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Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

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Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby Scouser » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:27 pm

I have had a long sabbatical from recording and have now returned where I left off.

I have always struggled to get the best from the NT3 on my acoustic guitars, in part this has been due to the Interface & mobile recorder. Now I have addressed that issue and got myself a mix pre 3M which I am really pleased with, so much quieter than what I have been used to.

Could you give me some suggestions to try re mic placement ? I usually aim it around 12th - 14th fret, but never too sure of correct distance and how to get correct gain staging. My ultimate aim is to get nice sound for acoustic and vocal, the vocal is not so bad using the SM57B I can get to a place that is reasonably nice. I have always wanted to get a KM184 for the guitar as I feel this mic sounds nice on recordings I have heard. But I don't want to do this until I can get the best from what I have, so I can then make a more informed decision.

I have made a smallish booth to record in as none of the rooms I have are great sonically, one room may be a possibility, which I will explore, as on a previous posting it was suggested a room works better for acoustic guitar.

Once I have a few suggestions I could use those and then upload some samples if need be.

Thanks
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby Kwackman » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:58 pm

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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:15 pm

Really useful page here: http://www.cambridge-mt.com/rs-lmp.htm with photos and audio samples of quite a few options. :)
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:53 pm

The NT3 is by no means a shabby mic... I had two and liked them. Didn't ever use them on acoustic though...

Having recorded various guitar with various mics. IME so much depends on the guitar itself and on the room. I've always felt that the guitar needs space to 'breathe' in the room so I shy away from rooms that are on the compact side.

Fret 12/fret 14 is always a good starting point, but treat is as a starting point. I've known people mic high up on the neck with the mic parallel to it, pointing down towards the body.

A technique I first saw used by Paul White of this parish was to mic below the bridge, pointing at the body of the guitar from about 30-40cm.

All that means is that you do what works for you and gives you the sound you want.

Oh! Should also add that it can also depend if the guitar part has to sit in a busy mix with multiple other sounds or if it's a key element with relatively few other sources.

(This is quite old now, but may give some pointers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VzZU_8XPPU)
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby Scouser » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:06 pm

Thanks chaps, very useful info indeed, now I need to try in my room, with my mic & guitars.

Part of the problem, as mentioned, is that I’m using a booth and though I should still get some reasonable results, can’t help but feel a room is a better choice. I made the booth as the rooms at my place are pretty poor sounding. The only decent one is the lounge, but unfortunately faces a road. Not a particularly busy road. At night it is quieter and I have managed to do some nice takes, without a car going by, but it’s far from perfect if you are thinking about this during takes, Sod’s law is when experimenting, no cars, press record cars, wish there was a way around this but can’t think of anything,

The guitar needs to be a focal point ( key element ) so no busy mix to fit it into, just guitar and vocal

The guitars are good to my ears, Martin - Taylor - Córdoba,I know that just because they are decent guitars, doesn’t mean they will record well.
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:06 pm

The quickest way to get a good sound is to eliminate the guessing - rather than placing the mic, recording, and then listening to the result, simply move around (yourself first, then the mic) while listening on headphones. You need good isolating cans and a long extension for the cable :) but it really saves you disappointment later on, or at least a huge amount of work in post. It's easier if you have someone to assist, but with good time it's perfectly possible to do it by yourself.

As a starting point for positioning, there's plenty references but what you write you do is definitely a good one. Some guitars sound better when the mic is pointed towards the soundboard.

Also your playing technique is important, most of the timbre is in your fingers or picking (for example, if you pluck the strings near the bridge or the neck), but I guess you already know that. :)

I've never tried the NT3 but from what I hear it's a decent mic, so it should be possible to get a reasonable recording.
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby rggillespie » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:41 am

I've had a similar problem recording my acoustics with a single mic, feeling it wasn't quite right. Despite borrowing and trying a few mics and moving things around every which way. Eventually I found success using a two mic technique that was mentioned on here, its worked really well. The first mic is at or around 12 fret as usual, the second is ribbon mic and that placed by your right knee the same distance away from the guitar as the first mic. The second mic is aiming at the lower bout of guitar body. I was really surprised how much better the two mic approach worked, to me, it sounds just like the sound of my guitar I'm hearing in the room. Plus you have the bonus option to blend more or less of either source to taste. I've never been able to capture my acoustics anything like as well with just a single mic, it always seem to lack body. Perhaps the two mic approach might be worth investigating if all else fails.
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Re: Rode NT3 - Acoustic guitar

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:16 am

rggillespie wrote:I've had a similar problem recording my acoustics with a single mic, feeling it wasn't quite right. Despite borrowing and trying a few mics and moving things around every which way. Eventually I found success using a two mic technique that was mentioned on here, its worked really well. The first mic is at or around 12 fret as usual, the second is ribbon mic and that placed by your right knee the same distance away from the guitar as the first mic. The second mic is aiming at the lower bout of guitar body. I was really surprised how much better the two mic approach worked, to me, it sounds just like the sound of my guitar I'm hearing in the room. Plus you have the bonus option to blend more or less of either source to taste. I've never been able to capture my acoustics anything like as well with just a single mic, it always seem to lack body. Perhaps the two mic approach might be worth investigating if all else fails.

Absolutely! I only dealt with single-mic recording in my previous post, but these days I invariable use a two mic approach similar to what's been described here.
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