How would you mike/record this?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Steve 78, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    I have very little experience recording acoustically so I seek the wisdom of TDPRI.

    My wife has a collection of songs for voice/acoustic guitar which she would like to record. She wants to record good demos at home to make sure the arrangements, etc. are perfect. She might then hire a studio, but if the home recordings are good enough then she won't need to, so that's what I'm aiming for.

    The recordings don't have to be pristine and perfect. She likes plenty of folk music that is 'lo-fi' compared to today's standards (think 60s Joan Baez for example) but it does need to sound 'real' and not obviously bad, of course. I think some background noise will be inevitable but she's okay with this.

    She wants to record vocals and 1 x acoustic guitar at the same time. Whether there are overdubs later will depend on how she feels about the arrangement, but let's assume they will be minimal (perhaps an occasional vocal harmony, for example).

    She wants to avoid a click track.

    Here is the gear I have on hand:

    DAW: 2 channel valve pre-amp into Steinburg UR22.

    Mikes:
    SM57 (x2)
    R0de NT5 pair of small diaphragm condensers
    R0de NTK large diaphragm condenser (old one with set pattern - cardioid I think)
    Sennheiser E835 dynamic vocal
    Sennheiser E606 dynamic (according to internet, same as E609 silver)

    I would consider buying an interface with more channels (Focusrite 6i6) if I thought it was necessary for the project.

    Thanks!

    (TL;DR version - female vocalist + acoustic guitar together live, at home into 2 track interface).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  2. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    you have all you need. I get very good recordings of my ur22 ..do have a a few pre amps tho that help. I favor my condenser for female vox & use 2 to pick up acoustics guitar,

    using 2 mic's..1 close , 1 somewhere else can really open the sound up. I like capturing room just as much. Do multiple takes ,,then you have a choice to pick from & also blend em.. & move em around mix. been going to the studio for years but getting darn close at home by just taking my time & experimenting with mic placement & preamp settings, The ur22 has those decent pre's. You will get tons advice that you need this & that,,most important..

    performance capture..is most important,,play well--sing well..record at proper level then the mixdown will have room to do anything ya need. Enjoy..its fun !!
     
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  3. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, this is why my wife wants to sing and play at the same time - she will get the best performance this way.

    Also, not trying to be a jerk here but you said 1 mic for vocals and 2 for guitar, so 3 mics? But the ur22 only has 2 inputs so am I missing something here?
     
  4. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think you have lots to work with.

    I’d put the Rode sdc on the acoustic. Basically because that’s what I’ve come to prefer on acoustic. As a starting point you can try it maybe a foot or so in front of the tenth fret and pointed at the neck/ body joint. That often gets a reasonably balanced picture of the guitar tone. If it’s getting too much room or vocal try moving it in an inch or two. And maybe again. And/ or swivel the mic a little more towards the body to get a fuller tone, or the other way if too bass/ boomy.

    If this doesn’t work, it’s time to change the mic or placement or both. I think that Rode is fairly bright, although I don’t think I ve ever used one. I guess I should ask what kind of guitar and tone you’re aiming for.

    As for the vocal mic, it really depends which of the mics works best on her voice. The dynamics will offer better rejection than the condensers. And capture less room. But if the room sounds nice, and if you can live with a bit more bleed, then I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Ldc on the vocal if it is the best fit.

    Good luck with it.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks Geoff. The guitar is a nylon string Yamaha G55a, classical style guitar. It's a cheapie but sounds and plays just fine and it's what she writes on and is comfortable playing. For tone, I guess fairly natural sounding, raw is ok, nothing overly produced (although we do like our vocal reverb). Her voice is fairly thin (again Joan Baez is a reasonable comparison) so there is room for some warmth and body in the guitar, but the voice will definitely be the focus of the recording. We probably won't add bass or drums so I'm not expecting a full sound. I'm sure plenty of experimenting will be involved but any help with suggestions and starting points (as you have given) is greatly appreciated.
     
  6. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    I was going to say what you just said. The voice should be the focus of the recording. Ask your wife to spend half an hour auditioning mics on her voice and record samples. I would start with the NTK, but don't be afraid to try a dynamic as well.

    I second the SDC on the guitar, but if you are not using the NTK or the voice, try it on the guitar.

    The tricky thing about recording acoustic guitar and vocal at the same time is managing the bleed. The guitar mic will pick up some voice and vice versa. In needs to blend well and be in phase. But you will be able to mix voice and guitar somewhat separately.

    Another option is to set up your pair of SDCs to capture both the guitar and the voice in a stereo image. For this to work, your wife will have to be good at controlling her own volume levels on both guitar and voice as she performs. But it will capture how she sounds in the room.
     
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  7. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    My apologies. I didn't realize you where recording vox & guitar at same time.
    I would probably track them separately...then total control of guitar and the ability to have vocal without the strumming picking up in mic. The guitar bleedthrough will be present on vocals.

    Understand about the performance tho..makes sense..we really do respond to a guitar & singing a lil differently together than separate tracking

    Have had decent recording with 2 mic's to capture a performance. Sounds fun, enjoy.
     
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  8. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    she doesn't want to use a click, fair enough, but is her timing good?
     
  9. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    I respect the old-school play and sing at the same time, no click track approach, but you'll probably end up doing dozens of takes. But having worked with a singing wife, I don't have much hope of you talking her into doing it the modern way! The benefits would be innumerable, but oh well. ... Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. Good luck with it.
     
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  10. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    Al brought up a good point about the room you'll be recording in ... is it acoustically conditioned? Could you tell us a little about it?
     
  11. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah this would be my approach too but I guess she plays and sings more naturally and less self-conciously when doing it together. But hey, if we were recording under perfect conditions then where would the fun be? :lol:

    By ear it sounds pretty good when she is practicing, but I haven't recorded and analysed it to see how far out she is. As Woodman also recommended, she plans on doing a lot of rehearsal before getting the final takes done (especially if we end up paying for studio time).

    Haha, no, not purposely. It's just the back room of our house. It is a rectangle about 6m x 5m x 2.4m high. The floors are tiled but there is a 3 x 2m rug in the middle and a bit of furniture in there. There is no door, but an opening about the size of 2 standard doors to the rest of the house. So it is pretty lively. It's funny, when we clean the house it's very noticeable how much more echo there is. If we found it really wasn't working, we could set up in a smaller, more enclosed room. I'm not adverse to natural echo though.
     
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  12. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    The problem with a very live room is you can’t turn the reverb down, and reverb should be subtle most of the time. More subtle than we initially think a lot of the time. Unlike a software reverb, you also can’t change the character of the live reverb such as tone, length of reverb, etc.

    I would look into dampening reflections. A good start is to hang duvets or blankets behind the singer to reduce reflections into the mic from the wall behind her.
     
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  13. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    Some sort of enclosure behind the vocal mike can do wonders. A mike shield absorbs the voice, keeps it from bouncing around the room. I can testify that they really make a difference, especially in a very live room.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012OFI98I/?tag=tdpri-20
     
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  14. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can we hear a test run of a song you want to record?

    This way maybe we can hear the room and determine
    how much you might need to fix with acoustical treatment or not.

    Sometimes something as simple as folded cardboard shipping boxes
    can provide just enough diffusion to give the listener the
    perception of a spacious room.

    Of course, the go to treatment of absorption is most
    people's first line of attack for a treated room.
    just don't deaden the room so much that it becomes
    a sonic coffin and all your tracks rest in peace.

     
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  15. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    You could record a few full takes an edit them into one performance.

    You could do shorter takes of parts of the song and edit them togethere.

    You can prepare a guide/scratch track with very basic playing, humming and hand claping and you can do this togethere. Then edit it for tempo and feel. Then use it to guide or support the main performance. But leave it out of the mix. Don't try to hard with this as you may burn out your best performance.

    I would use the Sen 835 on the voice because it will have better rejection. Never tried a 57 on a female voice but it may need a lot of gain.

    Scd on guitar and ldc on room. If the room is nice. Just play the recording back into the room on your monitors and record to another track.

    If you overdub, you could use the ldc on voice. And on guitar and room in susequent passes.

    Record 24 bit, no louder than -12db, but target -18db.
     
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  16. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    Does the guitar have a pick up? If so you can record the guitar while she sings, (mic'd if you want), then come back and record just the vocal over the previous guitar track. And of course, you could then re-track the guitar part mic'd anyway you want.

    We recorded an entire CD with a two channel interface. First, a scratch track with the whole band. Then just the bass playing along with the scratch. Third would usually be rhythm guitar playing to just the bass track, then drums. Vocals would be next and finally any other guitar parts.

    As for a click, my wife hated it. We recorded our first CD without it. After brutal self-examination we went with a click on the second album...Night and day.

    This is from the first CD
     
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  17. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I will endeavour to get something available. I won't make a promise about when it will happen though!

    She has a Woody soundhole pickup so we could do something like that. I guess the benefit of doing it at home is that we can try lots of different ways to see what works best. I would like to see if we can get a sound we like from a purely live recording firstly though. Any news on your next album Martin? Your fans are eagerly awaiting :)
     
  18. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    As you probably know, (or will soon find out), the problem with home recording is that you can always do another take.
    As for a new album, we have a little home business and have to make as much money as we can before Christmas. After that, we have the songs...just need to get the band together. It's definitely going to be a departure from our previous Country/Americana work.

    (Here's one. It's a rough mix and a rough vocal.)
     
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  19. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    Yep, I think you can safely call that a departure! Nice tune with lyrics firmly anchored in the real world as we know it, but it snorts and cavorts a bit more than your previous work. Go for it!
     
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