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Tip Of The Day - #2

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hargerst, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Miking Acoustic Guitar

    Many people have a difficult time miking an acoustic guitar to where it will sit well in the final mix. Usually, it's too boomy or too tinny, or too many finger squeeks, etc. Here's a little trick I use to record a mono rhythm guitar when I need it. I use an omni, but a cardioid should work almost as well.

    With the player seated in a comfortable position, bring the microphone in (from a boom stand behind the player) over the player's right shoulder, about level with the player's ear, and roughly 6" out in front of the player. Here's how the setup should appear:



    Here's a front view:



    I use the Audix TR-40 Omni Calibration mic (also sold as the MB-550 by MBHO), but any good omni or cardioid should work as well.

    The basic idea behind this setup is that the mic hears what the player hears. You avoid proximity problems (bass build-up from close mic placement), amplifying finger squeaks, and the uneven radiation of the guitar face.

    This method works pretty well with most acoustic guitars and it usually requires no eq to sound right in the mix. It's also a lot easier to duplicate and repeat the sound if the guitarist has to come in a week later to do punch-ins to fix a part. Try it, you just might like it.
     
  2. Rick Greenly

    Rick Greenly Guest

    Great tip Harvey,

    Does it work equally well on nylon or steel string guitars?

    Any difference in micing technique if the player is a fingerstyle or classical guitarist as opposed to a flatpicker?

    Thanks for sharing your time and experience with us!

    Rick
     
  3. Mixer-man

    Mixer-man Guest

    And you probably won't need compression, since it uses the principles of acoustic compression. Very nice, Harvey, I can't wait to try that placement.

    Another thought, in a fairly dense rock production where the acoustic has to compete with electric guitars, I sometimes place a 57 directly on the guitar (adjust placement to taste). The mother fucker cuts like a knife through everything even at low volumes.

    The problem is that really big, hi fi acoustic guitars easily dwarf electric guitars. This is not usually a desired effect in a full on rock production.

    Mixerman
     
  4. Earl Musick

    Earl Musick Guest

    That's the one. The pictures are great Harvey. Three whole days, I'm impressed. be sure and pace yourself. :D
     
  5. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Originally posted by Rick Greenly:
    Great tip Harvey. Does it work equally well on nylon or steel string guitars? Any difference in micing technique if the player is a fingerstyle or classical guitarist as opposed to a flatpicker?

    Thanks for sharing your time and experience with us! Rick
    It seems to work equally well for all types of guitars and playing styles. Part of the reason is the lack of proximity effect by some reasonable spacing and the use of an omni, and because the mic is placed about how the person hears their guitar anyway.

    I've also used this same trick on miking guitar amplifiers when the player was unhappy with the tone from the mic up close. Most guitar players will fiddle with the controls and then back up about 4 to 6 feet away and play, usually slightly off axis. When they get the tone they want, I'll put a mic right where their ear was when they heard the sound they wanted. I think it's more mental, but that technique makes sense to them, and the session moves forward. :D
     
  6. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Originally posted by Mixerman:
    And you probably won't need compression, since it uses the principles of acoustic compression. Very nice, Harvey, I can't wait to try that placement.

    Another thought, in a fairly dense rock production where the acoustic has to compete with electric guitars, I sometimes place a 57 directly on the guitar (adjust placement to taste). The mother fucker cuts like a knife through everything even at low volumes.

    The problem is that really big, hi fi acoustic guitars easily dwarf electric guitars. This is not usually a desired effect in a full on rock production.

    Mixerman
    Wow, great tip, MM. I gotta try that too!! I'd probably use a 57 pointed back somewhere towards the bridge. That's where I hear most of the top end coming from on an acoustic guitar. Fitting an acoustic into a rock mix is always hard for me.
     
  7. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Originally posted by Earl Musick:
    That's the one. The pictures are great Harvey. Three whole days, I'm impressed. be sure and pace yourself. :(
     
  8. For the dense rock mix thing I've had good results with taping a PZM to the acoustic. The player has to be somewhat skilled--as in not a swinging bash-scratch guy who's pick scrapes all over his guitar while he plays(OK--maybe it was just this particular jack-ass). I usually go for taping it on the front as far back and down in the corner as it needs to be to get out of the player's way. The sound is a super crunchy, almost buzz-saw sort of thing(as far as acoustic guitar can be).

    The big bonus fun is telling the player to slowly walk or turn in the room until finally getting on the phones and to say, "Stop!!" when they hit the sweet spot. I've gotten odd but useful sounds with players facing corners or walls and one neat track with a guy in his socks walking in and out of his basement stairwell!
     
  9. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Wow, another "cool" trick to try. :D

    I have toyed with the idea of pulling the mic part of a PZM off the backing plate and screwing (or taping it) directly to the face of a guitar, but I haven't got around to it yet. One of these days - maybe.

    Thanks, Jim.
     
  10. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    Great tip, really the only way I like to mic dreadnaughts. I've seen you mention the Audix/MBHO mics before, but now you got my attention with them. Is there a self-noise issue like the cheaper Earthworks mics have? I ask because that's what they seem to be compared to around r.a.p.. I'd love to hear how they compare to the MC-012's and others in your arsenal.

    BTW, I also like the "player perspective" micing on drum kits, but I don't often get to use it because it freaks out most drummers, since they think they need everything close miced and choking with phase cancelation. Gimme three mikes any day, one out in front of the kick, one aimed at the snare, and one around the drummers head capturing most of the kit, I think, pretty close to the techniques Fletcher outlines at the Mercenary site.

    da Bear
     
  11. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    I haven't found the self noise to be an issue, at least not yet. I haven't directly compared them to the MC012 with the omni capsules yet. So much to do, so little time.
    :)
     
  12. Mixer-man

    Mixer-man Guest

    Originally posted by Bear's Gone Fission:

    <snip>

    BTW, I also like the "player perspective" micing on drum kits,

    <snip>

    da Bear


    At the Live Aid concert in 1985, at JFK, 100,000 people simultaneously air drummed the fill to "In the Air Tonight" from left to right, as Phil Collins played it solo on the piano. That was just before I got into that racket. But this event was a defining moment for my decision to use drummers perspective.

    Of course, the really funny part of all that is the fact that Phil, is a left handed drummer. So that means that the audience actually played the drum fill in drummers perspective. But they don't know that.

    People love to air drum. Let them dream, record and mix drummers perspective.

    Mixerman
     
  13. davemc

    davemc Guest

    I have been doing x/y overheads behind the drummers back above his head lately, a lot of drummers have been happy saying that is how they hear there kit.

    The stereo spread is not as good as spaced.

    I have miked acoustics with three mics.
    1 behind the the players back near the ear a small condenser.
    A large condesner in front like normal
    and a third small condenser in front of the nut or 3rd fret for the finger sounds.
    You have to watch the phase although the finger sounds are great for accoustic bands.

    I have my own Maton accoustic thinline with a good pre and I use direct for players with to much finger buzz and pick sound.
     
  14. Originally posted by Mixerman:
    The problem is that really big, hi fi acoustic guitars easily dwarf electric guitars. This is not usually a desired effect in a full on rock production.
    Mixerman


    I find in cases like this that I'm using a high pass filter to get rid of most of the low end of the acoustic, up to around 250hz and then carving out a bit of the mid-range as well to make it sit in a densly populated track. I may end up boosting 12Khz to bring out the over tones as well and possibly adding a bit of compression depending how it's sitting.

    Has this been your experience as well MM?
     
  15. Originally posted by davemc:
    I have been doing x/y overheads behind the drummers back above his head lately, a lot of drummers have been happy saying that is how they hear there kit.


    I've been using a modified version of this recently which is kind of a bastardized decendant of the Fletcher three mic technique. I'm using two large diaphram condensers, last time it was a Lawson L47 and an AKG 414EB placed around ear level on either side of the drummers head. I angled the mics so that the floor tom side mic was pointed between the rack and floor tom and the high hat side was point over the snare towards the rack tom.

    What a sound, I haven't mixed these tracks yet but I'm pretty excited about the raw sound on tape. Of course, a good drummer helps too. <g>


    Hi Harv!!! <g>
     
  16. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Oh, God!! Did I have that picture of me still up there? I did that for EvAnna Manley's page.
     
  17. Mixer-man

    Mixer-man Guest

    Originally posted by mp@soundtechrecording.com:
    I find in cases like this that I'm using a high pass filter to get rid of most of the low end of the acoustic, up to around 250hz and then carving out a bit of the mid-range as well to make it sit in a densly populated track. I may end up boosting 12Khz to bring out the over tones as well and possibly adding a bit of compression depending how it's sitting.

    Has this been your experience as well MM?


    Yeah, well you have to do all sorts of carzy EQ to make an acoustic 'fit' in a dense production. That's why I suggested the 57 method of recording, then it has that sound to start with.

    Sometimes engineers are slightly hesitant to get anything but a great sound on every instrument. I like to get the right sound on every instrument. Sometimes that's not a sound that stands on it's own.

    Mixerman
     
  18. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Originally posted by Mixerman:
    Sometimes engineers are slightly hesitant to get anything but a great sound on every instrument. I like to get the right sound on every instrument. Sometimes that's not a sound that stands on it's own.

    Mixerman
    Now that should be posted on EVERYBODY'S control room wall.
     
  19. nrgmusic

    nrgmusic Guest

    Harvey
    Just wanted to say a sincere thank you for this one. I tried it out yesterday with fantastic results. No eq needed just a touch of compression........ A master stroke.

    Simon :)
     
  20. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2001
    And I have to add sincere thanks to Mark and Harvey for that picture. Interesting way to get to know your face, Harvey. ;)

    da Bear
     

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