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Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

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Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:29 pm

I've recently been trying to record some acoustic finger picking instrumentals and have come to the conclusion that I really need some assistance to get a professional sound. The acoustic guitar is the 'feature' instrument in each piece of music & what I'm looking for is a close mic'd, non-roomy kind of sound.

Can anybody recommend somebody in the Yorkshire area who'd be able to assist in this? What I think I need is a studio / engineer who specialises in folk music recordings.

Have tried recording at home - unfortunately the rooms in my house are creating a lot of low mid issues.

Any help at all would be appreciated.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:48 pm

I'd suggest that The Elf (based near Sheffield) of this forum is certainly your first port of call. He's been working with Gordon Giltrap recently but records a wide variety of bands from folk to prog rock. He'll be busy this weekend helping to run the SOS Synthfest in Sheffield, but I'd still drop him a PM.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Shostakovich » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:56 pm

I'm interested to know what mic(s) you're using, and in what placement. Are you recording solo guitar pieces or playing as part of a band?
These days I'm almost exclusively writing and recording solo acoustic finger style guitar instrumentals, and am quite pleased with the results so I think what you seek may be possible. I know what you mean about "non roomy"!
Lots of stuff on the t'internet of course, recording techniques and so on..........quite a good article https://www.cakewalk.com/Support/Knowledge-Base/2007013311/10-Microphone-Placement-Techniques-for-Acoustic-Guitar
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:49 pm

As the good rabbit says above, I'm tied up with Synthfest this weekend, but I'm happy to work with you.

Drop me a message via the PM system and I can discuss details with you.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby blinddrew » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:07 am

If you and The Elf can't figure something out I can point you to someone in York (not me! :) ) who's very handy in that field.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:55 am

Badstone wrote:Have tried recording at home - unfortunately the rooms in my house are creating a lot of low mid issues.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Close micing itself usually creates its own "low mid issue", regardless of the room. Were you aware of that?

Could we hear an audio example or two?
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:48 am

Maybe you're already on this but I'm surprised nobody has suggested using improvised acoustic treatment using strategically placed duvets? Not a substitute for a 'proper' studio of course but may yield better results than close miking*.

Another thing that can help with acoustic guitars (once you have the main room acoustic controlled) is a hard floor, carpet can absorb the high end without doing anything to the mids resulting in a due but boxy sound.

*Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:16 am

The Elf wrote:As the good rabbit says above, I'm tied up with Synthfest this weekend, but I'm happy to work with you.

Drop me a message via the PM system and I can discuss details with you.

Fantastic, I'll PM you shortly.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:42 am

Shostakovich wrote:I'm interested to know what mic(s) you're using, and in what placement. Are you recording solo guitar pieces or playing as part of a band?
These days I'm almost exclusively writing and recording solo acoustic finger style guitar instrumentals, and am quite pleased with the results so I think what you seek may be possible. I know what you mean about "non roomy"!
Lots of stuff on the t'internet of course, recording techniques and so on..........quite a good article https://www.cakewalk.com/Support/Knowledge-Base/2007013311/10-Microphone-Placement-Techniques-for-Acoustic-Guitar

Many thanks for replying Shostakovich. It's solo pieces I'm recording, where the acoustic guitar is the main instrument. Pad sounds and cello / violin overdubs. As well as recording at home, I've been using a local studio and got some useable results, but compared to professional recordings there is still something missing and it's very time consuming just getting a decent sound. The engineer at the studio has been fantastically patient and willing to experiment...I just feel that there's a better of recording in this way, without so much processing (particularly eq) which would yield better results.

Guitar is a Martin D28. It's generally been 3 mics that I've been using:

AKG 414 - 10cm from bottom of scratch plate, bridge side. When mixing the recordings I've mainly used this mic, but had to take out a whole load of bottom & also cut a lot of low mid boxiness.

AKG 414 - matched mic 10 cm away where the cutaway would be on an electro-acoustic. Have occasionally been using a touch of this in the mixes but sounds a bit brittle

SM58 - as close as I can get it to 12th fret. Seems like an odd choice, but have been recommended this by quite a few friends & high passed, it can be quite useful in the mixes for bringing out the treble in a controlled manner.

The low mid boxiness I've been experiencing - I should point out this is present even when the guitar is plugged in (I have LR Baggs anthem pick up installed). So I can't help thinking this an inherent characteristic of the guitar itself to some extent.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:42 am

blinddrew wrote:If you and The Elf can't figure something out I can point you to someone in York (not me! :) ) who's very handy in that field.

Thank you, I might get back to you on this!
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:45 am

Tim Gillett wrote:
Badstone wrote:Have tried recording at home - unfortunately the rooms in my house are creating a lot of low mid issues.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Close micing itself usually creates its own "low mid issue", regardless of the room. Were you aware of that?

Could we hear an audio example or two?

Thanks for replying Tim.

I'm aware of the pitfalls of close micing and proximity effect & have been cutting a load of bottom end from the recordings. Yes I could upload something, I presume you'll want the raw recordings, without any eq or any other processing?
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:57 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Maybe you're already on this but I'm surprised nobody has suggested using improvised acoustic treatment using strategically placed duvets? Not a substitute for a 'proper' studio of course but may yield better results than close miking*.

Another thing that can help with acoustic guitars (once you have the main room acoustic controlled) is a hard floor, carpet can absorb the high end without doing anything to the mids resulting in a due but boxy sound.

*Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away.

Many thanks for replying Sam. I've tried using duvets in all the available rooms in the house and whilst this helped a bit I still couldn't get a decent sound. The conclusion I came to is that the low ceilings were the problem. When I take the guitar to the rehearsal room (a large room), I can hear straight off the bat that the guitar sounds better, with less reflections.

Unfortunately it's all carpets in the house too. I have a friend who records acoustic guitar in a room with floorboards (just strumming) and he gets fantastic results

"Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away". I've read this a lot and can totally understand why...but when I've tried it this the fingerpicking sounds too distant and remote, just not intimate enough. In the recordings I've done so far, the mics are so close, as close as 10cm to the guitar....so maybe too close really. But this is the only way I've managed to get the intimate sound I'm after.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:16 pm

Badstone wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:
Badstone wrote:Have tried recording at home - unfortunately the rooms in my house are creating a lot of low mid issues.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Close micing itself usually creates its own "low mid issue", regardless of the room. Were you aware of that?

Could we hear an audio example or two?

Thanks for replying Tim.

I'm aware of the pitfalls of close micing and proximity effect & have been cutting a load of bottom end from the recordings. Yes I could upload something, I presume you'll want the raw recordings, without any eq or any other processing?

Both before and after EQed examples would be helpful to hear. I'm convinced people vary widely in their ability to EQ well. If you uploaded a raw capture, maybe someone here could do a better job EQing the boom. It's not always obvious how best to do that. If you could also give the make and model of the mic used that could help in deciding how best to EQ.

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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:23 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:
Badstone wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:
Badstone wrote:Have tried recording at home - unfortunately the rooms in my house are creating a lot of low mid issues.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Close micing itself usually creates its own "low mid issue", regardless of the room. Were you aware of that?

Could we hear an audio example or two?

Thanks for replying Tim.

I'm aware of the pitfalls of close micing and proximity effect & have been cutting a load of bottom end from the recordings. Yes I could upload something, I presume you'll want the raw recordings, without any eq or any other processing?

Both before and after EQed examples would be helpful to hear. I'm convinced people vary widely in their ability to EQ well. If you uploaded a raw capture, maybe someone here could do a better job EQing the boom. It's not always obvious how best to do that. If you could also give the make and model of the mic used that could help in deciding how best to EQ.

Tim

Thank you Tim , I'll try and get something uploaded in the next couple of days & will also include all mic details etc.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:21 pm

Badstone wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Maybe you're already on this but I'm surprised nobody has suggested using improvised acoustic treatment using strategically placed duvets? Not a substitute for a 'proper' studio of course but may yield better results than close miking*.

Another thing that can help with acoustic guitars (once you have the main room acoustic controlled) is a hard floor, carpet can absorb the high end without doing anything to the mids resulting in a due but boxy sound.

*Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away.

Many thanks for replying Sam. I've tried using duvets in all the available rooms in the house and whilst this helped a bit I still couldn't get a decent sound. The conclusion I came to is that the low ceilings were the problem. When I take the guitar to the rehearsal room (a large room), I can hear straight off the bat that the guitar sounds better, with less reflections.

Unfortunately it's all carpets in the house too. I have a friend who records acoustic guitar in a room with floorboards (just strumming) and he gets fantastic results

"Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away". I've read this a lot and can totally understand why...but when I've tried it this the fingerpicking sounds too distant and remote, just not intimate enough. In the recordings I've done so far, the mics are so close, as close as 10cm to the guitar....so maybe too close really. But this is the only way I've managed to get the intimate sound I'm after.

Sounds like you've got that covered then :thumbup: , as I said you can't beat a decent room. If you end up doing some more recording at home a half sheet of MDF to place your chair on will help retain some of the brightness.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby CS70 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:19 pm

Badstone wrote:
Many thanks for replying Sam. I've tried using duvets in all the available rooms in the house and whilst this helped a bit I still couldn't get a decent sound. The conclusion I came to is that the low ceilings were the problem. When I take the guitar to the rehearsal room (a large room), I can hear straight off the bat that the guitar sounds better, with less reflections.

Unfortunately it's all carpets in the house too. I have a friend who records acoustic guitar in a room with floorboards (just strumming) and he gets fantastic results

"Acoustic guitars always sound better miked from a couple of feet away". I've read this a lot and can totally understand why...but when I've tried it this the fingerpicking sounds too distant and remote, just not intimate enough. In the recordings I've done so far, the mics are so close, as close as 10cm to the guitar....so maybe too close really. But this is the only way I've managed to get the intimate sound I'm after.

Hm, odd. It's perfectly possible to get a great acoustic guitar sound almost anywhere, with enough duvets and time spent finding the sweet spot in the room. The acoustic guitar is a midrange/high range instrument, and duvets of sufficient weight should have no problems absorbing most of the reflections.

Besides, the thing is that the acoustic guitar likes a bit of reflections - the right ones tough, which you need to find moving around in the room while playing. The filtering can be used effectively to smooth down brightness and what makes guitars sound thin. Sure with close miking you get a little less of that (the ratio direct/reflection is higher), but in that case, or If your room is too dead, all you'll need to add some convolution reverb or delay at mixdown.

Or simply find another room for the takes?

The Elf will sort you out tough.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Badstone » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:54 am

Thanks for this CS70.

To be fair, it's been quite a while since I've tried recording at home and my 'ear' has possibly improved, when it comes to what sounds right. So once I've got a better idea of mic choices / positions etc I will definitely give it another go.
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby OneWorld » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:26 pm

Way back in the day SOS gave away a DVD covering exactly this subject, it wouldn't surprise me if the files were still available in the tutorials
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:27 pm

The Elf will see you right! :thumbup:

But this may help too. A SOS video with the aforementioned Gordon Giltrap assisting Messrs White and Robjohns...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VzZU_8XPPU
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Re: Looking for acoustic guitar close mic recording help in Yorkshire

Postby jaminem » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:48 pm

Don't want to be 'orrible, but the audio on that vid is terrible in the 2nd half.... weird phasey drop outs all over the place? Some sort of YouTube compression artefact thing...?
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