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Site Lesson Specific Questions => Recording Techniques (RT) => Topic started by: justinguitar on January 13, 2010, 10:38:26 am

Title: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: justinguitar on January 13, 2010, 10:38:26 am
Questions...

Lesson Link: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/RT-201-RecordingAcousticGuitar.php
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: emby1983 on January 14, 2010, 10:41:31 pm
Hello Justin,

           Recently I purchased some recording equipment and I tried to record my Fender acoustic I have and when I played the recordings the sound was VERY choppy. I am using a PV8 USB mixing board with a SM 57 microphone that is recorded using Reaper software. I have messed around with different distances and volumes and what not and still get that crappy choppy sound. I am afraid of the worse, that it is my sound card. Could it be something else(I hope)? If I play professional music, the sound that is produced isn't the greatest coming out of the built in speakers (laptop) but it doesn't sound all choppy like it does when I record my guitar. If you could help me out on this it would be tremendously appreciated.

                                                                                                                                               Thanks,
                                                                                                                                                  Mark
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Tourniquet on January 15, 2010, 08:50:38 am
The audio sample rate is too low.
Download and install the ASIO4all drivers, ensure reaper is using them in settings.
open up ASIO4all settings and increase the sample rate with trial and error until it sounds smooth.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: bunnahowen on January 29, 2010, 01:12:06 am
I have a samson usb mike which i plug into reaper. my voice sounds ok and harmonica but the acoustic guitar sounds crap, very boomy and distorted. what am i doing wrong. Even finger picking there is this boom coming from the guitar. Should i be recording the guitar separately. any help gratefully received. cheers. ps seagull mini jumbo in this instance.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on January 29, 2010, 02:14:53 am
Where do you place your mic?
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: bunnahowen on January 29, 2010, 03:43:54 pm
Thanks for getting back. Experimented with different positions. Do you have a suggestion about that. Cheers
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on January 29, 2010, 03:50:27 pm
I own two mics myself, of which one is a small-diaphragm and one is large.
For recording vocals and guitar into one mic (which I don't do often, obviously), try putting the mic at the height of your head, or even a bit higher, and point it to around your neck, about 30-50 cm away.
YMMV
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: SJP on October 31, 2010, 10:29:14 am
Does anyone have any opinion on the Zoom H-1 digital recorder ?

I'm looking for something to make simple, good quality recordings (acoustic+vocals) and to use as a 'notepad' for songwriting ideas and snippets. I've seen some very good reviews of this product and the samples i've heard were excellent too for summat that costs around 90 quid.

Also, is it possible to modify the mix of a WAV or MP3 file from these recorders using PC software ?
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: bunnahowen on November 04, 2010, 05:51:45 pm
I own two mics myself, of which one is a small-diaphragm and one is large.
For recording vocals and guitar into one mic (which I don't do often, obviously), try putting the mic at the height of your head, or even a bit higher, and point it to around your neck, about 30-50 cm away.
YMMV
Thanks Cue Zephyr. Forgot to thank you for these suggestions. Much better now. There was also a problem with the guitar which I was able to exchange. Hope the learning is going well. Best wishes
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on November 04, 2010, 07:32:44 pm
I got 2 other mics by now, one X-Y stereo condenser and one other large diaphragm which has a continuously variable polar pattern. The latter couples up very well with the small diaphragm I have.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 11, 2014, 08:53:25 am
Thought best to post here.

I've read the info in Justin's link, but it doesn't really help. I'm looking to make a step up from iPhone recording of my acoustic. I'll be singing too, although there's only a couple songs I can do that with so far, but iPhone recording is really tinny and loses most of the vocals. I don't have pickups on my acoustic, so looking for a low cost, decent mic option that can plug straight into the Mac to record to Garageband - unless there's a better way.

What should I look for? Just need something basic here, I've really no space for any recording gear like mixers etc
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Scooter Trash on April 11, 2014, 09:39:54 am
Thought best to post here.

I've read the info in Justin's link, but it doesn't really help. I'm looking to make a step up from iPhone recording of my acoustic. I'll be singing too, although there's only a couple songs I can do that with so far, but iPhone recording is really tinny and loses most of the vocals. I don't have pickups on my acoustic, so looking for a low cost, decent mic option that can plug straight into the Mac to record to Garageband - unless there's a better way.

What should I look for? Just need something basic here, I've really no space for any recording gear like mixers etc

I know this probably isn't the answer that you're looking for, but decent mics generally don't just plug into computers. Some USB mics might be an exception, but if you want to take it to the next level, you should consider an audio interface. You can get something like the Presonus AudioBox starter kit for around $200 - $250 USD and it will come with everything needed to get you started, and then, if you want to upgrade to a better mic, monitors, etc you can do it in stages.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 11, 2014, 10:25:35 am
No, not really. I have zero room for stuff. I play in a corner of the office. The Audiobox is over $300 here too. Plus they include crappy headphones, which pushes up the cost. I got plenty of good phones.

Anything fairly cheap has got to be better than iPhone hasn't it?
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Scooter Trash on April 11, 2014, 10:32:32 am
You could look for USB mics (like the Apogee MiC), but for the cost difference I really think the starter kits are a better value as they come with DAW applications, effects, interface, etc.. all things that you will likely want in the future anyhow.. and if you want to add a second mic to get more control between the guitar and vocals, a two-input interface would allow you to do that.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 11, 2014, 11:13:32 am
Bummer. What about Audiobox USB or other interface and a cheap condenser? Might be able to get those for less than $200 Does the interface come with DAW etc? I do have garageband anyway.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Scooter Trash on April 11, 2014, 11:24:38 am
Bummer. What about Audiobox USB or other interface and a cheap condenser? Might be able to get those for less than $200 Does the interface come with DAW etc? I do have garageband anyway.

I think all the Presonus interfaces come with Studio one - which is a decent DAW. And you can use Reaper or a different DAW with them if you prefer. A decent condenser mic is gonna be another couple hundred bucks, but you can do a lot with a 57 or 58 dynamic mic for around a hundred bucks. Maybe someone else has some other options that will yield good results.. I really can't think of any.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on April 11, 2014, 02:05:41 pm
You could get a recorder like a Zoom H2 or H4n. I have some decent mics and interface but I still use my iPhone when what I'm recording isn't cool enough to record on that. ;D

I think Lieven has a H4n.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: misterg on April 11, 2014, 07:03:25 pm
...or a H1n  :)

Use it as a recorder or a USB mic.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 01:44:08 am
The Zoom are pretty pricey. If I was to spend that, I'd probably go Scooters suggestions. The H1 might be worth considering, anyone used one? Are they ok are recording both guitar and vocals. It will mostly be guitar.

I'm really wanting this for my own occasional audio diary. To track progress. All I have at present in a couple of dozen iPhone vids, and they serve the purpose, but I would like to get better sound. I realise a good room and a couple of mics are ideal, but my situation isn't ideal.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: irishalkies on April 12, 2014, 03:13:00 am
I have an H1 Drubbing. For the price and for what it does, it's ok mate. Admittedly it's not ideal but for what you want it could be the answer. I'd expect it's better than the iphone although I don't have an iphone to compare it with. The H1 is reasonably priced too. If all you want is, like you say, to track your progress then I don't think you'd go far wrong with the H1.

Here's a link to one of my recordings using the H1...

https://soundcloud.com/irishalkies/waiting-for-the-rapture

Ignore the singing - it's merely to give you an idea of what the Zoom's recording is like.  :)
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 03:45:53 am
THat's sounds like an improvement over the phone. You can hear the vocals and the guitar sounds fine. Did you do those other SC tracks with it too?

Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: irishalkies on April 12, 2014, 03:52:40 am
They were all done with the Zoom Drubbing, aye.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 04:43:35 am
THanks. I just uploaded my iPhone vids to the Mac

*shudder*

It does sound better in person, I think. I can only hope people aren't hearing what I am on these recordings. I did get the neighbours complimenting me though, so maybe it isn't awful.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: misterg on April 12, 2014, 10:31:59 am
I've got an H1, and have used it both for self-contained recording and as a USB mic.

I would say that the recording quality is excellent (but I've been mostly using it to track my singing progress, so I'm not going to post a recording!  :-[).

The balance between guitar and vocals depends very much on where the mic is positioned. I have a mini tripod that screws into the H1 that I then balance on the edge of the sofa, or something - not ideal! You would be better off with a proper mic stand (& adaptor for the H1).
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on April 12, 2014, 02:28:38 pm
You know, the iPhone isn't all that bad.



Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 02:36:21 pm
Hmmm, done some editing on that, I reckon.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Cue Zephyr on April 12, 2014, 02:39:25 pm
Hmmm, done some editing on that, I reckon.
Yeah, he said he'd toss it into Logic. But it's still an iPhone recording you're listening to.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Scooter Trash on April 12, 2014, 02:44:12 pm
Perhaps.. (I kinda doubt it though) and still, it's a multi-track recording with the guitar and vocal recorded separately and on different layers.. 
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 02:57:53 pm
I'm a newb, but you don't get that kind of sound without some talent, decent backend gear, and not a little knowledge how to use it. That fact it isn't easy to do is implied in the set up and videoing of it in the first place.

Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Borodog on April 12, 2014, 03:14:11 pm
Audio Technica AT2020USB

USB condenser mic. $129.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on April 12, 2014, 03:17:32 pm
Thanks, but $200+ here, which still leaves all the other options in play too.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: guitarguy999 on May 19, 2014, 07:11:11 am
If you had $500-$1000 or thereabouts, a decent acoustic/electric guitar, had a PC and you wanted to set up a professional sounding no-nonsense recording set up what would you buy?

Also, could you explain why this choice would be better than anything else in a nice easy, for dummies way (for people like me that don't understand much about the jargon side of things).


Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: bradt on May 20, 2014, 07:29:43 pm
@drubbing Just for basic recording, I have a simple Samson Go mic. I think they're around 30-40 bucks, and plug into the USB port on your computer. You're not going to get a professional recording out of it, but they sound pretty nice.

I recorded a quick sample just for reference. I just turned the mic on and went, so I probably could have done better without the fan going and if I'd bothered to position it. Still shows the mic pretty well.
   

Forgot about this, it was recorded using the same mic but through an amp.
   
ETA- haha...can you tell I'm not used to fingerstyle on the electric?

@guitarguy999...sorry. Not ignoring you. Just not informed enough to give a proper answer.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: rfriday on May 20, 2014, 07:44:34 pm
Wow, that sounds pretty good for a $40 mic.  I think I'm going to have to get one of those.

Have you tried recording the sound coming from an amp with it at all?
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: bradt on May 20, 2014, 08:00:22 pm
The second one is through an amp. I've not tried anything loud or with any fx though.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: rfriday on May 20, 2014, 08:19:36 pm
Cool.  Thank you.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Drubbing on May 21, 2014, 01:54:13 am
Thanks bradt. Twice the price here, but worth looking into.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: JaminCat on January 24, 2016, 08:08:23 pm
Hi,

My new guitar has a passive piezo pickup system built in but no pre amp. I want to connect it to my computer. Will the output level be to low to connect into the line in of my computer? What about the mic input?

Thanks
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: misterg on January 24, 2016, 10:18:38 pm
Piezo pickups should really be plugged into a very high impedance preamplifier (a dedicated piezo preamp). You won't hurt anything by trying it into your mic input (the level is much too low for the line-in), but it probably won't work, and if it does, the sound will probably by horribly thin with no body to it due to the relatively low impedance of the mic input.

A dedicated preamp is the way to go, IMHO.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: JaminCat on January 25, 2016, 02:36:02 pm
Piezo pickups should really be plugged into a very high impedance preamplifier (a dedicated piezo preamp). You won't hurt anything by trying it into your mic input (the level is much too low for the line-in), but it probably won't work, and if it does, the sound will probably by horribly thin with no body to it due to the relatively low impedance of the mic input.

A dedicated preamp is the way to go, IMHO.

OK Thanks  :)
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Gregg Hermetech on November 06, 2017, 07:22:23 pm
Just a few notes from someone who has been experimenting and researching A LOT with recording acoustics recently:

1) Every room, player, string, guitar, mic, mic preamp, mic position, playing technique, song, and style of music is different. It may seem obvious, but it makes the question, "How do I record my acoustic with the best sound?" pretty meaningless. There is no one way that will always give you the best results.

2) Play the guitar in different parts of the room, or different rooms. You may be surprised how different it sounds. Where it sounds best, that's the playing position where you record it.

3) Rehearse a lot, warm up before recording, get used to recording a lot so you don't get "red light fever". Remember, "An amateur practises until they can get something right, a professional practises until they can't get it wrong". The recording will only be as good as you play it. Technique is very important for the best recorded sound.

4) New strings/old strings. Pros usually put new strings on within 24 hours before the recording session. However some people (myself included) quite like the sound of older strings. One person's zingy and bright is another's harsh and brash. One person's old and muffled is another's warm and woody. So choose wisely for the track, which would sound best in the mix?

5) Is the guitar well setup, comfortable, and easy to play? How does it respond to dynamics? As mentioned above, all guitars are different. Try to play to the strengths of the guitar.

6) Mics are a huge subject in themselves. They all record sound, but they all sound different. ;) Do you want a large diaphragm condenser, a small diaphragm condenser, a dynamic, or a ribbon? Should you use the omni, cardioid, or figure 8 polar pattern? A single mic, a stereo pair (and if so, in X/Y, A/B, ORTF, DIN, NOS, M/S, or something else altogether?), or more? Perhaps also a distant mic for room sound? Do you use the high pass filter and pad built into the mic, or not?

7) Mic pres are another huge subject. Most of the best classic acoustic guitar tones have been recorded through very high quality all discrete transformer balanced class A preamps. These aren't cheap, and the ones built in to your audio interface are almost certainly not nearly as good, and won't sound as good (that's not to say you can't achieve great results with them, just that a really good pre WILL make a very positive difference). What is the output impedance of the mic? What is the input impedance of the pre? Are they a good match?

8) If you take anything away from this entire post, let it be this: Mic position is the single most important variable in getting the best possible sound. Most people don't realise that moving the mic just an inch or two can change the recorded sound DRASTICALLY! The only way to find where that best position is for you (see point one above), is to experiment, take notes, and listen. In pro studios you'll often see the engineer running around at the beginning of the session, mic in hand, a pair of headphones on, wildly trying different positions in front of the acoustic player, trying to find "the spot". This is really the only way to do it. If you can get someone else to play your acoustic in the recording room/position, have a go at this. You might be surprised how different it can sound. Try to use headphones that cut out the surrounding sound, and turn up the volume so you can mainly hear the miced sound, rather than the sound in the room. Note how the sound changes as you move the mic, where it sounds good, and which position might be best for the track. Far better to get the best sound at the source, than have to worry about EQ and things later. There are many, many articles on the various "go to" mic positions for acoustic, so I'll leave you to look those up.

9) It is considered by most professional guitarists and sound engineers that an acoustic piezo pickup is a horrible, quacky sound, to be avoided at all costs. For live it's convenient, of course, but when you've compared a DI'd acoustic to a well recorded miced acoustic, you are never likely to want to use the pickup/preamp/DI for recording ever again. However, for effect, why not? There are no rules in audio!

With my own experiments, I've drawn up info sheets such as the following:

Date: 08/12/2016

Track: The Jester's Revenge

Instrument & Setup: Faith Naked Venus Acoustic Guitar, Standard Tuning, Broken In Strings (Martin MSP3100 12 80/20), Dunlop Prime Tone .73 plectrum

Mic/DI: CM3 mic (hyper-cardioid) & Jack Out (Bass: Flat, Treble: Flat, Volume: Max) to DI to TG2

Mic Position & Setup: Single CM3 pointed directly on axis at the 14th fret, 30cm away

Mic Pre Settings: Mic Channel 1, 55dB Gain, 300 Ohm. DI Channel 2, 35dB Gain, 1200 Ohm

Bax EQ Settings: HPF 54Hz, LPF 70kHz

Recording: 24/96

I hope this has been in some way useful to some people! There is no one answer, it's all about the process, lots of practice, lots of experiments, and above all, lots of listening to find out what works for you, in your space, with your gear, for your tracks.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: close2u on November 06, 2017, 07:30:34 pm
Good vibes for that extensive sharing of personal info experience. :)
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Gregg Hermetech on November 06, 2017, 08:30:22 pm
Thank you!

For strummed chords recently I've really been digging my Advanced Audio CM48T tube large diaphragm condenser in cardioid mode, no pad, 125Hz HPF switched on, into the Chandler TG2 pre at 300 Ohm. Position at 14th fret (where neck meets body), about 18 inches back, angled at 45 degrees toward the sound hole. Sounds great! That mic/pre combo is very "coloured", if I want things a little more flat/transparent/natural I'll use the Line Audio CM3 small diaphragm condenser in a similar position.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: EricLobster on December 28, 2017, 09:22:12 am
7) Mic pres are another huge subject. Most of the best classic acoustic guitar tones have been recorded through very high quality all discrete transformer balanced class A preamps. These aren't cheap, and the ones built in to your audio interface are almost certainly not nearly as good, and won't sound as good (that's not to say you can't achieve great results with them, just that a really good pre WILL make a very positive difference). What is the output impedance of the mic? What is the input impedance of the pre? Are they a good match?

@greg - Awesome tips here man. I was using the Tascam Audio Interface but heard that preamps are way better this just proves it. Thank you tons! Excellent tips overall.
Title: Re: RT-201 • Recording Acoustic Guitars
Post by: Gregg Hermetech on December 28, 2017, 09:35:53 am
No worries! Glad it was helpful.

I used to use the preamps in a little Mackie mixer, and then in an Echo audio interface, but when I moved up to the Chandler TG2 pre (same circuit as the mic pres from the REDD EMI desks used to record Abbey Road, Dark Side Of The Moon and the first Queen album) about a decade ago, it was a huge step up (which you'd hope it would be for the price!)