Recording 2 guitars/2 vocals advice

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by lorenzo gerace, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002

    I'm about to start a new project in which I'll be recording two acoustic guitarists which also sing; they asked me to set up the session just like they would do live, so they will be singing and playing at the same time. I'll be setting them up in a rather small but good sounding room (all wood paneled with wood tile floor and a bowed celing); how would you mic them so as to get the minimum bleed of guitar into vocal mic and vice versa, and to get the minimum leakage between the two guitarists? I'm thinking about using some gobos or blankets so that they can see each other (one in front of the other) and still have some isolation.
    I've recorded acoustic guitar lots of times but I've never had to do vocals/guitar at the same time, so that's my main concern.
    Both guitars (and other instruments, like banjo or ukulele, which one of the two will occasionally play on some tracks) are outfitted with pickups, and I'll be recording them too together with the mic.
    Any advice or suggestions will be very much appreciated.

    L.G. :)
  2. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    First off I would give them a listen to see how well they can play and sing. If they sound great live tell them that they will save a ton of dough if they come to the studio well rehearsed. I would mic them in stereo in a good sounding room using XY miking. Put the XY condensor mics a few feet in front of them at guitar height plus one U87 vocal height between them about two feet or so away. Tell them not to work the mics but rather think of the three mics as one ambient mic. Pan the XY mics right and left and run the U87 down the middle. I've done a lot of oldtime and bluegrass bands this way and I'm always amazed at how well I can balance the vocals. If one isn't loud enough then you can usually bring them up in the mix a bit by bringing up the XY mic that was on his side. This will usually work unless one of the players plays and sings twice as loud as the other. (not too common as most acoustic acts practice without amps and are used to achieving a good acoustic blend}. Listen to the monitors and if one player is too loud then just back up his chair a bit. Fix the balance now rather then in the mix later. Don't worry about bleed. Bleed is your friend. Less is more- capture the energy, keep things moving, and just go for it knowing it's gonna sound great. Tell them you're just checking levels and then roll tape when they do the run through. Often it's the best take as they are relaxed and not thinking about "getting it right".
    Of course if one is a bad player or can't sing in tune then you would have to abandon this technique and go with a more isolated or individual approach to tracking.
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