Anyone using two figure 8 mics for singer/songwriters?

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Anyone using two figure 8 mics for singer/songwriters?

Post by Producer/Engineer » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:43 am

Would like some feedback on positions and tips from anyone using two figure 8 LD condensers at the same time to record vocal and acoustic guitar. I want to get maximum separation from each track. All comments welcome! Thanks in advance. :wink:

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Post by cgarges » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:20 am

I do it frequently with the two mics in a Blumlein array, up and down. One for the guitar, one for the vocal. I spend more time positioning the mics where each source is in the null of the opposing mic rather than making sure the two mics are pointing AT each source. Does that make sense?

This setup really works best when the performer has a decent balance to begin with. if they sing too quietly, you'll end up with lots of guitar in the vocal mic. If they play too quietly, but sing louder, you'll end up with lots of vocal in the guitar mic. Either way, you have to look at the setup as one source, but you'll have a little more flexibility to balance the sources between the mics if there's a minimal amount of bleed between them. Having too much of each source in both mics can lead to phase issues, especially if you start adjusting things afterwards.

The more common of the issues that I face with this is the need for more guitar in the blend. In this situation, I might add a third mic just under the player's picking/strumming hand, using their hand and arm as a sort of baffle from the sound of the vocal. I usually use a cardioid mic for this, aimed up under their arm and pointed at the guitar. This mic can give a little extra bump to the acoustic guitar that's helpful in those scenarios.

Here's a photo, although the setup isn't true Blumlien in this one. The bottom mic in the array is a KSM 141 in cardioid, but the top mic is an AT4050 in figure eight and there's a 414 in the third mic position.
Image

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:24 am

Hi,

I usually do not use two fig. 8 mics, but use one hypercardioid on the voice, and a cardioid or other pattern like an omni on the guitar.

This helps when the singer is not very loud.

Sometimes we end up re-recording a dry guitar, and overdubbing the voice, if it will be a more produced song, with a need for more separation between the two sounds.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by losthighway » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:43 am

I have been meaning to get a couple figure 8's just for this purpose. I did have a good session with a singer songwriter last week using an SM7 on vocals and a Ksm 141 on guitar. Bother were angled as extreme as possible to null the source they were not picking up. Which was only by degrees since they're cardioids.

Worked pretty great. Although I became tempted to slam her vocals with a tube limiter at one point and realized that was bringing up a less flattering acoustic sound in the vocal bleed.

While we're on it, what are some of the favorites here to have around for this kind of stuff. AT 4050, R121, C414 ?

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Post by cgarges » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:54 pm

losthighway wrote:While we're on it, what are some of the favorites here to have around for this kind of stuff. AT 4050, R121, C414 ?
I usually use 4050s since they're relatively neutral-sounding and work well for this. I can't imagine doing this with 121s. They have too much forward midrange for me and not enough top. 414s would probably work fine for this, too. I'd love to do this with a C24 or an SM2.

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Post by jgimbel » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:03 pm

I too like the SM7 for vocals for this. 4050 on guitar, nice. I did a song recently with SM7 on vocals and a 3035 on guitar, and it came out pretty well. I'm a pretty quiet singer so it helped a lot that it has decent off-axis rejection.

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Post by Fletcher » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:42 am

I do it all the time with both LDC's and ribbon mics. THIS is a link to a session I did at my old job... there is a Dobro player who is also singing backup and the main "Singer / Songwriter".

Both are mic'ed with figure 8 mics. The "null" of the guitar mic is aimed at the singer's mouth, the null of the vocal mic is aimed at the instrument.

There is "multi-track" audio you can down load as well as the "production" mix [I don't believe the "final" mix for the album is available]... and the "session notes" are also available... though the rocket surgeon who transcribed the "session notes" made the "AK-47" a "mk-II' which it wasn't [the mk-II was released June of 2010, I think this video was made in like late 2008 - early 2009].

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Last edited by Fletcher on Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bidirectional mics on guitar and voice

Post by purple pie pete » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:53 am

This is my go to method for this sort of thing. I've gotten good sounds with KSM44, U87, 4050, 414, and C12VR. An R84 ribbon worked well a couple of times, but not so good with either quiet playing or singing. I usually play around with the levels of each source to make sure they won't sound weird come mix time when levels, compression and eq can change things. I also make sure the null is pointed at the opposite source, and I've found that it's not always necessary to make them Blumlein. Meaning it's okay to space the mics from each other as long as there is decent rejection, especially if they are standing up.

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Post by JWL » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:24 am

cgarges wrote:I do it frequently with the two mics in a Blumlein array, up and down. One for the guitar, one for the vocal. I spend more time positioning the mics where each source is in the null of the opposing mic rather than making sure the two mics are pointing AT each source. Does that make sense?
+1, I do this all the time. When you get the mics placed well, it's almost astonishing how much iso you can achieve. The tones generally sound great too if you have good instruments and spend a bit of time with placement. There's a good video of this technique over at Mercenary's Meth Lab web page. (EDIT: just saw that fletcher already linked to this).

I've used ribbons and condensers with good results with this technique, totally depends on the source like any other situation where you choose the best mic for the task at hand.

In addition, I play with room mics to get just the right amount of ambience in the recording. I minimize the ambience for the close mics using a baffle around the mics to make them really dry and focused, and then I'll put up some room mics too. This obviously works best in a great-sounding room.

I also have the performer walk around the room while warming up and finding the best-sounding spot in the room for them before I set up any mics. Obviously if I'm in a familiar room I pretty much know where this will be ahead of time.

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Post by svbsound » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:04 pm

I've done this with an LDC on vocals and a ribbon on the guitar- a fairly bright acoustic- and it worked great. Null point of Royer 121 about 8-10 inches off the 12th fret. Nice room tones and it kept the guitar's upper-mids under control.
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:10 pm

I just did a record this way using 2 U87s. It was a 3 piece band and we cut the beds and vocal live and then edited between takes to get the best bits. The separation was so good I was even able to grab a word here or there from the vocal and fly it in with a different guitar take.

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Post by Front End Audio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:13 am

Check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfH-8oMMT9U its a video we shoot when Wes Dooley came and demonstrated his mics for us! I would be interested to see if it works as well for LDC's! I am going to use this technique later today to track some guitar and vocals so I will try out some LDC's!

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:26 pm

Front End Audio wrote:Check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfH-8oMMT9U its a video we shoot when Wes Dooley came and demonstrated his mics for us! I would be interested to see if it works as well for LDC's! I am going to use this technique later today to track some guitar and vocals so I will try out some LDC's!

Cheers,
Nicholas
Hi,

I met Wes at Capitol, cool guy, extremely knowledgeable about his mics.

Couldnyountell us how many dB of level difference there was between each mic in that position?

I also saw in the bit of the DAW view in the video that the vocal seemed to either clip, or be limited on the loudest parts. Since I cannot really tell on my computer speakers, could you tell us whatnthatnis that I s there?

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:55 am

Few questions:

How important do you guys feel it is to use the same mic for both gtr. and vocal, or at least mics with a similar character?

Could using, say, a ribbon for the vocal, and a LDC for the guitar potentially be problematic?

Or is it just a matter of taste, like everything else?

Is gain matching the channels a consideration?

What about compression on one, or both mics? I could see there being issues with that.
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Post by lefthanddoes » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:53 am

Don't forget the technique of recording a live guitar/vocal take and then having the performer double-track each one individually, leaving two completely isolated tracks that sound like they were recorded at the same time in the same place.

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