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Old 09-19-2021, 12:20 PM
JCDC JCDC is offline
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Default 1st Post: Harsh resonant frequencies - troubleshooting help

Greetings! First post here after just discovering the forum.

I'm losing my mind lately, trying to record my acoustic guitar at home. Unbelievable amounts of harsh resonant frequencies, particularly in the upper mids & highs. Using phosphor bronze strings. Have experimented with different strings, gauges, picks... even finger picking results in the same.

I do frequency sweeping and just cannot get anything useable. The ringing, metalic, feedback-sounding whirs and tones are too numerous across at too many frequencies.

Primarily using matched pair of Aston Starlight pencil condenser mics, Aston Spirit large diaphragm condenser, but have tried 2 other large diaphragm condenser vocal mics I have, and a different matched pair of pencils. All the same.

Using a Scarlett 18i8 interface, Logic ProX.

I definitely need to do more treatment on my room (poor 10x10 setup, but it's what I have available.) Have tried other larger rooms... different mic positions, settings, etc. And we're not talking just flutter echo, nor boxy low mid room noise.

Just hoping to confirm that I'm not crazy, and others have solved this for themselves at times -- or, that I'm just clueless and making some kind of rookie mistake.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:20 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDC View Post
Greetings! First post here after just discovering the forum.

I'm losing my mind lately, trying to record my acoustic guitar at home. Unbelievable amounts of harsh resonant frequencies, particularly in the upper mids & highs. Using phosphor bronze strings. Have experimented with different strings, gauges, picks... even finger picking results in the same.

I do frequency sweeping and just cannot get anything useable. The ringing, metalic, feedback-sounding whirs and tones are too numerous across at too many frequencies.

Primarily using matched pair of Aston Starlight pencil condenser mics, Aston Spirit large diaphragm condenser, but have tried 2 other large diaphragm condenser vocal mics I have, and a different matched pair of pencils. All the same.

Using a Scarlett 18i8 interface, Logic ProX.

I definitely need to do more treatment on my room (poor 10x10 setup, but it's what I have available.) Have tried other larger rooms... different mic positions, settings, etc. And we're not talking just flutter echo, nor boxy low mid room noise.

Just hoping to confirm that I'm not crazy, and others have solved this for themselves at times -- or, that I'm just clueless and making some kind of rookie mistake.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
Dump the second mic and record with a single mic 8" to 12" out and pointed between the neck / body join and the sound hole. Record FLAT and see what you need to do from there.

Your description doesn't jive with anything that you should be getting using a good mic and basic micing technique.

AFTER you start getting something you like then you can deal with all the phasing issues, etc. that multiple mics get you.

Walk before running!
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:21 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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A square room is the worst possible shape and a small square is the worst square room.
Making it work isn't going to be easy. These videos will give you some tips...





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Your description doesn't jive with anything that you should be getting using a good mic and basic micing technique.
He's in a small square room. That's as problematic as it gets.
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Old 09-19-2021, 04:34 PM
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Put up a recording on Soundcloud and share it here so we can hear what you are hearing. I recently added a couple of 2x4 free standing panels to record with which does help. but in my small room the problem was muddiness, not higher frequencies. I have recorded with two mics in stereo mode, from 6" to 18" away from the guitar and never had an issue as you are experiencing (recording with both SDC and LDC mics). I'm curious as to where you placed your mics.
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Old 09-19-2021, 06:19 PM
JCDC JCDC is offline
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Thanks for the input so far! I'm actually running into the issue both with a single mic mono and XY stereo setup. I know a cube is the worst, but it's what I have at the moment. I've tried recording outside the room in a larger carpeted rec room but still get the same results. I'll try posting a couple of samples asap. (I actually don't even have a soundcloud at the moment.)
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDC View Post
Thanks for the input so far! I'm actually running into the issue both with a single mic mono and XY stereo setup. I know a cube is the worst, but it's what I have at the moment. I've tried recording outside the room in a larger carpeted rec room but still get the same results. I'll try posting a couple of samples asap. (I actually don't even have a soundcloud at the moment.)
What are you LISTENING with?
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Old 09-19-2021, 08:57 PM
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Old 09-20-2021, 02:08 AM
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I got more or less the same thing when I started recording sixteen or so years ago. I believe some of that was due to low end gear (especially the ADC and DAC converting processes) and also recording in an untreated room. Mike setup was not the issue as I use the same setups then as now. If you are recording mainly solo guitar then stick with stereo recording.
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Last edited by rick-slo; 09-20-2021 at 08:00 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 09-20-2021, 06:53 AM
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I've been mixing and doing some recording in a small, square (11'w x 11'l x 8' h) space for a few years. You have to treat the crap out of a space like that. But, with even a little treatment, it shouldn't be the horror story you are describing.

Are you sure you're turning off the monitor speakers while you record and turn off the mic(s) when monitoring?

Heck, just shut everything off except phantom power to a single LDC, placed as described everywhere, and shoot a phone video and audio recording. Post both (raw, unprocessed audio, recorded in Audacity, for instance, in a dropbox, e.g., is best) here so we can see the setup and hear what you describe.

Using 2 mics before the room problems are fixed isn't going to make your life easier, IMO/IME.
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:47 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I've had problems with not liking my acoustic guitar recordings too, and that's after years or recording stuff. I feel your pain.

What I'm telling myself is what I'll tell you: as with any troubleshooting start as simple as you can and don't add fixes in groups. Some of this is harder to do if you're like me, the composer/arranger/producers/audio engineer/musician/mixer on my Project.

What I'm going to suggest is a process, not a destination. So where you start isn't your goal of "best acoustic guitar sound" but how to determine what gets you there.

I assume you like the sound of your playing on your guitar when you hear yourself in a room. The mic will hear differently though. Every mic I use hears much more pick noise that I hear playing on the porch, and that's unfortunate in that I'm a 98% flat pick user

Ditch the Logic acoustic guitar recording track presets for now. Open a straight new audio track, no effects.

So I'd start with one mic your guitar. Isolating headphones on. Move the mic around and back and forth. This is annoying to do when engineering yourself, but necessary. I going to use goosenecks and some broadcasting type spring loaded mic arms to make it easier to move a mic from behind a guitar.

The aim for the 12th fret or the body/neck join 18" away rule of thumb thing is fine as far as it goes, but it's your guitar, your room, your tastes, your playing style. Try to find the best spot for you and your particulars.

As mentioned above, make sure you've muted your monitors on the interface. Get to know what your headphones sound like. Get some dry-ish solo guitar recordings to use to "calibrate" your ears before testing your own mic and guitar.

Don't try to maximize the input volume on your interface, modern digital recording doesn't need that. We haven't heard your "before" recordings yet, but digital overs are extremely ugly. Use your interface's headphone volume to get to something like a natural monitoring level in your headphones rather than upping the recording input level.

Yes your room isn't ideal. You'll eventually want to deal with that. Mic'ing closer may reduce your room effects for the first step in your process.

Yes, you may need or want EQ eventually. But you should be able to get pleasant recordings with a decent mic recording flat. If you must add EQ, I'd think a low cut to reduce low bass resonance is the only thing to consider early in the process.

In this part of the process you're going to just try to get the simplest possible decent sounding recording.

If it's just solo acoustic you're aiming for, add the second mic and experiment with position next. Mid-Side might be worth considering. I've never used it, but for self-engineers it seems to offer some advantages.

Hope any of this helps. I'm no model for recording quality, but I do know that to troubleshoot you don't aim for the end result, but a step at a time.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:50 AM
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As I mentioned in post #8 there have been gear changes over time.

Here is an example of early recording without room treatment and early audio interface gear (and one of the better sounding recordings from that time):

http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Music/Blusey.mp3

and recorded the same tune a few years after room treatment and with newer recording gear:

http://dcoombsguitar.com/Misc/Blusey.mp3

Much smoother sound (especially if you listen with good playback headphones or speakers).
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:33 PM
JCDC JCDC is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions! Agree on approaching it like a process. Bottom line is I just gotta get a couple quick recording samples up here so you can hear it and provide much more pointed feedback.

Re: the room, I'm using temporary make-shift treatment for now, as I've gotta deal with some home repair stuff in the room before putting up "permanent" solutions (long story for a different forum). But I'm going to keep trying to optimize there. I've tried workarounds of recording outside of that room (in a much larger carpeted rec room, too.

I have tried varying single mic distance from 6" to 18" at the standard 12th-14th fret placement. I'm also trying XY. Coincidentally, I *think* I get a better sounding track with the XY vs. single mic.

I do start with a completely blank channel strip. Then I do subtractive EQ before adding compression, any other effects, and more EQ to enhance.

I'll try and find some time (day job and kids) to capture a couple samples and then post them here.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDC View Post
I have tried varying single mic distance from 6" to 18" at the standard 12th-14th fret placement. I'm also trying XY. Coincidentally, I *think* I get a better sounding track with the XY vs. single mic.

I do start with a completely blank channel strip. Then I do subtractive EQ before adding compression, any other effects, and more EQ to enhance.

I'll try and find some time (day job and kids) to capture a couple samples and then post them here.
Suspect the potential for a fatter, less harsh sound greater if you record with spaced pair mike placements for solo guitar recordings. One mike or a pair of coincident mikes is more greatly affected by different areas of the guitar output reaching the mike out of phase. More easy for the brain to convert part of that phase issue problem into a sense of space and direction with stereo non-coincident recording (IMO).
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDC View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions! Agree on approaching it like a process. Bottom line is I just gotta get a couple quick recording samples up here so you can hear it and provide much more pointed feedback.

Re: the room, I'm using temporary make-shift treatment for now, as I've gotta deal with some home repair stuff in the room before putting up "permanent" solutions (long story for a different forum). But I'm going to keep trying to optimize there. I've tried workarounds of recording outside of that room (in a much larger carpeted rec room, too.

I have tried varying single mic distance from 6" to 18" at the standard 12th-14th fret placement. I'm also trying XY. Coincidentally, I *think* I get a better sounding track with the XY vs. single mic.

I do start with a completely blank channel strip. Then I do subtractive EQ before adding compression, any other effects, and more EQ to enhance.

I'll try and find some time (day job and kids) to capture a couple samples and then post them here.
I'd try putting the mic on the bridge area, not the neck joint.
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My SoundCloud page


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Old 09-20-2021, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCDC View Post
I do start with a completely blank channel strip. Then I do subtractive EQ before adding compression, any other effects, and more EQ to enhance. .
I'd forget about all that until you have a really good sound to start with. For just a guitar alone, EQ, compression, etc, is usually a very last, tiny, tiny tweak to add final polish. The sound should be perfectly fine before you get to that step. Dialing in a sound is mostly about room acoustics and mic placement (as well as the guitar, your tone, etc).

This may help, I did this complete walk thru the recording process a few years ago for Acoustic Guitar. Very basic setup here, cheap mics, cheap recorder (tho edited/mixed in Logic), and you hear the sound before any processing. Recorded in an untreated 10x11 spare bedroom, by the way, tho the room just happens to sound "ok", tho not great.

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