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budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

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budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby agent funk » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:55 pm

As above says, I'm trying to improve my acoustic guitar recordings. They aren't terrible, but they don't quite capture what I hear.

I only have a home demo set-up. My mic collection is rather modest, an AKG C3000B (with which I have made some good vocal recordings - although they sound good mainly due to the talents of the singer it must be said ) and an SM58. I use the AKG maybe 10" away, wherever seems to sound right, and the SM58 closer. It seems to fill in a hole in the AKG's response.

If I should be doing this another way with what I have please let me know.

Or I was thinging of a new mic? Maybe the AKG C1000, which seemed cheap enough. I thought this mic was often used for guitar, but some people seem to hate it? Are there better options these days?

I have always found acoustic hard to record beyond a simple strum. Getting a new guitar helped a lot though! For the record it's a Yamaha LL16 which sound very nice.

Finally recording acoustic guitar on your own is a real pain! Everytime you move to the mixer to do a new take etc. you end up in a slightly different position when you sit back to play, esp. for the closer mic! Electric guitar is SO much easier!



thanks
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:12 pm

Depends on how much you want to spend! One man's 'budget'...

For starters I'd say you should be looking for a *pair* of mic's - acoustic guitars heard in isolation can sound oddly thin and 'lost' in mono. If the guitar is likely to be buried in a mix then mono is fine, but if it needs to stand alone I'd definitely suggest stereo recording.

My choices would be:
Pair of Rode NT55 - the omni caps are incredibly good for acoustic guitar.
Pair of Rode NT5 - not as flexible as the NT55, but still very nice.
Pair of MXL 603 - much better than their pedigree might suggest. I've made some decent recordings with these.

I have to say I'm one of the C1000 'haters'. I grew to loathe it when it was all I could afford - listening back can I see just what horrible things it did to my recordings. Thin-sounding, scratchy and noisy - a mic that has very definitely had its day.
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby clube » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:38 pm

If you have a C1000 then try that. It may be a largely hated microphone around these parts but I've always achieved highly succsessful recordings using one or two of them on acoustic but struggled with other supposedly better small diaphragm mics. If you get the sound you need for the mix with it then it's the right mic. I've found that I can get it to work whatever the role for the acoustic guitar in the mix - as main instrument or blended with electrics and keyboards.
Large condensers can be a bit hit and miss in my experience, but Paul White's favourite budget mic, the Audio Technica AT2020 gives nice articulate results every time I use it.

Hope that helps
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 pm

Would go with Elf's advice but I've recently acquired a pair of Line CM3 mics from a little known Swedish one-man-band manufacturer.

Check out: web page

I was curious about these when I read a very good review of them in (Australian) Audio Technology magazine, then searched on the web to discover people comparing them to Schoeps MK21. Now I don't think they're quite in Schoeps territory, but I'd rate them up there with NT5s. They are more neutral. Not in my TLM193 league, but respectable nevertheless.

They are though wide cardioid, so they would be more susceptible to room acoustics than straight cardioids.

Priced at 96 quid or thereabouts.

Bob
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby agent funk » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:43 pm

thanks guys. To be clear, I don't have a C1000 - I was thinking of getting one. Not anymore.

NT55 a bit too much for me. NT5 looks cool, except it sounds like I need two (matched pair) for what your saying Elf. Interesting what you said about stereo. That kind of does sound like what my attempts miss.

Bob will take a look at that site, cheers.

Always a challenge recording acoustic stuff for us non-engineers. I do quite well, but acoustic guitars, drums etc. are where I really respect a good engineer.
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Tranztek » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Here are some suggestions with examples that I found quite useful, the AKG1000 is among them:-

18 acoustic guitar mics comparison
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Smellthevalve » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:57 pm

AKG C1000S list price $350
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Frank Eleveld » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Personally, I don't like the C1000. It has a tendency to sound harsh and brittle. For a good, versatile mic that generally works very well on acoustic guitar, a Beyer M201 would be my first pick. The Rode NT-5 (haven't used the NT-55 myself) is nice, too.

Cheers,
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Random Guitarist » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:28 pm

You have not mentioned your budget, the NT pairs are good, but if you are looking to not spend that much the Rode M3 is good for it's price. Definitely looks like it was conceived as a C1000 killer, and sounds better the the c1000.
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby agent funk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:31 pm

cheers Rhino, I will consider it. I can afford the Rode, it's whether I should get a matched pair and go for a stereo recording as The Elf suggests. That doubles the price, but then I would have a matched pair of mics for other things as well. Thinking about it...

I have made do for now with what I had, but it is something for the near future.

thanks for the advice everybody else also, appreciated.
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby forumuser743446 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:55 pm

Oktava MK012 with omni capsule - BOOM!
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:23 am

fletcher wrote:it's whether I should get a matched pair and go for a stereo recording as The Elf suggests. That doubles the price, but then I would have a matched pair of mics for other things as well.

I wouldn't worry too much about having a matched pair for the guitar, the aspects of the sound they would be responsible for are so different the recrding might benefit from different mics.

As you say, a matched pair of something nice is always twice as nice.

This might be a good time to check out what friends and family might have in their cupboards, a mic pool would be good for eveyone (except Uncle Franz with the vintage Neumann collection).
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Tranztek » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:50 pm

I am also looking for a good £150 ish mic for recording acoustic guitar, but again like my vocal mic, it would need to be goood at ambient sound rejection. Ive just been testing an old AT3525 which picks up too much 'room' and a Shure SM57Beta which is ok rejection wise but so-so in the tonality department. Any suggestions?
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Daniel Drummond » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:07 am

All the guitars in this recording that I made (all songs) used only a x-y pair of cheap mxl603 small diaphragm mics: https://soundcloud.com/iankelmer
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:56 am

"Finally recording acoustic guitar on your own is a real pain! Everytime you move to the mixer to do a new take etc. you end up in a slightly different position when you sit back to play, esp. for the closer mic! Electric guitar is SO much easier!"

That, ^ is where an X-Y pair score so well IMHO. Changes in position are reproduced as just that, not changes in tonality so much. I also find co-i stereo more forgiving of a poor room (and how many of us have a really good one?)in that you actually "get" the room and not some twonky, one dimensional version of it.

We have achieved good results from two (not matched pair) of AKG P 150s(now the 170).
BTW. You can get a stereo mounting bar from Maplin. Bit of a faff to setup and not RR engineering but it works and only about a tenner!
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby The Elf » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:42 am

Daniel Drummond wrote:All the guitars in this recording that I made (all songs) used only a x-y pair of cheap mxl603 small diaphragm mics: https://soundcloud.com/iankelmer
Surprisingly good mic's (and I got mine for a steal!). If you shop around you can find omni caps for the 603 and I've also been very pleased with those.
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Re: budget mic for recording acoustic guitar

Postby caveman82 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:08 pm

X/Y isn't for everyone.

I prefer M/S, and find a SDC and a LDC to produce better results.

Ideally buy 2 SDC's and a LDC if possible.....
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