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Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby rggillespie » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:35 pm

Point taken yes I'd forgotten the wa47 is a Neumann copy and its none the worse for that, I think its wonderful. Its tricky describing sound as what you think you hear differs when its recorded and then again when mixed with other instruments. I'll look at audio technica and the Neumann, I remember reading an AT ribbon mic was used to record guitars on some recent dylan records. Not so sure about his recent output but it always sounds pretty good.
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:01 pm

OK, so acoustic guitar is the main focus. As has been said most of us would select microphones to best suit the source being recorded rather than attempt to have catch-all, therefore possible compromised, microphones. So best to focus on microphones that will give you the guitar sound you’re after.

Again as has been said, this will be very room dependent and you haven’t told us whether your room is treated. How does it sound?

As has been mentioned, best to hire a studio to try options out, each one of us will make different suggestions - but the suggestions will vary dependent on the nature of the instrument, of the the room and the sound you’re after - thus at the end of the day it has to be your decision.

Oh, and saying you don’t like Neumann is a little like saying you don’t like all ice cream because you once tried a garlic flavoured one........

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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:58 am

A Shure SM-81 is a classic acoustic guitar mic and will give you familiar sound.

I recently auditioned mics for acoustic guitar and tried one on the advice of a kind experienced studio gentleman.

To my ear the SM81 collects the sound of the guitar without that harsh scratchy high end that some of the SDCs have. It also just sounds like you are used to hearing the guitar sound. Its like how an SM57 sounds right on snare drum.
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:46 am

rggillespie wrote:Point taken yes I'd forgotten the wa47 is a Neumann copy and its none the worse for that, I think its wonderful. Its tricky describing sound as what you think you hear differs when its recorded and then again when mixed with other instruments...

Yes in a word, it's complicated, and having realistic expectations is important. It's wise not to put all our hopes on just a mic to give us "that sound". The commercial recordings we might like to emulate would have used a good mic but often, EQ, compression and reverb were added. It's often not just the mic we are hearing.

Also as we often say, it's not just the tools. It's at least as much how we use the tools. If we want high quality results we usually need to learn some of the craft, rather than expect that having "the tools" will make us the craftsman.
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby rggillespie » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:09 am

'Again as has been said, this will be very room dependent and you haven’t told us whether your room is treated. How does it sound?' Sorry for not answering this Bob, after joining this forum and taking advice from here, room treatment was the first thing I did, it really was a big leap forward. The room is 2.5m x 4.0m and I have primacoustic panels on the walls around the monitoring area and the back wall plus a ceiling cloud above the monitoring desk area. I made some large bass traps to finish off, so the room is fairly dead compared to before. After sorting out the room, I upgraded the monitoring and now I'm looking into the mics as the final part of sorting the studio recording side of things out.
'Also as we often say, it's not just the tools. It's at least as much how we use the tools. If we want high quality results we usually need to learn some of the craft, rather than expect that having "the tools" will make us the craftsman.' Tim's hit the nail on the head here, I'm looking now to learn more about mixing and recording techniques and leave the studio equipment as it is for some time after this mic purchase. Reading the SOS mixing book currently and see there's plenty for me to learn. Thanks again for the tips and links I'll follow them up
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby scw » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:53 am

I've had great results recording acoustic guitar with a pair of Line Audio CM3 cardioids. They have now been superseded by the CM4 and are available from Pink Noise. They are cheap as chips!
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby Arpangel » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:30 am

rggillespie wrote:I briefly had use of an akg c12reissue and that showed me whats possible and how my acoustics could sound. With that it just sounded like the guitar that I hear when I'm playing. Sadly (but fortunately for my wallet) it wasn't the vocal mic for me. It might be easier to explain what I'm aiming for by musical examples, recent wilco, ethan johns recordings, gillian welch, late johnny cash. To me quite natural sounding guitars but with a sense of the room and not to 'shiny' for want of a better word.

Don't let any of this microphone business stop you from making music, you'll find something suitable. But, I always stress to people how important it is to aspire to decent microphones, theres certainly no harm in doing that. Just save up, and get that C12 if that's what you like. Good mic's just make your life so much easier, providing the talent is sorted, "you" at least don't have to worry about the microphone.
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby rggillespie » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:03 pm

Just thought I'd update this thread after my first ever microphone testing odyssey, hopefully it may be helpful to other less experienced forum users. I took the advice offered here, went off and trialed several microphones and it was an eye opener I hadn't bargained on each one being quite as very different sounding as they all were. Each recorded acoustics and electrics really well (not so much the shure) but the vocals showed up the right match for me. I had tried an Akg 414, then on advice a Telefunken ar51, Peluso P67, shure sm7 and finally an Austrian OC818. As these are very expensive things and I was only ever going to pass this way once, I wanted to take some time and be sure get it right. I tested each one for a week at home. I found with vocals to get it sounding how I wanted, just natural and clear, I had to use plugins and fiddle about with eq to get it right and sitting in the mix with the wrong mics. I really hadn't quite fully grasped that some mics suit some voices better than others. I don't see how you can know which is right for you without trial and error. The mic that I bought was the oc818 as it just sound so right from the first pass, straight off the bat. Perhaps not quite a juicy as the valve mics but clear, rich, full, no sibilance and most like what I think I was hearing in the room. The others perhaps to varying degrees all seemed a little veiled or grainy in comparison. I'm feeling now that I wasted quite some time with cheaper starter mics when I could have better results earlier with just one good quality mic. You live and learn though, and now the rooms treated, monitors sorted and mics sussed I shall have to work on the 'talent' side (oh dear me). The new mic's capturing all the glory and all the flaws too I'm afraid! Never mind its all great fun, playing and learning. I think the SOS review said if the oc818 was sounding not so good the problem would be elsewhere and I'm minded to agree with that. It seems to give a clear honest reflection on whats put in front of it, and it gets a big thumbs up from me. Thanks for the pointers from the wise heads on this forum, its much appreciated.
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Re: Microphone choice for vocals and acoustic guitar

Postby blinddrew » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:38 pm

Sounds like you've got a good result. :thumbup:
Thanks for letting us know the outcome. :)
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