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Mic for Acoustic Guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by rwogh, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. rwogh

    rwogh Active Member

    I have a Breedlove C25/CR and want to record a few songs. Just wondering what a good mic would be to do this.

    I've experimented with my Shure 57 and MXL 990 with various mic placements, but can't seem to get a "hot" enough track without distorting. I'm also having problems with keeping a steady volume level with the dynamics of my playing.

    Either the sounds is too airy and distant, or clips with too much of the string sound getting picked up.

    Thanks for any and all help!

  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Depends on the song, the player, the room, the recording technique, the mic, the pre-amp, and the ADC.

    I like:
    Shure SM81- clear and full,
    Earthworks QTC 50 -everything my ear hears comes out of this mic,
    U87- slightly more mellow and very full.
    AKG C12- detailed and warm
  3. rwogh

    rwogh Active Member

    thanks for the reply...

    any thoughts on rode? suggestions?

    i think the SM81 is more in my price range at the moment
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    How far away is the mic? A 57 should get plenty hot I would think. I guess what I'm really asking is what is your signal chain. Mic (positioned where) going into what going into a DAW/recorder/whatever, etc.
  5. ToddP

    ToddP Active Member

    Sounds like you are looking for a compressor. Do you have one between the mic pre and the ADC? A little compression will make the sound more up front without the clipping transients.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I like Rode NT4's , I find them a bit hyped in the upper mids compared to the Sm81's
  7. rwogh

    rwogh Active Member

    i don't have a pre or H/W comp unfortunately. i've been recording directly into my 003 and using plug-ins to comp, eq, etc after the fact.

    I'm trying to make what I would describe as a "high-quality demo". I'm looking for the best sound straight into the box and am obviously flexible with mic positioning.

    I simply wasn't impressed with the results I got out of the S57 or MXL990. I felt the S57 didn't capture enough dynamic range up close or at a small distance and the 990 distorted up close and was too airy and picked up a LOT of reverb at a distance. This was because I tested it in my bathroom that has a lot of natural reverb.

    If I were to be forced to record the tracks today, I had the best results with using my Radial passive DI and recording a direct line from the guitar's electronic output as well as a mic'ed B-52 tube amp. However, I would really like to capture this guitar's natural sound with a nice mic.

    Thanks again for all the replies.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you want the best sound, then get out of a small reverberant room. The MXL has a hyped high end consistent with cheap Chinese condensers. It makes sense that when pushed it distorts. The SM57 is a much tighter pattern and better controlled across it's spectrum. It's used on professional guitar recording artists daily.

    That said, there are different choices in the condenser spectra. Do you have a budget in mind and do you want the most honest sound of you guitar or are you looking for a flavor of one type or another?
  9. Kuzan

    Kuzan Guest

    I get great results with an AT3035. Clarity is amazing, and the sound sits well in most any mix. But as someone else mentioned it is mostly the environment (guitar, player, room etc) that is most important.

    Not sure if the AT3035 is available any more though.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    John, kuzan guys... what would be your choice kind of room?
  11. Kuzan

    Kuzan Guest

    I prefer the room to be more dead than alive (but not totally dead) so to add effects if required. Many rooms are well treated to control highs but the mids and lows just boom! A well treated room that controls the mids and lows gives a very natural sounding recording. If I'm not in my own studio then I usually have the guitar player in the vocal booth. But again, depends what the customer wants at the end of the day. Mic placement is also key. Just move around and listen. Where you hear the sound that you like, place the / a mic.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well, mostly it sounds like his bathroom is hard tiled hard walled etc and is producing too much reverb for his gear-too many reflections. Ideally, I record acoustic guitars in a fairly decent sized room or small hall with wood floors and a decent shaped shell-a medium sized recital hall basically. That's how I get the sound to bloom and develop naturally so I don't have to process it. Most colleges and some churches have rooms that are appropriate for this usage and at least west of the Mississippi are fairly easy to access if you know someone on staff or who is a student. It's worth the effort in my opinion to go the extra mile to acquire the room because then everything else is easy.
  13. rwogh

    rwogh Active Member

    found at3035 on amazon for $140...needless to say, that is in the price range. i'd like to keep a mic purchase under $300, but if the value is worth it, the budget is flexible...haha. aka, i am ok with the sm81 for $350 if that is my best option

    i would like to capture a very honest sound. i prefer a very full sound with a nice warm mid-range. what i don't want is too tinny or too bottom heavy, but of course these are necessary to fill out the sound. sorry, but it's kind of hard to describe eq in detail with words!

    i appreciate the discussion here!
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    In the AT range in LDC there is the AT4050 but that is out of your range. 4051's work very well on guitar and can be found on eBait for your price range. Starting point for positioning is still going to be the traditional 12th fret and also at the bridge/bottom of sound hole. Place them about 12-18" from the guitar.

    A pair of NT5's would also do the trick though I like the 4051's better.

    Really, try to find a better room. Check the local community colleges etc. It will make a huge difference.
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The SM81 is a mic you'll use forever.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To add, I've really found this Royer - Recording Tips page to be extremely helpful. We really need to create a wiki of images for sure. Pictures say a thousand words for me. Whatever mic(s) you use, your room, and this example for a standard mic placement will produce the best results for what you have to work with.

    View attachment 5636
  17. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I like my SM81's a lot on acoustic guitar. I have to admit, though, that I haven't used them in the position that BT has that Royer in...:)
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    well, you can always tilt lol... and point a small diaphram condensor like that in on an angle somewhere between the 12 fret. A good mic for detail. A larger diapham as a second near the hole would help take out some of the brighness from the 81 though.

    An SM57, 58 all can be done like this, yes? The diagram above IMHO, gives the OP and others who chime in a clear picture of micing where words sometime just don't help.

    I also use a couple of Audix SCX25-A. They are not a smooth as the ribbon but the principle still the same. Same way in front of me, place some headphones on and scope for the sweet spot. Works for me.

    How do you place them?
  19. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    FWIW, you should be able to get by with two SM57's if you have to. I recorded a nice sounding acoustic track using two 57's and I did have trouble getting a solid input level, but the beauty is in the mixing, it's all how you craft what's been given to you that dictates the quality of the final product. Condensers, ribbons, and other high end mics are great, but if you can't make a solid recording with an SM57 then you are doing something wrong.

    Check it out.
    SoundClick artist: Bleeding Arrows - page with MP3 music downloads
  20. drhardlove

    drhardlove Guest

    I have done pretty well with the AKG 452 EB , the thing is though, if you don't have a decent preamp, you're not going anywhere anyway. You need some kind of high end amplification to any mic.

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