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Author Topic: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty  (Read 12949 times)

Ronny

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2006, 10:14:24 am »

maxdimario wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 06:25

The martins you buy now are dull in the mids and have a peaky high end.

the old martins can cut it (mahogany is better for rhythm).

martins seem to have a lot more bass than you need for recording, so you have to be careful about the mics etc.



I guess this applies to all 12 million Martins and 212 models made since the 1800's hey, Max.

Fact of the matter is that the tone on any acoustic guitar changes with the position of the mic and where the ear of the listener resides. If the guitar is boomy, stick a fret mic on there, and cut the hole mic track down and you'll compensate for the boom with the fret mic, as it will only capture the highs with serious lack of low end. I'd put the fret mic as close as you can get though, because the SPL from the hole mic is going to make that track significantly hotter. On mixdown the fret mic track fader will have to be higher than the hole mic 99% of the time. For guitarists that have a problem not hearing the sound they want, a great trick that works for me is an LC placed on a large boom and over the shoulder of the guitarists strumming hand, at ear height, cardioid pattern capsule facing down and placed just in front of the plane of the front panel on the guitar and added to the fret and hole mic for 3 tracks. This will pickup the guitar from the players perspective, what he normally hears. I started doing this long ago with picky orchestra soloists that would complain about not capturing their tone. Dawned on me one day to just stick another mic near their ear and nipped that problem in the bud, but found that it worked even better on acoustic guitar for adding a natural sound. You can even add the bridge transducer if it's decent and have 4 tracks on the one acoustic guitar performance, but typically micing the hole, 12th fret and over the shoulder, works on any guitar with any performer.

On mixdown I typically pan the hole track slightly L or R of center and the fret mic opposite, eq and blend the gains so that they are equal volume in L and R. The over the shoulder mic is than mixed in "center panned", to add natural ambience and the formants from the performers perspective. Depending on the mix balance whether the hole track goes on the L or R, I tend to balance the lows and highs across the L and R axis, if there's a bass guitar on the L side slightly off center or a low synth panned L, I'll stick the hole track from the guitar on the R side and the fret track on the L.

Most of the time I use a dynamic mic on the hole. Lately I like the Audix OM-6 as it has high SPL and goes up almost as high in frequency response as a large condenser at 19kHz. Small condenser on the 12th fret like a KM184 and a U87 or Rode NTK tube for the over the shoulder mic. I typically place the hole mic close but on 45 degree axis, so that it's not directly in front of the hole, but facing it and as close as I can get it and still have the performer playing comfortably. Fret mic as close as I can get without artist bumping it and the over the shoulder about 5 inches in front of the vertical plane of the front panel of the guitar with capsule facing down about 2 feet above the hole.

If you understand what I'm relating rjd2 and you mirror my 3 mic technique, I'll guarantee you that you'll get a good sound, providing the guitar is decent to begin with.

Max this is the technique that I mentioned to you, where the guitarists have commented that the recording sounded better than the live sound.  
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smj

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2006, 12:22:13 pm »

Has anyone had any good results using a pickup system of any kind???  I've been thinking of getting a K&K trinity system...anyone recorded anything with it?

Sean Meredith-Jones
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bushwick

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2006, 05:39:22 pm »

The best recorded acoustic sounds I have gotten have come from guitars that don't have a ton of bottom end - regardless of whether I use one or more mics.

josh
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Joshua Kessler
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maxdimario

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2006, 06:03:28 pm »

Quote:

If you understand what I'm relating rjd2 and you mirror my 3 mic technique, I'll guarantee you that you'll get a good sound, providing the guitar is decent to begin with.

Max this is the technique that I mentioned to you, where the guitarists have commented that the recording sounded better than the live sound.


this may very well be, as you are using the mics to make the sound happen.

Most martins, after Martin put a truss rod in the neck, sound too bassy and soft or stiff for a one mic recording, if you want to mix them with drums etc.in my experience.

Early martins have a more complex and present midrange.

When people think of martin they think dreadnaught.

dreadnaught guitars were ok when microphones had a lot of bass roll-off, in the early days of broadcast.

Martin actually didn't approve of the design initially as it is inherently unbalanced.

The smaller martin guitars are more balanced and will work with one or two mics.

guild is dryer but more balanced sounding.

Gibson guitars built before 1970 can do the job well without need for eq.

anyway bassy and soft sounding guitars work better live, or at the music store, than on record... unless you use special mic'ing etc as ronny does.

I don't like Taylors or the boutique guitars most of the time because they are too cute sounding, and they don't stand up too well.

there are some exceptions of course.

I think that acoustic sounds need to be a little on the dry sound to work well, but it has to be a complex dry.. like fine whiskey



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smorgdonkey

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2006, 10:28:27 pm »

bushwick wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 15:39

The best recorded acoustic sounds I have gotten have come from guitars that don't have a ton of bottom end - regardless of whether I use one or more mics.

josh


I tend to get a mic position set in which the bottom isn't too prominent and then I either low shelf a good cut or high pass from somewhere 'down there'...so there'll be room for bass and kick and blah blah...almost something in common!!
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Vertigo

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2006, 10:20:12 pm »

Quote:

If you understand what I'm relating rjd2 and you mirror my 3 mic technique, I'll guarantee you that you'll get a good sound, providing the guitar is decent to begin with.


Someone posted this technique about a year ago and man - I haven't had trouble recording an acoustic since. I also usually add the DI in behind these three (if the guitar has pickups), and then pan the tracks a good bit to get a stereo spread, keeping the bassier soundhole mic (I use a D-19c) in the middle. This keeps the most low end energy from the guitar coming through both speakers evenly which makes it easy to pan the other tracks the way I want while still retaining a feeling of balance in the stereo field.

Great technique - it helped me a lot.

-Lance
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Ronny

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2006, 11:11:34 pm »

Vertigo wrote on Wed, 01 February 2006 22:20

Quote:

If you understand what I'm relating rjd2 and you mirror my 3 mic technique, I'll guarantee you that you'll get a good sound, providing the guitar is decent to begin with.


Someone posted this technique about a year ago and man - I haven't had trouble recording an acoustic since. I also usually add the DI in behind these three (if the guitar has pickups), and then pan the tracks a good bit to get a stereo spread, keeping the bassier soundhole mic (I use a D-19c) in the middle. This keeps the most low end energy from the guitar coming through both speakers evenly which makes it easy to pan the other tracks the way I want while still retaining a feeling of balance in the stereo field.

Great technique - it helped me a lot.

-Lance




Glad that its been working for you. I haven't had any complaints in the 25 years or so that I've been doing it and it typically blows the mind of the guitarist, first time he hears his guitar played back, when tracked that way. If the guitar has a pickup or bridge transducer that sounds decent, I'll sometimes place it in the center with the over the shoulder mic and rather than use any verb or delay, I'll set my ambient blend between the over mic and the pick up track down the center. There really are no rules and this gives you a whole lot to work with regarding stereo imaging from a normally mono sounding instrument. Even hard L and R on the fret and hole tracks works well on some material. I've also used all 4 tracks panned equally and leveled and had none dead center for some tunes. To me it sounds better than double tracking the acoustic 90% of the time, the extra time to set up the mics is made up by the time that it takes to double track a performance.  
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Eddie Matthews

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2006, 10:56:39 am »

I'll second the mic at your ear tip.  I picked that up in Harvey's forum awile back.  At first glance it seems a bit odd, but it's pretty logical if you think about it for a minute. And the results are usually surpisingly good.
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Jørn Bonne

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2006, 09:13:41 am »

It's a bitch having a mike near the ear, though, if your guitarist is playing to a click using a headset.

J
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hargerst

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2006, 10:59:43 am »

J
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
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Vertigo

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2006, 04:08:49 am »

Quote:

It's a bitch having a mike near the ear, though, if your guitarist is playing to a click using a headset.



The Extreme Isolation headphones help eliminate click bleed as well.

-Lance
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Joe Crawford

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2006, 11:01:41 am »

Looks like everyone has pretty well covered mic’n Martin guitars.  Both the stereo and the three mic methods have worked well for me for several years.  Interestingly, I have always found Gibsons to be a lot more boomy that the Martins.

However, at least from my limited experience, classical guitars are a dog of a different breed.  Each one seems to require a totally different, unique set up.  I had one in here last month where I must have tried a dozen different mic’s and placements.  I finally wound up with the brightest cheap Chinese LDC I own (I think it was a free-be for buy’n something) at the 12th fret position, a TLM103 over the shoulder and an omni room mic about 6 feet away.  I guess there are just no standards in this business, just starting points.

Joe Crawford
Stony Mountain Studio
Shanks, WV 26761
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maccool

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2006, 08:34:51 pm »

Joe Crawford wrote on Thu, 09 February 2006 16:01

I guess there are just no standards in this business, just starting points.

Quite so, Joe.  And a bit of magic in the placement helps. I was reading this thread while listening to Kottke's "Unbar" from his "Try and Stop Me" album, so I played it over a few times.  It sounds so basic, but on closer listening there's a whole lot going on.  I figure just one mic around the 12th fret, a bit of DI'd transducer, and maybe a room mic?  Whatever, I'm most likely wrong, but it's magic.
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karlo

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2006, 08:35:47 pm »

rjd2 wrote on Sat, 28 January 2006 07:58

what am i doing wrong? or do nice, rich acoustic guitar sounds that arent too bright come from eq/reverb/mixing? thanks alot for your help.




rjd2,

it looks like you will need to re-examine the guitar, the playing style and the aforementioned techniques. don't forget and/or underestimate the fact there were no protools back in nick drake's day. there's something about the tape...
however, martin i own sounds different with brand new and 10 day old strings. not to mention going over 30 day period without replacing them. you will need a small body, mahogany guitar to emulate strong, but non-flashy sound of his recordings. not to mention the playing style. martin 00-17 or guild m20 come to mind.
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floodstage

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2006, 10:17:12 pm »

Don't forget to check the mics for phase problems by inverting phase and listening to make sure the sound doesn't go to shit.  I hear acoustics tracked with serious phase problems all the time.  (especially phase between the bridge and 12th fret mics)
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