Six Samples of Mics on Acoustic Guitar *VLB Version

Discussion in 'Synths / Samplers & VSTi' started by mwacoustic, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    *Very Low Budget :)

    Inspired by Bent's drum samples (now stickied in the Recording Studio here), I thought I would do an A/B/C/D/... comparison amongst various mics on acoustic guitar.

    Only problem is, I don't have any great mics. I've got 6 different kinds, and none did I spend over $100 bucks for. But still, I figured I could at least try and learn something, train my ears a bit, and maybe even have you guys illustrate some of the finer points (if there are any).

    The setup was very simple, just strumming my Martin dred with each mic 10 inches away, pointed at where the neck meets the body. I did absolutely zero to make any of these sound "good" - no eq, reverb, compression, nada. And oh, yeah, I don't really have a good room, acoustics-wise. The only post processing I did was normalizing each clip to get pretty much the same amplitude.

    Here's the clips:

    Tell me what you hear. I don't want to prejudice any comments by revealing any more about the mics just yet (if there is enough interest, I'll be happy to name names later) - just that 4 are dynamic and 2 are condensers.

    Look forward to your comments!

    ps - I won't be offended if someone posts something similar with better equipment. In fact, I'd love to hear it! (hint, hint)
  2. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    nice work ! i've been thinking about doing one of these mic shoot-outs too.

    i think i like the first one (#6) the most

    which is which???????
  3. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    I like # 3, what is what?
  4. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Not trying to be coy, but i'm going to wait until more folks have had a chance to chime in before I reveal the mics.

    In the meantime, can you guys describe what makes you prefer one over the other?
  5. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    I like 6 the best and 3 the worst. I like the mellowness of number 4 though.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I like the idea of the comparison of the mics. Its very revealing about the basic tonal aspects of all of the unnamed mics.

    Not scientific by any means and an acoustic guitar is a very hard subject to use as a revelation about mics. Very much like a voice which also has many overtones and subtextures in the whole sound.

    That being said this a a very good trial and thanks.

    I wouldnt use any of these mics with what I heard . They all have distinct problems in the low-mids and while as a solo instrument, these might stand, in a mix with other instruments operating in a similar frequency range, you would be hard pressed to get these sounds 'out' and separated from any others.

    I like the guitar, however, and I'm sure that placement and some low-cut would help these mics tremendously.

    As it is, it would be hard for me , personally, to chose.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I'm with Dave, it's a very interesting test and will probably be useful to a lot of people. Having a good guitar helps.

    I agree with Dave that there seems to be consistent problems in the low mids, and that makes me wonder if the room isn't a big source of this problem. The biggest problem with a small untreated room is that it has uneven response in the low mids. Another reason I say this is that I figured I'd play "spot the SM57" when I read the nature of the test. I've not recorded acoustic guitar with it since the old tape days, but I've used it to mic acoustics live all the time. I couldn't spot it with any certainty and I would expect it to perform better at the low end than any of the samples here. So here I am blaming your room rather than my poorly trained ears. (Of course, I'm just guessing that a 57 was one of the mics.)
  8. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Personally, I liked 5 and 6. There were some nice qualities with #4 but way too boomy. I have to agree the low mids are a problem. I have difficulty with this in my room as well. Anxiously waiting for some good advice.
  9. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Thanks, everyone. Just a couple clarifications:

    As Dave pointed out, this is not a scientific test, nor was it intended to be. I'm not trying to pick which is the best mic, or even which is the best acoustic guitar sound. Both are very subjective, and yes, all of the samples fall victim to the lack of a treated room.

    The placement was not optimized for any of them, just for easy repeatability. I literally just sat down and pressed record without any effort. So please (for any newbies reading this, especially) don't imply that any the results here are a tutorial for "how to record acoustic guitar".

    The point is mainly to observe some general characteristics/differences between the various models. So far, I'm not sure if I'm more surprised how similar they are or how different they are.

    If you haven't listened yet and don't want to know the "answers", stop now and don't read the next post.

    [Spoiler Alert!]
  10. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Ok, so here they are...

    #1) Electro-Voice (not sure exact model) This vocal mic was rescued after getting thrown away (literally thrown across the room) by a choir director who thought it was going dead. A little solder and electrical tape and it seems to work fine (still, about 10 years later). The tape holding it together is covering the model number, though.

    #2) B**#@$R large diaphragm condenser B-1. Bought it before I knew better, but I can't say I hate it.

    #3) B**#@$R small diaphragm condenser C-2. Listen closely at the beginning and you can hear the hum. Nearly unuseable because it is so noisy, but I found that if I first run it through another mixer's preamp to boost the signal a bit and then into my interface/mixer, I don't get nearly as much noise. Wierd. Bought this as part of a pair, and they are the best pair of SDC's I own. Also the only pair of SDC's I own. :)

    #4) Shure PE56D, which my uncle gave me years ago to help get my high-school garage band started. It has been spit on, tossed around, dropped in the snow multiple times, and was generally abused. I don't really use it anymore, but don't want to get rid of it.

    #5) Radio Shack special. 'Nuff said. Forgot I even had it.

    #6) Shure SM57. Yes, there was a 57 in there!
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Hmmm... 3 would actually sit back in a mix quite well...
  12. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    I picked 3 because it didn't sound as muddy. My PC is loud so I didnt hear the hum.... This is concerning to me...... Noob lesson #1 quiet your PC so you can hear hum......

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