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Has anyone tried doing an X-Y configuration in front and an over the shoulder mic on acoustic guitar?

I know its common to use the X-Y and I know some people use the over the should and one mic in front but has anyone used this combination with good results? Im just curios.

I have a session thursday and I'm thinking about trying this.


anonymous Tue, 02/22/2005 - 06:39


Recording acoustic guitar is my "thing" - that's not to say I'm an expert, but I've had some experience. Re. your suggestions:

1. "Over the shoulder": supposed to capture what the player hears due to proximity to the ear. Hate it. With another mic anywhere else then phase problems abound.

2. X/Y gives a very tight (aka narrow) stereo image but it's 100% mono compatible so if radio plays are a priority, this may the configuration of choice. I find it uninvolving due to the narrow stereo image - but it's favoured by many. I suspect classical guitar is most suited to this. As for X/Y over the shoulder together. No, I've not tried it. Can't see how I'd get a balanced sound. I presume you mean right shoulder. What about what my left ear hears?

4. Spaced pair. Good for 30 foot wide guitars. No usable mono playback (IMHO).

3. ORTF (capsules 17cm apart, angled at 110 degrees.) Supposed to emulate listener's head charactaristics - it's my favourite as getting reliable and repeatable results. Can result in some phase cancellation issues but never to the extent of ruining a mono playback, in my experience. Experiment with mic / guitar distance. Anything from 30cm to 3 metres (!) according to taste and room quality.

But - and this is strictly a personal preference - I've opted for a 'quasi-ORTF' set-up: I have the capsules 17cm apart, per above, but at a bit of narrow angle (between 70 and 90 degrees). This gives me a realistic but spacious image.

All the above is using cardioid condensers. Other techniques are available with other mic types but that's outside my competence.

But... you probably knew all of this, so apologies for going on.

There is a very interesting thread about recording classical guitar technique over in the Acoustic Music sub-forum. You might like to check it out. Good luck.

stickers Tue, 02/22/2005 - 08:05

I think they use over the right ear for 2 reasons. One is that a guitarist usually has his head turned to the left which would make his left ear face away from guitar and the second reason is that typically in addition to the over the shoulder mic there is another mic in front of the guitar where the neck meets the body of the guitar (12th fret).

Thanks for the info and advise.

I was going to use the x-y and over the right shoulder mic and then line up the wave forms if needed.

But maybe ill just try the ORTF technique you mentioned.