solo acoustic guitar and vocal tunes

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by booglebop, May 13, 2004.

  1. booglebop

    booglebop Guest

    This is my first post so i wanted to say hey to everybody. Anyway here's my question:

    i am recording a bunch of tunes that are just acoustic guitar (1 or 2 parts) and vocals (1 or 2 parts). I have listened to tons of recordings and read numourous articles on recording acoustic guitars, but i still can't seem to get the sound i am looking for. I have a Martin D-41 so i know it's not the instrument that is the problem. I am using a KSM-27 to mic it and i also have a matrix 2 saddle pickup. I have tried blending the two signals, double tracking the guitar, changing mic placement, compression, EQs, Delays, Reverbs, and i just can't seem to get a full thick, in your face acoustic sound. Obviously the quality of the mic is important but i have no money so a Neumann is out of the question. I've also read that x/y stereo micing works well but don't have the money for anymore mics.(does stereo miking really make such a huge difference?) Supposedly the KSM-27 is supposed to be great for both vocals and acoustic guitars. So i am hoping that i just haven't EQed or worked the delays correctly. Any help would be appreciated. The tone doesn't sound that bad on the recording, it just lacks size and dimension and some sparkle at the top. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks guys. :) oh yeah, i'm using the digi001 and protools LE 5.3.1
  2. BarefootStudios

    BarefootStudios Active Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Acoustic Guitar Recording

    Hey there. I have found that 2 mic's are essential to get the sound you are looking for.(Espcially on a boomy Martin-trust me,I use a Martin D-42).Best bet it to use a small condenser mic (is use andAT4041,4051 or the like) about 6" from the 12 fret (If there is a capo this could vary) and a large condenser mic about 2 feet away off the lower bout.(I use and AT 4050 usually) and blend the two..You get the click,and string noise from the small and the fullness from the large.Of course, the shape and size of the room,will add it own tone to the overall sound.Don't forget to roll off the low end when mixing! Good luck and have fun, Barefoot
  3. booglebop

    booglebop Guest

    Thanks for the input barefoot :) i am recording in my apartment so it's a pretty dead environment. Do you think the 2 condenser set up will still work or do i need a "live" environment? Any other suggestions for the smaller condenser, i'm kinda on a tight budget... you think a sm57 would do the trick or are the audio technicas definately the way to go? Thanks again.
  4. LilHabanero

    LilHabanero Active Member

    May 13, 2004
    Home Page:
    For small condensor mics for acoustic guitar I'd go with either the MXL 603 or the MK012 if you're on a budget. But make sure you test the Oktavas before you buy. They have a bad reputation for quality control. The MXL 603 can be had for around $90 from quite a few places. Not sure about the Oktavas.
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I just ordered a pair of Studio Projects C4's from sweetwater- $319 ia a steal shipping included...
  6. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    Thinking your guitar is not a problem is a mistake. Dreadnaughts--regardless of quality--are notoriously difficult to record because of the relative loudness of the bass response.

    I like all of the advice given so far. You do need two mics IMO. You can buy a Marshall MXL 603s for $79 to compliment your KSM 27. If you can afford the SP C4 pair (which include omni), these will open up a whole new world for you. If you don't play too softly, the Behringer ECM 8000 ($40 but a little noisey) is an omni mic that I have paired with a cardioid and achieved good results. Omnis don't have proximity effect and can be placed close to the instrument near the sound hole to get a big bass sound without being boomy. Then place the KSM 27 on the neck between the 9th and 12th fret. Adjust to taste.
  7. booglebop

    booglebop Guest

    Thanks Shelltone. one of the problems i seem to be having is signal to noise ratio. i can't place the ksm27 more than say 12 inches away from the guitar or i pick up to much noise. I assume this is characteristic of the mic (but i am not that knowledgable on mic choice...other than the differences between omni, cardioid, etc...) For those of you that have used these C4s, how is the signal to noise ratio, and what are your general opinions? as i am tight on cash at the moment if they are the missing link that i need i will take the plunge. :)
  8. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    When you say you are picking up "noise" do you mean the boomy bass response? If so, angle the mic slightly away from the soundhole. For a single mic technique, I like the mic about 18" - 24" straight out from the neck joint. Then I play with the angle (toward the soundhole, away from the soundhole) until I get the sound I want.
  9. krash

    krash Guest

    Do yourself a favor and get a Behringer ECM8000 for $40. Move it around and get your basic acoustic guitar sound from it (somewhere near the neck joint, 5-10" away usually works, but I don't really record big Martins much).

    The noise thing is a myth. Most of the noise difference between the Behringer omni and a cardiod such as a MXL 603s is ambient sound. You can place the omni much closer to the guitar and get more "signal" and less "noise" without getting proximity effect.

    By "noise" I'm guessing you're talking about string noise? Finger noise? Breathing? Your arm on the guitar top? ??

    I agree about putting the KSM mic about 2-3 feet away from the guitar to get a more "full" or "roomy" sound, and get a small diaphragm mic (like the ECM8000 or one of the Oktava or MXL already mentioned) close to the guitar to get whatever detail. You will probably want to pan them a little bit to get a bit of a stereo effect.

    Good luck-

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