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Old 09-13-2017, 12:35 PM
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Default Mic bass cut on AKG P420 recording acoustic guitar?

When I bought my mics a little over a year ago I knew zero. Today I know slightly more than zero, but just enough to be able to ask questions. This may my first post in this section of the forum.

After listening to scores of YouTube vids, with a self imposed limited budget I elected to buy a AKG P420 mic https://www.amazon.com/AKG-High-Perf.../dp/B00167UQMI
and subsequently a AKG P70 https://www.amazon.com/AKG-PERCEPTIO...words=akg+p170. I've been trying to make some sample recordings for reference of different guitars and strings, etc but have been less than satisfied with the results. I understand the proximity effect and watched all of Neumann's videos for beginners.

Until today I have ignored the pattern swith and kept it on cardioid pattern and everything else flat (no bass cut or attenuation). And then, experimenting yesterday I just wondered what bass cut did when recording acoustic guitar.

And so I did a series of recordings comparing bass cut and no bass cut. There was simply something that sounded more natural with bass cut "on". I didn't expect to hear an improvement, but did. Can anyone tell me why I like the sound better with the bass cut and if you do the same thing with your mics (that have a bass cut switch)?

And though I haven't had time to experiment too much with the positioning with bass cut on, before I started experimenting with bass cut I thought I had more success with a AKG P170 mic at the 12th fret and the P420 off the lower bout. Why do you suppose that mix helped the sound as opposed to a single P420 positioned anywhere, left, right, up down, neck, bout???
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:58 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Your P420 bass cut starts at 300 hz at 12 dB per octave.

It's very common to cut around the 200 hz area in acoustic guitar recording. So the bass cut in your mic is doing something similar.

You mention proximity effect but didn't describe your position in terms of distance from the source. Proximity effect is present in directional mics for as much as 30 inches or so.

As far as the improvement with two mics, most of us find using two mics gives us a more satisfying recording.

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Old 09-13-2017, 03:48 PM
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Generally speaking the lows are the area of the frequency range where build up can quickly create the most distortion and mud. But not always perceived as distortion, but more as just being less clear in the lows . And as counterintuitive as it may seem often a judicious low cut can clean things up enough that uncut lows sound more distinct and thus better.

Generally speaking a 2 mic stereo recording (particularly of a solo instrument) will have bigger sound with more horizontal spread to the sound ( as long as the two mics are in a relatively close phase relationship.

Also if you are recording with a DAW that has an EQ with adjustable multi band option, you can also cut some of low build up with more flexibility as to where to start the roll off in the frequency range, like as Fran noted at 200 hz or 150 hz or100 etc. depending on what particular guitar/room /mic /preamp combination.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies. They shed some light on the situation.
Well I do have a DAW that can provide eq adjustment I think for the moment I want to get as close to being good as possible before I make any electronic adjustments. So I have simply been recording into Audacity.

Yes the bass cut does clean things up quite a bit. As a newbie I was surprised and in a way it invalidates my previous recordings.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:36 PM
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I use an adjustable high pass filter (in my preamp) set around 50-60hz to get rid of the low freq room noise but keep the guitar's low end intact. The filter on the mic is going to be most appropriate to compensate for proximity effect at some specific distance (at less distance you'll get more bass buildup and at greater distance you'll overly attenuate bass.
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:32 AM
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If you are recording in a room with no proper acoustic treatment, using the low cut has trimmed out some of the low end reflections bouncing around and back into the mic.
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
You mention proximity effect but didn't describe your position in terms of distance from the source. Proximity effect is present in directional mics for as much as 30 inches or so.

As far as the improvement with two mics, most of us find using two mics gives us a more satisfying recording.

Fran
The P420 is set about 18" or so from the lower bout of the guitar.

I'm finding out that adding the second mic does improve the tone, delivering more of what I percieve the guitar to sound like. The P420 is a large diaphragm mic with multiple patterns available while the P170 is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone.

Should I have purchased a matching pair as opposed to two different mic styles?
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
Thanks for the replies. They shed some light on the situation.
Well I do have a DAW that can provide eq adjustment I think for the moment I want to get as close to being good as possible before I make any electronic adjustments. So I have simply been recording into Audacity.

Yes the bass cut does clean things up quite a bit. As a newbie I was surprised and in a way it invalidates my previous recordings.
Except of course (if you think about it objectively) using the low cut on the mic is an "electronic adjustment" with the single filter curve rolling off of 12 db per octave, starting at 300 hz (as Fran stated) which is then printed into the guitar track audio, and non reversible.

So in reality you already have made and "electronic adjustment" and you do not not really know if that rolloff curve is in fact as "good as possible ". While that curve could be the optimum one for your situation, it is also a fact that filtering starting at different frequency could be more optimum (without experimenting you are only guessing) . The ability to experiment with that is one of the great advantages of digital recording. Also not that I am not familiar with Audacity but actual type of EQ it offers is pretty important also, because it needs to be the type that allows you select the frequency/s buy number and the type of curve to be of any real advantage over the the low cut filter on the mic ..... Something to think about .
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Except of course (if you think about it objectively) using the low cut on the mic is an "electronic adjustment" with the single filter curve rolling off of 12 db per octave, starting at 300 hz (as Fran stated) which is then printed into the guitar track audio, and non reversible.

So in reality you already have made and "electronic adjustment" and you do not not really know if that rolloff curve is in fact as "good as possible ". While that curve could be the optimum one for your situation, it is also a fact that filtering starting at different frequency could be more optimum (without experimenting you are only guessing) . The ability to experiment with that is one of the great advantages of digital recording. Also not that I am not familiar with Audacity but actual type of EQ it offers is pretty important also, because it needs to be the type that allows you select the frequency/s buy number and the type of curve to be of any real advantage over the the low cut filter on the mic ..... Something to think about .
You make an extremely interesting point and cogent argument. A close analogy would be shooting photos with a digital camera set to jpg vs set to raw (which is what I always shoot in when using an actual camera). With jpg the camera does much of the processing while with raw the camera only captures the data and leaves the processing until it gets into the computer. Ergo the next learning step is to become more skilled with my DAW. This may require some lessons.

So while I've got your attention Kev, what is your opinion of using a DAW like Reaper vs Pro Tools or another DAW?
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
You make an extremely interesting point and cogent argument. A close analogy would be shooting photos with a digital camera set to jpg vs set to raw (which is what I always shoot in when using an actual camera). With jpg the camera does much of the processing while with raw the camera only captures the data and leaves the processing until it gets into the computer. Ergo the next learning step is to become more skilled with my DAW. This may require some lessons.

So while I've got your attention Kev, what is your opinion of using a DAW like Reaper vs Pro Tools or another DAW?
Ha! the 64 thousand question!! what DAW is best.? Unfortunately the answer is the one that works for you. Ya I know not really helpful
All DAW's offer the same basic features i.e. a means to import or record audio into a digital file. And a means to export a digital file.
Most offer at least some type of basic editing and mixing but the feature set from these can vary quite a bit and you get into a difference between the more basic types and what are considered the more full featured . From there the workflow is basically similar but can vary in implementation and personal intuitiveness. and gets more subjective.
That said And I am no DAW expert I have only run a few.... Pro Tools, for 14 years, Reason for 7 years, Reaper for 60 day trial, and Studio One 3 for the 30 day trial.

But I would say currently Reaper is probably the starting point (price wise ) of the more full featured DAWs, and has become quite popular particularly among home studio users and some project studio people .

I am probably not a great person to ask about Reaper vs Protools but for reasons that have nothing to with the capability or usability of the either.
But only to do with my personal experience of time of usage, what I started with, and my personal learning curve and what I personally find intuitive.
I started with Pro tools in 2003 and have even took a complete Master's certificate in Music Production in Pro Tools in 2011. So I am pretty habituated to PT it's workflow and nomenclature.

For me (Only) when I tried Reaper ( for the 60 days trial period) while I found some features very interesting (like being able to set up many more of it's features to my specific tastes, which many find as it's most compelling feature) I found the nomenclature quite difficult and the workflow cumbersome . Arguably because it was different from the workflow I was used to.
Now make no mistake there are some long time Pro tools users that now use and prefer Reaper but I am not one of them, which is likely just me.

For someone starting out and relatively unencumbered by long habit, the differences in work flow and nomenclature are probably irrelevant .
And Reaper is very inexpensive by comparison and much less of a CPU hit on the the computer to install and run .
Pro Tools workflow and GUI is very much like sitting at an analog mixing console ( which is how it was originally designed ) and pretty intuitive for anyone who has run a mixer. It already automatically has a myriad of features already set up.

Reason is a fairly simple DAW to run, and has a very unique GUI, I find the editing cumbersome comparatively to PT Reason or Studio One
I use it mainly for it's virtual instruments and run it "slaved" into Pro tools via the ReWire protocol .

Studio One 3 was pretty interesting and if for some reason I could no longer run PT is probably the Daw I would migrate to.

Even though I am a Mac guy I have never run Logic (go figure) but it appears to be another very popular DAW.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:44 PM
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For recording an acoustic guitar I don't use the low cut filters built into my microphones. That would be a non reversible outcome. I play around with low cut as my ears dictate post recording using the software in the DAW.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:13 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
You make an extremely interesting point and cogent argument. A close analogy would be shooting photos with a digital camera set to jpg vs set to raw (which is what I always shoot in when using an actual camera). With jpg the camera does much of the processing while with raw the camera only captures the data and leaves the processing until it gets into the computer. Ergo the next learning step is to become more skilled with my DAW. This may require some lessons.

...
Audacity has a flexible and powerful EQ tool, you could, for instance replicate the rolloff in your mic just as a starting point, then tweak the settings from there. Here's a look at a manual page for the EQ tool: http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/equalization.html

The downside of Audacity is the lack of real-time effects. Each time you make an adjustment you must apply the effect then evaluate the result. With something like REAPER you can hear the track continuously while you make adjustments.

But if you're comfortable with Audacity and have it running well on your computer, there's something to be said for doing more recording and less installing and configuring new software.

In either case you can find lots of tutorial material for either REAPER or Audacity on YouTube and both programs are pretty well documented.

Fran
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
Audacity has a flexible and powerful EQ tool, you could, for instance replicate the rolloff in your mic just as a starting point, then tweak the settings from there. Here's a look at a manual page for the EQ tool: http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/equalization.html

The downside of Audacity is the lack of real-time effects. Each time you make an adjustment you must apply the effect then evaluate the result. With something like REAPER you can hear the track continuously while you make adjustments.

But if you're comfortable with Audacity and have it running well on your computer, there's something to be said for doing more recording and less installing and configuring new software.

In either case you can find lots of tutorial material for either REAPER or Audacity on YouTube and both programs are pretty well documented.

Fran
I have both Audacity and Reaper. Audacity in some ways is so simple is clumsy to work with. Reapers has it's benefits, but one thing I've been getting from it is occiasional "blips" of static noise in the recording that don't occur in Audacity. I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong there? Not enough RAM dedicated to the program?

What I like about Reaper is that when you record in stereo you open and arm two tracks. However I haven't figured out if it is possible to auto-arm and pull up two channels simultaneously. In Audacity if I select stereo tracks as default I cannot figure out it if is possible edit L or R separately. When I click record with Audacity it will automatically start a new track and only mono or stereo as selected in preferences. As I said, simple but clumsy. There must be more to it to make Audacity a little more customized in the record mode and Reaper a little more simple in getting a recording going.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
I have both Audacity and Reaper. Audacity in some ways is so simple is clumsy to work with. Reapers has it's benefits, but one thing I've been getting from it is occiasional "blips" of static noise in the recording that don't occur in Audacity. I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong there? Not enough RAM dedicated to the program?
The REAPER forum is an excellent source of troubleshooting help: https://forum.cockos.com/ Cut up a small portion of a track that has the noise so you can upload it. Get a screen shot of the waveform as well.

What is your sampling rate? How current are your drivers?

Quote:
What I like about Reaper is that when you record in stereo you open and arm two tracks. However I haven't figured out if it is possible to auto-arm and pull up two channels simultaneously.
You can choose to open a stereo track rather than two mono tracks. If you want to pull up two tracks configured in specific way, first set up the tracks then save the project as a project template. You can then open that template to start a new session. You can make that the default template by renaming it.

Quote:
In Audacity if I select stereo tracks as default I cannot figure out it if is possible edit L or R separately. When I click record with Audacity it will automatically start a new track and only mono or stereo as selected in preferences. As I said, simple but clumsy. There must be more to it to make Audacity a little more customized in the record mode and Reaper a little more simple in getting a recording going.
Audacity has tools to split a stereo track into two mono tracks: http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/s...eo_tracks.html

Fran
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:06 PM
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Thanks Fran,

I can see I have a ton to learn. Some of this stuff makes my eyes glaze over.

Do you think I'm ok to start with my AKG P420 and P170 mics, or do I need to be thinking of something different better? Would I have been better off had I initially gone with something like a Rode NT2a?
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