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acoustic electric or Mic?


neil_dup2

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I've been playing acoustic for years but never tried recording myself.

I have a nice Midi studio with a decent yamaha 01V board. I'd like to start recording but wondering should I use a guitar with a pick up or is it better to use mics and my other gear?

 

I don't have a mic and no nothing about them, I only have a cheap PRO MPA ART mic pre.

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The only way to capture the real sound of an acoustic guitar is to mic it. No one really is in agreement as to whether a large diaphram, small diaphram, or ribbon mic is best(or a combination). Recording with pickups(acoustic/electric) is kind of a compromise because of where the pickup is located. They also give undue prominence to finger noise because the pickups get the sound directly from the string itself, and not from a distance like a microphone.

 

I use a large diaphram condenser about 18" away from the guitar with it pointed towards the 12th fret. The distance you mic will vary depending on how sensitive the mic is and how much the guitar projects. The mic preamp you have is good and would work fine with a good condenser mic.

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I think using a mic or mics is best, unless there is a certain quality of sound you can only get by playing plugged in or with a soundhole pickup. I'll just tell you what I do. I simply use what is available to me at the time. The past two years I've used two Audio Technica ST90s at a 90 degree angle to each other with the right one pointed at the end of the fingerboard. I run them into a pre-amp and mix the two to get a balanced sound between them. My guitar has a full range and full bodied sound. There are other mics and other ways to get good sound, but i think micing is the best.

Psalm 33:3

The best instrument you have, is your heart.

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Neil

Definately go for micing your accoustic, you can certainly try any of the techniques mentioned here. A couple of others that I would throw into the melting pot are........ A condenser mic placed over the right shoulder of the guitarist or an XY setup in front with a couple of condenser mics..... then into your fav pres and to tape or disk.. If ya get this right you won't need to eq them they will just sound fab!!!!! Listen to the guitar in the room, find the "sweet" spot and sit back and take pleasure in the sound you have created....

Hope this helps

 

Simon http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

...remember there is absolutely no point in talking about someone behind their back unless they get to hear about it...
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I'll add my voice to everyone who thinks a mic records a live acoustic sound better than a guitar pickup or piezo system.

 

I would only add that I've had some success in blending the sound of an "electric acoustic" with whatever mic setup and pre I'm using.

 

Depending on your interest in experimentation, you could have a very interesting "thick" sound by mixing various levels of mics, and/or a piezo under the saddle pickup, and/or a soundhole pickup. I've added effects to different chains with chorus, compression and delay being my favorites.

 

It's easy to try a couple of different soundhole pickups and see if there's one that adds something to your sound. They're cheap, and easy to install or uninstall. I have a DiMarzio I bought about a year ago for $40. It's unique in that it's a humbucker and quiet.

 

One last thought. Although a mic setup gives you the best "true sounding" acoustic guitar sound... Is that the only one you ever want? Even though a piezo or soundhole pickup doesn't reproduce the "true" sound of an acoustic as well as a mic, they do have they "own sound" that you may find is a better fit or just more interesting than the standard electric guitar sound... depending on the vibe you're going for.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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I think the mics/pickups in the guitars sold today are best used for live playing. Everyone is correct that you should use a better mic if possible. But there is no reason you couldn't blend a mic with a pickup for your recording.

 

I am looking into getting another acoustic guitar and have noticed that most of them have the electronics. According to Taylor, that only adds another $200 list, which is probably only 10 percent the cost of a good acoustic guitar.

 

I have a bigger gripe and that is that they are making cutaways. Shouldn't this affect the tone? I called Taylor to ask about this and they said the cutaways are popular for their looks. Go figure.

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I think the mics/pickups in the guitars sold today are best used for live playing. Everyone is correct that you should use a better mic if possible. But there is no reason you couldn't blend a mic with a pickup for your recording.

 

I am looking into getting another acoustic guitar and have noticed that most of them have the electronics. According to Taylor, that only adds another $200 list, which is probably only 10 percent the cost of a good acoustic guitar.

 

I have a bigger gripe and that is that they are making cutaways. Shouldn't this affect the tone? I called Taylor to ask about this and they said the cutaways are popular for their looks. Go figure.

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Don't forget that cutaways also give you better access to the upper frets. I would say that, over the looks, is the reason that they're popular.

And to throw my hat in the ring, I've also gotten incredible results from adding a bit of the pickup sound to the mic sound. You can really hone in on the attack of the player. Of course, do this if that's the sound you want. If the acoustic is supposed to be in the background, don't use the pickup.

Bill Murphy

www.murphonics.com

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Originally posted by Sir Bob:

I have a bigger gripe and that is that they are making cutaways. Shouldn't this affect the tone? I called Taylor to ask about this and they said the cutaways are popular for their looks. Go figure.

 

Taylor does make both cutaway and non-cutaway versions of their guitars. I saw an article in their customer newsletter a year or so ago that talked about the sound differences between cutaways and non-cutaways. They said that they could not detect a difference in "blind A/B tests". I've never tried this myself, but I can say that the sound of the two models I have, (710-bce and 414ce), which have cutaways, both sound great.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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I would most definitely go with a mic and a quality mic pre. The Avalon sounds like a great idea but you might want to consider a Neve mic pre (sans eq they are fairly affordable). Or if you paln on using it to record electric guitar, an API 512 is a sure thing though the NEVE will be great as well. Contact Fletcher at Mercenary Audio about these pres. He's got great gear and will help you find what you're looking for.

 

As for mics, there is no such thing as a bad microphone: only a poor microphone choice per application. So, you have to determine what exactly you are going for. If you want sparlky attack and you are trying to fit the acoustic in with other instruments, I would reccomend something like an AKG 451. However, AKG does not manufacture this particular mic anymore (a big frickin' mistake in my opinion). Suitable alternative small diaphram condensers include Neumann KM184 and Schoepps (there are many different models and options). THe KM184 lists for around $700 and is great for a number of applications. You might consider purchasing a set of these for mic-ing piano, drums (overheads, hat, snare) room ect.

 

Large diaphram mics like the Neumann U87 are great for featured parts within and arrangement or solo acoustic recordings. However, you have to remember that the larger the diaphram, the more low end you are have the potential to pick up. This initially seems like it would be ideal, but you could end up with something pretty woofy that you would have to rectify by moving the mic. Remember to move the mic before you start twisting eq/filter knobs. If you still can't get the sound you're looking for, it's not the right mic for the application. Experience will help you get to the point of knowing before you even start, what mic you should start with. I've been amazed to witness master engineers like Al Schmitt get amazing recordings with their original mic setup and not have to use eq (which can compromise fidelity). A small movement of the mic can have drastically good or bad effects on the sound. So, have fun with it and experiement.

 

 

 

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-MoonPi

-MoonPi
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