Skip to main content

please find here short clips of recording a Classical Guitar (actually a flamenco guitar) with a classical piece (Lagrima by Tarrega).

M160 is obviously Byerdynamic ribbon hypercardioid (approx. 40 cm from guitar tworads 12th fret) and very close to it an Akg C460B (Jim WIlliams moded) with CK3 hypercardiod capsule, pointing parallel to M160.
The different takes are using different buffer amps like Churchpipes, FetHead and Cloudlifter as well as none. With the same front number is the simultaneous recording via AKG.

All records mono and mixed down to stereo after all being mono-normalized to -1.5dB to have comparable levels; no else processing whatsoever.

Here's the link:


let me know what you think, please!


paulears Tue, 07/17/2018 - 09:41

Well - one sounded a little brighter than the other mic of course, but I'm afraid I cannot quantify any differences between the pre-amps. For me, there is a much bigger problem and that's the string noise. I found it enough to spoil the recording. I have never been a fan of miking the neck on a good guitar, preferring the sound of the right hand fingers and the real sound of the guitar. The left hand fingers create annoyance rather than detail. Not sure if this picture will link -

Herbie Flowers and Richard Durrant. That guitar was built for him and the sound so 'as he wanted' that it has no finish on the top. He was worried that lacquer or varnish would spoil the sound. I intended using an AKG 414 but Richard provided a very old 451, and he set it up himself. It sounds a little too clean to me - but he likes it.


rojarosguitar Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:58

The string noise is probably my shoddy playing, sorry for that. But I think there are places without string noise where one could look for the differences; in my feeling the four recordings with M160 are all subtly different and all warmer than the condenser (which by itself would stand quite well). Off all M160 with buffer amp I'm mostly drawn to CL which I liked least with other ribbons ...

I agree fully that the string shifting noises are distracting and that tells me two things: 1. work on my shifting technique (anyway ;)) and 2. improve the mic positioning by redirecting them away from the neck.

Thanks a lot for your exhaustive comment!

Boswell Thu, 07/19/2018 - 05:52

I often use the Beyer M160 ribbon, frequently in conjunction with the M130 in an M-S configuration. I have not had a lot of success with the M160 on its own on an acoustic guitar, preferring instead standard moving-coil dynamic mics for this job. However, the M160/130 combination gives lovely results with choirs and other wide sound sounces, as there is no off-axis fall-off in quality of the signal that condenser microphones and even some moving-coil dynamics are prone to.

Below is an MP3 excerpt from an acoustic guitarist's live performance (not me!) that I recorded in a very echoey acoustic. It illustrates good and bad in a recording. There is excellent musical playing, along with loud finger squeaks, difficult venue acoustics and many of the other problems that plague live recording engineers.

The performer was seated with a large acoustic mat in front of him. It was recorded using a single Shure Beta57A moving-coil dynamic going into a microphone input of an A+H Zed-R16 mixer and out via ADAT to an Alesis HD24XR recorder. The microphone was about 350mm (14") away from the guitar, level with the 12th fret, and directed at the point on the guitar where the neck joins the body, although this detail varied due to performer movement. There is some acoustic return from the PA loudspeakers.

I also recorded the guitarist's pickup, but did not use that directly in the mix. Instead, I fed it into a a Lexicon MPX550 to provide a small amount of wide (L-R) reverb, which I mixed in to give a little subjective stereo positioning effect.

rojarosguitar Thu, 07/19/2018 - 09:43

Boswell, post: 458247, member: 29034 wrote: I often use the Beyer M160 ribbon, frequently in conjunction with the M130 in an M-S configuration. I have not had a lot of success with the M160 on its own on an acoustic guitar, preferring instead standard moving-coil dynamic mics for this job.

Thanks for your sound post, sounds interesting, though a bit noisy. String noise is also excessive... might come in through the piezzo as well...
Would be interesting how your mic config works with classical guitar.

Why didn't you have success with M160 on acoustic guitar, what do you think? In my perception it's somewhere in between the magneto-dynamic (with a diaphragm) and a condenser; it's a bit less resolved but not as opaque as e.g. SM57 seems to be... I find it quite warm and alive, and the proximity effect can be taken care of by a HP filter.

Boswell Thu, 07/19/2018 - 10:37

rojarosguitar, post: 458248, member: 51093 wrote: Why didn't you have success with M160 on acoustic guitar, what do you think?

It varied from performer to performer, and with the model of guitar used. There were two main problems when trying the M160: sound-hole boom and a dull attack. Any microphone can give sound-hole boom if positioned incorrectly, but I found it difficult to get a good balance that captured the overall sound of the instrument without having boomy low-mids. The dull attack is simply that the highest frequencies are not as well represented with the M160 as with a condenser or even the Beta57A. I don't use an SM57 for miking an acoustic guitar.

You jumped to a wrong conclusion about the pickup - it was not a piezo, but a top-end under-bridge type. It gave an excellent sound on its own, but in the PA system the acoustic sound as captured by a microphone better represented the instrument than the signal from the pickup. In addition, it's never easy to get a correct mix of pickup sound (however high the pickup quality) and acoustic sound from a microphone at 200 - 400mm distance because of (a) the time delay of around a millisecond for the wave travel to the microphone, and (b) the different phasing of the sound from a vibration in the string (or the bridge) and the acoustic wave. It's largely for that reason that I include only effected signal from the pickup at mixdown, where delay is a part of the effect and phase is of little consequence.

timmayock Mon, 02/17/2020 - 06:11

I just tried my M-160 with a cloudlifter and a Daking pre-eq and got some good results. My thinking is I can't really hear the ribbon's best assets without some eq. I liked being able to cut at 220hz around 3-5 db and using a high pass.
I struggle with string noise also. Awareness and practice will help. I think ribbons are slightly less prone to string noise than small diarphram condesners.
I have never found a pickup that I've liked for recording. My experience is more strumming steel string guitar and a old Favilla student classical guitar.


User login