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Old 08-31-2023, 07:47 PM
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Default Condensers vs Dynamic (soundtracks)

I received my two SM57 today from Sweetwater and set them up. I have them spaced about 10 inches apart and they are about 3-4 inches from the guitar. The left is pointed at the fret board and the right the sound hole. I'll have to experiment with this more in the future, but for now its ok.

The condenser mics are two LDC, Warm Audio WA-14 on the left, Warm Audio W-47jr on the right, at about 18" from the guitar and one pointed at the 12th fret and the other towards the sound hole.

I may or may not be using more nail in the condenser recording. It is quite possible which could explain the difference in the treble, but again it might not. I was more concerned with the mic set up and watching my breathing than my tone as I just wanted to play naturally.

My thoughts are that the SM57 sound warmer and the LDC mics pick up on the guitar's natural reverb and highlight the trebles (nail use aside for now). Possibly the LDC mics have a greater range... more depth to the recording, but I do like the SM57 tone though.

It's not an even steven comparison economically though. The LDC pair together are over 3 times the cost of the two SM57 in total.

I'll have to do more recordings with them and see how my steel strings record as well. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can volunteer.

Dynamic SM57 pair:

.
.
.
Condensers WA-14 & WA-47jr:
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Old 09-01-2023, 07:23 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Thanks for posting.

Listening through decent headphones confirms my preference for the LDCs. The SM57s sound muffled with little of the detail that's present in the recording done with the WA mics.

The real take away is that you might prefer the SM57s, and that's OK. If you were combining with other instruments in a multitrack recording you'd lose that detail anyway.

I'm surprised that neither recording suffered from boominess that often accompanies a mic pointed at the sound hole. That's almost universally recommended to avoid that position when recording acoustic guitar.
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Old 09-01-2023, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Thanks for posting, Barry.

Listening through decent headphones confirms my preference for the LDCs. The SM57s sound muffled with little of the detail that's present in the recording done with the WA mics.

The real take away is that you might prefer the SM57s, and that's OK. If you were combining with other instruments in a multitrack recording you'd lose that detail anyway.

I'm surprised that neither recording suffered from boominess that often accompanies a mic pointed at the sound hole. That's almost universally recommended to avoid that position when recording acoustic guitar.
Thanks Rudy. The sound hole mics aren't directly in front of it. They are off to the side a bit and pointing at an angle.
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Old 09-01-2023, 08:37 AM
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Iím no expert, but the condenser track is more alive to my ears. On the other hand, the SM57s are more forgiving of little squeaks and scuffs.
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Old 09-01-2023, 08:59 AM
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TB...great comparison. I think I'd go with the shures, against the crowd. There's less atmosphere, but you're gonna have to record the WA's in a cleanroom to clean it up, and the sm57's are 90% there already. I wonder how newer dynamic kids on the block would do....like the electrovoices? ND96 esp. thanks
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Old 09-01-2023, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by b1j View Post
Iím no expert, but the condenser track is more alive to my ears. On the other hand, the SM57s are more forgiving of little squeaks and scuffs.
Yes, there's that trade-off going on there. The 57s allow the music to stand in front and the two condensers have brought company with them which is distracting. I'm not that good of a player to get everything perfect.

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Originally Posted by kurth View Post
TB...great comparison. I think I'd go with the shures, against the crowd. There's less atmosphere, but you're gonna have to record the WA's in a cleanroom to clean it up, and the sm57's are 90% there already........
Exactly my thoughts. I can play around with the positioning a bit too.
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Old 09-01-2023, 09:42 AM
Mobilemike Mobilemike is offline
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The 57's have a nice tone, but are pretty noisy to my ear. A little bit of noise reduction in post and a tiny bit of EQ to brighten it up may make a big difference.

The LDC's to me sounded unnaturally widely spaced, and seem to stretch the guitar apart in a weird way leaving a hole in the middle of the recording. I think some of that has to do with phase anomalies between the mics. At that distance from the guitar I generally would not aim them at the 12th fret and soundhole and pan like a close mic.
One of my favorite techniques is to put LDC's in an ORTF or NOS configuration centered on the soundhole and about 12 - 18" from the guitar. Using a stereo technique like that gives me a much more realistic picture of the guitar than just moving a close mic'ed positions back.

-Mike
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Old 09-01-2023, 11:13 AM
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....
The LDC's to me sounded unnaturally widely spaced, and seem to stretch the guitar apart in a weird way leaving a hole in the middle of the recording. I think some of that has to do with phase anomalies between the mics. At that distance from the guitar I generally would not aim them at the 12th fret and soundhole and pan like a close mic.

.....
-Mike
Hmm, thanks, I'm going to experiment more with placement of the LDC.
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Old 09-01-2023, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Hmm, thanks, I'm going to experiment more with placement of the LDC.
I do prefer the condensers sound albeit, I agree the the LDC are just getting to the "almost too far apart" point But that can easily be addressed by bringing the panning in some (if they are hard panned 100 left and right) try 50 to 65 left,, and 50 to 65 right ). Don't remember what DAW you use and what the panning set up is,,, but that is one reason I record a pair of mics to two separate mono tracks so I can set the panning any way I like.
a bit spread.

That said I have been experimenting with new (for me) position and trying a horizontal Up and Down configuration ( I started trying this because I stand) and with vertical left and right mic position,, any slight horizontal movement can move the stereo image left and right
Note the camera at an angle so the image is a little skewed ,,, the mic's are basically just above and below the sound hole, with the top (right side) of the mic's just to left of the sound hole going towards the bridge
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Old 09-01-2023, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
I agree the the LDC are just getting to the "almost too far apart" point But that can easily be addressed by bringing the panning in some (if they are hard panned 100 left and right) try 65 left and 65 right

That said I have been experimenting with new (for me) position and trying a horizontal Up and Down configuration ( I started trying this because I stand) and with vertical left and right mic position,, any slight horizontal movement can move the stereo image left and right
I'll have to try that too, thanks Kev!
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Old 09-01-2023, 10:09 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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The 57s sound like 57s...muddy & without any real detail or sensitivity. Yet, they still managed to have an annoying upper mid peak. In all fairness, after almost 30 years of being a professional engineer I've grown to *hate* 57s & 58s. So, take that for whatever it's worth.

I don't think the condensers were positioned properly. There was some phase issues making them sound very disconnected. So, not a very fair comparison. I would suspect that if you got those condensers positioned properly, no one would give the 57s a second thought.

Of course, that's just my opinion. Many seem to actually like the 57 & 58. I think it has more to do with the fact that they were readily available & affordable, so people got used to them & their sound.
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Old 09-02-2023, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
I don't think the condensers were positioned properly. There was some phase issues making them sound very disconnected. So, not a very fair comparison. I would suspect that if you got those condensers positioned properly, no one would give the 57s a second thought.
Can you elaborate on the proper positioning of the two SM57 for solo guitar? That would be really helpful.
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Old 09-02-2023, 06:33 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Can you elaborate on the proper positioning of the two SM57 for solo guitar? That would be really helpful.

The condensers were improperly positioned, not the 57s. Itís impossible to tell you how to setup mics without being there to hear whatís happening in the room. A good place to start is one mic at the neck/body joint & a second mic aimed at the lower bout, treble side, just behind the bridge. Listen & adjust as necessary. Thatís just a starting point & will require adjustments to accommodate the room, instrument & the player.
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Old 09-02-2023, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
The condensers were improperly positioned, not the 57s. Itís impossible to tell you how to setup mics without being there to hear whatís happening in the room. A good place to start is one mic at the neck/body joint & a second mic aimed at the lower bout, treble side, just behind the bridge. Listen & adjust as necessary. Thatís just a starting point & will require adjustments to accommodate the room, instrument & the player.
Ok, I misread, thanks.
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