Author Topic: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar  (Read 225 times)

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Offline Loefgren

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Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« on: March 20, 2017, 12:57:47 pm »
What kind of microphone would you recommend for recording acoustic guitar with Garageband and a Macbook Air? I don't need anything fancy just something that works with decent sound quality. I am interesting in recording acoustic guitar and also add some drum loops etc in garageband and want the guitar recording to have a ok sound quality.

I am a total beginner here, so any advice is a good advice. I am not ready to spend  more than 150 USD.

/Johan
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Offline DarrellW

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 01:06:48 pm »
For the price you want to pay these get very good reviews
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AT2020?utm_source=gearank.com&utm_medium=best-microphones-recording-acoustic-guitar&utm_campaign=hitsquad2017&utm_content=btn
I've not used one personally so can't comment on it from experience.
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Offline smoe

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 04:01:14 pm »
From what I gather from your post, you currently don't have an audio interface except the built in soundcard in your macbook correct?

Depending what you plan to do mid/long term you either want to get an external interface (which gives you enough gain and good enough signal to noise ratio to record properly) plus a microphone or an USB-microphone which combines the two.

The first route gives you more flexibility for the future but I don't believe you'll find decent a combination for the budget. It would be more in the $200+ range

For the usb mic route the "Rode NT-USB " looks quite interesting and is only little over 150
https://www.amazon.com/Rode-NT-USB-USB-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B00KQPGRRE/
I haven't read reviews about it, but in general Rode entry level mics are quite well received.

Another one is the "Blue Yeti" for around $100. The downside i see for that one is, that it seems to be meant to be but on a table and you can not easily mount it on a mic stand. So positioning might be a awkward.
https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Yeti-USB-Microphone/dp/B002VA464S/
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Offline Borodog

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 04:05:36 pm »
I like my Sterling Audio ST51s (I have 3 of them). Great all around "utility" LDC mics. I've used them for vocals, acoustic guitars, kick drum reso heads, drum overheads, room mics, percussion (shakers, djembes, etc). They are clear, detailed, and have a flat response.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/sterling-audio-st51-large-diaphragm-fet-condenser-microphone?rNtt=sterling%20audio%20st%2051&index=1#pr-header-back-to-top-link

 
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Offline Loefgren

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 07:19:27 am »
Thanks for your recommendations.

Smoe: I am a beginner here so I'm not sure what you mean. But I don't have anything else but the mac. Would that not work good with the mics that borodog and darell suggests? The soundcard of the mac is not good so I also need something else (audio interface)?

If i buy a USB-mic it has a built-in audio interface?

Maybe I need to go down to my local music shop and ask..
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Offline smoe

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 05:25:38 pm »
In principle an audio interface gives you conversion from an analog signal (e.g coming from a microphone) to a digital signal which your computer can process and the other way around to your headphones/speakers. Plus for the home recording grade interfaces you normally get microphone amplifiers since the volume coming from the mic is in most cases very low and need to be brought up.

The soundcard in the mac certainly does that, but is more meant to be used with headsets and for skype call quality. You might be able to use certain so called "dynamic microphones" like the shure sm58 or sm57 directly with your laptops microphone input using adapters (from the XLR plug microphones come with) but I have not idea what the results will sound like. And because, if i remember correctly, the MacBook Air has a combined headphone/microphone jack, you would need to add another adapter to have headphones plugged in at the same time as the mic.

The thing with the condenser type of microphones borodog and darell suggested is, that unlike dynamic ones, they usually need "phantom power" sent trough the microphone cable. You laptop can't do that and those microphones will not work without the required electricity.

An USB-mic is essentially a normal mic with an simple audio interface built in so you can directly plug into an laptop or iphone/ipad.

There are also XLR-to-USB adapters that will have an audio interface built in. Like this one, but there also much cheaper ones but I'd be wary about their built quality.
http://www.shure.com/americas/products/accessories/microphones/microphone-problem-solvers/x2u-xlr-to-usb-signal-adapter

If have you have an iPhone or an iPad if think there are pretty decent and affordable options available to connect a microphone with those devices and record them. Some of them might also work with the Macbook.

Yeah, I think the best thing to do would be to go to a local music shop and let someone show you all the available options. I haven't really followed the market on home recording in recent years, so there surely is a lot of stuff I'm not aware of. Just don't let them tell you that you need to spend hundreds of dollars just to get decent recording quality :)

Also I'm pretty sure there are bunch of youtube videos around showing you how to choose and setup for your very common use case :)
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Offline Rossco01

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 06:53:02 pm »
You'd struggle to beat a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 setup (which is what I have). If you went for the studio pack then it includes the audio interface, mic and headphones. The quality of all is excellent and surpasses what you'd get from a USB mic.
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Offline antwilk1981

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 07:27:51 am »
You'd struggle to beat a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 setup (which is what I have). If you went for the studio pack then it includes the audio interface, mic and headphones. The quality of all is excellent and surpasses what you'd get from a USB mic.
+1 for the focusrite, I've got one and it's great. Here's a sample of an acoustic, recorded in my living room.

https://soundcloud.com/antony-wilkinson/acoustic-blues
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Offline Loefgren

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 01:45:36 pm »
Thanks Smoe, now I understand a little better.

Seems to be a jungle out there. Good thing is there is a lot of good products to choose from. I've listened to antwilks recording and sounds very good indeed. Well played also!

Probably i will go with a cheaper USB-mic to start with. No idea to have expensive equipment when I can't play very good, Like bad golfers with expensive clubs...

Thanks
Johan
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Offline davidvac

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2017, 02:29:12 pm »
I've tried a few options including direct USB mics and through interfaces.  The one I keep coming back to is the Line 6 Sonic Port VX.
This has two USB interfaces - normal USB and lightning for the iOS freaks amongst us - oh and you can power your iPad/iPhone while you are using it.
However, where it really wins is in the flexibility. It can operate a a stereo or mono condenser mic, it has an instrument in jack which you can either use alone or with the mono mic.  It also has an aux in in case you want to play to backing tracks. So if you want to start with just recording with a mic but maybe as you get more experienced, plug in direct and use all the multitrack wiz bangs, this is a neat way to future proof your purchase.
It's really portable and a breeze to use. There's loads more info at http://uk.line6.com/sonicport-audio-interface/sonicport-vx/
Oh and btw - I have nothing to do with Line 6 - I just reckon it's the best present I ever got from my kids!!


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Offline Loefgren

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 08:20:03 am »
Thanks David! This one looks interesting. A little pricey but maybe its worth it since it is both a audio interface and a mic.
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Offline cat3

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Re: Microphone for recording acoustic guitar
« Reply #11 on: Today at 02:33:02 am »
Gotta disagree with some of the suggestions I'm seeing here. Although I'm a beginner guitar player, I've been in media production for 20 years so this is something I know well. Get yourself a Shure SM58 mic and and an MXL Mic Mate to convert to USB. The mic is an industry standard and will last you your entire life, and the Mic Mate is a super handy piece of gear with a nice clean signal. Together they will run you almost exactly $150 US.


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