How do you record an acoustic?

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foley
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How do you record an acoustic?

Post by foley » Sun May 25, 2003 8:52 pm

I'm trying to get the perfect mono acoustic guitar track (no stereo techniques please). I have had some luck, but would love to hear what works for ya'll.

Thanks!

mf

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markpar
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by markpar » Sun May 25, 2003 9:03 pm

Disclaimer: This is what works in my room, it may sound bad elsewhere. :)

If the guitar has a direct line, record that. For mics, I use either a 149 or a Lawson 47 about 12-18 inches in front of the guitar, usually pointed at the neck joint. I sometimes add an AKG CK-391 or Rode NT-3 pointed at about the 5th fret or bridge, depending on the guitar and how it sounds.

The mics and their positioning depends heavily on the guitar being used. I've never heard two acoustics that sounded exactly the same, so I consider these techniques guidelines more than anything else. :)

-mark

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Lostboy » Sun May 25, 2003 9:47 pm

i have to respectfully disagree about recording an acoustic directly. my personal taste wants to hear more ambience than direct recording allows. i guess this depends a lot on the genre and style of playing.

recording an acoustic guitar will really depend on the room you're in, so make sure you've doctored the room up for recording.

in terms of mics, i've had luck with the audio technica 4033. place it about six inches to a foot from the body of the guitar, facing a bit away from the hole. if you get a lot of low end muss, move the mic up so it's higher than the guitar, or EQ the low end out after you've recorded.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by tiger vomitt » Sun May 25, 2003 10:05 pm

if you are recording yourself this is a lot trickier-

have whatever mic you are using feeding headphones that you are wearing. move the mic around the guitarist until you hear the sound you want. record a little against the song it is going on to make sure it's kosher. the headphones have to be loud enough so that you hear the mic way more than the guitar itself.

some things ive noticed about this - dont be afraid to put the mic 5 feet away from the guitar, dont be afraid to have the mic be in a totally weird spot like above the guitarist's head or underneath the guitar.

the key to it all is that you are hearing what is going on while you move the mic so you can hear the sound changing.

also, this practice gets great results with a lot of other sounds too. ive used it with guitar amps, acoustic gtr, upright bass (which i unfortunately dont record very often) bass drum (very helpful to have a partner to help out).


good luck!

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by markpar » Sun May 25, 2003 10:36 pm

Lostboy wrote:i have to respectfully disagree about recording an acoustic directly.
I hear ya. I don't use the direct sound as the main tone, but blending in a little bit of the direct sound can be nice, depending on the situation.

-mark

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by AstroDan » Sun May 25, 2003 11:40 pm

For a mono sound, I usually go condenser at either 8" from the 16th fret/neck joint or about 1' from the bridge, aimed between the bridge and soundhole. And plenty of duct tape to keep the guitarist in that EXACT position. :alien:

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Shawn Simmons » Mon May 26, 2003 1:09 am

I used to jam the mic in there real close but lately I've gotten much better sounds with the mic about 18-36 inches away. Depends on your room but in mine this sounds good. Also, ribbon mics are great on acoustic guitar (I use my Coles). The other great acoustic piece is a Distressor. The Distressor is one of the best compressors for acoustic guitar, very versatile and aggressive or subtle when it needs to be.

I've also had great luck with an AKG C-24, a U47, a Soundelux U195, an Octava MC-012, and an AT 4047.

The guitar and the player make up most of the sound. As far as going direct, I'll usually only attempt it if the pickup in the guitar is a very good one. Otherwise, to me, the high end coming out of the cheap pickups sounds fake and brittle.

There's my .02?
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Oliver Straus/Mission » Mon May 26, 2003 8:24 am

What a word perfect is!! Wow.

In my opinion, there is no perfect sound... just the right one for the track. This could mean using the 67 about 18 inches away from the 12th fret pointing slightly toward the lower shoulder of the gtr, Or it could mean a 57 jammed and distressed. There's also the KM84 over the shoulder... sounds like what you hear when you're playing. KSM 32s are nice from about 2 feet.

Mostly the sound is dependant on the instrument and the player.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Meriphew » Mon May 26, 2003 8:47 am

When I record my Gibson Gospel, I'll normally use either one Neumann KM184 pointed towards mid neck area, or else I'll use a stereo pair of KM184's with one mic pointed about mid neck and one mic pointed towards the soundhole, but not exactly at the soundhole.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by timbaier » Mon May 26, 2003 12:25 pm

3 days ago I recorded an acoustic guitar track on a song. I wrote down the mic used , settings on the mic pre and everything. (I always point the mic at the 12th fret and play about 1 - 1.5 feet away from the mic, so that's a constant.) I was super-happy with the way it sounded. One of my bandmates came over and liked the bit but wanted me to change one thing about the way that I played it. I set up everything EXACTLY the way it was before, recorded the new bit on another track and then A/B'd the two. For the life of me I couldn't get the same sound. And its not like it was a *tiny* bit off, either! They were similar but the second one actually sounded brighter and less box-y, which I didn't like as much.

So, what does that mean? I guess that if I can't recreate the same sound 3 days later with the same guitar, same strings, same mics, same preamps, same recording techniques, then it doesn't matter what works for me, cuz I can't even get *me* to sound like "me"!!!

:roll: ...All prophesizing aside however, I'm really diggin' the MXL 603 lately. SO cheap, but its great for a "box-ier" sound that lays well under pop songs. Probablly not a good one for miking solo guitar though.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by evan » Mon May 26, 2003 1:04 pm

I usually place my C3000B (my only condenser as of now, so I don't really have a choice) about a foot or so away from the guitar, facing towards where the fretboard connects to the body of the guitar to tame down any proximity effect it might have when just facing the hole. It'll probably work the same with any other cardioid mic.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by foley » Mon May 26, 2003 6:21 pm

So after reading these posts I tracked my acoustic from 6 feet (12 o'clock) away with an Octava 012 running through the board and to tape. No eq, no fx ...

And it sounds PERFECT! The room noise blends nicely with the vocal, and the whole thing has exactly the feeling I was going for.

So thanks!

mf

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by @?,*???&? » Mon May 26, 2003 7:31 pm

With an Earthworks microphone- WOW!

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by AnalogElectric » Mon May 26, 2003 7:41 pm

I might be repeating some other suggestions but that's because it seems to work. If I'm going to do mono I'll use a KM184, U87, CMV563, or an RCA 44BX placed accordingly to the room and integrity of the instrument. I'll also compress the crap out of it post tape especially if it's a layer for other guitars.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Randy » Mon May 26, 2003 7:57 pm

Foley-

I am glad you found what you wanted, I just wanted to pile on another thing:

One time I mic'd the guitar with an sm57 over the sound hole where the player was strumming and sent that through a Deluxe Reverb with the tone controls flat and no reverb. I mic'd the amp with a CAD M-39. I mic'd the actual acoustic with a Shure BG 4.1 and mixed the two sounds. Everyone involved thought it was the right sound for the situation.

http://www.lungcookierecords.com/maddie ... ng_160.mp3

(note about the recording: the keyboard tracks are from a cheap 12-bit toy keyboard. It took a lot of wrangling to keep it from making that hissy sound you get with 12-bit sounds. The fact that it got turned into an mp3 doesn't help much.)

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