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Old 11-11-2018, 12:47 AM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 6,781

Even 4 mics + pickup is a lot to deal with, especially if you're just getting started. I do sometimes use 2 pairs of mics, but it took me a long time to be able to make that work, and I'm still not totally convinced it really helps more than it hurts. I often do it more as a matter of choice, choosing between the pairs based on what sounds best for a tune - not so much combining them. The issue is that any time you mix 2 mics together into mono, you get phase cancelation, which causes tonal changes - these might even be "good", but usually not. Since you only have 2 speakers on playback - unless you're doing surround sound or something, 4 mics means some mics will end up being mixed to the same speaker. There are people who use lots of mics, there are some interesting photos floating around of some fingerstyle players recording with 6-8 mics! But it's not clear what they are all for, whether they were actually used in a mix, etc. They might be there just to be able to A/B during playback and choose the best sound. When I do combine mics, I'm usually blending something very different - for example, I have used a pair of condensers along with the gigantic AEA R88 stereo ribbon mic, which is almost like adding in a lower octave to the sound - so it brings something distinctive to the mix, not just yet another mic.

My suggestion would be to work on getting a good sound with 2 mics, period. Once you've gotten a killer sound - which can take a lot work to figure out, dealing with room acoustics, mic placement, performance issues, etc, etc, maybe see if adding in a pickup does anything positive for you. I generally find it only degrades the sound - most pickups sound pretty bad on recordings, but some of the popular percussive players do mix in pickups for a punchier sound. After that - after you're getting a great sound - ask yourself what else you need. What's missing? And can you get that by adding another mic, mics, etc? Or maybe you just need to learn to EQ, or use reverb, or compression, or...

Of course, the cool thing about home recording, assuming you have the time, is that you're free to try anything you like. The clock's not ticking, no audio engineer will tell you what you want to try makes no sense (just people on the internet :-) ), so knock yourself out and see what happens - you may get a result you like, or at least learn something along the way.
Doug Young
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Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
Hymns Book: Hymns for Fingerstyle Guitar
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
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