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Would a shotgun work better?

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Would a shotgun work better?

Postby awjoe » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:49 am

I record myself singing and playing guitar at the same time for videos, among other things. The guitar, a Godin electric nylon-string, is semi-acoustic and the vocal mic (AT 4050) is picking it up. I can live with it, but I'd like to see how things would sound with less guitar in the vocal mic. I've been watching NPR Tiny Desk and their use of shotgun mics for that venue. Would the polar pattern of a shotgun reject more of the guitar sound when I'm recording? (Another plus would be the fact that a shotgun would be less intrusive for video purposes.)
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:24 am

'Shotgun' mics indoors can often generate more problems than they solve due to phase anomalies caused by reflections from walls.

I'd suggest you explore hypercardiod pick-up pattern mics or even carefully positioned - as in where the angle them for the nulls - fig-8 configs.

... or (like I often do) work with the spill rather than try and fight it to oblivion. :)
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:14 am

I did some exploration around this topic recently and found the most useful setup was either a cardioid close up (a bit dry and the usual "sm58" artifacts) , slightly further away hypercardioid (nice balance if you're in a nice room) or fig8 at slightly more distance again with the null towards the guitar (my fave but even more room dependent).

In the end I found concentrating on getting a good performance was more profitable that eliminating spill.

Basically, I agree with Mike S but had to go through some repetitive trials to find out.
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:32 pm

The AT4050 is a multi-pattern mic which includes figure of eight - perfect for attenuating the guitar sound!

Point the null (of the figure of eight pattern) at the guitar and you're good to go. I use that technique all the time and it works really well.

Best to avoid shotguns indoors.

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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:44 pm

Neighbours were cranking their tunes late last night after 4 hours of people with those laughs that would cut through rockwool. Mild mannered me finally called the cops.
The Subject here caught my eye and . . . . .
:smirk:
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:01 pm

awjoe wrote:I've been watching NPR Tiny Desk and their use of shotgun mics for that venue. Would the polar pattern of a shotgun reject more of the guitar sound when I'm recording? (Another plus would be the fact that a shotgun would be less intrusive for video purposes.)

If, by less intrusive, you mean further away, then you will be picking up more spill from the guitar again and there'll be no net benefit! ... although that said, you might be able to find a position where a single interferfence tube mic gives a decent balance of voice and guitar, au naturel!

NPR do seem to make short interference tube mics work in their favour, but the room they're in is huge -- much bigger than your average domestic room -- and reflections are also pretty well controlled (albeit possibly more through luck than design).

Interference tube mics generally sound reasonable on-axis, but most sound very coloured indeed for off-axis sounds (although some of the later and more expensive designs -- the blue Schoeps Cmit models spring immediately to mind -- aren't too bad). So the risk is that while you might reduce the guitar spill a little, it will sound quite nasty and draw more attention to itself!
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby awjoe » Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:54 pm

Thanks for that - your wisdom and experience wins. I had no idea about the issues with shotguns. I'm going to live with what I've got, in this case. Two things I didn't mention about my video scenario were:

* I sit opposite my guitar amp (so I can hear it, to get it out of the way, and to use the null of the vocal mic's cardioid pattern to advantage). So, figure 8 wouldn't work so well here.

* The vocal mic is off-axis (to get it out of the way for camera angle, and to pick up my voice better when I'm looking at the fingerboard, which is often). So again... figure-8 less than optimal, ditto hyper-cardioid.

FWIW, if you'd like to check out the result, I'm posting a link in the Self-Promotion forum tomorrow.

When I record ukulele and voice simultaneously, I use both mics in figure-8 mode and like the result. Actually, I've had a thought - I could try the figure-8 on the vocal in my present situation - the sound a figure-8 picks up from the amp might be less of an issue than what I'm dealing with now.

Thanks again.
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby awjoe » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:03 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Neighbours were cranking their tunes late last night after 4 hours of people with those laughs that would cut through rockwool. Mild mannered me finally called the cops.
The Subject here caught my eye and . . . . .
:smirk:

Here's yer sountrack if mild-mannered you opts for a less civilized approach:

https://youtu.be/YnhI_ECOAK4
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby sound bites » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:53 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:... although that said, you might be able to find a position where a single interferfence tube mic gives a decent balance of voice and guitar, au naturel

Talking about tube (valve) mics…
works even with two guitars:
https://youtu.be/MDmRT89KsZU
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Kwackman » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:07 pm

sound bites wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:... although that said, you might be able to find a position where a single interferfence tube mic gives a decent balance of voice and guitar, au naturel

Talking about tube mics…
works even with two guitars:
https://youtu.be/MDmRT89KsZU
I suppose it's personal taste, but I really don't like the sound on that video.
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:27 pm

it's considerably better if you listen in mono to remove some of the excessive spacey reverb!

IMHO... :lol:

But for the avoidance of doubt, my reference to tube mics above was not above valves (toobs), but about the interference-tube -- a long hollow tube with slots or holes cut into the side -- which is placed in front of a hyper- or super-cardioid capsule with the aim of providing a narrower polar pattern for improved rejection of off-axis sound sources.
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby sound bites » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:39 pm

I was aware of that, Hugh. The mention of the word tube just triggered my memory of that vid.
Yeah, they have terrible rooms over at Capitol :lol:
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:10 pm

sound bites wrote:Yeah, they have terrible rooms over at Capitol :lol:

I'm certain that room didn't sound like that! And I'm equally certain the mono mic they feature didn't capture that stereo reverb from the room either! :bouncy:
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby sound bites » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:48 pm

:clap:
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Re: Would a shotgun work better?

Postby sound bites » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:48 pm

…just a touch of Chamber #4? :thumbup:
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