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How to record Acoustic Guitar and Vocals at the same time?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by ScottR, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Active Member

    Hi there!

    I'm completely new to recording. I searched for forums on Google about mics and recording and found this site...

    I have a Blue Yeti microphone and that's all. I need to be able to record my guitar (unplugged) and vocals at the same time with a decent sound. I tried previously but my guitar was too loud and my vocals were too quiet.

    I'm not looking for some sort of album quality sound, just good enough that I can hear the guitar and vocals at a decent balance between them.

    How do I position the mic? Do I need to buy one of the pop-filter things (whatever they are called)?

    I'm really newbie to this scene so I'm sorry if I made you facepalm during this post.

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If you are using one mic to capture an acoustic guitar/vocal performance, it won't give you the same control as you would have using two mics, in that you won't get discreet control over each in terms of volume/balance, panning, EQ, etc... but it can certainly be done... you just need to experiment with different mic positions and distances until you find the one that sounds best.

    I don't see any need for a pop filter, unless you plan on being within 1" - 8" form your mouth to the mic, the pop filter is designed to thwart off possible "splosive" sounds, like B's, P's and even sometimes W's... any consonant that can move air can create these. For what you are doing, you won't need it. And depending on the type of filter you are using, some can attenuate the clarity of the quality a bit... the "condom" type slip over filters can be culprits for this, more so than the filters that are thin nylon stretched over a circular frame.

    Again, I don't see this as being a problem for you in that, my best guess, is that your mic will be somewhere around 12" - 18" off of your vocal.

    You did mention that you expect the sound to not be as good as if you had a mic on each, so it's really just a question of experimenting until you find the right distance and position. We can't really give you exact positioning because there are so many variables... if you are a more dynamic guitar player than you are a projecting vocalist, you need to strengthen one and lay back on the other... just one example of many.


  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What you are finding difficult is not just getting acceptable representations of the vocal and guitar sounds but also getting a balance between the two. However, given that mic, there is a technique that you can try.

    The Blue Yeti has a number of different patterns selected by a switch, and one of these is stereo. Switch the mic to stereo and place it on its stand so the mic body is horizontal. Now place it at the right angle of a right-angle triangle in the vertical plane that has the guitar and your mouth at the other corners. You will get the vocal mostly on one channel and the guitar mostly on the other. Record a little at this position and listen to the bleed between the tracks. Adjust the position of the mic, keeping it horizontal, recording a bit more and testing until you get the best sound of the vocal and guitar in their respective tracks. Don't aim to get them the same amplitude in each track.

    When you come to mixing, treat the tracks as two mono tracks and bring each to centre in the stereo sound field. Balance up the amplitudes of each. Then apply a little reverb (mono in, stereo out) with different amounts to each track separately to widen the image of each. If you use compression, use it lightly on the vocal track + its reverb only.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    That's a great suggestion. I wasn't aware that the Yeti was a stereo mic.
  5. ScottR

    ScottR Active Member

    Boswell! Thanks so much! That's a fantastic idea! Really, I wish I had thought of that. I was in the complete wrong mindset! You are a genius! It worked like a charm! :D

    Much better than really loud guitar with quiet vocals in the background! So once again. Thanks!
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You're welcome. You could try putting one of your tracks on Soundcloud so we can hear how you have got it to sound.

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