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EV RE 20 for acoustic?

@Boswell, @bouldersound, @dvdhawk, @audiokid, @pcrecord, @Kurt Foster @kmetal, (or anyone else)

I have a client coming in later this week; a singer-songwriter who plays acoustic ( I don't know what model, he has several) and in our phone conversation, he was asking me about my mic selection; I gave him a general overview of what I had, and when I mentioned - in passing - that I have several dynamics, including an EV RE20, he got excited with the idea of me mic'ing his acoustic with it. Apparently, he recorded down south several years ago, ( Nashville) and he said that the engineer at that studio used an RE20 on his guitar, and he was very happy with the sound of it.

I didn't argue with him about it - I left the door open to the possibility - after all, he's the client and if he knows what he wants, and I can provide it, then it's not really up to me. He doesn't give the impression that he's new at this, so I said, "whatever you want..." and left it at that.

But I can honestly say that in all the years I've been doing this, I don't ever recall using an RE20 on an acoustic guitar - and while I really like RE20's for brass, sax, kick, floor toms, bass amps, and vocals, it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near my first choice for an acoustic guitar...

But, I'm totally willing to accept new ideas, and the possibility that it might very well sound decent, But ...sound really good? I dunno. Am I missing something? ( I'm not being a smart - a s s here guys, I'm totally sincere in my question...)

Truthfully I was planning on using a 414EB or NeumannU89 (my room has been treated fairly well, so using a condenser shouldn't be any problem...) and through a Grace M101 pre ( borrowed).

But he seems to be pretty adamant in his belief that the RE20 should be the go-to mic for his acoustic.

Which is why I'm checking with you all here - have any of you ever used this mic for acoustic guitar(s), and if so, do you have any tips for positioning/distance/angle? I honestly have no idea about placement of this mic on the guitar.

Thanks, :)
-donny

Comments

Profile picture for user Boswell

Boswell Mon, 03/27/2017 - 02:35

I've never used an RE20 on an acoustic guitar specifically for a recording session, but I have used one on guitar for PA purposes (where I did record the gig as well). It worked well enough, but would probably not be my first choice if I had the time to try a few other microphones. Such a lot depends on the style of music, the player, the instrument and, crucially, where it has to sit (sonically speaking) in a mix with everything else. If it were just voice and guitar, I would be itching to try other mics such as a pencil condenser or your C414 for comparison, maybe even recording them along with the RE20 at the same time.

I remember posting here last year sometime that I had been presented with a surprise fiddle player at a live multi-group event, and I had grabbed an RE20 for the fiddle because it was sitting wired-up mounted on a stand not being used at that time. I was really impressed by how the RE20 performed under the circumstances, given that there were many other instruments in action at various times throughout that number. I keep mentioning this, but I thought it sat in that particular mix better than the SM81 I would normally have used. It was a lesson to keep reminding myself not to consign mics only to certain roles.

pcrecord Mon, 03/27/2017 - 07:12

I had the similar experience with a Customer a while back. He had in his head of recording only with 2 x sm57 (vocal and acoustic guitar)
So I said 'Yes, we'll try it but I suggest to try other options as well' Lucky enough he was open to try, since I was too.
Thing is, he was not confortable to sing and play close to the mics so even if the 57s would have done an ok job, having them 2 feet away wasn't going to work.
We compared the results with 5 other vocal mics and a few recipe on the guitar and ended using an old Studio project C1 on the vocal and an M/S on the guitar (SM81 + KSM44)
In the process I was able to make him be a bit closer to the mics (1 ft) and the results was a lot better (even to his ears).

What my story tell is that if you stay open to your Customer pre-conceptions they will stay open for yours too (rather experience in that case).
But, if they thrust you to work solely to get the best sound possible for them, half of the job is done ! ;)

Profile picture for user rmburrow

rmburrow Mon, 03/27/2017 - 09:04

Boswell, post: 448887, member: 29034 wrote: I've never used an RE20 on an acoustic guitar specifically for a recording session, but I have used one on guitar for PA purposes (where I did record the gig as well). It worked well enough, but would probably not be my first choice if I had the time to try a few other microphones. Such a lot depends on the style of music, the player, the instrument and, crucially, where it has to sit (sonically speaking) in a mix with everything else. If it were just voice and guitar, I would be itching to try other mics such as a pencil condenser or your C414 for comparison, maybe even recording them along with the RE20 at the same time.

I remember posting here last year sometime that I had been presented with a surprise fiddle player at a live multi-group event, and I had grabbed an RE20 for the fiddle because it was sitting wired-up mounted on a stand not being used at that time. I was really impressed by how the RE20 performed under the circumstances, given that there were many other instruments in action at various times throughout that number. I keep mentioning this, but I thought it sat in that particular mix better than the SM81 I would normally have used. It was a lesson to keep reminding myself not to consign mics only to certain roles.

Installed a good number of RE20's at radio stations...sound good on the air and also take a beating from daily use...

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:47

Boswell, post: 448887, member: 29034 wrote: ...with a surprise fiddle player at a live multi-group event, and I had grabbed an RE20 for the fiddle because it was sitting wired-up mounted on a stand not being used at that time. I was really impressed by how the RE20 performed under the circumstances, given that there were many other instruments in action at various times throughout that number. I keep mentioning this, but I thought it sat in that particular mix better than the SM81 I would normally have used. It was a lesson to keep reminding myself not to consign mics only to certain roles.

pcrecord, post: 448895, member: 46460 wrote: What my story tell is that if you stay open to your Customer pre-conceptions they will stay open for yours too (rather experience in that case).

rmburrow, post: 448908, member: 46233 wrote: sound good on the air and also take a beating from daily use...

All useful thoughts, guys. :)
Thanks for replying... I really do appreciate it.

My instincts tell me that the RE 20 probably isn't the best choice, and I also thought that maybe, it's even possible that he's mistaken about the mic - perhaps thinking that the RE was used when it probably a condenser.
But, who knows? And, who knows about what he considers to be good-sounding, too...

And again, I have nothing at all against the EV RE20. I think it's a fine dynamic mic, I love the design and the way it handles proximity, and I've used it for all different kinds of applications over the years - brass sections, solo sax, kick drum, bass amp, guitar amps, vocals... and it's always performed exceedingly well for those things.

But, here's the thing -I'm more than happy to admit that by no means do I know all there is to know about mics.
I've used many different mics over the years, just like you guys have, but just because I haven't used the RE20 for this scenario, doesn't mean it's not possible that it couldn't work.
I'm willing to experiment and to try something new, not only to appease the client, but to also find out myself what will happen.

My Spidey-Senses tell me it probably won't sound as good as the condensers I would normally task for the job, but I can't say that unequivocally without trying it first.

I can report back later in the week, and if the client insists on using it, and is okay with me posting a sample here, I will. ;)

-d.

pcrecord Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:47

DonnyThompson, post: 448912, member: 46114 wrote: My Spidey-Senses tell me it probably won't sound as good as the condensers I would normally task for the job, but I can't say that unequivocally without trying it first.

I can report back later in the week, and if the client insists on using it, and is okay with me posting a sample here, I will. ;)

I had my share of fitting with stubburn musicians over the years... Took me time to finally let go.
I splitted a band I was in because the signer was demanding a vocal sound that wasn't appropriate for his voice and the song...
(Note that I was recording the album for free we had a technical language barrier because he knew nothing about recording and music in general. On top of this, he had the 'I'm a shinning star' complex that I despite...)

Make me think I should dig up those tracks and replay/remix them... That episode made me grow.

Educating the Customer to what good sounding is (if needed) and letting him/her decide seems like the best way to avoid confrontation.

Profile picture for user paulears

paulears Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:54

I've got a 320 and neither of the two settings sounds very good on acoustics - voice is fine, and it's not bad on my saxes, but very dull, and lacking in oomph on an acoustic guitar. My preamp isn't brilliant when I have to use too much gain. Is the RE20 any better?

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Mon, 03/27/2017 - 13:31

paulears, post: 448915, member: 47782 wrote: I've got a 320 and neither of the two settings sounds very good on acoustics - voice is fine, and it's not bad on my saxes, but very dull, and lacking in oomph on an acoustic guitar. My preamp isn't brilliant when I have to use too much gain. Is the RE20 any better?

I've never used the 320, so I couldn't compare them. On some vocalists, the RE20 sounds great, on others, not so much, but you can also find that difference with condensers too.
I've used U87's and 414's on some vocalists where for whatever reason - their timbre, their resonance, etc., I ended up using something else.
I remember recording a female vocalist once, we went through a U87, a U89 and a 414 EB, none of which sounded "good" on her voice... we finally found the right mic.... it was a Shure SM57... LOL

Profile picture for user dvdhawk

dvdhawk Mon, 03/27/2017 - 17:56

There's no harm in trying the RE20, but I'd keep the 414EB within arms reach. Or set them all up simultaneously and track them all.

Profile picture for user bouldersound

bouldersound Mon, 03/27/2017 - 19:28

One thing I've found with the Variable-D mics: on large sources up close they sound odd. I think the size of the source means much of the sound arrives from off axis and interacts poorly with the porting. Things sound thin. It's been a while since I've used an RE-20 on an acoustic, but that's the effect I recall.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Mon, 03/27/2017 - 20:32

I've never used and RE20 at all, so i'd personally try it just for that reason! Lol of course not without old faithful 414 or something like that. If for no other reason at all I'd have it up and in a good spot just for the ease of client mind.

Maybe re20 on acoustic is some Nashville trick that we haven't heard about yet. Or maybe the engineers u47 was in the shop that week lol.

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