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When life gives you lemons...

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by NCdan, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    So, here is my situation, I'm working in a foreign country for a year. I obviously didn't ship my entire studio, in fact, I only brought the bare essentials: cheap interface, Audition 3.0, 2 cheap mics and some cables, decent headphones, and I bought a $150 acoustic from a local dealer. The apartment I'm in has a wood floor and a very high ceiling, which means there is some nasty reverb going on. I haven't recorded yet, but there's a pretty good chance the natural acoustics won't work in my favor. Anyway, I'm basically fishing for advice on how to make the best of the acoustics and how to make the $150 acoustic guitar sound as good as possible (anything from strings to mic placement to mixing tricks). So, fire away.
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mineral wool or 703 absorption panels are going to be your best bet.

    Pop this question over to the acoustic forum with room details, and I'm sure Rod (et al) will give you a hand with it.
  3. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    True. Could be sort of hard to find and pricey in South Korea, though. I don't really want to double post, but if a mod wants to bump this thread over to the acoustic music forum then they can go for it; I just wasn't sure where to put this thread. All in all, I'm looking for any and every suggestion. I'm pretty sure I know the expensive ones, but suggestions are simple as 'try using _____ type of strings to bring more body to the guitar' are welcome.

    Oh, and just to clarify... I don't want to sound like I"m bitter about my job -- the title is talking about the cheap gear I have to record with. Not that I'm bitter about the cheap gear as I could have brought much nicer stuff, so I guess the title isn't very good, but whatever... 8)
  4. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    GHS Phosphor Bronze are a great string for bringing the true personality out of a cheap guitar.
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    NOTHING is going to change the characteristics of the instrument to compensate for poor room acoustics.

    Mineral wool is evidently pretty much universally available. At least look into it.

    You should at least put broadband bass trapping in the corners, and maybe/probably some ~2'x4' panels at major reflection points.

    Again, hard to say until you give up more details.
  6. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I haven't tried those strings before. My whole philosophy thus far with cheap acoustic guitars has been: use really thick flatwounds to tame the shrillness and give extra oomph. But, the 13's are just too much for this guitar :lol: , and they seem to do more than just tame the shrillness, but they tend to change the whole frequency response by taking the natural U frequency response an acoustic has and making it almost flat. Sorta strange. I can probably find just about any type of string at a dealer here, but a specific brand's phosphor bronze string might be hoping for a bit much, but we'll see.
  7. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    "GHS Phosphor Bronze are a great string for bringing the true personality out of a cheap guitar." MT3000

    The only problem is the true personality of a cheap guitar is that it is cheap. LOL

    Though I agree the first place to start to get the best tone out of a guitar is the strings, if this a true acoustic you might also want to try Martin silk and steels, they are a quieter string and that sometimes helps.
  8. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I'm sure the guys at work will know exactly what I'm talking about when ask them where I can find mineral wool. :lol: Hmmm, I don't have any measurements, but I can jump and not even come close to touching the ceiling, and it's flat. There's a loft that adds some nasty acoustics, and the kitchen is wide open and facing the living room (the only room) with a hallway to the front door coming out the back of the kitchen. Pretty much a big cavern. Probably not much help, but we are talking serious echo here. I guess the bottom line is price. I brought cheap gear because mostly because I didn't want expensive gear to get stolen or to get stuck in the mindset of "if I just get ____ for $200 my sound will be sooooooo much better." I only get two suitcases for my return flight, so I don't want to load up on stuff during my year here. But I do think that some sort of sound dampening or at least finding a clever way to avoid some acoustic issues is in order.
  9. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Quiet strings... not a bad idea. I will do a test recording sometime during this week with the current strings, and I'll see just how the acoustics interact with the vox and guitar. But my first adventure will be finding a mic stand or two.
  10. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Gobos....it's all the rage in South Korea.

    Or is that protection from nuclear fallout?

    Nope, it's gobo's!
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Why would anyone use flatwounds on an acoustic guitar? Talk about dull and lifeless...most really good sounding rooms have a high ceiling. Proper mic technique will allow you to use this to your advantage.

    A gobo is the best way to control sound at the source. Rent office dividers and packing blankets so you dont have to worry about shipping them home later on.
  12. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Silk and steel strings are not flatwound. Who said anything about flatwound?
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Read up J....not directed at you.
  14. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    my bad
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Here is my take on this. You have high ceilings. That's good. The room may in fact actually not be quite bright or live enough? I say you take the negative aspects and turn them into a positive. Don't try to eliminate it. Work with it. Find the best places in the room. Let your recording accentuate the acoustics and use the acoustics. This makes more sense than trying to create a dead box. You might want to try and make some metallic reflective GOBO's out of some sheet metal. This will create harder bright reflections while possibly adding some reverb of its own much in the way a plate reverb unit functions. So make things more reflective. This will cause more acoustic excitement in that room's environment. So do the opposite of what you think the problem is. That's creative engineering. That's thinking inside the box.

    Boxed in
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  16. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Faltwounds have worked well for me so far on cheap acoustic guitars (the only acoustic guitars I've actually owned); they seem to help with taking the brittleness out of the cheap guitar, but then again, they do sort of screw up the natural EQ curve an acoustic has, so they're a double edged sword I suppose. Either way, I do need to get some new strings as the guitar just isn't handling the 13's very well.

    Inexpensive and resourceful -- that is the kind of advice I like. :D

    So, by my extremely professional testing (which is comprised of me saying "ah" and clapping and listening for the reflections), if I face either of the two walls I get the most high end reflections, facing the window (which runs almost the entire length and width of the wall) I get maybe half of the reflections, and facing the kitchen I get the least amount of reflections. The kitchen itself is fairly dead and sounds very boxed in. So, I suppose that I should just do some tests and figure out where things sound the best. The sheet metal gobo suggestion is interesting, and I would imagine that sort of thing wouldn't be too hard to come across.
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Glyn Johns did something similar to that for Led Zeppelin. Some kind of metallic reflectors It caused a lot of the resonance & ringing. And what was that Led Zeppelin drum sound all about? Yup, you got it. For other instruments you might need or want to use moving blankets. You might want to create a wall full of bookshelves loaded up with many different sized books. It's a heavy massive diffuser. A lot of James Taylor's stuff was recorded in an old house somewhere in Stockbridge Massachusetts. Of course they brought in an API board with a 3M 16 track machine and that newfangled DBX noise reduction stuff. No special acoustic stuff was added to the old structure. Work it baby work it.

    I'm waiting for the big surprise?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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