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Author Topic: Recommended mic for acoustic?  (Read 4037 times)
rockstar_not
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 10:48:29 PM »

Guys,

I'm well aware of what one can do for room acoustics - and I'm a huge proponent of knowing how to record in a typical home environment.  You'll see me pipe up here all of the time about it when folks are using LDCs.  I'm pretty sure I've shown my home-grown acoustic treatments.  I also unfortunately had to go through several years of Euler's equations, Z-transforms, etc. in graduate level acoustics classes.  I know this topic more than I care to admit.

Fortunately, where I normally track, I have a clothes closet with a sliding door - that has all types of linens and winter coats in it, sleeping bags on the top shelf, etc.  I have a GOBO that I made that I sit at an angle to that that has 4" deep foam wedges.  It's a very dead corner of the room.  I use a CAD M177 (discontinued) LDC mic that has a 20 dB pad and low-cut filter (I think the corner frequency is 80 Hz, but I don't remember for sure).

However...

The recordings I posted I did as an experiment for myself, using the cheapest mics I have on hand just sitting out in the living room, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the results - without having to go through any of the acoustic treatment hassle.  So pleasantly surprised that I often reach for either the PL80 or the Samson (you can see both of them in the pix that are posted in the thread I linked - and now duplicated here:

Recording setup:  Tascam US800 interface, Electro-Voice PL80a microphone placed at 12th fret, about 4-5 inches away from fretboard, aimed down toward soundhole, Samson Q2U microphone about even with sound hole, aimed at upper waist location.





Click images to see a larger view of the photos.

Two takes involved.

Take 1, stereo recording with EV hard panned left, Samson hard panned right.
Take 2 same thing.

Listened to take 1 while recording take 2

4 files exported from my DAW software.  Stereo recordings 1 and 2 from the 2 takes.

Then the magic of double tracking comes with the other two files which are the individual unique mics, with take 1 in left, take 2 in right.


Stereo recording take 1 - Scott Lake

Stereo recording take 2 - Scott Lake

Double Track export using EV mic from both previous takes -Scott Lake

Double track export using Samson mic from both takes - Scott Lake

I'm not sure that we've heard from Nealtor what his real goal is in the end.

Recording stereo is not necessary for most situations where the guitar will sit in a mix.  That's my opinion and experience.  Stereo wasn't in his original question.  That came up further down the thread.  Double tracking might actually be what Nealtor needs.  Which needs 1 mic.  I did it with two as a matter of convenience and scientific curiosity.

I would like to hear what his current mic sounds like - I'm guessing it's just fine.  I know far too many people that have gone off in search of the perfect mic and their recordings sound just as bad after the mic purchase as before.  Mic technique and acoustics and pre-amp gain and SNR are incredibly important to the home recordist but for whatever reason, everyone wants to make it all about the mic.

This is an adage that I heard long ago and I believe it bears true:

You can make a cheap mic sound nice with a good pre-amp, and you can make an expensive mic sound crummy with a crummy pre-amp.

That Tascam US800, for all of it's Windows driver warts, has pretty danged quiet preamps built in.

I think that a demo recording is in order before suggesting any microphone swap-out.  Particularly to send someone off to make stereo recordings.  The Sennheiser should be quite workable as it is.  Let's hear it.

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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 11:59:36 PM »

As of today and a really nice seller I met via Craigslist, I now have three mic stands (2 boom stands and one regular) plus a Shure PG58 microphone to go along with the Sennheiser e838 I already had. 

I know the PG isn't exactly high quality but I bought the two boom stands and he threw in the regular stand and the PG58 for free. 

I was about to purchase either a second Sennheiser e383 or a MXL V57M CONDENSER MIC, both  of which are at my local Guitar Center (used section).

I'd be open to opinions of the MXL V57M.

So now I'll start experimenting with the Sennheiser and the PG58 in stereo recording acoustic guitar, mando, ukulele and voice. 

Thanks for all the input.  I keep going back through all the comments, checking the products mentioned and learning a bunch.

I appreciate everyone's willingness to share.

Neal
 
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CJ
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 04:06:55 AM »

As of today and a really nice seller I met via Craigslist, I now have three mic stands (2 boom stands and one regular) plus a Shure PG58 microphone to go along with the Sennheiser e838 I already had. 


Earlier I suggested recording with 2 mics in a "spaced pair" setup ... that's what Rockstarnot's photos are showing - the difference is that he recorded 2 takes and then split the tracks, and matched them up based on which mic was used, as L and R tracks, thereby giving a double tracked, not stereo, sound.

Why not set up to record with your BR800, in WAV file format (Roland MT2 is a lossy / compressed format), using the spaced pair setup, as shown in the article I linked earlier ( http://www.cakewalk.com/Support/kb/reader.aspx/2007013311?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Read+this+new+tech+tip&utm_content=Buy+SONAR+X2+Studio%2FProducer%2C+get+Z3TA%2B+2+free%3B+10+mic+tips+for+acoustic+guitar%3B+Javier+Colon%3B+more&utm_campaign=July+3+-+All ) - setup no. 3 - or as shown in Rockstarnot's photos ...

Are you using the Sonar LE software that originally came with the BR800? Do you have multitracking software program for your computer?


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Nealtor
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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2013, 06:01:56 AM »

Thanks CJ,

I really liked that spaced pair configuration a lot. 

I will have to find the Sonar disk that came with my BR800.  I haven't used it yet... Just the device itself.  I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

I do have something called Steinberg Sequel which I got from Guitar Center several years ago. 

I have Audacity on my laptop too but I haven't used it much. 

One of my goals is to video myself with accompanying audio via the BR and mics and sync them up while providing links in audio only as well.  That way there are decent sound quality choices for those interested. 

Also, I'm going to be a participant in the Road Trip OM guitar that's starting in September and I plan to record several pieces with it while it's in my possession.  I want to be reasonably proficient enough to pull that off.  I should be able to experiment between now and a month or two so as to end up with some respectable videos and audio files. 

As a side note, I also have electric guitars and hollowbodies with pickups and a TC Electronics G System effects device to provide delay, reverb, etc.  I will experiment with running it straight into the BR versus miking my Blues Junior in various ways.  I haven't invested in many amps over the years.  I also have a Crate Vintage Club 50 with 3 speakers.  It's got a volume swell problem right now so I have to drop it off with a local repair guy before it will do me any good. 

Also I have a Roland KC-300 keyboard amp that I bought when I got the old Roland VG-8 guitar synth years ago.  It's supposed to be more like a PA with no color to the tone.  I only have the one, so no stereo setup possibilities although I've priced comparably sized amps just out of curiosity. 

And finally I have an old Peavey Special 130 solid state amp (my first "real" amp before I discovered the glory of tubes). 

The reason I shared all that is for your input if any as to mics/strategies for electric guitars/amps, etc. 

Thanks again for helpful links and personal input.  It helps a great deal as I tackle this new portion of the pursuit of music. 

N.

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Oscar Schmidt nylon string
Lanakai LU-21T (tenor ukulele)
Cordoba Guilele CE (guitar ukulele)
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2013, 06:46:38 AM »


Earlier I suggested recording with 2 mics in a "spaced pair" setup ... that's what Rockstarnot's photos are showing - the difference is that he recorded 2 takes and then split the tracks, and matched them up based on which mic was used, as L and R tracks, thereby giving a double tracked, not stereo, sound.


Actually, there are 4 audio files and the first two are indeed stereo recordings.  The second two are not, but double-tracked using the same mic from the two takes to formulate the double track.

Mostly, I record this guitar mono and it sits in a mix just fine, wherever I decide to pan it.  This experiment was a 'scientific curiosity' experiment.

I think one should demonstrate that they can make a good mono recording before going into the difficulties of stereo recording using this or any other stereo technique.  You have to remain VERY still while recording with this kind of a setup.  It takes longer to set up the mics than it does to make the recording.
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« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2013, 03:24:58 PM »

I also have a Crate Vintage Club 50 with 3 speakers.


I hope that came with a fork-lift. 

About videos, that's something I've wanted to do as well. My brother gave me his old lighting setup and green screen and I have 4 cameras capable of HD video. Sony Vegas is installed and I've putzed with it, hoping it was like the Photodex Proshow Pro I use for business, but Vegas is much different and more difficult. Playing with all that will be a winter project.

So I gather you are a one man band / soloist?

That would describe me ... AG and vocal is how I play out, not that I do much of that anymore (58 and retired). When I was in my early 20's, I had dreams of going pro with my original CCM stuff, but instead did concerts around the Puget Sound area with my brother on bass / vocals. I'm glad it worked out that way. But those dreams side-tracked me for years, hearing popular CCM artists/albums and thinking I had to do the same with full band multi-track recordings - while yet performing as a solo AG vocal act or duet with my brother. So we sounded one way in the studio (fully produced songs) and another way live (acoustic duet) and all these years later, I regret not recording our songs like we sounded live. That's what I meant about being more honest about how I recorded. It would have saved hundreds/thousands of questions people asking about the difference between the CD and the live version of the same song. My notions about recording live, simplifying, with a Zoom H2, or a pair of pencil condensers on the AG and a single LD condenser for the voice, just has to do with capturing as best as possible, a live and (for me) honest performance.

Sort of in the same way as my old age and decrepitness has seen me sell off all my old equipment for which I needed a 'fork-lift', to go pure acoustic or use a pocket sized recorder - the excess of equipment and complexity of multitrack recording just became too burdensome - even a hindrance to making music - of having fun while making music. There's certainly something to be said for letting someone else (who is proficient and enjoys) do the recording, mixing, etc., and the songwriter just playing. Given the choice, I would just want to sing and play. It was affordability and isolation that forced me into the recording engineering side of music ... wish now that I had the money I spent on recording gear over the years, to have invested in great guitars at the time instead.  crying

Would like to hear how you see yourself recording, what is the end result you envision?

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rockstar_not
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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2013, 04:48:44 PM »


I hope that came with a fork-lift. 

About videos, that's something I've wanted to do as well. My brother gave me his old lighting setup and green screen and I have 4 cameras capable of HD video. Sony Vegas is installed and I've putzed with it, hoping it was like the Photodex Proshow Pro I use for business, but Vegas is much different and more difficult. Playing with all that will be a winter project.

So I gather you are a one man band / soloist?

That would describe me ... AG and vocal is how I play out, not that I do much of that anymore (58 and retired). When I was in my early 20's, I had dreams of going pro with my original CCM stuff, but instead did concerts around the Puget Sound area with my brother on bass / vocals. I'm glad it worked out that way. But those dreams side-tracked me for years, hearing popular CCM artists/albums and thinking I had to do the same with full band multi-track recordings - while yet performing as a solo AG vocal act or duet with my brother. So we sounded one way in the studio (fully produced songs) and another way live (acoustic duet) and all these years later, I regret not recording our songs like we sounded live. That's what I meant about being more honest about how I recorded. It would have saved hundreds/thousands of questions people asking about the difference between the CD and the live version of the same song. My notions about recording live, simplifying, with a Zoom H2, or a pair of pencil condensers on the AG and a single LD condenser for the voice, just has to do with capturing as best as possible, a live and (for me) honest performance.

Sort of in the same way as my old age and decrepitness has seen me sell off all my old equipment for which I needed a 'fork-lift', to go pure acoustic or use a pocket sized recorder - the excess of equipment and complexity of multitrack recording just became too burdensome - even a hindrance to making music - of having fun while making music. There's certainly something to be said for letting someone else (who is proficient and enjoys) do the recording, mixing, etc., and the songwriter just playing. Given the choice, I would just want to sing and play. It was affordability and isolation that forced me into the recording engineering side of music ... wish now that I had the money I spent on recording gear over the years, to have invested in great guitars at the time instead.  crying

Would like to hear how you see yourself recording, what is the end result you envision?



I'm with CJ on all of this for the most part.  Haven't owned a guitar amp since I sold my KMD 100 W combo, in part, to fund my L-03 purchase back in 1999.  These days, if you play at places that have a PA already, you can get great tone with amp simulation.  I realize I'm making the purists shudder by saying so, but man it's way better on the health of your back.

Just about all of the big guitar effects companies have been perfecting their amp simulation for the past 10-15 years and they have come a long way.  I think that they do tube amp simulations just fine.  In fact, in the multi-FX unit I have from Zoom, I have my choice of all of the popular Fender amps, Vox AC30 and AC15, the popular Marshalls, a Matchless 30 W, and a couple of other boutique tube amps.  Then there are the solid state amps - which I basically don't use.

But here's the deal:  They have done a good job simulating the whole signal chain, so one doesn't have to worry about mic'ing properly, avoiding room acoustics issues with amp and mic placement, waking the neighbors or wife and kids, etc.  And it fits in a little case that goes over my shoulder.

Now, if the venue doesn't have a PA, I can't play.  But if it does, I can make the sound-man very happy and get loads of tone.  I'll be posting some audio clips of various favorite patches from this Zoom unit probably within the next month.
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2013, 05:04:07 PM »

I'm with CJ on all of this for the most part.


Oh, just admit it ... you don't like my 3 condenser recording setup suggestion, because of the reflection, bleed, phase, eq and level problems inherent in that approach. 
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rockstar_not
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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2013, 07:33:32 PM »


Oh, just admit it ... you don't like my 3 condenser recording setup suggestion, because of the reflection, bleed, phase, eq and level problems inherent in that approach. 

  

I love to make complicated things work, when that is my goal.  But when it's to record a demo of a song, and I've got a grand total of about 4 hours to lay down a couple of acoustic tracks, play the bass-line, electric parts, vocals, record some keys, pick the drum parts (no I can't play them) etc. - then I go for simplicity.

I do about 75% of my year's worth of recording effort in the month of February each year, participating in the February Album Writing Month Challenge.  The challenge is to write 14 songs in the month of February that year.  I add an additional challenge of recording them as well, as my transcription capabilities are nearly non-existent.

With so little time available, many songs end up being 'guy with a guitar' songs, and here's another area where I'm favoring the condensers - I can put the Samson SM-58 clone on my vox, and the EV PL80 on the guitar and do a live 2-track recording where I have pretty good separation between the tracks and process them independently.  Move on to the next song, etc.

You would be interested in that probably most of the total time I've made recordings were done recording automotive sounds with a Binaural head - from Head Acoustics like this one:

http://www.head-acoustics.de/images/gm_new.jpg

In that photo, both the dummy head in the passenger seat, as well as the driver, are outfitted with binaural microphones.  I made weeks and months and perhaps years worth of recordings with those setups - mostly with the dummy head.  Played back over headphones, the recordings are incredibly three-dimensional, as they capture all of the subtleties of the inter-aural time delays, reflection patterns of the pinnae of the ears, etc.  We used the recordings in subjective evaluations of various designs of automotive components (lots of intake and exhaust components, door latch designs, interior closure designs, etc.).

The headphones were electrostatic jobs from both Stax and Sennheiser.  The headphone amplifiers had to have circuitry which would back-out the generalized head transfer function for each ear, so that when it was played over headphones, your own ear's transfer function would put that back onto the sound and voila- incredibly 3D-rich recordings with only 2 channels.  All of the big car companies world-wide use these type of systems.
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« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2013, 08:14:00 PM »


In that photo, both the dummy head in the passenger seat, as well as the driver, are outfitted with binaural microphones.  I made weeks and months and perhaps years worth of recordings with those setups - mostly with the dummy head.  Played back over headphones, the recordings are incredibly three-dimensional, as they capture all of the subtleties of the inter-aural time delays, reflection patterns of the pinnae of the ears, etc.  We used the recordings in subjective evaluations of various designs of automotive components (lots of intake and exhaust components, door latch designs, interior closure designs, etc.).



I'm going to pretend I understand what you're talking about, now.  wacko

If I can make a suggestion; you'll have better luck using the carpool lane cop with that, if you put a wig and some lipstick on it.
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