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Which mic and premap for recording acoustic guitar?
Old 16th October 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Which mic and premap for recording acoustic guitar?

Hi all

I'm a little bewildered at the minute trying to figure out what amp and preamp to buy to record acousstic guitar. I've done a fair bit of googling and of course ended up at your slutty forum.

Now, I'm a newbie, and have only been playing for a year. I have a fairly basic guitar - Yamaham F310, though I think it sounds nice enough. I have a echo mia midi soundcard which has: 2 balanced ¼" analog inputs with 106dB (A-weighted) dynamic range.

Mic: two names have cropped up so far: Oktava MK 012 or Rode NT1-A. Though I recently read some threads on here slating the latter quite a lot.

Quite a few people seem to suggest the Art Tube Mp Studio preamp.

How do I know what will work well together?
What would be a good comination for my small budget?
Would it better to buy two cheaper mics than one better one?

I don't want to develop an audiophile obsession about this, I just want a relatively nice sounding recording for my money.

Thanks very much
Old 16th October 2013
  #2
There are literally thousands of mic and mic pre combinations that can do a reasonable job of recording an acoustic guitar. What's best for you and within you budget is entirely a "personal taste" decision. There are also other factors such as recording technique and room acoustics/treatment that can influence the choice of mics.

The mics you mentioned are both fine as is the ART mic pre, but there are many, many more that will work well, and might be better suited to your playing style and taste.

The same issues apply for the question of recording with one mic (mono) or two (stereo). It depends on what you're trying to accomplish and what kind of sound you personally prefer. Although if you record in stereo (using proper technique) you can always collapse the sound image to mono, but not the other way around.

You will probably get some recommendations of what others have found to be to their liking. Picking a mic and/or mic pre that way is like letting a total stranger pick your spouse for life. What "John Doe" loves may not be at all to your liking. Certainly, you will get replies from people who "swear by" a particular mic or mic pre. Unless you try it on your own guitar and in your room, it is a meaningless recommendation for you. You will find that more experienced players and engineers will rarely make specific recommendations. Those who insist that "mic A , B or C and Mic pre X, Y or Z is the "killer combo" usually have not had any experience trying much else.

Do your own research, read reviews and use the available on-line tools such as the Zen Pro Audio Chipalator, which will give you a reasonable idea of the way different mics perform on different instruments.

Having said that, my personal preference for recording classical acoustic guitar is to use the cleanest, lowest distortion mics around and a "clean", (adds or subtracts nothing to the mic's sound) mic pre. I record acoustics with a pair of CMC64's or MKH8040s and Grace Design M101 pres. I leave the sound shaping up to the musician. That works for me and my clients, it may, or may not, be a sound that you might like.

Good luck.
Old 17th October 2013
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for a very considered reply. I had not heard of that tool (had a quick look - fantastic!). I'll also look into your suggestions. More than anything just recording the sound will be great for me as opposed to nuances in quality, though I want something that will at least sound semi decent.
Old 17th October 2013
  #4
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Demokid's Avatar
 

I don't know what your budget is but here is a cool dual pre-amp which sounds very good and have a hybrid design including both vintage and modern circuits. This way you can color the sound in a mid 60's, 70's and the modern tone from the 80's and 90'. All in one box.

TK Audio - DP1mk3 Dual Preamplifier

Kind regards
Demokid
Old 17th October 2013
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demokid View Post
I don't know what your budget is but here is a cool dual pre-amp which sounds very good and have a hybrid design including both vintage and modern circuits. This way you can color the sound in a mid 60's, 70's and the modern tone from the 80's and 90'. All in one box.

TK Audio - DP1mk3 Dual Preamplifier

Kind regards
Demokid
Thanks, way above my budget though! I can spend a 2-3 hundred pounds on both mic and preamp, so I guess right at the bottom end (hardly gear slutz material then, but ho hum)
Old 17th October 2013
  #6
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Demokid's Avatar
 

You are a gearslut if you buy gear :D

Good luck with the mic and pre-amp hunting
Old 17th October 2013
  #7
If an "accurate" recording of the instrument's sound is the direction you'd like to go in, and your budget allows, a pair of the not well advertised, but otherwise excellent "clean" Line Audio CM3 mics are a possibility to consider. If you do a Gearslutz search, you will find a lot of discussion (and some sound samples) of these mcs. They are produced in small quantities by Roger Jönsson in Sweden and are sold directly, or through a dealer in Belgium.

Roger also makes a dual-channel mic pre, the 2MP which is considered to be a good match for the CM3 mics.

Although the CM3s are not quite up to the level of a top quality Schoeps, Sennheiser or Neumann SDC (small diaphragm condenser), they are very good and are possibly the best sounding (cleanest and flattest frequency response) mics at anything near their price point. The CM3 is a "wide cardioid" pattern mic, so should be positioned rather close (0.3 to 0.5M) to a guitar.

I've used them for many projects (currently own 6) and am constantly impressed with their performance. IMHO, they are one of the true bargains in pro audio hardware, and they certainly are "Pro-level" gear.

Roger is totally honest, very professional it's easy to purchase CM-3s directly from him. The 2MP mic pre has a good reputation, although I've never personally used one, and CM3s will, of course, work with the built-in mic pres in most small external interfaces.
Old 20th October 2013
  #8
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After much reading and comparing, I think I'm going to go for the Golden Age Project R1 active Mk3 mic and ART Pro MPA 2 preamp. This combo is about twice by budget, but I figure it's a future proof investment as both are at sweet spots budget wise. The only thing that isn't great about this is not having two mics but realistically, you cannot do that unless you spend a hell of a lot of money.

The Golden age because ribbons sound so much better for acoustic from clips I've listened to, it is compares well to much more expensive mics.

The Art PRO MPA 2 also sounds very sweet to me in comparisons and is well-raved about.

I'd appreciate any feedback on these choices!

Lastly, do mics/preamps come with the necessary cables I need?
Old 20th October 2013
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by reflexy View Post
...Lastly, do mics/preamps come with the necessary cables I need?
Mics and mic pres are not usually supplied with cables.

To connect the Golden Age Project R1 active Mk3 to a mic pre, any good quality XLR/XLR cable will work well. Canare Star Quad /Neutrik are very high quality, but almost anything will be OK.

The ART Pro MPA-II has both XLR and TRS outputs and your Echo has 1/4 inch TRS inputs so either a XLR(F) to TRS cable or a TRS/TRS cable will work. Since XLR connectors tend to be more reliable and rugged than TRS connectors, the first choice is generally preferred.

Ribbons can be a good choice for home recording not only because of their "smooth" sound, but also because of their exceptionally high rejection of sounds at 90 degrees to the central axis. Careful positioning can often be used to your advantage.
Good luck with your choices.
Old 20th October 2013
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
Mics and mic pres are not usually supplied with cables.

To connect the Golden Age Project R1 active Mk3 to a mic pre, any good quality XLR/XLR cable will work well. Canare Star Quad /Neutrik are very high quality, but almost anything will be OK.

The ART Pro MPA-II has both XLR and TRS outputs and your Echo has 1/4 inch TRS inputs so either a XLR(F) to TRS cable or a TRS/TRS cable will work. Since XLR connectors tend to be more reliable and rugged than TRS connectors, the first choice is generally preferred.

Ribbons can be a good choice for home recording not only because of their "smooth" sound, but also because of their exceptionally high rejection of sounds at 90 degrees to the central axis. Careful positioning can often be used to your advantage.
Good luck with your choices.
Thanks very much mate, you've been very helpful
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