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  #1  
Old 02-24-2008, 06:51 PM
Avianer Avianer is offline
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Default recording acoustic guitar

I have a neumann TLM103 i got as a gift. I love it for vocals, but it seems like it's not cutting it for recording acoustic guitar. What should i do? Just eq the heck out of hte track? Or is there a cheaper alternative from SM81's?
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:35 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

I suggest you put a little time into experimenting with it before you give up(same advice for any good mic). Put your headphones on(hopefully they are decent headphones) and sit at the mic and move yourself and the guitar until you find a good spot. It may sound hokey but a friend did this with a Shure Beta87 on a Takamine and came up with a completely fabulous acoustic track. I have gotten good tracks with a cheap AT2020 using this technique. Also, take a look around you to see if maybe the problem is reflections form a wall that you can move away from. Or hang a blanket over a boom stand (made into a "T") to stop reflections. Acoustic instruments can be much affected by the room.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:16 AM
sw rec sw rec is online now
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

One mic isn't enough in my book. I ALWAYS track:
An MD-1 by the hole
A 451 pointed up the neck
AND a direct line.
Then you can pan/mix/eq to give it some dimension.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:37 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

Multiple mics is a great idea and allows for even more placement creativity. You can even point a mic down from over the player's right shoulder to get the player's perspective. Just remember that the farther away the mic is, the more gain it will need and the more room ambiance it will pick up(which might include HVAC and computer noise too).
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:00 PM
dezuiri dezuiri is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

I have had good luck with even a beta 57 pointed dead on at around the 12th to 15th fret. I find that micing too close to the soundhole will make it too boomy, and EQ can't get rid of that too much.

Also, if you are looking for a SD pencil mic, you might want to check out the AT4041. I have a pair and also a pair of the SM81's. they sound different from each other but are both good.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

2 small diaphragm condensers (I prefer 451s), one pointing at the 12th fret, one pointing near the bridge works well, but truth be told...I just use one these days, pointing at the 12th fret.
If it's a client who's just acoustic guitar and voice, I'll get more elaborate...but for acoustic guitar in rock music, one mic works fine for me.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:16 AM
andrewSF andrewSF is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

On the cheap(est) end, I still use my Octava mc012s (aka Oktava mk012) on acoustic guitar all the time. Not all of these mics are going to sound very good--there's some inconsistency in their build--but if you find one or a pair that sound decent, they just seem to flatter acoustic guitars (both steel and nylon string). If you find a decent one you can have it modded to improve the performance as well. I haven't done this myself so I can't comment on how much improvement there is.

Put an mc012 around the 12th fret and the TLM103 down near the bridge and you should be able to get a very nice sound (if the guitar sounds nice in the first place of course!). This is basically my default set up for acoustic guitars (although I use an AT4033 at the bridge, not a TLM103), and with a bit of tweaking placement-wise, it usually sounds stellar. As E.J. says, though, often one mic is enough if it's part of a bigger arrangement. I will often roll off some (or a lot) of the low end if I'm looking for more strum in a busy mix, but usually I save this for the mixing stage. Two mics is great if you want a big, wide, featured sound.

One other thing that others have touched on but I'll just add to, is the importance of placement. An acoustic guitar radiates sound in a very complex way and that sound is greatly affected by the sonic qualities of the space in which it's being played. It's really worth spending some time to get to know the different tones that you can capture just by pointing the mic at different parts of the guitar, from different angles, and by moving it closer and further away. Also try changing aspects of the room: carpet vs. bare floor, nearer to or further from walls, bathroom vs. living room vs. hallway, etc.

Pay special attention to the proximity effect of cardioid mics (like the TLM103). The closer you get to a source the more low end you get, which can make for very muddy, boomy acoustic guitar recordings. OTOH it can be useful in making a thin guitar sound bigger than it does in real life.

You just have to find the sweet spot where the guitar and the room and everything just sound right. This may vary from song to song depending on the nature of the production. Or you might find the perfect spot and the perfect mic technique and just go to that every time. It all depends on how you hear it.

One last note of caution (based on painful experience! ), if you try Dave's suggestion of placing the mic over the player's shoulder, be very careful about the monitoring level in the player's headphones. You can get a nasty feedback loop through the headphones with the mic that close, especially if they're open backed. Watch out when putting the headphones on and taking them off as well...
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:57 PM
jermahusa jermahusa is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

With any acoustic source, mic placement is as critical as mic type. As an engineer or producer, you must also be aware of the context in which the instrument is finally going to appear. A rich, warm, romantic song? Try a large diaphragm condenser mic...maybe with a high shelf on the EQ. Simply adding a brittle strumming texture to pulse the beat of a rock song? Try a something on the lines of a cymbal mic (small condenser). Almost any mic can sound good for an acoustic instrument if you listen ahead into the context in which the performance will be mixed. This will help you with the choice of mics as well as their placement. Plan ahead and there's a lot less to "fix in the mix."
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:06 PM
db2123 db2123 is offline
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Default Re: recording acoustic guitar

Definitely beware the proximity effect with the TLM 103. I use that mic on everything. I would put the headphones on and move the mic and guitar around until it sounds good. For me that usually entails...

-12 inches away
- pointed at the 12th fret
- foil parallel with the plane of the guitar's topwood.

If you point the 103 right at the sound hole you'll get both too much boom from proximity and too much scratch from the pick. pulling it back and pointing at the 12th smooths out the sound a bit.

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