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Recording acoustic guitars

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by swervinbob, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    As good as all of the direct recording gear for electric guitars is getting, I wish someone could come up with something for acoustics. Setting up mics and trying to record in my very dead music room by myself can be a pain. But no direct source comes even close to my ears. Maybe I’m just being too picky since mostly I just strum or pick chords to add to a song, but it just doesn’t sound right direct, even doctored with an ir or UAD Woodworks.

    Or maybe I’m just being lazy about setting up mics.
     
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  2. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree - but I'm kind of stuck these days, since they're repaving the street in front of the house.

    D.H.
     
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  3. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket Tele-Holic

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    A dead room isn't necessarily a bad thing for recording acoustic guitar!

    If you can get a clean but colorless recording, you can apply as much structure, space and character as you like with reverb and EQ plug-ins. It's not that hard to make a dull-sounding recording brighter and more dynamic in your DAW.

    What kind of mics are you using? What kind of set-up?
     
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  4. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    I've had decent results with a condenser mic and experimenting widely with placement, both distance from the strings and moving up and down the guitar from bridge to nut until you find that spot.

    Then in the DAW, it likes a lot more reverb than an electric (IMO) and needs a little more EQing.
     
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  5. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    Maybe I missed your point about not wanting to play with mics. :)
     
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  6. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    I’xe got a Sterling ST59 lcd I got on clearance a couple of years ago and a 57. I get decent results micing. It’s just kind of a pain to set up with limited room and working the mouse, etc.. My gripe is that there just doesn’t seem to be a direct option that’s anywhere close. I can plug straight in and sound close to playing through a cranked Marshall or Tweed, but an acoustic direct never sounds close.

    Like I said in the op, maybe I’m just being lazy.
     
  7. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    The room I’m using is a spare. I may just move the bed out and just keep mics and mic stands set up full time. As it is right now, there’s not really enough room so I move everything around when I need to.
     
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  8. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    With the construction I've had to DI acoustics. One is a Taylor 414 with a magnetic pickup (Baggs M1A), the other a Taylor 12 string with ES2. Both go into an "acoustic guitar" mic patch. They don't sound like they do through mics, but they sound OK for rhythm parts. In fact, the bass seems better defined on the 414 with DI.

    But I wouldn't choose this if I were doing a fingerpicking instrumental part that would be out front in the mix.

    D.H.
     
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  9. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    I leave something like this set up attached to the computer desk all the time. Swing it one way to record the amp (in conjunction with a dynamic mic that's always against the amp), swing another way for vocals, swing again for acoustic.

    That can be tough with a temporary set up but if you can get there, I find I record much more when I don't have to set up mics each time.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    hmm. Gotta check that out.
     
  11. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Although it’s somewhat of a hassle to set up the mic(s) to record acoustic, it’s not that hard to get a decent acoustic track. I’ve had success using a small condenser or an inexpensive ribbon. The condenser is a bit brighter and ribbon warmer.
    I think keeping it simple helps. I don’t use two mics just the tried and single mic focused on the 12 fret and about a foot away.
    I don’t know how you would do direct because using the onboard pickup on an acoustic electric is not good at all.
     
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  12. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    Like most here, I've gotten the best results using microphones to record my acoustic guitar. My mics go into my mixer (for EQ and effects if desired) then into the recording device (in my case a computer). Of course, mic placement is key and you can get a variety of sounds by just shifting the mic positions relative to you guitar. The biggest problem is that once you have everything set up and you're ready to record, you realize you're surrounded by all sorts of cables and mic stands! That can be distracting, so the more you can make things tidy the better.
     
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  13. unfamous

    unfamous Tele-Meister

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    A 57 would not be my first choice for recording an acoustic.
     
  14. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Does not need to be hard

    I am recording at the moment (or rather successfully avoiding writing chords and doing another acoustic overdub here) using an SM58 about 8” from the neck join, pointing at the sound-hole.

    Always works for me.

    Direct... not remotely close.
     
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  15. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    I’ve mostly just used the condenser. My main gripe is just the hassle of setup. The clamp on swing arm looks like the way to go to keep everything nice and compact. I’m gonna get one of those.
     
  16. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Got decent flat response cans? Set ‘em loud on monitor and you can move around to find your guitars sweet spot in moments.
     
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  17. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    I should have worded things better to start with. Getting good tracks with a mic isn’t the issue. It’s just that with the room I have, setting up is a hassle. Hard to stay inspired. With an electric, I can just plug and play and sound good. I’ve never thought of something like Brillig posted so that a mic is just a movement away ready to go. I’m going to try that.

    Thanks everyone
     
  18. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    Short cut to a good acoustic sound is a pair of pencil condensers or large condenser mics depending on how much space the acoustic will have in the track.

    A lot of times the magic of a great acoustic guitar will have either a little compression or excessive compression when tracking. Depends on the song style.

    Hi pass with a gentle slope is your friend around 125 to 250Hz if it's part of a dense song. If it's a ballad not so much. What it sounds like after this will reveal if your mid range and upper end is good or harsh i.e. usable or not. This is what will reveal if your mics are not working for a particular guitar.

    Another tip is, after all the above, if it's primarily a pick strumming part, pan it hard left or right and then add a delay or reverb only to the opposite side for a spacious sound. You can also try panning the fx in mono on the same side if it's a dense track and you need it to have a room sound but not dominating the sound field.

    Last, many times I've thought the sound was not that great but with panning, Hi Pass and FX, things come together. If not, I reach for another mic, preamp or compressor.

    Just some random experiences.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I use one relatively cheap condenser in my actual garage. Not totally dead but definitely not a great room sound.
    $200 AKG C-1000 about a foot back and slightly up from where the neck meets the body.

    *Picture is the guitar (Tacoma) but not the mic (that's a 414).
     
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  20. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    very very good sound klasaine. Nice playing too! I actually recorded a song of me singing and my acoustic in my garage the other day. Just on my phone to get the idea down and saved and I was kind of pleasantly surprised at the sound. It was definitely different than the living room but almost in a good way. Seemed clearer and less room noise. Which you think would be the opposite. Maybe the higher ceilings with no drywall. Mine is exposed rafters.
     
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