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  #1  
Old 03-25-2013, 01:44 PM
Scott Whigham Scott Whigham is offline
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Default The Recorded Acoustic Guitar Library Project

Note: the download file is at the bottom of this post

We wanted to come up with a few examples of what a well recorded guitar sounds like, both before it has been mixed, and after. I think that some people will enjoy this - after all, if your only comparison is to compare your own raw recordings to a mastered CD, the tendency is to think your recordings sound terrible by comparison!

Goals of this project:

1) To provide the new-to-recording guitarist with a baseline of good quality acoustic guitar recordings that are in an unprocessed/raw state (unmixed).

2) To provide the new-to-recording guitarist with a comparison between an unprocessed guitar recording (from goal #1) to a mixed and mastered version of the same material.

We think that, by providing these example files, it will help shorten the learning curve that guitar players have to go through to learn how to make really nice sounding recordings. Many players think you can "fix it in the mix" and, while that is sometimes true, there is no question that a "well recorded acoustic guitar" requires very little in the way of mixing and mastering. By having access to the raw, unprocessed recordings, you can mix and master your own versions and compare these to the mixes provided. Also, having access to the raw versions takes mixing and mastering skills (and gear) out of the equation all together - you will hear the instrument exactly as it was recorded and you can compare this to the mixed version. You can ask yourself, "What did they do in mixing?" And you can then A/B the two files to isolate things you like/hate/love/want-to-change/etc.

The Recordings

The recordings feature at least four setups, all made by the same player with the same guitar in the same position playing the same song:
  • Mono (single) microphone
  • Stereo: Spaced pair of matched microphones
  • Stereo: XY
  • Stereo: ORTF

You can search the web for "stereo microphone techniques" or read this thread for a few good examples if you are unfamiliar with stereo mic techniques: http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/...can-use-today/

History

In version 1.0.0 (the first public release), there are two guitar types represented:
  • Steel String Acoustic guitar
  • Resonator/dobro

We hope to have additional releases in the future (hence the version number on the file). We'd love to have more participation - please reach out to me or Doug Young if you'd like to help out.

Controversy

When this project was first proposed, several people felt this was a bad idea. Their reasoning was that the player/room/guitar/mic/humidity/etc makes such a massive difference that telling someone to "Make your recording sound like this one" was impossibility defined. We prefer to leave it to the reader/user to determine whether you find the recordings useful. If you think we met the goals, then the project is successful. If we did not meet our goals, then the project was not successful. We'd love to hear your feedback on whether or not you felt these were helpful to you.

Gear Lists

We have intentionally not listed gear here (mic/guitar/preamp/converter/etc). We've chosen to leave this information out because we want the discussions to be about the recordings and the reactions to the recordings rather than having the discussions be about the gear or reactions to the gear. However, we are more than happy to discuss such things in PMs/emails. We just ask that you not derail the thread with so much of a gear discussion that it detracts from the goals of the project.

Lastly, in closing I'd like to thank Doug Young for his help. Doug recorded the steel string acoustic recordings in his home studio. Check out his website - great info for the aspiring recording guitar player: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/

Download the files here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47210265/Aco...ary_v1_0_0.zip

Warning: this is a rather large ZIP file (150+ MB). This file contains WAV files, recording notes, and more.

We'd love to have more participation - please PM me or Doug Young if you'd like to help out.
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2013, 08:52 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Thanks for the hard work guys. That is a big download. You might list and link to the files individually and unzipped. I am interested only in the guitar stereo recordings for example. I can host if there is a shortage of web space.
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2013, 09:14 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Just to throw my 2 cents in here: I certainly wouldn't hold up my samples here as anything extraordinary. But with the idea of having raw, unedited, unmixed tracks of solo guitar that are reasonably clean for a home recording, hopefully they're useful. What I'd listen and notice in these is:

1) levels (mine ended up around -7db peak, Scott's are much quieter. Both are fine, no real need to be louder on the raw recording.)
2) Stereo image. Check out how it changes between the different mic placements. If you have any kind of vector scope, also check out what the different mic placements look like, visually.
3) balance - hopefully I got a reasonable balance left to right on these. So the guitar should sound centered, even tho the width is different with each mic placement
4) phase - if you have any kind of phase meter, check out the differences between these different placements

Those are the basics I listen for first in setting up mics and getting things dialed in.

Then there's stuff that's more a matter of taste, like room sound vs direct guitar, close mic'd vs far away, and so on.

Everyone and every guitar's going to sound different, so what I'd try to ignore is the guitar tone, what's being played, etc. I'd just check out the technical aspects of the recording (and of course, let me know if you think any of mine can be improved)

By the way, Scott's tracks with the resonator are very cool. Those are worth hearing just for the music!
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:23 PM
GuitNGood GuitNGood is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to do this. I will try using these in my home recordings.

I'll also add that every great audio engineer I've ever read/heard interviewed has a "reference library" of great recordings in their arsenal, so the premise of this project makes sense to me.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:42 PM
Steven Bollman Steven Bollman is offline
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What a great project! Thank you to all involved!
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:07 AM
scripsit scripsit is offline
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An excellent notion, and thank both of you very much for putting the time and effort into this. Very generous.

This is just the sort of 'ear training' data I'm looking for to support my own ventures into this space.

Kym
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2013, 07:49 AM
Eire Eire is offline
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An excellent resource, certainly not meant to serve as a base level for all recording but rather a reasonable representation of what can/should be achieved. Thank you for the tremendous effort and, as always, your interest in helping others!
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:08 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Played around with the guitar ORTF and Spaced pair recordings

Guitar ORTF
Original raw recording
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...es/RawORTF.wav
Volume increase L +5 R +4 (L had sightly warmer sound so gave it a nudge more than R)
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...VolumeOnly.wav
Plus phase shift: Voxengo PHA-979 Left -24.8
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu.../ORTFPhase.wav
Plus Equalization: +1.9 at 73 hz, Q 2.66 and +1.5 at 2954 hz, Q 0.80
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu.../ORTFEqual.wav
Plus Waves IR-L reverb (tiny amound used)
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...es/ORTFAll.wav
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Guitar Spaced Pair
Original raw recording
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...SpacedPair.wav
Volume increase +6 R and L
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...VolumeOnly.wav
Plus Equalization -3.00 at 215 hz, Q 2.84 and -3.3 at 2311, Q 2.18 (tried to remove some harshness in certain notes)
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...ualization.wav
Plus Aether and IR-L reverb
http://dcoombsguitar.com/Guitar%20Mu...Spaced All.wav

The clips have some sort of audio artifacts (best heard at the end of the clips).
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Last edited by rick-slo; 03-26-2013 at 01:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2013, 04:51 PM
Bob1131 Bob1131 is offline
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Thanks all for your time and effort on this. Unfortunately, I cannot download such a huge file. However, I was able to listen to Rick's files...very interesting. I listened through headphones, and the nicest sound to me was the raw spaced pair. The notes sounded more distinct and defined.
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2013, 04:32 AM
adventureboy adventureboy is offline
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Thanks for this guys. Really interesting, helpful and very kind. I just got my second SDC delivered and I'm planning to do my first proper XY with two SDC's next week, I'm hoping I can use the raw samples as a reference for balancing my overall sound, making comparisons back and forth. Having the samples I hope will make the job easier. Great thread
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:40 AM
ahutt59 ahutt59 is offline
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This is a GREAT idea, I've longed for some reference tracks to aid me. I get decent recordings but having more experienced folks share their work would be immensely useful. Thanks for all your hard work on this and for contributing so much! So much more helpful than the usual "just play around until it sounds good" (which is something that should be encouraged, but a base reference sheds lights on what "good" generally sounds like)
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:27 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Hi Rick, finally got a chance to listen to your mixes. All sound good to me, nice subtle use of reverb, and the EQ beefs it up a bit. The only thing I hear on the tail is a tiny bit of what's probably the guitar rustling a bit from me moving. It's always so hard to sit perfectly still on a long tail! Or is there something else I'm not noticing?
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