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  #1  
Old 07-23-2020, 06:24 PM
mophilly mophilly is offline
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Default Taylor ES1 or mic?

PT 2020.5
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013) running 10.15.6 with 8GB RAM*

I started a track with the Taylor guitar hooked in via the ES1 system through the Scarlett. Buzzy, clipping sound in the track.Now, I don't much about this, but learning.

I don't see the instrument input red lining in the DAW. The Focusrite doesn't indicate overload, either.

I am thinking...
- new batteries in the ES1 system (easy)
- double check the input levels on the guitar, interface and daw (easy)
- switch to a more traditional mic on the guitar (ok, but...)
- something I am not aware of?

I would love some advice, links, and so on.


* I realize 8GB RAM isn't much these days, and using PT is not certified for 10.15.6. Lumps accepted where deserved. Also, saving pennies for a system.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:22 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is online now
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Most folks that record acoustic guitar want the sound of a good mic. Having said that, you still should be able to get clean and clear sound via the pickup(though the Taylor Expression system is not my favorite). How exactly did you connect the guitar? How high is the meter showing on the track? In general, a standard guitar cable should be okay, but acoustic pickups are often unhappy going into any input that is not extremely high-impedance(reason for many to use a DI box or external preamp/pedal made for acoustics). As for level(the meter on the track), aim for just reaching the yellow, and stay away from red. With most acoustics, running direct won't sound very good without some EQ, compression and maybe a touch of reverb(just enough so you can tell when its muted).

Your results with a mic can be a mixed bag. If the room is untreated(or poorly treated), even a great mic can give bad sound. With no treatments, get a couple of moving blankets(thicker is better) and a couple of mic stands with booms. Drape the blankets over the booms and experiment with placement. With decent headphones, you can hear when you get the mic in a good spot, so move until you like it. With only 2 blankets, I'd start with a VEE in front of you and just far enough away that you can still place the mic where you want(a foot away at the neck/body joint is a good starting point). If the floor is hard, get a small rug. If you have no mics yet, I'd shop for a used small condenser(although I have a friend that made some really good acoustic recordings with a Shure Beta87). If you're new to this stuff, there's a lot to learn, so try to have fun with it and don't beat yourself up. Nobody hits a homerun the first few times
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:18 PM
Obsidian Dragon Obsidian Dragon is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

What Albee1952 said above is a condensed version his what every acoustic guitar recording effort should learn. Think of it as "Acoustic Guitar Recording 101." There are many other techniques and tricks, but this is the tried and true basics to start with. Personally, I use both the ES1 and the condenser mic to get slightly different results. The ES1 provides for a strong steel string sound that is right for certain situations. But as Albee1952 said, there is need for EQ, Compression, and a touch of reverb. The condenser mic gives a more accurate "woody" acoustic guitar sound and mic placement makes a huge difference. To my ears, this method of recording matches more closely to what I hear from the naked guitar, if that is what I want. Room treatment helps tame the sound, but sometimes I like to keep a little real hard surface bounce back to achieve the character I want. Experiment a lot as that is half the fun. I like to spend time experiencing the process instead of just concentrating on the finished product. But then again, this is with my own projects and not with paying clients with budgets and deadlines. Finally, a great preamp or DI box can achieve great results too.
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Last edited by Obsidian Dragon; 07-23-2020 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 07-24-2020, 04:10 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Doing some digging and I found out that the ES1 system uses a balanced output connection. See this article: https://ronhackettmusic.com/Tips/TaylorFix/index.shtml
Also for the OP: do you really have an ES1 or ES2? The ES2 has three allen screws in the bridge area that need to be adjusted.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:15 AM
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EGS EGS is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mophilly View Post
...I would love some advice...
Use the best mic you can afford. Experiment with placement, but 12th fret is a good place to start. Hi-pass EQ, sometimes a tiny/broad hi-end boost, and a bit of compression & reverb.
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Old 07-24-2020, 05:13 PM
mophilly mophilly is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Thanks to all. Very helpful. I am going to play with all of the ideas.

I am not exactly new to recording, learned a bit back in the 1980's, but new to PT, and the beginning is always a good place to start. Helps to illuminate blind spots.

I do have an ES1, my Taylor 814ce is from the first production of that system. I am aware of the upgraded ES2. I hope to get a newer Taylor so I can enjoy both.

Cheers!
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Old 07-24-2020, 05:40 PM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mophilly View Post
Thanks to all. Very helpful. I am going to play with all of the ideas.

I am not exactly new to recording, learned a bit back in the 1980's, but new to PT, and the beginning is always a good place to start. Helps to illuminate blind spots.

I do have an ES1, my Taylor 814ce is from the first production of that system. I am aware of the upgraded ES2. I hope to get a newer Taylor so I can enjoy both.

Cheers!
Are you using the correct cable setup for your axe? Remember that you need a balanced cable with some sort of conversion to go to an unbalanced input connection on your interface. You could possibly go with a balanced cable to a mic input on your interface but not sure about what kind of level is coming out of the Taylor.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:12 PM
mophilly mophilly is offline
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Default Re: Taylor ES1 or mic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
Are you using the correct cable setup for your axe? Remember that you need a balanced cable with some sort of conversion to go to an unbalanced input connection on your interface. You could possibly go with a balanced cable to a mic input on your interface but not sure about what kind of level is coming out of the Taylor.
I believe so. The cable is TRS into the guitar and XLR into interface. Used it for performance. The comments about string tone and warmth remind me of issues in live settings. Something to consider.

Signal level out of the Taylor is interesting. I will look into that. 😊
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