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mic or pickup?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kliffdog, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. kliffdog

    kliffdog Guest

    ok just to get this answer out of the way I know that acoustics are important, and that my room needs a little help in that department. I am working on that. but what I am wondering is.......what is better? I was playing with a really nice guitar the other day ( acoustic electric ) and the pickup in that thing sounded really nice. way better than the condencer mic I am using right now. I am not an expert on mic's and I want to know is there a mic out there ( w/reasonable price ) that just rocks for micing an acoustic guitar? (if yes, what brand & model? ) Or.... am I better off investing in a new guitar with a nice pickup. (if yes, what brand & model? ) mic or pickup? thanks
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You get different sounds from a pickup than from a mic. To give you the most options when it comes to post production you need to use both. Don't forget to delay the pickup channel by a millisecond or so to compensate for the time taken for the sound to travel to the microphone.

    Usually, small diaphragm condenser (SDC) mics are recommended for acoustic guitar, and have the advantage that for live work they are unobtrusive on stage. In the studio, I have had great success with large diaphragm condensers (LDCs) on guitar, often used as a pair in mid-side (MS) configuration.
  3. drstudio

    drstudio Active Member

    In my opinion, for recording a pickup is almost useless. For Live, yes, a nice Taylor or Lareve with a countryman pick up will give good results.
    I think almost any mic will give you a better result than using the pickup for recording. AKG451, single or stereo, 414's or U87 are all ideal for acoustic guitar recording. Anyone of these mics through a nice preamp such as Avalon, API, or Neve, should give you professional results.

    Good Luck!!
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Read the post again. If you take both a mic and pickup track (and, for jazz work, another track from the amp mic), it gives you more options at mixdown. It may be that you end up with no pickup in the final mix, but at least that will be a decision made on the basis of knowledge rather than necessity.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Boswell is 100% spot on.

    I'll often take down three to four simultaneous tracks:
    1) Pickup
    2) Mic @ soundhole
    3) Mic @ fretboard
    4) Room

    None are useless, IMHO.

    Overkill? I don't think so.
  6. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    I always prefer a mic to a pickup for acoustic, but pickup tracks can be useful to blend in. If you're liking the pickup sound you're getting more than the mic sound, I'll wager you're placing the mic smack in front of the soundhole and it's boomy as hell. Try placing it about a foot away, about 6-8" above, angled down to where the neck meets the body, on a hardwood floor if you can (or some smooth plywood laid on the carpet).
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    If you have both. Use both. The transducer will pick up a good portion of the attack and sometimes less string noise than a mic. Blend the two and you can almost dial out a good portion of that string noise.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Another useful feature of a good sounding transducer in the studio is that it provides an isolated guitar track when recording scratch tracks.

    I like the Taylor expression system for a good pickup.

    There's no one go-to mic for guitar, but I'll second the choice of an SCD, and name the Rode NT5 as a good choice in the budget range.

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