How do you record an acoustic?

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Kyle
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Kyle » Tue May 27, 2003 8:22 am

If it's just vox and acoustic I like to put one LDC about three feet out from the acoustic and about three feet above the acoustic, inline with the sound hole. Listen for a sweet spot. This doesn't work for everything, but sometimes it's just right.
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by clodock » Tue May 27, 2003 10:12 am

i'm starting to arrive at a pattern to how i do acoustics. i tend to use an octava mc012 with the omni capsule about 5 - 8" out around the neck joint. I do the afformentioned headphone trick to find the right spot - watch for nasty low mids. I mix that with a Lawson L47 1-1/2 to 2 feet back pointing close to but just the neck side of the sound hole, on figure 8. I then blend the two, either while tracking or after. The lawson on figure 8 is pretty bright, and will be louder in the mix when the part is of the strummy rhythm variety where pick noise is almost the most important thing, and the the mc comes up when doing solo parts for body. YMMV
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by ottokbre » Tue May 27, 2003 1:52 pm

right now i'm using a large diaphram on the neck, about two inches off the neck/body joint, and a solid foot away. then blend with the fishman system in the acoustic, which i have the treble all the way down. this gives me some definition in the low mids, and all the highs come in through the mic. it has a sorta '60s pop vibe. with the bass rolled off it gets more dylan sounding.
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Mike Jasper » Tue May 27, 2003 3:11 pm

I'm with the guy who said he couldn't get the same acoustic sound three days later. I've given up finding a system, per se. Everytime I mic acoustic guitars, I start fairly new (I tend to try the same three mics -- KM184, U87 and AT4033).

And I tend to mic the same guitar. It's weird.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by prince turbo lung » Tue May 27, 2003 4:21 pm

i have been real into just 1 mic, not stereo. i have been using the beyer m160 with the sank mod. gives a real rich / tight sound. i always use an 1176 gently when going to tape.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by marqueemoon » Tue May 27, 2003 9:56 pm

Jeff Robinson wrote:With an Earthworks microphone- WOW!
Yes indeed. I want to eventually try blending two and compressing the living hell out of one of them (with a high pass on) to bring out some of that crazy upper harmonic stuff while still retaining some dynamics.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by superpenguin79 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:36 pm

Mike Jasper wrote:I'm with the guy who said he couldn't get the same acoustic sound three days later. I've given up finding a system, per se. Everytime I mic acoustic guitars, I start fairly new (I tend to try the same three mics -- KM184, U87 and AT4033).

And I tend to mic the same guitar. It's weird.

Jasper


One trick that I heard from a couple of "pros" before is the reason an acoustic can sound different when you use the same mic, pre's, cables, guitar, strings...etc.. is caus every time that you record an acoustic instrument that there are different properties and air molecules that make the sound different. Lets say its a cold day out..... air molecules contract and get smaller if I remember correctly and on a warm day they expand. Now depending on how much humidity, air temperature, different furniture, people..etc.. that you have in your room on the day you record, you would virtually have to have everything in that room and that spot that you originally recorded in for it to happen exactly again. :)

Most of the tips that you get with mics and placement are guidelines on how certain people get their sounds, but when it all comes down to it go with your ears on what you believe fits the song and sounds good. I have seen people do amazing things with $10 mics and I have seen people do amazing things with $10,000 mics before. Its all about how you go about it and what sounds good. :)
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by standup » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:03 pm

I have seen people do amazing things with $10 mics and I have seen people do amazing things with $10,000 mics before. Its all about how you go about it and what sounds good. :)
Last summer I heard a recording of three people playing in a room. It was done using the built-in omni mic in an iBook, from 8-10 feet away. Guess what--no compression, no high-end mic pre... and the guitar had a very full tone. The guitar was a guild jumbo, which helped.

Next time I'm in a decent sounding room I want to try a distant omni. For me that will either be an Oktava 012 with omni capsule or a Shure sm76 dynamic.

I may try it this weekend in my 14 x 14 living room, but I don't expect much.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Fieryjack » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:21 pm

Not to state the obvious, but the STRINGS used can influence the sound as much as any mic used. I've had good luck (if NEW strings) with the 4033 placed at about 8" off the 12th fret, straight on. This mic can be a bit boomy/midrangey though unless it's positioned just right.

I also use the MC012 about 8" from the body, 3" up from the end of the neck....For my own music the MC012 tends to work nicer than the 4033 (though I like both) since it seems to sit in its own place in the mix, not competing with vox or other mid-heavy instruments.

Still, one of the nicest acoustic sounds I've heard is on My Sweet Lord, where John Leckie put up a U47 (I think...) and had Badfinger playing just around this one mic.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by Rigsby » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:45 pm

There are just so many sounds you can get out of an acoustic guitar, i usually start by setting up a SDC and a LDC and figure it out from there, i bare in mind the bridge, 5th fret, ear level, all those handy things you read, but the mics don't always stay there. I generally don't like dynamics on acoustic guitars, but maybe that's my pres, i know i'm not always getting the best from my mics.
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by soundguy » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:22 pm

I once exploded a friends head after tracking his acoustic with a 121. Im a big fan of ribbons on acoustics, you dont get any of that pick against the string garbage that is commonly accentuated with a condenser. A 121 is a pretty well unexciting mic, any old ribbon tends to do the trick.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by SKEETER » Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:38 pm

I simply use an acoustic electric right into the board and add ambiance later. Artificial ambiance has reached such a quality that it sounds great, and it is just way too much trouble to mess around with mic placement anymore. If I were going to mic an acoustic, I would get a mic holder for it, there is someone that was marketing a mic holder that clamped to the body of the guitar and held the mic in place. The reason I would do that is so that the mic is always in the same place if you have to punch in fixes, punch ins are very obvious when you mic anything if the mic moves even slightly. Also, if you are recording with a mic , I would add a second mic about 3 feet away on a stand, in order to get some of the rooms sound with the mic, unless you are going to add ambiance later.
One of the best mics I ever used on an acoustic guitar was a old Radio shack mic that was about 5 inches long and a little bigger around than my thumb, it was a condensor that ran on a battery. Most of your garden variety condensors should do ok. Some better than others.

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by rpowell » Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:14 pm

A lot has to do with the room. One of the best acoustic sounds I ever got was with an SM81 about 18" on top, aimed at the 12th fret, in a room (about 10' by 12') with a real oak floor and plaster walls. I'm sure a better mic may have made the recording even better, but it was mostly the sound of that room.

RP

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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by bigtoe » Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:16 am

'I'm with the guy who said he couldn't get the same acoustic sound three days later.'

i can't get the same acoustic sound 3 minutes later.

depends no the part.

if it's a part of the sandwich i use a coles where it sounds good.

if it's the side dish i use a B+K where it sounds good.

if it's garnish i use a 451 where it sounds good.

slimfasting,
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Re: How do you record an acoustic?

Post by SKEETER » Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:15 pm

Not getting the same sound on different days is a real phenomenon. I a ran sound for a few years in a church that was acoustically very nice, but I always had to readjust the board on different days. I figured out that it had to do with temerature and humidity, both of which effect sound waves, primarily humidity. Climate changes effect sound a lot. It is very hard to mic an acoustic and go back later and comp in fixes for that reason.

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