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Dry-in your face acoustic sound?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Tom Neal, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. Tom Neal

    Tom Neal Guest

    I am trying to achieve the so described "Dry-in-your-face" acoustic sound.

    Here is what I have to work with:
    -Martin HD28vs (pre-war reissue huge low end!) True  Tone pickup system (2 electret mics, contact pickup  w/blender box)
    -Rode NT2, Neuman TLM103, AT Pro37R (2), Misc.  sm57s, 58s, AKG D112 etc...
    -DBX 576 Mic pre& comp, RNC comp, Mackie 8bus
    -PARIS DAW on a MAC
    -Waves NPP, PSP Vintage Warmer, PARIS plugs
    -Small room (9x17) pretty dead
    I can get some pretty good tracks for voice and guitar stuff but... most of the tunes have live drums, bass, elec. guitars, vocals etc.
    The biggest problem I am finding is a range in the low mids that really project from that guitar that I can't seem to tame. I have a hard time with the strumming parts more so than the single note or picking stuff, the sound just seems to smear to much. I have tried several micing techniques that get some really nice sounds but just not what I am looking for. The sound I am trying to achieve is_Matchbox 20, Train, Sister Hazel just about any recently recorded stuff with acoustic guitar, oh wait! ..... thats everything isn't it!

    There appears to be a lot of experience and knowledge out here so I thought I would throw out a line! Thanks in advance!

    DIY Musician,
  2. "Dry-in-your-face" sounds like a pickup to me, specifically a piezo under the bridge type. B-band makes a really good non-piezo type under-the-bridge that needs often needs no EQ, where a piezo under-the-bridge of any description will be very very bright.
    I'm guessing the excessive low mids are coming from a mic somewhere near the soundhole. A under the bridge pickup has no room sound, and is almost always dry and in your face unless radical measures are taken to prevent that.
  3. faganking

    faganking Guest

    Respectfuly, you are not hearing a direct/pickup sound on any of the records you mentioned. These acoustic guitars are almost always in mono. Plus your guitar is considerably larger. Lots of those recordings use 'Lady Martin's' or 'cigar box' size guitars. Much easier to manage. Try the TLM103 about 14" away from the guitar pointing at the 12th fret (don't get anywhere near the sound hole). Run it thru the RNC (super nice off). Try 6:1 w/attack and release at 12 o'clock. Hit it hard! Get it a little 'crunchy'. This helps it sit in the track without a lot of maintenance. If it's still too big...roll off from @200hz down. Works for me using Soundelux U95S & Distressor, but the above will yield great results. Remember...you're *not* trying to make the guitar sound big and pretty, so to speak. You want it to sit in there with all of those loud and ambient tracks. I really hope this helps.
  4. daniel_c

    daniel_c Guest

    use a very light guitar pick. theres less bottom end when you play with a light pick. 0.40mm or less. Lots less bottom end this way.

    Also , the original prewar Martins don't have as much bottom end when compared to the reissues. The wood dries out over the years and the mids become more prominent.

  5. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    I agree with most of what Benjy said.
    But let me ad, if you haven't tried using a set of midium gage Martin SP+ (phosphor bronze) strings you should check them out, I've had a lot of sucess with them on my '72 D35. Oh yea, I actually kind a like the "super nice" mode on my RNC...... Best of luck.
  6. I'll support thin picks and also playing with the right hand pretty close to the neck/body joint will thin the sound even more. That's a great EQ! :w:
  7. Tom Neal

    Tom Neal Guest

    I knew I could count on some good feedback!

    I have tried recording direct/mic with the pickup system I have installed (which sounds amazingly natural for live situations) but it wasn't what I am looking for.

    My next purchase will be a 00 or 000 body style for recording but I've been spending money on recording gear and not guitars these days. I do have a Yamaha APX guitar that sounds kinda cool for finger work but is a little TO boxy for strumming IMO.
    I will try the compressor settings you suggested_and no I don't want "pretty" for these tracks.

    daniel_c :
    I used medium gauge Diaddarios for 25 years and just recently started using light gauge for recording beacause the guitar was so damn big sounding! I haven't tried the SPs but I don't care for the other Martin strings.

    Thanks everybody for the input!

  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Use an SM57. Position about 8" away from the sound hole, A little above and towards the bridge. Very small movements of the mic position can increase detail and the ballance of lo to hi strings. Compress. This will give you a very punchy in your face sound. Guaranteed .
  9. Tom Neal

    Tom Neal Guest

    Well... I tried the SM57 last night with pretty good results! The best take was thru the DBX pre to the RNC and into PARIS. The compressor in the DBX "rounded things off" a little too much to let it cut thru the mix.

    Thanks for the tip!

  10. Yes, I like the 57 for "rock" acoustic gtr. Also the Beta 57 (a bit more open) and the M201 (too noisy for soft playing though) surprisingly open but without the undesirable ultra-hi mechanical $*^t that a condenser can bring out. :tu:
  11. Sir Bob

    Sir Bob Guest

    Funny, I was recording a track today with my HD-28, which is boomy. I used a large diagram, Audix CX-111, which is no special mic. I rolled off the bottom end with the mic switch.

    The thing that really worked was to push the mic away and strum evenly instead of crushing the strings. I also used about 6:1 compression.
  12. RobinH

    RobinH Guest

    Try a hi pass filter at around 150Hz before you compress , and then compress like hell. Lengthening the attack can allow the transient to push through , giving a punchy attack but compressing the resonance of the guitar down.

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