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Acoustic guitar records harsh and boomy; any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by rcook349, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. rcook349

    rcook349 Guest

    I just CAN'T get a good acoustic guitar sound.. please help!

    My signal chain:

    Shure KSM44 mic -->
    Universal Audio SOLO/610 preamp -->
    Apogee Duet -->
    MacBook Pro -->
    Logic Pro 9

    The guitar sounds great to my ear.. nice and lush. No matter the settings I've tried, the recorded signal sounds harsh and boomy. I've tried different mic positions, mic polar patterns, preamp settings.. everything I can think of. I have been able to EQ out some of the bad stuff, but I know that "garbage in" is a bad starting place.

    Any suggestions?

  2. dspickett

    dspickett Active Member

    I may be a noob with bad equipment but I use a guitar pickup on my Acoustic. Really, the sound quality is really great. If you don't own the guitar you can still get ones that just clip on and it's well worth it. For me it saves me having to use extra mics.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    First, it's not the equipment. You should be able to get an excellent sound with that rig.

    So tell us the rest: guitar, strings, style of music, playing technique, mic positions, settings.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    You certainly have excellent gear for just such a recording. Are you setting your signals through phones or through monitors? It sounds like phones to me and this may be your problems as phones tend to emphasize bass resonse that you normally dont hear in free-air listening. Its not even that they add that much bass but that its skewed from reality a bit.

    Truthfully, with your gear, its all I can come up with without hearing the problem. Perhaps you can post an example.

    Have you had someone else playing the guitar while you listen out front or is this a solo effort with only you at the guitar as well as the controls?

    Sometimes what sounds good to our ears while the instrument is under the arm isnt so hot in front of it.
  5. rcook349

    rcook349 Guest

    Thanks for the replies.

    The style is acoustic rock. But for my test, I'm just strumming with a medium pick.

    As for the monitoring, I don't even bother listening as I'm tracking for this test. I know I have a decent input signal strength, so I just go into the booth and strum, come out and listen to what's recorded (on a great pair of Mackie monitors that sound awesome otherwise).

    As for mic position, I've tried many:
    - 6-12 inches with mic pinted at 12th fret
    - moving mic further away from guitar
    - mic over right shoulder
    - different polar patterns on mic

    Thanks for any continued input.
  6. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    it could be your playing maybe? i noticed before that the way i held the pick made it VERY clicky as there was a lot of the tip exposed. ever since i changed the way that i hold the pick things sound much smoother.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Why are you recording in a booth? What size is it? Get OUT of it! That's my bet.
  8. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    HR824's by any chance? IIRC, they're known for hyping the low end, which is one reason some people like them from what I understand, but it could be contributing to the boominess. Have you tried monitoring on something else to compare? It's worth monitoring on something else and comparing even if they're not 824s. In other words, maybe the problem (or part of it) isn't garbage in, it's just poor monitoring that makes you hear a problem that isn't really there, or isn't as bad as you think it is.

    If you post a sample, people here can play it on a wide variety of systems and give you some feedback.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    So you are going on signal strength? And doing this alone from a remote situation? If I understand correctly, you simply play a bit while recording and then try to check it in playback and then adjust it without being able to hear the adjustments until you record it again????

    And yes to getting out of the booth.

    You need another person to record like that. Get someone you know who plays as well as you do to supply the talent while you adjust the parameters of your tone and gain stage.

    You cannot get an accurate feel for your sound doing it the way you are from that remote position except by accident.
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    +1 on getting out of the booth. IF moving the mic further away isn't helping, it's probably because those boomy frequencies are just rolling around in the booth.
  11. rcook349

    rcook349 Guest

    Thanks guys! I'm going to try out your suggestions. If I can, I'll post what I'm recording for more of your input.
  12. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    i record myself so perhaps i can offer as a suggestion what i do.

    1. set your daw to record a 3-60 second section in loop and hit record
    2. sit with the guitar, point the mic in a starting posistion
    3. say aloud what the position is ("im 6 inches away from 12th fret, pointing towards the neck" for instance) and begin playing the part
    4. at the start of each pass (on the loop) change position and say aloud what it is.
    5. go through a bunch of takes this way
    6. stop recording and listen finding which you like best.

    since you are alone you will find it easier to move your body (and the guitar angle) than moving the mic all over the place

    what kind of guitar are you using? strings?

    having the right guitar helps. for instance i have a cheap Taylor 114 that records way better than my very expensive martin.

    you might also give a try with nashville tuning: http://www.guitartips.addr.com/tip164.html


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