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  #1  
Old 06-02-2019, 11:59 AM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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Default Simple Guitar Recording

If I were going to do simple, good quality SOLO acoustic guitar recording, what would you use?

I have available:

Samson USB Condenser mic
Shure SM-57
Pair of Behringer matched small condenser mics
Behringer UMC 204 recording interface

6 ch Yamaha board w/FX
8ch Yamaha board w/FX

Win 10 (and/or XP Pro)
Audacity
Reaper
Power Tracks (PG Music)

Or......should I just chuck it all and get a Zoom recorder?

95% would be single track recording with only the occasional overdub or addition.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:39 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
If I were going to do simple, good quality SOLO acoustic guitar recording, what would you use?

I have available:

Samson USB Condenser mic
Shure SM-57
Pair of Behringer matched small condenser mics
Behringer UMC 204 recording interface

6 ch Yamaha board w/FX
8ch Yamaha board w/FX

Win 10 (and/or XP Pro)
Audacity
Reaper
Power Tracks (PG Music)

Or......should I just chuck it all and get a Zoom recorder?

95% would be single track recording with only the occasional overdub or addition.
Here's what I would use per your list:

Reaper
Behringer interface
2 Behringer small dia. mics (research mic placement for recording stereo solo guitar)

Or the Zoom.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:48 PM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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What @runamuck said, with the caveat that I'd probably skip the Zoom, as you've already got something that will record with the same quality, and give you a lot more flexibility in mixing.

FWIW, I'm a longtime Zoom user - started with an H2, then H6 (early adopter of both). I still have the H2, but use F8[n]s for recording now. Not sure whether you mean those types of devices or the standalone recorders, like the R16, or by "chuck it all" you are including the mixers, and moving to a LiveTrak model. They all have different features and capabilities, and only a few actually enable overdubbing.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:56 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Simplest: Zoom recorder with external mics. You don't have to fuss with interfaces, computer noise, etc, etc. People have released CDs made this way that sound totally professional.

I'm not sure what Behringer mics you have, but that's the only brand I've seen where someone was posting here with pretty bad results, and it turned out to be the mics. I'd get something better (not necessarily more expensive) for mics.

Reaper for editing and mixing should do the job.

If you haven't seen the video I made for Acoustic Guitar Magazine of the entire process using a Zoom and a pair of AT2020s, with Logic for mixing, it might be helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b6E20BwSdU
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Last edited by Doug Young; 06-02-2019 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:46 PM
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I'll revise my answer a little bit. Ignoring what you have:

A Zoom recorder alone is the simplest way to *record* - point it at the guitar, hit the record button and play. However, there's more to completing a recording than just capturing the sound (see below)

Adding external mics will probably produce better sound, but now you have to set up mics, learn how to place them, etc.

Using a computer interface is more complex at first, because there are more moving parts, possibilities of computer problems and so on. Once setup, that's not hard either - open the software, arm a track, hit record and play. (of course there's setting up mics, and so on)

BUT, Since you have mics and an interface already, another answer to "simplest" is "use what you have" and get started. See what works and what doesn't and go from there.

Keep in mind that you will likely want to edit, EQ, mix, add reverb, etc, which means you ultimately need a computer-based system to do that with, so some might argue that the simplest thing in the long run is to just use that same system for recording.

You didn't mention any monitoring, possibly the 2nd most important thing regardless of how you record, since you can't really work with the sound if you can't hear it well. And the No. 1 most important thing - room acoustics. You may be lucky and have a decent sounding room already - for recording solo acoustic guitar with close micing, a typical living room or bedroom can be OK, tho being able to hear the audio well enough (over those monitors) that you can even know if you have a decent recording, typically involves a room that's had some acoustic treatment.

What I use for recording solo acoustic guitar varies with what I'm doing. I use a Zoom with external mics for my You Tube videos- that has more to do with my physical setup, where I'm shooting and so on, and for audio-only where I care more about sound-quality, I record using a computer interface into Logic on a Mac. A variety of external mics, monitors, room treatment, plugins, etc.
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Last edited by Doug Young; 06-02-2019 at 06:09 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2019, 06:56 PM
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islandguitar islandguitar is offline
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I'm one who has produced several CD's which were "home brewed" original single guitar instrumentals via a Zoom H4n, mic pre-amp and external condenser mics. I would never describe them as "studio quality", but folks.......friends/family seem to enjoy a listen to them. I do have sound treatment in my higher ceiling dining room of a little "booth" of broad band panels. Once recorded, I've taken the step of having them mixed/mastered by a pro engineer to help the sound be the best it can be with his equipment and knowledge.
The first 4 tracks on my Soundcloud site are recent and recorded/mixed in this manner..........others further down are mixed by me through Audacity with a plug-in called Adverb, or via my engineer. Not quite the quality when I do this myself, but "ok" for posting on SC.
The portability of the Zoom plus the other benefits listed here have kept me with this set-up and allowed me to not get overly lost in post processing efforts. I enjoy that, but I'm less technically skilled and less interested in this aspect.
Just putting it out there for whatever you feel is helpful with this topic!!
Best,
Fred
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:20 PM
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This is how I got much better recordings at home and its about as simple as you can get without resorting to a phone or cassette recorder:

1. Zoom H5 and two AT2035 to record in a 22x18 room in front of a large sectional couch with big cushions to absorb reflections.

2. I learned where to put the mics and how much gain to use to minimize the room noise. Sometimes I goof and forget what I learned but most of the time I get it right.

3. I bought Izotope's Rx 7 Elements which is a great tool to clean up audio files. I think this is an essential tool.

4. I bought Ozone 8 for eq'ing. This is an extra, Audition probably has many of the same features, but Ozone 8 lets you use a reference file for eq matching which helps a beginner like me.

5. I subscribed to the new Adobe Audition and learned how to use it at a rudimentary level.

The most recent results are the tunes in my signature - The Foggy Dew came out hotter than the rest so watch your volume.

I may treat myself to a pair of Rode NT-1 mics which have very low self noise, almost half of the AT2035, but other than that I'm done I think with gear for sometime.
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  #8  
Old 06-13-2019, 05:30 AM
Vindellama Vindellama is offline
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I should add...
Get the h6 instead of the h5 if you want portability...

With 2 external condenser that I bought I've found out that the double AA 2600mah batteries could not handle the power draw from the external mics. Maybe 2 4000-5000mah aa's could handle it, but I guess the battery won't last long.

I just ordered an external battery of 20000mah to see if the mics work with it plugged into the h5.
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2019, 08:34 PM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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I ended up investing in a new Yamaha MG10UX mixer with built in interface and USB out ($199 @ SA). It lets me use my condenser mics for home solo recording and also route the mix of my duo's live sound (backing tracks, guitar, lead mic and harmony mic) straight to my 'music only' laptop running Reaper. Did some test tracks during last Saturday's gig and it worked surprisingly well. Once I get used to operating everything it should fill the bill.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:15 PM
lliam lliam is offline
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Hi Skip,

Great to hear the new Yamaha Mixer Is working well for you. I used to have a pair of Behringer condensers (I believe they were the C-2) and they worked great on acoustic guitar!

Since you're running Windows, if you're ever looking to try a new DAW I recently found that Sonar is now free! It's now reverted to it's original name Cakewalk due to a company buyout but the software appears to be the same: https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

I loved that DAW back in the day and did a ton of project on it. The workflow and plugins it comes with are crazy!

Also, if you're new to the recording world, here are some articles on the topic you may find useful:

Recording Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic Guitar Recording Techniques of the Pros
10 Microphone Placement Techniques for Acoustic Guitar

Hope these help and best of luck with your recordings! I look forward to hearing them soon

Last edited by Kerbie; 06-17-2019 at 01:58 AM. Reason: Removed prohibited commercial link
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  #11  
Old 06-17-2019, 06:48 AM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lliam View Post
Hi Skip,

Great to hear the new Yamaha Mixer Is working well for you. I used to have a pair of Behringer condensers (I believe they were the C-2) and they worked great on acoustic guitar!

Since you're running Windows, if you're ever looking to try a new DAW I recently found that Sonar is now free! It's now reverted to it's original name Cakewalk due to a company buyout but the software appears to be the same: https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

I loved that DAW back in the day and did a ton of project on it. The workflow and plugins it comes with are crazy!

Also, if you're new to the recording world, here are some articles on the topic you may find useful:

Recording Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic Guitar Recording Techniques of the Pros
10 Microphone Placement Techniques for Acoustic Guitar

Hope these help and best of luck with your recordings! I look forward to hearing them soon
Thanks!! I did download Cakewalk sometime last year when I found out it was available for free but never got into it. I have a friend who has used it for years and swears by it but I'll probably stick to Reaper as I just started learning it and it seems completely adequate for the simple things I'm doing.
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  #12  
Old 06-18-2019, 08:56 AM
lliam lliam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
Thanks!! I did download Cakewalk sometime last year when I found out it was available for free but never got into it. I have a friend who has used it for years and swears by it but I'll probably stick to Reaper as I just started learning it and it seems completely adequate for the simple things I'm doing.
Awesome to hear that you've given a few things a try and found something that you enjoy! Reaper's an awesome DAW as well!! I always say that at the end of the day, all DAWs achieve the same thing, it just depends whatever you're most comfortable with Best of luck with the recording!
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