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Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

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Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby filmmakerentbob » Fri May 31, 2019 7:29 am

I did do some searches on this before posting assuming its been a topic in the past but unfortunately im not super sound tech savvy so probably did not search accurately. I do have intermediate experience recording v.o. and simple interviews though so feel free to shout out basic technical terms and brands of equipment, Im a comprehensive person and will make sense of the collective responses im sure.

I need to capture clean acoustic guitar with quality good enough to use as background music in a short film. It doesn't need to be "studio" clean or "hollywood movie" quality i guess you could say. This isn't going on the big screen but I still need a clean enough recording that allows for any editing. If ill have to do editing, go ahead and feel free to brief on that all you want.

This will be recorded from home. and thats what i got for you. eek. So what kind of room, size, placement of the musician in the room, and in relevance of to the recording devices? If any or parts of that matter. If so which ones? How much of this is crucial to recording? should I pad walls to absorb sound? What type of Mic? Mono or stereo?

Im really just trying to capture clean enough audio that can be worked with and adjusted in post production if needed. Clean enough to go in unedited would be great but i understand what 'm working with here so thats probably not happening. Unless there is a way, perfect. So any information on straight forward DIY acoustic guitar recording would be very very helpful.

I will be renting equipment for this so im open whatever system works best for my case. Im flexible to scenario and am a fast learner so feel free to lay it on. I will appreciate. Hope the info provided is enough to describe my situation. Thanks.
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri May 31, 2019 9:58 am

Hi Bob and welcome to the forum.

Getting a decent recording of an acoustic guitar is not too difficult (getting a great sound is less easy mind you), a single small diaghpram mic pointing at the neck/body join and about 12" away should give acceptable results from the start. Refine the positioning by listening on headphones while you move the mic around. A couple of duvets hung on mic stands will help control room sound (which is usually poor in a domestic room as you'll know from recording your interviews and V/O work). Again experiment with their position and that of the guitarist within the room. If it starts sounding too dull a hard floor under the guitar can help reintroduce a little brightness.

Theres a good article on recording acoustic guitar here https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-acoustic-guitar though it may go into a little more detail than you need.
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby ef37a » Fri May 31, 2019 10:26 am

I know you said you were hiring Bob but, the Road M5 stereo matched pair is available for £113. on the web.

The mics got a good review in SOS and one at the 12th fret, as stated and one down at the lower bout is a popular technique.

The interface need be nothing special if using the above capacitor mics (dynamics are little more chalenging to mic pre amps) and whatever is available should be fine.

Look at Tascam, Native Instruments, Zoom, Focusrite, M-Audio and many others that retail in the £110 to £180 price range. DO get two mic inputs!

Ah! You mentioned editing? That need some software called a Digital Audio Workstation and they are legion. There is no "best" one however and none are that simple to master.
The good news however is that many are free and those that are not can be had for 30 days as a free trial.
Audacity is an editor and free and probably all you need? Others are Cubase, Studio One, Samplitude, Reaper, Sound Forge (was Sony now by MAGIX but just a s good) . Download a couple and see how you do. Small snag. None of the DAWs will give you much of an idea of how they work until you connect an interface. The PC/mac will work to some extent though and you could probably import a CD track and play with chopping that up.

Dave.
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby Darren Lynch » Fri May 31, 2019 4:42 pm

Do check out the sound in the bedroom to see if the low frequency absorption provided by the actual bed helps tame the following issue common to acoustic guitars recorded in the home:

(At least my) Acoustic guitar body produces resonant peaks at around 170-220Hz
(At least my) rooms produce a standing wave* at around 170-220Hz

Combined, this produces a very audible 'honk' in the lower mids. You'll hear it get worse with notes and chords which coincide with the resonant behavior of the instrument and the room.

*A standing wave is the result of a sound wave that bounces between two or more surfaces and emphasizes one specific frequency that you hear as the waves reinforce each other.
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby filmmakerentbob » Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm

Thank you all so much! This is really helpful information, exactly what im looking for. thanks
also for no ranters, only selfless professionals. Really appreciate it. Thumbs up.
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 31, 2019 4:56 pm

filmmakerentbob wrote:...thanks also for no ranters, only selfless professionals. Really appreciate it. Thumbs up.

:thumbup: It's what makes this place rather special and different from most! 8-)
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Re: Recording Acoustic at home, DIY, no vocals, help.

Postby TNGator » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:21 pm

Hi Bob I wouldnt be as knowledgeable as the guys here but just a couple of quick things. Although a lot of acoustic guitars these days have built in pickups....use a mic.
Experiment a bit. Put the mic near the 12th fret and do a take. Then place the mic just past the sound hole (not at it). You notice quite a diff in the the tone of the two takes. As for the room? Avoid areas like a kitchen. Those kinds of rooms have too many flat reflective surfaces such as kitchen cabinets. You'll get a bouny echoey sound. As someone suggested, the bedroom might be good as the bed will absorb a lot of frequencies. And getting back to experimenting, when I record an acoustic part, I'll sit on a kitchen chair with another chair facing me . I'll put a large cushion standing up on the chair facing me to control the sound and then I'll try standing a mirror on it just to hear what that "reverb" sound records like. You can make two recordings and play with the levels.
And f course the basics. Clean hands and a little talc. Tune the guitar . Clean the neck and body to help remove annoying squeeks when you move your hands. Jingly jangly bracelets etc should be removed too. And above all...have fun.
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