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pete
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12th August 2011
Old 12th August 2011
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Recording Accoustic Guitar

Hi eric
I´m doing a lot of accoustic folk stuff where the guitar is almost as important as the voice and I find it hard to get a wide and warm sound that gives the voice enough space without eq-ing it a lot
how do you start if you have to record a song with just guitar and voice where the guitar can take a lot of space?.. where do you put the mics? and how do you do it if you have to record it at the same time (which I do 30-40% of the time)

I´m using old gibson and martin guitars I found best sounding over the last 15 years with mainly vintage mics from neumann and some ribbon mics

pete
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12th August 2011
Old 12th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
Hi eric
I´m doing a lot of accoustic folk stuff where the guitar is almost as important as the voice and I find it hard to get a wide and warm sound that gives the voice enough space without eq-ing it a lot
how do you start if you have to record a song with just guitar and voice where the guitar can take a lot of space?.. where do you put the mics? and how do you do it if you have to record it at the same time (which I do 30-40% of the time)

I´m using old gibson and martin guitars I found best sounding over the last 15 years with mainly vintage mics from neumann and some ribbon mics

pete
I do use a particular micing technique I like for getting a big stereo acoustic guitar sound. I like getting the strings to pan across the stereo field. So you put one mic above the guitar angled down and one mic below the guitar angled up equal distances both pointing at the neck. The mic above gets more of the lower strings and the mic below gets more of the higher strings. I never really liked the thing of putting one mic near the bridge and one near the neck. The 2 mics sound too different and create kind of an odd irrelevant stereo image.
I really like being able to hear the placement of the notes across the stereo field kind of like a piano. Seems to be a more meaningful stereo image. The 2 mics are basically at a 90deg angle from eachother both pointing at the neck of the guitar. You can change the voicing of the pair by moving their orientation to the guitar. i find that pointing them at around the 15th fret seems to get the most natural balance. If you put them more in front of the sound hole it will get bassier and woodier, if you move closer to the 12th fret it gets brighter and more sparkly. I have used a variety of mics in this configuration: 67s, 251s, coles 4038s and more recently shoeps 221Bs. The shoeps were pretty wonderful. I didn't have to EQ them at all when recording, mixing or mastering.

The voice isolation thing is tricky. For the vocal mic it helps to use something the player/singer can get really close to like an SM7. I have also had some luck putting the guitar/voc mics in fig8 and orienting the position so the node is pointing at the player/singers mouth/sound hole. That definitely eliminates all of the low end of the voice from the guitar mic and visa versa.

Hope that helps!

EV
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12th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
I do use a particular micing technique I like for getting a big stereo acoustic guitar sound. I like getting the strings to pan across the stereo field. So you put one mic above the guitar angled down and one mic below the guitar angled up equal distances both pointing at the neck. The mic above gets more of the lower strings and the mic below gets more of the higher strings. I never really liked the thing of putting one mic near the bridge and one near the neck. The 2 mics sound too different and create kind of an odd irrelevant stereo image.
I really like being able to hear the placement of the notes across the stereo field kind of like a piano. Seems to be a more meaningful stereo image. The 2 mics are basically at a 90deg angle from eachother both pointing at the neck of the guitar. You can change the voicing of the pair by moving their orientation to the guitar. i find that pointing them at around the 15th fret seems to get the most natural balance. If you put them more in front of the sound hole it will get bassier and woodier, if you move closer to the 12th fret it gets brighter and more sparkly. I have used a variety of mics in this configuration: 67s, 251s, coles 4038s and more recently shoeps 221Bs. The shoeps were pretty wonderful. I didn't have to EQ them at all when recording, mixing or mastering.

Hope that helps!

EV
THAT is something... well mindblowing "simple" infact. I never think about this before... I will try it soon when recording some acoustic guitar! Awesome tip! Do you have some pictures of this setup!?
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12th August 2011
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EDIT: Woah, sorry didn't notice which thread this was in! meant to post elsewhere.
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12th August 2011
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12th August 2011
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Killer tip Eric! I recently stopped doing stereo acoustic guitar micing because I feel the same way about the unnatural bridge mic / neck mic sound.

I'm quite excited to try your way - Thank you!
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Yeah Eric that is a great tip. At what distance do you usually place the mics ? Lately I have sort of settled on about 45cm-50 cm.
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12th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melgueil View Post
Yeah Eric that is a great tip. At what distance do you usually place the mics ? Lately I have sort of settled on about 45cm-50 cm.
cdlt
I would say for me it is typically a little closer about 30cm - 40cm (12"-18").

EV
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12th August 2011
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great! I´ll check that.. if have any pictures of one of your recordings that would be awesome
thx a lot


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12th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
I would say for me it is typically a little closer about 30cm - 40cm (12"-18").
EV
Great - I'll have to give that a try. I had moved back a bit due to proximity effect, but the angling of the mics and this distance - frankly something I would never have thought of. Appreciated
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I was just experimenting with this new mic technique for a while.. WOW - like it a lot - great stuff.. although with the 4038 the sound was a little boomy and I had to move a bit more towards 10.-12. fret

with km84 15. fret was great..
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Great technique, I love it for strummed accoustic in most genres - it doesn't always work for me with fingerpicking through, as the notes tend to bounce about crazily across the stereo field! (although this may be just what you want.....)
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12th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt2525 View Post
Great technique, I love it for strummed accoustic in most genres - it doesn't always work for me with fingerpicking through, as the notes tend to bounce about crazily across the stereo field! (although this may be just what you want.....)
which mic technique do you prefer on picking?
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13th August 2011
Old 13th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
I do use a particular micing technique I like for getting a big stereo acoustic guitar sound. I like getting the strings to pan across the stereo field. So you put one mic above the guitar angled down and one mic below the guitar angled up equal distances both pointing at the neck. The mic above gets more of the lower strings and the mic below gets more of the higher strings. I never really liked the thing of putting one mic near the bridge and one near the neck. The 2 mics sound too different and create kind of an odd irrelevant stereo image.
I really like being able to hear the placement of the notes across the stereo field kind of like a piano. Seems to be a more meaningful stereo image. The 2 mics are basically at a 90deg angle from eachother both pointing at the neck of the guitar. You can change the voicing of the pair by moving their orientation to the guitar. i find that pointing them at around the 15th fret seems to get the most natural balance. If you put them more in front of the sound hole it will get bassier and woodier, if you move closer to the 12th fret it gets brighter and more sparkly. I have used a variety of mics in this configuration: 67s, 251s, coles 4038s and more recently shoeps 221Bs. The shoeps were pretty wonderful. I didn't have to EQ them at all when recording, mixing or mastering.

The voice isolation thing is tricky. For the vocal mic it helps to use something the player/singer can get really close to like an SM7. I have also had some luck putting the guitar/voc mics in fig8 and orienting the position so the node is pointing at the player/singers mouth/sound hole. That definitely eliminates all of the low end of the voice from the guitar mic and visa versa.

Hope that helps!

EV
I might add that there is a trick James Taylor has used since back in the day, at least with his Olsons, whereby he runs a line out of his saddle pickup to a mono track to blend in with the stereo mics. It gives the sound a little added Mojo. It has worked on my more recent recordings. Otherwise, I agree with Eric across the board.

My .02
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13th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
which mic technique do you prefer on picking?
I really like it for both. I find that it works best with very simple arrangements. If you need a single acoustic guitar to fill the stereo field and wrap around a vocal panned in the center it think it really works great. It doesn't work so well if you are trying to blend it in with a bunch of other instruments... it just doesn't leave much room for anything else.

When recording acoustic guitar as a part of a more complicated arrangement, there are 2 other techniques I use a lot:

1) M/S on acoustic guitar is awesome. The thing I really love about M/S is that you have total control over how wide the sound gets by turning the "S" up or down in a way that has less phasing issues. If the acoustic is taking up too much space you can just turn down the "S" a little then you got more space to play with on the other instruments. The example of that I can think off the top of my head is on the Smash Mouth song "Out Of Sight"

2) Close/Far micing. A lot of times i will have one mic close up on the guitar in that 15th fret type position then have a mic that is just pointed off in the room somewhere. I even go out of my way to sometimes to put it on another instrument in the room that is not even being played at that point. It is an effort to recreate an effect I really love on old records when human beings you to play music together in a room. Those old recordings have lots of incidental room sounds. Basically the sound of one instrument bleeding in to a mic not setup as a room mic but just placed on another instrument in the room. It adds a subtle sense of space when you bring up a little of that room mic opposite the close mic in the stereo field. i can't thin of a good example of that of the top of my head. If I think of one I'll add it to this post.

EV
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13th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
I was just experimenting with this new mic technique for a while.. WOW - like it a lot - great stuff.. although with the 4038 the sound was a little boomy and I had to move a bit more towards 10.-12. fret

with km84 15. fret was great..
The Coles do always sound pretty bassy on acoustic. I always use quite a lot of EQ whenever I use Coles on acoustic. The cool thing is that the high end you get after you boost it up can be pretty wonderful. It has a very different character than a condenser.

EV
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15th August 2011
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...first try..
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Recording Accoustic Guitar-foto.jpg  
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16th August 2011
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hey eric
is phase with this method no problem? just thought becaue the mics are in a 90º angle pointing to each other...
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16th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
hey eric
is phase with this method no problem? just thought becaue the mics are in a 90º angle pointing to each other...
The phasing shouldn't be problem as long as the mics are the same distance from the guitar. Theoretically, the phasing difference should increase with frequency. So lower frequencies will be more in phase and higher frequencies will have greater phase differences. That is part of what creates the stereo effect. Looking at your picture I would say that I typically have the mics a tiny bit closer together than that... maybe 2 or 3 inches, but it really just depends on how wide you want it to sound.

That looks like a nice Gibson! I actually own a Gibson J-40. They are great sounding guitars.

EV
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16th August 2011
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Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
The phasing shouldn't be problem as long as the mics are the same distance from the guitar. Theoretically, the phasing difference should increase with frequency. So lower frequencies will be more in phase and higher frequencies will have greater phase differences. That is part of what creates the stereo effect. Looking at your picture I would say that I typically have the mics a tiny bit closer together than that... maybe 2 or 3 inches, but it really just depends on how wide you want it to sound.

That looks like a nice Gibson! I actually own a Gibson J-40. They are great sounding guitars.

EV
yeah its a ´64 J45.. beautiful sounding for strumming - most of the time too thin for folk picking - thats where I prefer martins - and I love the top end on the coles as well
funny I used km84 as well and it seemed like becoming 3D with the coles.. might be the figure 8 right? I a/b´d the two and when switching to the coles it was like the room coming in.. and the sound is much smoother
I´ll try to put them closer together and check how it sounds.. I also messed around with M/S with a SM69.. - also very nice but I kinda prefer the up/down 90º... it fits into the sound so well (as you said a bit like a piano)
love it
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17th August 2011
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Man - every thread I read in this QA is gold - thank you Eric Valentine - this is well-worth reading though - so many useful tips!
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17th August 2011
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Found this incredibly relevant and helpful as I am recording folk/acoustic stuff right now.

Much appreciated!
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17th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soulstudios View Post
Man - every thread I read in this QA is gold - thank you Eric Valentine - this is well-worth reading though - so many useful tips!
I second that.
Thank you so much for your time. The 90° tip makes a wonderful sound...maybe the sound I always searched for some song but never found it.
Thanks!
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17th August 2011
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Guys, i get it how to put the mics.. But how to balance these two audio tracks in the best way? Both to center? Or split a bit? But then nothing will leave in the center...
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I think that´s what he said in #15
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17th August 2011
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And does this tip work with two different mics? Like one is Neuman tlm103 condencer mic, and other is a simple stage dynamic mic.. Not relly the high end, really simple mic
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17th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SP100 View Post
And does this tip work with two different mics? Like one is Neuman tlm103 condencer mic, and other is a simple stage dynamic mic.. Not relly the high end, really simple mic
i have never tried it with 2 different mics. My guess is that the stereo image, which is already pretty drastic with this technique might get a bit weird. You never know though, it could get weird in a cool way!! I say give it a go!!

EV
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