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Mic choice and placement?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by IanW-UK, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. IanW-UK

    IanW-UK Guest

    Hi all, I've attached a short clip of an acoustic part. I can't get it to sound anything like I want it to. I think part of the problem is my lack of mics. How would you guys approach recording a part like this. The tune is mostly just this part and a vocal. How would you mic the guitar and what mics/pres would you choose that you think might suit the part? I'm finding it hard to get a balance as the part alternates between the "bass string picking" bit and strumming in the choruses. The guitar is a Santa Cruz "om" and I'm nowhere near doing justice to how it sounds in reality.


    I appreciate any help you can give (I need it! :d: )

  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Well I don't do MP3 unless I'm paid money, but I can tell you that if the mic placement one way is not working for you, then you go try another until you find one that does or until you find the least worst mic placement. Try different mics, different types of mics as well as mabe combine a few mics. This is the process used for learning and gaining experience.

    It could very well be that the guitar being used is the wrong choice for the song or style of music and will never give the sound, tone or the balance that you seek.
  3. MikoMader

    MikoMader Guest

    What did you use to get that sound? You're right it doesn't do the guitar justice. Orchestra and Grand Concert bodies are far more tricky to capture than say a Dreadnought or Jumbo.

    I usually place a small diaphragm aimed at the fretboard between the 12th fret and the soundhole somewhere. Mics that work well here are KM 184, Oktava MC012, Shure sm81 or even the Shure SM 91 podium condenser mic.(my favorite) A mic here will find the detail of the string and picking.

    Next I place a large diaphragm mic below the bridge. The bracing of every body style guitar is different. But the X-bracing will create a sweetspot somewhere on the guitar's top around the bridge. This will give you the bottom as well as the "woody" sounds of the guitar. I've had good results with the MD 421, dare I say Rode NT1, Lawson L47, U87, and Oktava MKL2500.

    As far as phase goes, one will usually serve as the dominant, and the other is there to fill it out. That's up to your ears.

    BTW. For anyone else that reads this. I highly recommend you buy a Shure SM 91 podium condenser for your studio. Applications like this beg for one sometimes. Great top end and proximity effect.
  4. IanW-UK

    IanW-UK Guest

    Thanks Audiogaf. Lighten up about mp3's will ya :) Next time I can afford to go mic shopping I'll check out the ones you mentioned too.


  5. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    I agree with your placement of one mic at the twelveth fret angled slightly in at about a 45 degree angle toward the sound hole. Distance from the neck depends on the mic. I get very good results from two oktava mc-012's. I use the cardiod capsules. With the oktava's you can place one at the 12th fret about 8-12 inches away from the neck. Be careful not to aim too much toward the sound hole to avoid boomyness. This sounds like what your clip may have going on. You can probably improve the sound you have with some light eq'ing. Add a little highs, and cut a little of the bass frequencies. If you use headphones to find the sweet spot of the guitar, you shouldn't need a lot of eq though. The second mic should be about three times the distance from the guitar. I like having the second mic above the player's right ear, aiming downward toward the saddle. I haven't had phase problems with this placement, and think it sounds pretty good. You're on the track, just fine tune a bit on placement. I think different stings might help you too. Good luck.

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I like a large diaphragm condenser at the twelfth fret straight at the neck.. not angled at the sound hole.. The soundhole is a bass port. The sound comes off the soundboard and the fretboard..

    I have a bunch of different examples of acoustic guitar through different mic pres and mics, on different selections I posted here..

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    Those should keep you busy for a while and give you a good idea what some different mics and pres sound like..
  7. IanW-UK

    IanW-UK Guest

    Thanks guys, lots of things to try :)

    Rob, thanks I've tried the over the shoulder thing but, thinking about it, I haven't done that since I got my valve mic. I'll give it a go again :)

    Kurt, thanks you answered my other post too about samples of the Sebatron. Very nice sounding pre. I think a VMP 4000 might well have to be my next pre purchase.

    btw Kurt, have you tried any of the red 5 stuff? It's all cheap but along the same sort of lines as the studio projects stuff. http://www.red5audio.com might be worth a review?
  8. IanW-UK

    IanW-UK Guest

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  9. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    A couple of thoughts. Try a pair of mics, as others have suggested. A SD and LD might do the trick. Consider changing the strings. Your SCGC OM sounds like an ei rosewood/sitka instrument, and it may like a set of Elixir Nanowebs or D'Addario EXPs. Nice guitar, BTW.
  10. missilanious

    missilanious Guest

    yeah those nanowebs have to be my favorite sounding strings to date, they also feel like a million dollars. Well also I would say put your finger in one ear, and with the your other ear find the sweet spot on your guitar while someone else is playing remember that spot, put a large diapram mic there, and if it close to the soundhole always have your mic at an angle so its not going to pick up the boomyness of the guitar. A placement i use and like consist of a AT4033, again as mentioned before near the twelth fret, but instead of dirrectly facing the soundboard I'll put it at a 45 almost parellel with the strings angled towards the port, this always gives a full bodied sound with one mic without the boomyness. Just to add this was a tequnique I learned from someone else and have been using this since.
  11. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I tried downloading the example, but found I had to register first.

    The NowhereRadio site has a corrupt or missing PTR record for reverse DNS. This means many mail servers (including mine) will reject everything from a mail server with improper credentials. This is basic Anti-Spam 101, so I sent a note to Waldo about correcting it.

    This is most likely the reason behind the disclaimer on the Nowhere Radio site about mail being "lost" by various servers. I suspect it is being rejected outright, not lost.
  12. IanW-UK

    IanW-UK Guest

    Thanks for the ideas guys :) I have the d'addario exps on there now and I don't much like em but I'll try the nanowebs, thanks. I like the idea of finding the sweet spot with someone else playing too, I'll have to try that.

    Bgavin, the tune is also hosted on my site, there's a link at the bottom of my first post in the audio projects thread.

    Cheers, you've all been most helpful :cool:

  13. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Sometimes a large d condenser used as a rom mic can add to the sound.
  14. MikoMader

    MikoMader Guest

    I such a fuggin' retard! I meant to steer all of you towards the Shure SM99. Sorry 'bout that.
  15. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Home Page:
    Take all of these wonderful suggestions and get yourself a pair of great sealed headphones with an element you can trust. I use the Remote Audio HN-7506's, which are Sony 7506's in a pair of high quality hearing protectors.

    Then listen to the placement of the mics live and get used to hearing stuff. Training your ears is the best investment of all.

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