mic for a martin

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by bdogg, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. bdogg

    bdogg Guest

    I have a Martin HD28 (the scalloped bracing means more low end than the D28), and a Shure KSM 27 for recording voice and guitar simultaneously.

    My $200 Yamaha sounds better than my $2000 Martin with this mic (but doesn't compare live), though the mic does a pretty good job for voice. I've even tried recording the guitar alone with the mic at a variety of locations (12 fret, bridge, etc), and distances (2" to 3-4 ft), but I can't get a clean, natural sound, none of that rich wood sound a live Martin produces. Do I need an additional mic, or do I need to sell the KSM 27 and start over? I could spend about $400 (maybe 500 if absolutely necessary). I'm recording with a Korg D1200 with phantom power. I'm desperate! Thanks for your help.
  2. A couple of positions to try:
    Place the mike two feet in front of the guitar almost where the neck meets the body, a little further over to the body side. Also, try setting the mike up so that it is pointing at the body either below or above the neck and strings.
    I've also had good results with one mike by placing the microphone in the standard 12th fret position (8-12 inches away from the guitar), but rather than pointing directly at the strings, angle the mike in toward the body (maybe a 30-45 degree angle). You don't want it pointing directly at the soundhole, but it should be pointing at the body, not the strings.
  3. Also, I haven't heard the KSM 27, but the KSM 32 and KSM 44 both work pretty well on guitar.

    Also, it would be helpful if you could describe what you are getting (rather than what you are not). Is the sound thin? Is it too scratchy? Muffled?
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey BDogg -

    Here's a couple thoughts -

    The Shure is a decent mic. Not great, but decent. The pre's in the Korg are, well, lifeless and dull. If you were to upgrade your pre, I think you'd be quite happy. GT Brick, Aphex 107/207, FMR - all good pres at or under your budget.

    Of course, if you want to change mics - I strongly encourage people to try the Audix line - particularly the SCX - 25 for guitars (and keyboards/pianos). It's a touch over your desired cap, but it's worth it.

    Check out the demos I did here:
    using the SCX-25s

    Good luck!!

  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Bdogg; I've been doing a lot of recording with a friend/ colleague who's got about 100K worth of assorted vintage guitars in his collection. (He wants to record some originals and standards, I have mics & pre's to test, so it all works out!)

    The main thing we've come to find is that placement and room acoustics is the next critical area (in line just behind player ability and the type of guitar.) We have gotten brilliant sound with a $50 Sears nylon string student guitar as well as his vintage Martins and John Zeidlers. (He's got an old Gibson hollow body that is estimated at around $30K, I believe, IF he were to sell it!)

    His home is all wood, with a main room that's large enough to function as our temp studio, and we're able to move him around to whatever position we find works the best. (I usually set up my gear in his kitchen. HA! The coffee is always close by, too! ;-)

    I've gotten some wonderful results with a variety of mics and pre's. The AT 4050 (as many here will attest) is hard to beat, same with the 4040, and most of the other ATs in that line. Ditto for my trusty KMi-84's (nice to use these for detail, and in stereo, with the AT4050 right in the middle for the big sound) I've also been demo'ing mics for MXL, and found the new V6 to be a real surprise for this kind of work as well. ($350 MSR, I'm told) It's party of their "Silicon Valve" series. Tube emulation with transistor circuitry. It's amazingly warm and detailed, hard to believe the results we got for the price.

    IMHO, mainly, it's how well the player works the instrument, the tone of the instrument itself, and then the mics & position. I don't own any of the Shure mics you mention, but I'm thinkinig it's got more to do with the room, the acoustics, and the positioning than spending a lot more on equipment, at least for now.

    We were stunned at the various changes in tone from each guitar for our tests; some just SANG on their own, and some were absolute dogs to record. Some were ridiculously easy to get a great sound, and some we just gave up on, no matter what mics, pre's or positions we tried.

    I really do believe you've got to get the sound in FRONT of the mics together first, everything else is icing on the cake.
  6. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    We record Dreadnaught sized Martins here a lot....depending on what you're after, you could try placing your Shure mic 8 or so inches from the soundhole, but pointed towards the headstock....this will reduce the low end whomp of a D sized guitar and boost the mids/highs a touch on the way in....

    FWIW I prefer AT4033, Josephson C42s, or even a high end dynamic (RE16, etc)....FOR D sized anythings....
  7. bdogg

    bdogg Guest

    Thanks everyone for responding. To answer James_Jonasson’s question, my guitar through the ksm 27 sounds dull, like a cardboard box. I’ve experimented with lots of mic placements, but I’ll try the suggestions here. I figured it must be my mic being unable to handle the subtlety and richness of a decent guitar (since my inexpensive Yamaha sounds ok), and I still wonder, since I haven’t had a chance yet to try out any of your suggestions.

    Could a pre make as big a difference as getting a different mic? (Great sounding recordings Cucco!) I’ve never used anything but phantom power, so I don’t know how much a pre can affect the sound. What about if I traded up to a AT 4033? Or if I added a second mic?

    Also, my recording space is a carpeted, decent-sized bedroom. Is this something I need to somehow compensate for? If so, how?

    Thanks a lot you guys.
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