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recording solo singer+songwriter+acoustic guitarist

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by galas, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. galas

    galas Guest

    Hi all, this is my first post here so bear with my if some of my questions are dumb. I'm going to be recording a female singer+songwriter+acoustic guitarist in a couple of weeks and I need some help deciding which mic to use. My school has an Equipment Room where I can take out a variety of microphones, but I dont have much experience with most of them so I wanted to hear some of your opinions. I was thinking of using two mic's - one for the vocals and one for the guitar, but I have heard some people suggest using one mic. Anyway, here is the list of mic's at my disposal:

    AKG C414B/ULS
    AKG C 460 B
    Audio-Technica AT815B
    Audio-Technica AT822
    Audio-Technica AT825
    Audio-Technica AT3035
    Earthworks SR-77
    Sennheiser MD-421
    Shure SM57
    Shure SM58

    Which would be good for the female vocals and which would be good for acoustic guitar?

    The ER (Equipment Room) doesn't have much of a preamp selection, so I'm going to use the preamps in a Mackie 1202 VLZ (PRO I think) because I've heard those are decent. I have a Powerbook G4 but I don't have a good quality audio interface...so unless I can find one I'll probably recording the mix to a Tascam DA-P1 PortaDAT. and then bring it into software through the school's G4 PowerMac with MBox.

    As for the recording space, my school's radio station has a room that is acoustically treated and I think I should be able to get access to it to record in.

    Another question I have...if I can find a good quality audio interface with more channels, I'd like to record the direct line out from the acoustic guitar...in which case, would I need to use a D.I.? or are those only for electric guitars?

    Thanks to everybody for your input...I really appreciate any advice you can give me
  2. galas

    galas Guest

    bump...can anyone help me choose?
  3. m.d.verdugo

    m.d.verdugo Guest

    hey galas,
    first of all, what is your objective with recording this girl? demo? you have quite a nice array of mics to choose from, but without knowing the voice its hard to say which mic will be better. the 414 is a great all round mic that suits female voices in the upper register, yet may sound lousy with your singer. my advice would be to take several and set them up on the mackie board and have her sing into all of them and let your ears be the judge.
    the good thing about the 414 is that the polar pattern is variable, and if you have two mics with figure eight patterns you can use them together to record both and get excellent seperation between the voice and guitar. i would not recommend d.i. ing the guitar unless you realy don't have the time or skill, as it will never sound as natural or have the air that a good recorded guitar will have. since its only two instruments, or sounds, you should take your time and experiemnt. after all, you are not paying for studio time, and you have a decent setup to do the expieriments. then let your ears be the judge. for two tracks i would go straight to dat, and from there you can take it where you want with it.
    good luck and hope that this was at least a little helpful
  4. galas

    galas Guest

    hey, thanks for the reply!
    i will be recording her for a demo...i dont think she has any tracks that have been recorded. i don't know what kind of voice she has, so i'm just going to try to get a bunch of different mics and test them all out.

    i was wondering how i would deal with phase issues if they arise? i really don't know how to tell if the microphones are out of phase, or what to do to make sure that they are in phase...
  5. galas

    galas Guest

    sorry to double-post, but i just read cucco's post (Misconception about Phasing) and it pretty much cleared up my phase questions

    thanks cucco :)
  6. Clayphish

    Clayphish Active Member

    Nov 14, 2004
    Well it looks like you have some really good options there. One mic I noticed that you have is the Sennheiser 421. This mic would most likely be great for close mic'ing the guitar (one of the best positions is at the neck joint). What I personally like about it is it somewhat resembles that fleetwood Mac or Supertramp accoustic guitar presence - it's tight but very pleasing and frankly, not used enough.

    Of course, all this changes on a dime. It all depends on her style, the room you're in, her voice, the sound of her guitar, etc. So don't be scared to try different mics and positions.

  7. Clayphish

    Clayphish Active Member

    Nov 14, 2004
    I should add to the phase cancelation issue. I just read the post you did and find it a bit over complicated. While you can break it down mathimatically there is a simple rule when combating simple phase cancelation and that is the 3 to 1 micing ratio. For example, If you are recording any live source, make sure your second mic is a minimum of 3 times the distance from the source as the first mic. So if you have a mic that's 4 inches from a guitar, make sure your second mic is 12 inches away or more. Where you're going to have to watch this the most is with the vocal mic and the close guitar mic since they will most likely interfer with one another (in relation to both sound sources) if you don't watch your distances closely. Another really good practice to do is to get your sound in mono. Listen to each instrument seperately and with both signals activated. Then, mute one of the mics. If at all you hear a hollow thin sound with both mics active, then you have phase cancelation going on.

    Hope this helps.

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