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Blending three mics on solo, instrumental acoustic guitar
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Scott Whigham
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8th January 2011
Old 8th January 2011
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Blending three mics on solo, instrumental acoustic guitar

I just picked up a nice LDC to go along with a SMP of SDCs. The LDC isn't here yet but I'm excited and want to talk mix placement. So please humor me, recognize that I'm gushing with happiness, and don't give me that, "Use your ears" crap (I'll do that anyway. TYVM!)

Here's what I plan on trying:
  • SDCs in a spaced pair - one at 12th-15th fret and one at bridge-bout
  • LDC as a room mic - placed back a fair amount - 3'+
How would you mix this if we were doing a single take of acoustic guitar for a solo, instrumental piece? Yes, there are 50 ways of combining/placing these mics but that's not what I'm asking about (I'll try all combos, believe me) - I'm thinking about this specific placement+arrangement of mics.

Here's what I think I would do:
  • Hard pan each SDC
  • Send each SDC's reverb to opposite channel
  • Put LDC in the center, maybe a bit back in the mix
  • Send LDC reverb to 40% one side maybe?
Dunno - again, the LDC isn't here so I can't play. I'm used to only recording two mics at once so having three on the guitar is new to me. I'm excited though - it's a week until it will be here though :(

How might you mix this arrangement of mics? Am I totally off base with my starting plan for mixing? This will be used for both soft fingerpicking and hard strumming.
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#2
8th January 2011
Old 8th January 2011
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Use your ears!

(what? now it's out of the way at least....)
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8th January 2011
Old 8th January 2011
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i think you got it good

leave your room in the middle and blend it like you want with the sdc's.

mostly i dont pan too hard, but it depends on the music.
i pan 35% to keep some punch

goodluck
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8th January 2011
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Well, you'll probably realize that the tone difference between the two SDC calls for a blend that won't necessarily look like 50-50 - particularly, should you want to experiment, if you end up slightly automating the balance according to how song develops. That therefore may rule out the basic hard panning of your close mics.

Which (YMMV) I don't consider beeing a bad thing. Particularly for solo pieces, the 5-yard-wide guitar is my pet peeve. As for the distant LDC, try limiting and blend to taste but... Make sure you're adding something really interesting. Your room will make all the difference. And reverb would be a stupid thing to chime in about since it depends even more of the song than the other parameters.

Generally, a solo instrument recording is the perfect candidate for a "less is more" approach. Always compare your combination with mics in isolation, and try your best to be honest about what you hear... endless possibilities at mixdown rarely lead to satisfying results.
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8th January 2011
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Or...

LDC @ 14th fret, 12 - 18" (30 - 45cm) away. (Use Omni mode to capture most of sound) {try to vary distance to find the right tone and room balance}

SDC1 @ 7th fret to capture fretting hand detail, 12" away

SDC2 @ bridge. 14" away

This will give you a more intimate sound and in terms of mixing the 3 sources together, have all set for unity/par gain on your meters, regardless of preamp setting differences. As for mix levels and panning:
LDC in Center, 50% of sound
SDC1 pan 75% left, 20% of sound
SDC2 pan 75% right, 30% of sound
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8th January 2011
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Get an IBP. And THEN use your ears.
Scott Whigham
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8th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Get an IBP. And THEN use your ears.
Have one already!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wardpike View Post
...have all set for unity/par gain on your meters, regardless of preamp setting differences.
I think I know what you mean but can you elaborate?

Thank you to everyone for the ideas Well, except those "use your ears" posts
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I've had more success with mid-side on solo guitar. When mixing three mics, I always seem to end up just muting one of the tracks.
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Scott Whigham
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8th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Goat View Post
I've had more success with mid-side on solo guitar. When mixing three mics, I always seem to end up just muting one of the tracks.
Good to know - thanks. As I said, I'm really looking for ideas on how to mix that specific arrangement of mics. But when my LDC comes in next week, I definitely will be trying alllllll the combinations I can think of including M/S!
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8th January 2011
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M/S is the most intimate yet still big if intimate is required. Another goodie is one mic horizontal pointing at neck (7-12th...ish) and the other vertical just over your shoulder pointing down. The down/shoulder mic is CRUCIAL as the exactly how it points....very touchy but great when dialled in. Works good with one in the middle too(like a ribbon or LDC) positioned as if it was the only mic (pointing at neckjoin-ish), maybe a bit further out depending on desired result.
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Some of this is going to depend on the player, of course.

If you have a player who has a hard time staying still, you'll be better served by being back a little, and a M/S approach will minimize crazy stereo swings and comb-filtering. Of course, using the mono LDC by itself would eliminate stereo issues altogether!

If the player is consistent, and can hold still, close mics at the 12th (a few inches above and in front, looking down toward the 12th fret) and at the body, a few inches past the bridge can sound great panned out in stereo.

I use a room mic or two sometimes, but generally they don't make the mix (or just a tiny bit.) With most acoustic players, if the mic is more than a couple feet back, you start getting a lot of room noise, preamp noise, mic noise, etc.
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i think it'll work a lot better to have a mono close mic and stereo pair in the room.

you will get nice stereo ambience information. you will not have to mess around with things like panning the LDC's reverb 40% to one side (why?).

if you are set on tracking at as described, i would most likely do the following:

hard-pan SDC's. feed to stereo reverb. use a little bit of the LDC if it helps. mute it if it doesnt help. i dont know that mono ambience is going to be helpful here....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan jetter View Post
i think it'll work a lot better to have a mono close mic and stereo pair in the room.

you will get nice stereo ambience information. you will not have to mess around with things like panning the LDC's reverb 40% to one side (why?).
I agree with this approach!

Get the LDC in a good sounding spot, and use the SDCs as room/stereo mics. Make sure they're a good bit back, but not so far as to be all noise and ambience. But again, you need to be back enough that if the player shifts a little, you don't get weird comb-filtering between the close mic and the room mics.
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Small mic around the 12th fret ...larger mic off in the room.
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8th January 2011
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Wow - this turned into much more fun than I expected. Thanks everyone for taking the time.

Some of you mentioned "intimate" - that's the perfect word for describing what I'm going for.
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LDC on body..SDC on neck

LDC room

more control of string sound and body resonance ... then the room for some depth

opps answered an unasked question sorry..

"it depends"
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8th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Wow - this turned into much more fun than I expected. Thanks everyone for taking the time.

Some of you mentioned "intimate" - that's the perfect word for describing what I'm going for.
M/S with condenser as mid and ribbon or very mellow condenser as side is nice. Send to reverb mainly, if not only off the side mic. Maybe add a 'room mic'. If so, use that as main verb feed = intimate and stereo and 3D.

If you add a second guitar, try panning the main guitar's mid mic full left and side mic full right (no M/S matrix, only leave mics the same), feed verb off side mic and pan in the middle, mono. Then loads of room for the second the other way, mid mic to the right...lots of room and size and still honest.
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9th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
LDC on body..SDC on neck

LDC room

more control of string sound and body resonance ... then the room for some depth
I only have one LDC :(
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10th January 2011
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Doh! I just realized that my LDC (Pearlman TM-1) is cardiod as are my SDCs (Gefell M 300s). No M/S for me, I guess :( I had it in my head that the TM-1 could do fig8 but alas.
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