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jdelin86 05-27-2016 12:12 PM

Keep it simple, stupid! (and other recording tidbits)

So I've been trying to learn yet more about recording acoustic guitar, as am lucky enough to have a rather nice one now (Greenfield G2.2) and a pair of decent mics (KM184s).

This week I spoke at length with a few 'guys in the know' and feel I had a bit of a breakthrough with my recorded tone, so thought worth sharing the little tidbits I've learned - maybe it'll be useful...

Luthier built guitars can have wonderful wide tonal ranges, and can be very loud! Coping with this has been a struggle for me, particularly as I record in a very small room. I've found this typically meant very boomy lower-midrange-heavy recordings which required crazy amounts of EQ.

The solution for me has been a 2-mic setup. Most of the sound comes from the mic pointed towards the neck, which in my case picks up those gorgeous Greenfield trebles. The other mic pointed at the bridge adds air & warmth, and is dialled in only a small amount. This therefore means I can cover both ends of the tonal spectrum and balance them to taste.

One consistent piece of advice that I've received after speaking to 'those in the know' has been: If you mic the instrument correctly, you should require NO EQ at all.

This surprised me tbh! However, as the example below shows, there's no woofing or the overly hot / driven sound I used to have.

Here's a very quick (literally - 20 mins from opening the case to publishing on Youtube!) example of the new 'simple' approach I've taken...

Happy Friday!


ChuckS 05-27-2016 01:23 PM

When you were getting the "very boomy lower-midrange-heavy recordings" were you using a cardioid mic(s) as you are now for the two mic setup? If so, you may have been experiencing the results of the mics proximity effect. What distance were you micing at, and where was the mic(s) pointed in that earlier setup?

Also, you may get more interest/responses to this thread in the Record subforum.

iim7V7IM7 05-27-2016 02:40 PM

I would try posting your question in "RECORD" forum.

JamesO 05-27-2016 06:28 PM

Absolutely beautiful, Joel.

sdelsolray 05-27-2016 07:04 PM

Nice composition, excellent playing and decent recording.

You are using a modified ORTF mic placement configuration, which can work very well.

The only issue I hear is the reverberation of your room, i.e., your added reverb is "reverbing" and enlarging the sonic anomalies from your untreated small room.

rick-slo 05-27-2016 07:51 PM

Rather a hollow sound. You seem to have a mono recording with some reverb added (or possibly so little volume on one mike and channels panned so far to the center that it might as well be a mono recording). Check out how you are routing your recording mikes. You have two decent mikes so a nice stereo sound can be had. Take advantage of that and record it right.

alohachris 05-28-2016 04:24 PM

Treat Yo' Space
Aloha Joel,

Great guitar. Good mics. Very nice playing! OK recording.

I agree with sdelsolray on taming your reverb in a small recording space. You should also record in stereo. At least I heard that in your recording

However, the biggest bang for the buck in terms of controlling ANY recording space of ANY size, especially for achieving consistency in acoustic recordings, is to TREAT YOUR SPACE.

It defines & separates the full frequency spectrum & eliminates even slight mid-range mush or cancellation problems caused by lack of control of a given room's early reflection nodes. It maximizes your guitar, mic's & entire signal chain

Room Treatment doesn't have to be expensive. DIY is the way to go - just a few self-made, portable broadband absorbers placed strategically around your tracking area & some in the corners if you have a problem space. I started by building six (all materials from with an Acoustic Material Supplier or Walmart), & later built more (22 total now). Working beautifully now for over 10 years - holding up well.

There have been several threads here dedicated to the Room Treatment topic & how to DIY. Use the 'Search'function' here to check 'em out.. Also Check out gearslutz 'Building Studios', Fran Guidry 'Building DIY Broadband Absorbers' & Ethan Winer "Acoustic Treatment" for great info RE: Room Treatment.

I hope this helps, Joel. Treatment's made a world of difference for me in terms of controlling subtlties & getting more consistent results. Bottomline is that you cannot buy more gear to improve your acoustic recordings w/o treatment. It's a waste of time & money, speaking of which...

You have a lot of money tied up in your guitar & mic's. Now put a few hundred into some DIY ROOM TREATMENT. Unfortunately, most players don't think about it until last, if ever, when treatment should actually be the first priority for home recordists - at any level, IMO.

Good Luck Joel!


nobo 06-06-2016 05:08 AM

Thanks for posting Joel!

+1 on what Chris said. Acoustic treatment will make a big difference/improvement (I would say, "the" biggest improvement; all the more so as on a bang per buck basis). 45 or 60 kg/m3 rockwool - 4" or, better, 6" thick - wrapped in a a breathable fabric is cheap and will do the trick. You can use these as gobos and/or position around the room. In the tricorners will make the biggest difference to the troublesome low and low-mid end. If you're putting them elsewhere on the walls/ceilings, space them away from the wall by their thickness.

You can use ReadyTraps/ReadyBags for a more aesthetically pleasing version. They also have a free acoustic design service to help with positioning.

My Kostal MD arrives in around 2 weeks time - do pop round with the Greenfield and maybe your mics and you can try them in a treated space in my studio: it's unusually dry for acoustic guitar recording, but then you're free to add reverb to taste.

Looking forward to catching up in person!


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