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Dark room, bright mic?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jmm22, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Well, a few days into my latest foray into recording, and I cannot get a decent sound on acoustic guitar. I thought I was close for a while, what with a punchy sound, but it lacked in too many areas overall.

    Now my room is very dark and dry, and accordingly, I am having a hard time getting any decent highs, so I am wondering if dark dry rooms generally require mics that have a boost in the highs. Any thoughts?
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you are close micing then the room isn't so much of a factor as long as the room modes are not extreme. If you are using a stereo coincident pair then the room has more affect on the recorded audio but still not too much probably.
  3. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    What mics are you using? Did you try giving a touch of high quality software EQ? A little goes a long way. People say drums are the hardest instrument to record... I have to add acoustic guitar as a close second. Drums are straight ahead, ac guitar can be a tough one.
  4. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Well, my mic locker is pretty lean at the moment, two EV676's, one EV 664, one Apex 435, and one Shure PE585. I have pretty much exhausted this roster on one particular guitar, with various combinations and mic positions, but will start with another guitar this evening. The best way to describe the sound is anemic. I am probably willing to concede something on the quality side of things, if I can get acoustic guitar that has meat, but I am definitely struggling. The closest I came was with the 664 aimed 4" off the body behind the bridge. That netted some pop for the mids, but the highs and lows were not there.

    My room is really dark and dry, and I am wondering if this is an insurmountable problem.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It's not the room.
  6. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    Yea I agree with JackAttack. Also I don't think its the mics per say... You aren't miking the sound hole of the guitar right? Try just one small diaphragm condenser close miked aimed at the neck just above where the neck joins the body.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Try the EV where you got all the punch and add the condenser above the guitar in the area where your ears are hearing the sound coming off the guitar. Low cut the bejesus out of it and compress this mic a touch.

    You need better mics. You know that but bless ya for giving it a try. Think about how well your training on inferior gear is going to build your abilities when you get better stuff!
  8. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Well, I just tried that, and the EV664 did its job, but I think the Apex 435 is just too inadequate. It's hard to articulate how it fails, and perhaps I will not fully undertand myself until I try some better mics. Curiously, I tried another guitar, yet I could barely distinguish them when recorded.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well that tells you something right there. If two guitars that sound audibly different to you as a listener do NOT sound audibly different on a recording then your recording equipment (microphones) needs replacing.
  10. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    If/when you do get a new mic I highly recommend an AKG C1000s for you setup. For the price its really a charm. It sounds great on acoustic guitars and can even be used for drum overheads and does a reasonable job with vocals in a budget studio.
  11. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    While I appreciate the benefits of better equipment, I remain puzzled as to why you maintain my EV mics are entirely inadequate. My general reading shows that the EV 676 was hardly an entry level mic at the time of its introduction, as it had a sophisticated noise rejection feature, and it found favour among some professionals. In fact, it was Jim Morrison's mic of choice, and I would press this point even further, if I remotely liked The Doors :) Same with the EV664, and even my Shure PE 585 should be able to render something respectable on recording. It is hard for me to believe that I happen to own the worst vintage mics ever made.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    All mic's are not designed for all purposes. Jim Morrison was not much of a guitar player IMO. He was a singer. If he like the 676 on his voice then that's awesome. If he mic'd up a guitar cab with it that's great too. You aren't trying to use it for either of those purposes. I have some EV mic's other than RE20's and RE27's. If I dug down into my box o' schween I'm gonna find three EV cardioids that may or may not be the 676 or 664. The primary use of those mic's IMO was for micing nasty gritty really f'n loud blues guitar amps live. As such one can imagine they might sustain various sorts of damage over the years. After all, they aren't a SM57 that can drive nails and still sound decent (there is a video on youtube if you don't believe me!).

    Micing an acoustic guitar is another animal altogether than a loud wailing amp with a beer bottle slide. You've already proven it to yourself by your own results. You can accept those results or fight it but it won't change. I'm not trying to beat you down, but you seem not to be realistic about this whole thing. Again, kudos for trying to wring what you can from what you got.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    No, no, it goes beyond that. This is where the tools are not designed to do the job you're asking of them. Obviously these mics you are using do capture sound. So they're not broken. However, you already have a sophisticated enough ear to realize that what you're getting back isnt what you're hearing in the room naturally.

    In our search for a good sound from our instruments, we realize at a certain point, that reproducing what our ears tell us is present, is the goal in its most basic form. I have zero problem with vintage or new mics. You may very well be able to achieve a PERFECT sound with the gear you have. The problem to be solved here is why not at this point.

    Several suggestions and nudges towards an answer have been made.

    Its impossible to solve this at such a distance and not being in your room in person to hear with our own ears whats going on. Even a modicum of an example will fall short.

    I will tell you this based on my several years of experience.....(errrr decades.....yeeech!) Those mics are best suited for live performance. The sophisticated noise rejection feature is for rejection of feedback due to high levels of on-stage monitors present in a loud performance environment. This isnt something traditionally important in recording enviroments, so its inclusion here, for the sake of brevity, means nothing as to its ability to give a clear and concise reproduction of an acoustic guitar played in a somewhat controlled space. Its overal frequency response coupled with its sensitivity and its pattern has very much to do with this.
    Now for the Apex mic.

    Chinese branded and built condensers are so wildly variable in their quality control that two built side by side on the same day in the same factory could be night and day in their abilities to capture sound. Couple this with cheap components on surface mount PC boards with thin traces promoting crosstalka dn noise as well as designs pirated from tried and true designers and only hinted at in the final application with the shoddy parts and quality control, and theres no wonder or surprise at your reaction to this mics inability to get a decent sound. Of course, quite opposite can be true. I have heard $99 condensers sound like $3000 German mics. But this a rare experience.

    You have several options here from what I can tell.

    1. Upgrade your mics. The 003's pres are good enough for the time being and are flat enough that if you dont push them past their headroom, they should work.

    2. Upgrade the preamps. see #1

    3. Upgrade your recording environment. Though you say you already have a fairly dead space tp record in, this doesnt mean its going to be a GOOD space to record in. For the record, I would prefer a dead space over one full of flutter echoes and bass build up but would have to have better mics to do so. Still, certain skills developed over the years will always prevail over lack of gear.

    4. Continue learning. Read a book. Study the placements. Change them. Write down the positioning. Take photos.

    5. Do NOT buy an AKG C1000 and expect to be a miracle cure. It is one of the most difficult and poor sounding mics ever made. They DO work well in some situations, just not yours as you describe it.
  14. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Fair enough gentlemen, I have decided to defer any further judgements on the room, or my abilities until I get a new mic or two.

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