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Old 05-07-2011, 02:40 AM
davwir davwir is offline
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Default Microphone and placement, seeking recording tips..

Im sure this has been covered many times, but was curious what are considered the most popular or standard microphones and techniques for recording steel string guitars?
Im mainly interested in home studio stuff, and not $4k mics.. but curious what gets the best results, value per $$, etc..

I do have an AKG 414, which is a pretty decent vocal mic, but I haven't been able to capture great sound from it for guitars yet.. Maybe there are some recommended settings for this mic? Recommended placement for this or other mics?
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Old 05-07-2011, 04:04 AM
geordie geordie is offline
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I researcher Microphones last year and found great info here
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:01 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davwir View Post
Im sure this has been covered many times, but was curious what are considered the most popular or standard microphones and techniques for recording steel string guitars?
Im mainly interested in home studio stuff, and not $4k mics.. but curious what gets the best results, value per $$, etc..

I do have an AKG 414, which is a pretty decent vocal mic, but I haven't been able to capture great sound from it for guitars yet.. Maybe there are some recommended settings for this mic? Recommended placement for this or other mics?
In my experience, here, in order of priority, is what makes the biggest difference recording guitars:

1. the player
2. the guitar
3. not pointing the mic directly at the soundhole; aim for the 12th-14th fret
4. fresh strings (or not)
5. the thickness of the pick used; in fingerstyle, flesh vs. nails
6. the room
7. the mic
8. mic placement

Although there are better mics for recording ac guitars, if you can't get
a pretty darned good recording on your AKG, the mic is not the problem.

Jim McCarthy
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:12 AM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davwir View Post
Im sure this has been covered many times, but was curious what are considered the most popular or standard microphones and techniques for recording steel string guitars?
Im mainly interested in home studio stuff, and not $4k mics.. but curious what gets the best results, value per $$, etc..

I do have an AKG 414, which is a pretty decent vocal mic, but I haven't been able to capture great sound from it for guitars yet.. Maybe there are some recommended settings for this mic? Recommended placement for this or other mics?
If you have a quiet and decent sounding room, use the omni position. It will eliminate all proximity effect when close to the instrument. Otherwise use the cardioid setting. You are better off experiment with different placement settings to see what sounds best before doing any eq-ing or other processing. Right in front of the sound hole is among the worst sounding placements.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:45 AM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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if your room doesn't sound good, or your guitar playing technique does not draw a good tone out of your guitar, your microphones won't help you much. if you are recording guitar only, with no bass/drums/etc., try using two mics in a stereo configuration. the classic starting point would be one mic 10-12" away, aimed at the 12th fret. the other mic 10-12" away, aimed toward the bridge. then you can tweak from there. you can also try the second mic further out from the guitar just to add some ambient sound to the main mic. make sure, on playback, to pan the two mics accordingly.

good luck. trying to get a great solo guitar sound is very, very difficult. especially when you are recording yourself in a bedroom and your playing technique is not great.

bill
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:28 PM
davwir davwir is offline
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I was aiming the mic at the soundhole.. assuming thats where the best sound would be.. Rookie mistake.. ;-)
I will try some other patterns and locations with what I have, and see how the results come out.. thanx all..
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:29 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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There are so many variables with recording, it's hard to suggest anything useful other than the tips so far. But if you'd post a short clip of what you're getting, as well as some info about the kind of sound you're shooting for, you'll probably get some more specific suggestions. For me, it helps to have a goal - a reference recording I want to emulate. Then try to figure out what is different between it and what I'm getting.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:04 PM
Robert Alger Robert Alger is offline
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Having someone else play the guitar in a variety of spots throughout the room while you move the mic around and listen to the recorded signal through headphones can help.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:06 PM
kennyk kennyk is offline
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There's quite a lot of information out there regarding mic placement.

One of the key spots is where the neck joins the body.
Another spot is to put a mic above your left (lefty players: right) shoulder.
Some people like to put a mic pointing at the neck. some point one at the bridge.
There's also a sweet spot roughly where the lower part of the X brace ends on the lower bout that's worth exploring.

As for mic'ing techniques, the 414 is a good mic. if you can get another 414 then you can try 2 microphone techniques, such as one at the soundhole and one at the lower x brace, or bridge, or shoulder or neck positions.
However if you want a huge stereo sound then you want to learn the Mid-Side technique.
This is a lot easier with digital workstations and computer audio than it used to be.
Mid side is a great mic'ing technique because it's the One stereo placement that's 100% mono compatible.
Here's how you do it.

take your first 414 and set it up at the neck/body join upright, facing the guitar. set it to omni pattern.
then take your second 414 and set it to figure 8 pattern. turn it side on to the guitar, and place it upside down suspended around a quarter to half inch above the face-on 414 so that the side of the side on-mic is flush with the front of the front on mic.

If you're using pro-tools or any other digital computer audio software, you send the mid mic to one channel, and send the side channel to another, but make a duplicate of the side mic. on playback you leave the mid panned center, pan the two side channels one hard left, one hard right, and invert ONE of your duplicate 'side' channels. If you can lock the levels of the two side channels to act together this makes things easier.
if you fade out the two 'sides' you'll get the mono sound, because the two identical out-of-phase signals will cancel out. then you gradually bring up the side channels to get the biggest, widest guitar sound you can imagine.

Sometimes you can also bring in a neck or bridge mic (or even a DI pickup) and pan the center 414 off to the left or right a bit, and bring your other neck/bridge/DI channel up panned a bit to the other channel, and experiment with the levels.

There's no right or wrong, just what sounds good!

Also a word on mics. Other than the 414, you might want to try a Rode NT3 for neck, or bridge mic'ing. in fact any of the Rode NT mics are worth having in your collection. I'm also a BIG fan of the AKG SolidTube mic, though that's an omni pattern only. Rode do some valve/tube mics which I've not tried but I'm sure are as good as any of the others. (I A/B'ed an NT3 against an AKG C1000S and thought that the Rode was far superior. they cost the same at the time)
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:54 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyk View Post
There's quite a lot of information out there regarding mic placement.

One of the key spots is where the neck joins the body.
Another spot is to put a mic above your left (lefty players: right) shoulder.
Some people like to put a mic pointing at the neck. some point one at the bridge.
There's also a sweet spot roughly where the lower part of the X brace ends on the lower bout that's worth exploring.

As for mic'ing techniques, the 414 is a good mic. if you can get another 414 then you can try 2 microphone techniques, such as one at the soundhole and one at the lower x brace, or bridge, or shoulder or neck positions.
However if you want a huge stereo sound then you want to learn the Mid-Side technique.
This is a lot easier with digital workstations and computer audio than it used to be.
Mid side is a great mic'ing technique because it's the One stereo placement that's 100% mono compatible.
Here's how you do it.

take your first 414 and set it up at the neck/body join upright, facing the guitar. set it to omni pattern.
then take your second 414 and set it to figure 8 pattern. turn it side on to the guitar, and place it upside down suspended around a quarter to half inch above the face-on 414 so that the side of the side on-mic is flush with the front of the front on mic.

If you're using pro-tools or any other digital computer audio software, you send the mid mic to one channel, and send the side channel to another, but make a duplicate of the side mic. on playback you leave the mid panned center, pan the two side channels one hard left, one hard right, and invert ONE of your duplicate 'side' channels. If you can lock the levels of the two side channels to act together this makes things easier.
if you fade out the two 'sides' you'll get the mono sound, because the two identical out-of-phase signals will cancel out. then you gradually bring up the side channels to get the biggest, widest guitar sound you can imagine.

Sometimes you can also bring in a neck or bridge mic (or even a DI pickup) and pan the center 414 off to the left or right a bit, and bring your other neck/bridge/DI channel up panned a bit to the other channel, and experiment with the levels.

There's no right or wrong, just what sounds good!

Also a word on mics. Other than the 414, you might want to try a Rode NT3 for neck, or bridge mic'ing. in fact any of the Rode NT mics are worth having in your collection. I'm also a BIG fan of the AKG SolidTube mic, though that's an omni pattern only. Rode do some valve/tube mics which I've not tried but I'm sure are as good as any of the others. (I A/B'ed an NT3 against an AKG C1000S and thought that the Rode was far superior. they cost the same at the time)

1. The SolidTube is Cardioid not omni
2. It seemed to me the OP asked how to get good results with the one microphone he mentioned, not what others to buy.
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Old 05-08-2011, 03:11 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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So much depends on the room, the player, the guitar etc. I found the best way to learn was to record other people playing. that freed me up to concentrate on getting the sound and forgetting about having to perform. For what it's worth I do all my demo recording in a space that's far from ideal but I've got used to it and know how to deal with it.

As for Mic choice, well, the best mic for the job is the one you actually have in your hand.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:39 AM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRuskin View Post
1. The SolidTube is Cardioid not omni
2. It seemed to me the OP asked how to get good results with the one microphone he mentioned, not what others to buy.
Actually he did ask about other mics .
Quote:
Recommended placement for this or other mics?
Back to the OP, mic positions ?
Besides the neck joint area also try the mic at the level of the upper waist of the guitar out from 12 to 24 inches. Also try out from just below the bridge. With the 414 depending on your room you might also try out from the guitar from 2 to 4 feet and about head level.

As for other mics ? Since you have an LDC perhaps an SDC would be a good addition. Depending on budget from a modded Octava to Schoeps
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:20 PM
bobby b bobby b is offline
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You should be getting decent results with the 414, as other have mentioned dont point at the soundhole ( too boomy). Try 10-12" away from the guitar and point in and around the neck joint area.
I recorded a little guitar just now into Protools , using a Shure SM81 at that position. Added a bit of Verb and got a not too bad result. This was a really quick record/setup in my home office/computer room. Not the exactly an ideal room to record in.
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:23 PM
kennyk kennyk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRuskin View Post
1. The SolidTube is Cardioid not omni
2. It seemed to me the OP asked how to get good results with the one microphone he mentioned, not what others to buy.
1. ok, so I got the info regarding the SolidTube wrong. Sorry. I'd had a long day at work and was posting around 2 a.m. my time.

2. It seemed to me that the guy was looking to find out why he wasn't getting the results he was hoping or expecting to get. I think I offered some avenues to explore as well as covering an important, proven, mic'ing technique in some detail.

If I'd started on about Amek/Neve tube preamps and Neumann U87 mics I could see your point. Nothing I suggested was contentious as far as I can see. Or have I totally misjudged the way things are here at the AGF in the time since I last regularly posted?
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:28 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyk View Post
1. ok, so I got the info regarding the SolidTube wrong. Sorry. I'd had a long day at work and was posting around 2 a.m. my time.

2. It seemed to me that the guy was looking to find out why he wasn't getting the results he was hoping or expecting to get. I think I offered some avenues to explore as well as covering an important, proven, mic'ing technique in some detail.

If I'd started on about Amek/Neve tube preamps and Neumann U87 mics I could see your point. Nothing I suggested was contentious as far as I can see. Or have I totally misjudged the way things are here at the AGF in the time since I last regularly posted?
I was merely correcting your statement about the AKG. I did overlook the op''s question about other mics and placements thereof and apologize for that.
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