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  #46  
Old 01-11-2012, 01:36 AM
redavide redavide is offline
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. . .

But anyway, for better or worse, here's the results of the comparable process, minus the professional mastering, with less than $500 worth of gear total, not counting the computer, mic stands and mic cords, and of course my monitoring system.

. . .
Don't forget the guitar . . . anyone who's seen/heard some of your work knows you've got some beauties, and this must be one of them . . .

It was interesting to hear the outstanding results you got, but kind of reminds me of what the Visa/Mastercard people might say:

Digital recorder: $299
Microphones: $59
Recording software: $60
Guitar playing and recording skills: Priceless

Another interesting comparison would be to let someone with mediocre recording knowledge/skills record something with all of the best gear . . .
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  #47  
Old 01-11-2012, 06:29 AM
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Doug I wanted to write and thank you for this. It's invaluable information and very generous of you to share this. I begin recording next week and look forward to sharing the finished results with you
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  #48  
Old 01-11-2012, 10:06 AM
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OK, I didn't do a full blown video lesson, but I quickly recorded a short clip tonight with really cheap gear. Setup was a Zoom Hn4 ($299), with external mics, Audio Technica AT2020 (I paid $59 each), and Reaper ($60). I recorded in my living room, with no room treatment whatsoever, so no cost there. I did pretty much the same steps here, except that the track isn't sent out to mastering, I just raised the level to peak at near 0 db. I used only included Reaper plugins, a very slight compression, a little high end boost and extreme low end cut and little mid boost to warm it up, and added reverb.
Oh, wow, ask and ye shall receive, eh?

Well, according to my ears and experience comparing that to my own attempts, and my own ears, the good news/bad news is:

My issue ain't the gear, that's for sure! I'd be very, very happy with that quality -- actually sounds quite good! -- and I ain't getting it with my setup, which is pretty right on par with what you used (Rode NT1 > Yamaha board > Lexicon Omega > Reaper).

This past week of returning to home recording and analyzing my attempts, I'm pretty sure half my battle is my guitar, so I just told my luthier I need a setup etc.

What I'm finding odd, tho, is that if I play/record with my headphones (Sony MDR-7506's -- plugged into the Lexicon, so post mixer) I'm quite content with the guitar quality.

But by the time it comes out the other end of Reaper, it's pretty crappy.

On my first/last disc I "mastered" everything myself and did a beta run of 100 discs thru Discmaker. But then someone talked me into taking the tracks to a local studio guy for remastering, and he really did work some miracles.

Yet and still, with that massaging nothing I got down approaches what you nailed with your simple setup.

...I can always nail pretty good vocals...fine Tele/Princeton Reverb/SM57 tones...solid bass...but the acoustic guitar...? Bleah.

And that's especially true with my hard-driving, rhythm playing, but then that's an issue live, too, so it may be the guitar, or at least the setup.

Ok, that's probably too much thinking out loud for anyone's use.

One last quick question: how far, again, were your mics from the guitar?

Thanks again, Doug! Yer the best thing to come out of Mountain View since the old Tower Records in the shopping mall on El Camino...
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  #49  
Old 01-11-2012, 10:43 AM
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One last quick question: how far, again, were your mics from the guitar?
Probably 6 inches or so. I go for pretty close, especially when I'm in a so-so acoustic space. In my studio, I'm more like 8-10 inches away, usually.

Post an example of your raw track, glad to see if I can suggest anything. Headphones can be deceptive, might be part of the issue. When I'm trying to dial in a good sound, which I didn't take the time to do here, it involves lots of iterations of listening over monitors, moving the mics, listening again. Headphones can get you in the ballpark, but at least for me, the results rarely map to the final sound.

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Thanks again, Doug! Yer the best thing to come out of Mountain View since the old Tower Records in the shopping mall on El Camino...
Ah, those were the days. I "discovered" fingerstyle guitar in that store. Now even the Rasputin Records that replaced it is gone.
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  #50  
Old 01-11-2012, 10:55 AM
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Probably 6 inches or so. I go for pretty close, especially when I'm in a so-so acoustic space. In my studio, I'm more like 8-10 inches away, usually.

Post an example of your raw track, glad to see if I can suggest anything. Headphones can be deceptive, might be part of the issue. When I'm trying to dial in a good sound, which I didn't take the time to do here, it involves lots of iterations of listening over monitors, moving the mics, listening again. Headphones can get you in the ballpark, but at least for me, the results rarely map to the final sound.



Ah, those were the days. I "discovered" fingerstyle guitar in that store. Now even the Rasputin Records that replaced it is gone.
If you go to my Reverbnation page, on my signature line, below, the first three songs were recorded this past week, and then the next three are on the "professionally mastered" disc. ...the very first song (Feeling 14) is a good example of what I'm talking about, tho, quality (or lack thereof) wise...and it takes place in Palo Alto, too, come to think of it.

...and yeah, I "discovered" George Winston in that Tower, where he happened to be playing piano live to an audience of zero. ...we'd already seen Michael Hedges a bunch of times down at the Varsity (and Tuck and Patty...), but that was definitely a life-changing event -- I put down the Dead Kennedies album and bought Winston's....

Thanks again, and if you don't have time to check out that track, don't sweat it, either.

td
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  #51  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:17 AM
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What a great discussion. Thanks for posting that comparison with budget level gear Doug. I certainly can hear the difference compared to your studio recording, it does not sound as rich and warm to my relatively novice ear. I wonder if part of that is your living room, if which I recall correctly has alot of tile. The recording sounds more reflective to me. I wonder if you put that gear in your treated studio room if it would sound alot different.
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  #52  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:22 AM
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What a great discussion. Thanks for posting that comparison with budget level gear Doug. I certainly can hear the difference compared to your studio recording, it does not sound as rich and warm to my relatively novice ear. I wonder if part of that is your living room, if which I recall correctly has alot of tile. The recording sounds more reflective to me. I wonder if you put that gear in your treated studio room if it would sound alot different.

Everything contributes, so the non-treated acoustics of my living room plays a part. Also, I probably spend hours getting the mic placement right on the high-end version, and spent about 5 seconds eye-balling the mic setup in the budget version, and I'm not happy with the stereo image I got on the budget track. And while Reaper itself is fine, the plugins didn't do much to enhance the sound, compared to the processing on the other track. Reaper supports VST and AU, so I could have used anything, but it would have broken the budget.
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  #53  
Old 01-15-2012, 09:37 AM
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This has been such a useful thread for me.

Probably the bottom line conclusion I've drawn is simply confirming that I'll turn my next disc over to a qualified studio. I figure it'd take another $1k to uprgrade my eqpt to an even minimally improved sound, and then I'd still be at the bottom of curve and that would only prepare me to adequately capture my own stuff, not the accompanying dudes. In the meantime, though, I'll continue to dink around for the fun of it, and, and applying what I've gleaned from this thread, this past week I've stolen a handful of hours here and there and come up with the following:

First, the guitar does and doesn't matter . The process of critically listening to my most recent recordings really drove home how badly my Larrivee needed its frets dressed (that's the "guitar does matter" part), but impatient to get some tracks down while I waited to meet up with my luthier, I kept making runs at new tracks, only to learn that...

Second, two not great mics on a crappier guitar sound vastly better than one decent mic on one decent guitar (this is the guitar doesn't matter part): my two, large diameter condensers in various locations on my growly old 60s Harmony Sovereign sound much, much better than my older recordings of the single-miced Larrivee. Lesson for me here was how much fullness I gained by that second not great mic. I'd also been making the mistake of trying to mic the soundhole and struggling against too much treble as well as boominess, but this and other recent threads inspired me to be more adventurous with mic placement, and to move mics, rather than the eq. ...wound up putting the mics in all kinds of places until they simply sounded good, rather than putting them where I thought they "should" go...this approach inspired by posts in this and other threads noting how radically differently different techs approach micing. And...

Third, because I'm committed to singing and playing at the same time (rather than dubbing vox), I can get some much improved tracks down by using the two mics on the guitar and a *dynamic* mic on vocals...this helps me avoid the phasing problems I experienced the last time I'd tried more than two mics (for geetar and vox combined). It's not perfect or pro quality, but, again, the guitar sounds so much better. For me this is sort of like the rock climbing analogy: you become a better climber by strengthening your weakest skill, not your stronger; it might be worth degrading my vocal tracks if doing so will help me improve my guitar tracks. ...not necessarily a lesson for professional studio recordings, but useful for what I'm trying to achieve, here at home.

Anyway, I'm sure none of this interests anyone, but, for me, a great lesson inspired by this thread is: learn to use the gear you have before you buy more.

On an even more tangential note: what a great musical day y'day was: spent two or three hours dinking with this recording stuff in the morn, then hung out with my luthier friend in his shop for an hour, and spent a solid two hours rehearsing unplugged, sitting face to face with "my" harmonca player...just two gray haired dudes sitting three-four feet apart beside the woodstove, drinking beer and pounding out our tunes on the '53 Gibson L-50 I bought from an AGF a few years ago.

No better way to survive a gray, cold winter day and night here in the hinterlands.... And tho the gear is a lot of fun, it was good to wrap up the day, and week, just stripping it all down to the bare essentials and singing song after song....


Last edited by tdrake; 01-15-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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  #54  
Old 01-15-2012, 05:04 PM
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Would this fantastic example be brought on by your new book, Acoustic Guitar Amplification Essentials: Complete Guide?....JUST KIDDING!!!!

Thanks for the demos, and it just goes to show that it IS the player, not the equipment...your "budget" recording sounds light years ahead of my best, mainly because you are a Master of your instrument. This has been a great thread, Thanks for starting it!



PS - The link to your new book on your site is tossing up an error message, both picture 7 text. I sent a message to thru there, but figured I would mention it here also....
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  #55  
Old 01-15-2012, 05:16 PM
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Would this fantastic example be brought on by your new book, Acoustic Guitar Amplification Essentials: Complete Guide?....JUST KIDDING!!!!
Nope, no relation. More prompted by questions here, and having just finished a CD where I went thru this process.

Quote:
PS - The link to your new book on your site is tossing up an error message, both picture 7 text. I sent a message to thru there, but figured I would mention it here also....
Seems to be fine here, it should go to stringletter.com's shop. Maybe they had a glitch. Try again? If it doesn't work, let me know what the error is. Or do you mean an error on the stringletter site?
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  #56  
Old 01-15-2012, 06:36 PM
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Nope, no relation. More prompted by questions here, and having just finished a CD where I went thru this process.



Seems to be fine here, it should go to stringletter.com's shop. Maybe they had a glitch. Try again? If it doesn't work, let me know what the error is. Or do you mean an error on the stringletter site?
...I just got an error message on it, too, fwiw.
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  #57  
Old 01-15-2012, 06:41 PM
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...I just got an error message on it, too, fwiw.
on dougyoungguitar.com (my site?) or stringletter.com (AGM's site)? What's the error?
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  #58  
Old 01-15-2012, 07:48 PM
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on dougyoungguitar.com (my site?) or stringletter.com (AGM's site)? What's the error?
Well it opened now...the host must simply have been down or sumpin.

Anyway, for the record: it was on your site, homepage, link under the heading "New Book!"

...ordered a "hardcopy" of the new disc and am pretty excited about that.

td
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  #59  
Old 01-15-2012, 07:53 PM
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...ordered a "hardcopy" of the new disc and am pretty excited about that.

td
I didn't even know you could do that! :-) Must have just been some internet glitch on or with the stringletter site.
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  #60  
Old 01-26-2012, 02:33 PM
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Sorry for the late reply, and yes it is working now. I was getting the same thing as tdrake.
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