the sound-hole bass overload and the 12th fret mandolin thinness, there is this great spot just east of the soundhole. You go a tiny bit further towards the fret board and get it thinner or a little bit closer to the sound hole for more body. It has worked better for me lately.

You guys prefer an SDC in omni or cardioid. I tried a tune in omni the other day and switched to cardioid seemed a lot more focused, better presence.

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Post by RefD » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:42 am

losthighway wrote:You might need to fill us is what that BBC technique is, Anglophile.
when i am referring to a Decca tree, does that make me an Anglophile as well?

these are the names of things, get over it.

and i have posted repeatedly what that technique consists of, so UTFSF.

but if the OP wants to know, then i will post it here again.
Last edited by RefD on Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:54 am, edited 3 times in total.
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RefD
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Post by RefD » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:49 am

cardioid mic (dynamic or condenser) at the 12th fret, or thereabouts, a few inches out and shooting across the sound hole toward the bridge.

the result is usually full but not boomy, articulate but not zingy.
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Post by zacktastic » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:00 am

I am curious what the "BBC" technique is. Is there any techniques that would utilize multiple mics that might help?

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Post by chris harris » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:06 am

what are your peaks hitting when you set levels?

You should be able to back the mic off without picking up too much room noise or breathing.... unless you're trying to get the levels as close to 0db as you can, which is not a good idea.

If an acoustic guitar is going to be the focal point of a song, I'll often combine a small diaphragm condenser with a ribbon or LDC. Blend to get just the right mix of boom and presence.

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Post by RefD » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:15 am

zacktastic wrote:I am curious what the "BBC" technique is. Is there any techniques that would utilize multiple mics that might help?
i just posted the BBC technique.
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curtiswyant
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Post by curtiswyant » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:37 am

You may already be doing this, but set up a mic and listen through headphones while you play and move around. This is usually how I find the "sweet spot" when recording myself on acoustic. Also, depending on the guitar/strings/room, your technique can go a long way in reducing boominess.

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Re: Help recording acoustic guitar.

Post by kayagum » Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:57 am

zacktastic wrote:I would preferably like a really rich, warm tone, as acoustic guitar is often the only instrument I use. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
Small diaphragm condensers are generally known more for accuracy than warmth... so you may want to consider using more appropriate tools for what you want. A decent ribbon or LDC might be the ticket.

Also- if you want "rich and warm", make sure your guitar sounds "rich and warm". You're not going to make a cheap (or even not-so-cheap) overcoated Guitar Center guitar sound that way. String choices are crucial in this too.

One last possibility- an appropriate compressor can help in this situation. The RNLA can fit the bill here, and I'm sure others will recommend their faves.

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Post by KennyLusk » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:31 am

http://www.guitarplayer.com/pop-up.aspx ... t_id=62610

This is my favorite setup using 4033's and sometimes substitute my Alice mic for one of the 4033's when I want more midrange punch. This configuration sounds so good I sometimes get carried away and track 3 or 4 ensuing instruments with the same mics and config. Hey, if it works, it works, right?
"The mushroom states its own position very clearly. It says, "I require the nervous system of a mammal. Do you have one handy?" Terrence McKenna

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:47 am

RefD wrote:
losthighway wrote:You might need to fill us is what that BBC technique is, Anglophile.
when i am referring to a Decca tree, does that make me an Anglophile as well?

these are the names of things, get over it.

and i have posted repeatedly what that technique consists of, so UTFSF.

but if the OP wants to know, then i will post it here again.
Sorry, I was being playful. Came off as hostile. But think, how many times have you had to ward off accusations of anglophilia?

That technique is useful. I just didn't know that it was called the 'bbc' technique. What is the UTFSF technique?

RefD
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Post by RefD » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:51 am

losthighway wrote:What is the UTFSF technique?
Use The "Friendly" Search Function! :D
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firesine
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Post by firesine » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:49 pm

+1 on MS pair, as long as you like the sound of the room.

If not, try getting a tube condenser and keep doing what you are doing. I just used a Mojave MA200 and MA100 both around the 14th fret and they both sounded amazing.

Also, be quiet when you are recording! ;)
Mmm, lung butter.

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:59 pm

RefD wrote:
losthighway wrote:What is the UTFSF technique?
Use The "Friendly" Search Function! :D
Yes, friendly. So very friendly. Search function rules, 'bbc technique' rules, helping newbies rules. Everyone is friends.

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