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What do you do? micing guitar and singing at the same time.

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by EricIndecisive, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Hey everyone, I often times have a lot of trouble singing if I am not playing my guitar at the same time. There are a lot more fluctuations and screw ups when I am just singing along to the music. Do you guys often record an acoustic artist while he both sings and plays at the same time? If so then I will go out and buy another mic. I just wonder if there is too much overlap between the close proximity of the 2 mics where it will pic up too much guitar when it should be voice.

    Thanks for any tips!
  2. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    I once took a piece of acoustic foam and attached it (OK, OK, I duct taped it) to a mic stand and placed it above the guitar to separate the singer from the guitar. There was a bit of bleed, but nothing we couldn't stand and worked out quite well.
  3. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    More often than not I simply live with the bleed. Most people I record need the feedback to ensure a good take. That said you can try to minimize the bleed with carefully placed cardiod mics. But if the performance is good, bleed isn't such a problem.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Ditto. The main point is to get the best performance. I have not found bleed between acoustic guitar and vocals all that hard to deal with when, say adjusting eq or adding compression or reverb.

    Of course, that's good short term advice, but in the long term you probably want to work on your vocal performance enough so that you are more comfortable singing without the guitar. Takes practice like anything else.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Try a lovely pair of ribbon microphones such as the Beyer M160 (with additional foam pop filter for the vocalist) and on the acoustic guitar. The beauty of the guitar will be accentuated by the velocity microphones characteristics. The vocalist will be huge and mellow. And because of these microphones HyperCardioid polar patterns, you're going to laugh over the lack of bleed.

    Plug them into some nice preamps like API or anything of a quality nature and you're just going to love the recording that you make this way.

    Cooking good in the newly remodeled Stratavarious Mobile.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Thanks for all the responses!

    It's glad to know that the bleed isn't much of an issue. I would have tried it, but I don't have 2 mic stands as of right now. I'll order some this week though.

    BobRogers - yep, will definitely practice!

    Remy - Thanks for the suggestion! However, that mic at $600, and the need for a pair.. hmm, maybe I should save up a bit longer! One of the things that sucks is that recording isn't so much about steps. When you buy a good mic you need a better preamp, then better monitors so you know you're getting a better sound.. etc.

    So even though I can't get some really good gear, I can at least get some that are better. What do you guys think of the SM86 / SM81?

    I had no idea what hypercardioid meant until I checked this website. http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/studio/studio-microphones/buying-guide.php
    good for some basic knowledge!
  7. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Actually M130s might be the better choice as their figure-8 patterns would allow you to angle the side-nulls to exclude the spill more effectively. They are no cheaper than the M160s I'm afraid, but you would never regret the investment.
  8. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    The cost of the mics doesn't matter so so much to me, it's just I just bought this firepod hoping that it would be a good pre! I don't want to get rid of it already! lol
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you should split the difference? You should purchase 1 M160 and 1 M130 and try some MS microphone technique! Easy to decode in most any software.

    The M160 on your vocal and the M130 with its dead side toward the singer aimed low along body to pick up the finger noise and resonance.

    What do you think about that IIRs?? Doesn't this tell people from opposite sides of the ponds that great minds think alike? You bet!

    Say hi to Sir George for me!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    A very good question to ponder. A good chance for those that need to learn. This is a great example of a situation of knowing the polar patterns of your mics and placing them in such a way as to be useful for the task at hand. Anybody recall ever seeing pictures of old sessions where the singer is hanging an acoustic around their neck, is singing through a mic and theres an orchestra in the background...or perhaps a combo but the point is....look closely at the mic on the guitar. 8 times outta 10 its going to be a multi-patterned mic and its probably mounted up lengthwise to the guitar and the vocal mic is either a ribbon or another multipatterned mic and may also be mounted up horizontally. Both of these are probably in figure of 8 and the null is directed at the other instrument ie: voice and guitar. This is a very old and a very effective way of dealing with the guitarist as a singer recording.

    So even if you are buying less expensive mics, having mics with pattern selection makes a lot of sense when you are dealing with different recording situations.
  11. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    These responses are great. I never thought that each little thing in recording mattered so much. I'm glad that I know what to look for in my next mic purchase. Although I still think it's too early for me to buy those more expensive mics (I would probably end up dropping them somehow..) and not fitting for my current budget, I will probably go middle of the road (maybe 2 mics around $300 dollar area) with the types of patterns that you guys are suggesting. Here are still some more questions!

    1. When looking at a frequency chart, does a generally flat response curve mean a truer sound? If this is true, then I see how some mics can have a more desirable sound depending on the vocalist / instrument, with more responsive highs / lows.

    2. What is the main difference between singing right up on the microphone or about 6-12 inches away? Is it because of the pattern shape that farther away will pick up the best sound? I noticed when I moved my SM57 from right next to my amp to farther away and in the middle, it got a LOT louder.

    3. Does the firepod have a good mic preamp for someone like me (non professional) to use? What are the advantages that other pre's provide?

    Thank you for your professional advice everyone, I'm learning quite a bit!
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Ahhh but very nice Chinese built ribbon microphones are available from companies like Cascades, CAD, Samson and others for as little as $159! What a fabulous way to get started! Learning what a reasonably good microphone sounds like before you learn what a bad one sounds like. These microphones are not the type to be used outdoors, blown into by idiots or used in place of a hammer like the Shure SM57/58 can. You have to be gentle with ribbons. Just like the ribbons in a young ladies hair. OUCH! DAMMIT! I SAID GENTLE!

    My recommendations a couple of SM58's and a couple of inexpensive ribbons. You just can't go wrong with that.

    Now go eat your vegetables
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  13. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Lol Remy sometimes I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. You used very nice and chinese built not only in the same sentence, but in succession! That to me sounds like it would be quite the oxymoron. But hey, I'm the moron that doesn't know I guess!

    That sounds like I can do that. I will check out ribbons by those companies, armed with my new knowledge of directional polar patterns and frequency responses! Thanks!

    To be honest I almost like recording everything with my SM57 and Behringer mixer better. Nothing sounded that great so there was a great margin for error, this 'getting it right' stuff ain't easy.

    Actually going to go eat some eggs
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well sarNz, that's what I have been talking about. If you can make a good recording with a couple of SM57's and a Beringer mixer. You've got talent and especially technique. Remember that perfection is in the butt of the hand holder. Did I get that right?

    I actually did a rock-and-roll CD recently where I tracked the band but the guitarist who is my student engineer, did the overdubs. On the vocalist, he cut some with the Shure KSM32 which I liked and a CAD TRION (if I got that spelling correct?) ribbon (not simultaneously but on different takes and songs). I liked the way the CAD ribbon sounded. Although it was a few hundred dollars, so it was more than a SM58. That's a lot less than the $900 for the Beyer ribbons. I think a worthy investment.

    This time, no sarcasm. I'm as serious as a hard pinch roller.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  15. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    sarNZ; here's an example of a very quiet singer upclose and personal, singing into a ribbon mic, in this case an AEA R84. We started out doing a mic & preamp check with various things on the guitar, all the while running video tape in case we got some things worth keeping. This is one of them. It's a pretty quiet room, 20x10, with drapes on the wall in back, some carpets and a hardwood floor in the middle.

    I've found it's sometimes better to have the guitarist standing (instead of sitting) when doing vocals. Not only is it a better thing organically (body shape, breathing,etc.) but it moves BOTH the voice and the instrument another foot or two or three from the floor. Both have a better chance of developing more sonically, esp if there's a hardwood floor. (As is the case in this clip.)

    As you can imagine, with this kind of quiet, intimate singing, it can be tricky. (Fortuntely, he's a tall person, with a couple of feet between his mouth and guitar-strumming area. ) As others have already mentioned, the bleed isn't bad at all this way, and we worked with it, rather than tried to get rid of it.

    Other than a little EQ, there's no DSP whatsoever on the audio. See what you think:

  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Hey JoeH! I loved it! Sounded wonderful.

    That'll showem
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  17. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Joe....Thanx so much for the video. It has totally ruined my planned expenditures as I now MUST have one of them-there ribbon mics...AEA you say?

    What a pal. :wink:
  18. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    That sounded really nice JoeH. That guy does have a very quiet voice eh? Mine isn't that quiet, but if I got a ribbon mic would I also need one of those filters so I don't blow the crap out of the metal strip inside? I also like being more upright when I'm playing and singing, rather than sitting down. The only thing holding me back right now is money. I want to also get a video camera and external hard drive so I can put my music to video, I think it would be a lot of fun. Anyways thanks for the suggestions, I will hopefully have some more music for you all to suffer - i mean listen to soon!
  19. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Yes you will need a pop shield, as you would with a condenser mic.

    <edit> they are easy to make if you don't want to spend much money: I went the traditional route and used wire coat hangers and a pair of tights, with an old broken mic stand to hold it in place... it looks a bit tatty but works just fine.

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