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Topic: OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!

  1. #1

    OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!


    I am going to purchase a new mic to record mainly acoustic guitar, but also a bit vocals and percussion. I\'m wondering if there are any good, affordable (around $300) mics? I don\'t know if stereo is the way to go when recording an acoustic? I do have a mixer, do i also need a preamp?

    Also i\'m saving for a new soundcard, but i\'m not sure what specs are important.. (balanced inputs, many outputs, khz, direct wire etc..) I\'ve found some card that seems affordable and nice: echo mia, wavetermnal 2496 and 192x

    Some advice would be great! Thanks for any help!

    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Ojai, California

    Re: OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!

    Hi Plundrik,

    Ive been recording ac. guitar for a while and have done a bit of experimenting with mics, placement, etc. Ill tell you what Ive found out.

    First, I use a OOO size guitar as Ive found that a dreadnaught is too bottom heavy for the stuff I do. With a smaller instrument, its not necessary to usually do much more then maybe just a bit of EQ. Ive tried larger diaphram condenser mics but Ive found that smaller condensers work best. And also after spending hours on mic placement, trying one mic, and then two, I have to say that using a stereo pair sounds much better. Ive pretty much established a routine way I set up the mics: an X pattern at about 80 degrees to each other with one pointing just about toward the bridge, maybe a bit lower, and the other toward about the fifth fret. I sit with the guitar about 10 - 12 inches from the mics.

    Depending on what kind of mixer you have, you may or may not need a preamp. But if your mixer doesnt have a good one, a good preamp will make tons of difference. Unfortunately, theyre not cheap - none of the good stuff is.

    Lately the music Ive been writing consists of piano, ac guitar, dbl bass and cello. So the quality of each instrument in a recording becomes critical with so few. I had to spend quite a good deal of money to achieve pretty good, but not great fidelity. Ive found you get what you pay for.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!

    Thanks for the help guys, appreciate it! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I hope i can get better results with a pair of good condencers than a piezo for my acoustic, witch sounds a bit \"plastic\" to my ears..

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!

    The Studio Projects B3 is great for acoustic guitar according to Jim Roseberry, and you can buy two of them for about $300. If you want to save some money for a preamp, get the B1 and you can get two for under $200. Same microphone, but without the multiple patterns on the B3. You will need a preamp with phantom power to use them. You can get them from Studio projects as well. Two of their VTB-1 preamps would work well for a little over $300.

    I\'ve used my Studio Projects C1 for acoustic guitar, and it works really well. It\'s a bit more expensive though.


    -- Martin

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: OT: Need advice for a mic to record acoustic guitar!

    No one has mentioned the obvious choice, which would be a pair of Shure SM-81s. This is a small diaphragm condenser, which is used on guitar so ofen that people actually call it the guitar mic. Nothing aimed at the sound hole!! Usually, for a close-glassy sound, you\'d want to mic 11-18 inches from the guitar itself, with one mic at about the end of the fretboard, and the other around the end of the body. Make sure to check for phasing, and correct by moving the mics a few inches either way.

    Another really nice contender at a lower price would be the Rode NT-5 matched set. Very nice for recording acoustic guitar.

    You can also use an x/y pair (coincident) which would eliminate phasing and make a less \"stereo\" sound. If you\'re looking for a non-pop sound, you\'d want more distance, but you need a VERY nice room at that point, since the noise floor in guitar recordings can be notorious due to their low volume. I agree with the comment about recording smaller guitars--humongous guitars tend to sound smaller recorded, smaller ones tend to sound bigger.

    I personally would stay away from the large-diaphragm condensers on guitar unless you\'re looking for a very front and center sound. It\'s hard to make a guitar recorded with large diaphragm mics recede and get any sort of \"jangle\" in the sound. But for that really in your face front/center sound, the Groove Tubes MD1b was just re-released at a very attractive price, and the original MD1 is very sought-after as a guitar mic. I haven\'t heard a 1b, but I have one of the original MD1s, and wouldn\'t give it up. FANTASTIC vocal mic, as well as a very good percussion mic.

    Best regards,

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