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Dynamic mic for an acoustic

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by gitlvr, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. gitlvr

    gitlvr Active Member

    Hi,
    I have a very small room (8'x8', 6' tall) . I have tried acoustic treatment, but frankly, with this room I think I'd probably have to make it completely dead. That would require even more treatment than I've already tried. I got rid of that because, frankly, 2 4" rockwool panels on each wall and two corners with floor to ceiling bass traps was too much for the room. And there's no room for any treatment on the ceiling.
    I have been getting by with an LDC close mic'd(Oktava 319 or MXL 990), but frankly, I think that a dynamic would be better at rejecting anything in the room, if I can find one in a price range that works ($100 or less). I also think a $100 dynamic would probably be a better quality mic than most $1oo condensors, especially for this specific room/circumstance, if I can find one that suits the application.
    As an aside, I have these two condensors, but when it comes to recording vocals, I stick with an SM58, as I believe I get better results. I also have an old Shure 515SB.
    If either of these two mics are suitable for acoustic guitar in a Country or Contemporary Gospel application, in a mix with piano, electric guitar, and bass, please chime in with that as well.
     
  2. gitlvr

    gitlvr Active Member

    I think I have found my answer.

    This is a comparison of a ton of different mics on acoustic guitar.
    The first one is an SM58. Sounds pretty good, but a bit boomy. But that's a dread(large body), and the guitar I use is an L-OO(small body). With good mic placement, aim it more toward the front of the soundhole/fretboard area, I think my 58 just might work really well.
     
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There's no rule that says that you have to use a condenser mic on an acoustic instrument. Condensers are traditionally more sensitive to the nuances of those instruments than dynamics are, which is why most prefer to use them for that purpose, but you don't have to use them.

    Your preamp will also play a part in this as well, mainly gain-wise, but I've heard plenty of recordings where a dynamic has been used on instruments like upright bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and more than a few lead vocal tracks have been recorded using dynamic mics, too.

    If your room is as problematic as you mention, then your thinking is logical, in that condenser would be more likely to pick up the sound of the room along with the sound of the instrument.

    But, when using a dynamic, there are a few things you need to be aware of beforehand...

    1. dynamics are lower output mics than condensers, so you'll need a preamp that has enough gain to get the signal up to acceptable levels

    2. you might miss that which I've mentioned - those subtle nuances of the instrument.

    That said, it also depends upon the style of the parts you are playing s well. If it's more of a full-out strumming, then a dynamic will likely be okay - whereas something more gentle, like finger picking - might end up not being tonally represented quite as well.

    The best thing to do is to try it. Both 57's and 58's - while not my first choice for miking acoustic instruments - are solid dynamics, found in every studio around the world.

    But ultimately, you'll want to treat the space that you are recording in - I'm assuming that this is also the same space in which you are mixing - and because of that, if your room is presenting acoustic issues that effect your recordings, then it's safe to say that it's also doing the same thing when you are mixing, too.... and that will cause your mixes to be skewed and to not translate well to other listening systems outside of your room.

    Proper treatment of your room will kill two birds with one stone - not only will your recordings sound better, your mixes will sound better, too. ;)

    FWIW

    d.
     
  4. gitlvr

    gitlvr Active Member

    Thanks, Donny!
    I don't think I need "subtle nuances". Mostly flatpicking and strumming. What little fingerpicking I might do I'll break out the MK 319 for.
    I appreciate the advice.
     
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Understood... but... you still might want to think about treating the room anyway, especially if it's the same space in which you are doing your mixing.

    Just sayin'. ;)
     
  6. gitlvr

    gitlvr Active Member

    Donny, thanks. I went the treatment route. There was so little room in that small space after treatment that some of my instruments were damaged just trying to move around enough to record. I am very limited in funds. I spent $150 I did not have on treatment with 4" Rockwool, 1x2 framing and fabric to cover, just to pull it all out and trash everything except one panel I keep to park a mic in front of for vocals(2-2'x4', 4" thick panels on each wall, 1-6'x2' by 4" bass trap in two of the 4 corners, placed across the corners). Not feasible for me in the room I have or the budget I have.
    I will be buying a set of Sony MDR 7506's as soon as I can scrounge the cash up, and mix on them. My research tells me they are pretty much the flattest out there, and a studio standard for decades. Reference tracks and checking my mixes in a ton of different places/devices is going to have to suffice. I will have to use my ears and my brain to learn what I have so that I can put out a decent mix. I have no illusions that I'm going to be banging out pro mixes in this space.
    I know this won't be easy, and I know it is not anywhere near optimum, but it IS the situation I must deal with.
     

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