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What'll yield biggest difference?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by CombatWombat, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    My current signal path is, quite simply:

    mic ----> M-Audio mobile pre -----> Adobe Audition 1.5

    I am consistantly unimpressed with the acoustic guitar sounds I am getting no matter what I try and am trying to decide what piece of equipment is going to give me the biggest boost.

    I am currently treating my room, so hopefully that will help some, but I normally close mic the acoustic guitar, so I don't know if it will really make much of a difference.

    My go to mic for the guitar, right now is a SP B1.

    I know that my mobile pre only records at 16 bit and 44.1khz. Would upgrading to a new interface where I can record at 24 bit and 96khz make an incredible difference? I'm thinking that the mobile pre is probably the weakest link here.

    However, I'm wondering if any of you think that I could gain better results from a better pre-amp of some sort.

    I can only really afford one or the other right now, certainly not both. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Tyler
     
  2. Hmm ... mabey you should look into those acoustic guitar pickups that you can just set on the rim of the hole in the guitar. that might help you sound alittle ... otherwise i would go with a good pre
     
  3. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Thanks for the response, and while I wouldn't be opposed to trying out an acoustic pickup just to see what it would sound like, I don't really think that's the direction I want to go.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  4. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    24 bit recording is much better than 16-bit IMO. Higher sample rates are less important.. what is it about the sound that you don't like?
     
  5. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Oh boy. I am always so bad at describing sounds. I'd say that most of the problem is that the guitar seems to sound awfully "tinny" and squashed. No matter how I EQ, it still sounds rather displeasing and has an over-all very lo-fi sound to it.
     
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Indeed, 24/48. After that things get "iffy" as to whether there is noticable difference - though, let's assume for the moment it's NOT your gear or the sample rate.

    Have you(Can you) try running the git-fiddle direct into the pre? Does it have an instrument insert? If not, can you buy a "converter/cable/direct box" for a few bucks, so you can plug-it into a mic input and try it?

    Other than that, I don't know what an SPB-1, is? Have you tried an SM57(Or ANY other mic?). Obviously you've tried moving the mic back/forth/up/down, you've tried any different "mic patterns" available(Or not), etc. You've tried some other room/space(Out in the hallway)? You've tried another amp? Another guitar? I don't know.....? If it's "REALLY BAD", there is a rather basic problem somewhere, likely having nothing(Or at least little - I don't KNOW your gear) to do with your present equipment..? If it works fine on everything else, but..? Like you have the compression on and turned way up or something? Or your cabling is "bad"(Mis-wired for the function desired)? Getting your guitar to sound "pretty much" like it sounds through the amp should be easy - Put mic in front of amp, turn up volume, somewhere, 'til pleasing/displeasing, as desired...).

    I don't know,

    TG
     
  7. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Thanks for the reply Teddy.

    Are you saying that recording at 24/48 will be substancially better than at 16/44.1 but higher than 24/48 will not yield much noticeable difference? I think that's what you're saying. I just want to make sure.

    I really don't understand what you're saying here. I'm talking about an acoustic guitar...no electronics. It seems like maybe you think I'm talking about recording an electric guitar.

    SP B1 = Studio Projects B1. It's a large diaphgram, cardioid pattern condenser mic. I have tried miking my acoustic (which sounds great alone) with an SM57 (more brittle than the B1), and in stereo with an MXL 990 and 991 (just wanted to try it, but still left me rather unpleased).

    The reason I am unsatisfied is because I have heard several samples of acoustic guitars recorded with this same mic (B1) that have all been MUCH better sounding (more clear, full sounding) than mine.

    I know that this mic is capable of more than what I'm getting out of it, so I'm trying to figure out what's holding me back.
     
  8. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    i'm going with mic placement.... or the room being at fault
     
  9. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Agreed, its the most likely cuplrit.. any chance you could post a clip?
     
  10. Brock

    Brock Guest

    I'm not familier with that mike or pre but I've tried to mike my acoustic with a CAD M179 which I use for my main mike but it sounded weak, and kinda tinney, not what I expected. So I thought I'd try and expand my mike collection and I bought a Rode NT-1a and a matched pair of Rode NT-5s. All I can say is that if you are going to record acoustic guitar by miking it the NT-5s do an incredible job. No mater how soft I finger picked the strings the signal was strong and solid. Best money I've invested as far as mikes I use to mike equipment with.
    As for as the pre, does it have a mic-trim? is it up.
     
  11. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    Brock, sorry for the lack of knowledge here, are "trim" and "gain" the same thing? If not, it may be very helpful for me to know the difference. :)

    The pre has a gain knob that is set at about 60% capacity when I'm recording acoustic guitar because I normally mic it as close as possible to keep the crappy room sound out of the recording as much as possible. When I'm tracking I always try to keep the meters in the yellow. Is that the way I'm supposed to do it?

    As far as mic placement, the best sound I've gotten so far came from placing the mic about 6" away from the 12th fret and pointing it at the sound hole. So, the mic is at about a 45 degree angle with the guitar.

    Can you suggest some other positions that may help me achieve a better sound?
     
  12. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    My guess is the pre is the culprit although I could be wrong.

    If you like SP quality try the SP VTB1 mic pre. It's not bad for the price and will thicken up your AC guitar signal a bit, add alittle color and give you something more substantial to work with.

    I love my m-audio card but hate the pre's. Heck, IMO you'd even be better off running through an old used small format console or cheap mixer's pre's.

    Jahtao said the room could be the culprit and I'd agree with that angle too. Sometimes the room can just kill your vox or AC guitar trax.

    To be honest with you also, it's nice to have a little tube compression before you go into your DAW as well. Tube compression can really add life to your AC guitar trax, but first things first, right?
     
  13. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    This is a shot in the dark but, do you have the phantom power on? I doubt the mic will even operate without the phantom power but there is always the possibility I suppose. I would have to go with room and mic placement as well. It's not a good Idea to have the mic pointed directly at the soundhole. My guess is that if you are doing this, you end up trying to eq out the boominess from the soundhole, which would leave you with a tinny sounding guitar. Try micing near the bridge or toward the neck.

    Have you tried recording in a closet? It sounds stupid, I know but if you have a decent walk in closet near by with a good amount of clothes in it, consider it a mickey mouse iso booth.
     
  14. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    CT, thanks for the ideas. I'll certainly look into those. I've been toying with the idea of picking up a Brick, but I'd like to hear a few different pres before I make that decision.

    hueseph, yes, the phantom power is turned on. :)

    The closet idea may be a good one, but unfortunately I don't have a walk in closet to use. I will certainly try a few more mic positions before I break down a buy something new. :)
     
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    While the SP mic and M-audio mic pre/interface are culprits because they are crap, there is no magic piece of gear you can buy that will fix something that may be more related to a lack of recording skills than a gear issue.

    Assuming that you have a decent sounding guitar to start with, and a player capable of getting the best out of the guitar, I would suggest before you spend any money on anythng, to work on mic placement. No shortcuts. Try different mic positions and angles. I'm not gonna give you any hints as that is part of the experience to obtaining the skills of recording that everyone should master on their own. But try everthing you can think of as well as recording in different rooms and places within each room.

    Now in the end, you still might not get what you are after, but this will get you off your ass and away from the internet so that you can gain real world recording experience that most people don't have or are to damm lazy to do. That kind of experience and repeating that kind of real world application experience will last you for many years to come in everything you record in the future.
     

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