The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Recording nylon string guitar
Old 27th November 2019
  #1
Recording nylon string guitar

Do you have some good experience with some recording techniques, mics placement etc. resulting in full, sweet, resonating sound of classical nylon string guitar ? (not necessarily playing classical pieces).

I am still not very happy with my results ... I tried the classical AB Schoeps (MK2 or MK22) about 30-40 cm from the instrument - straight in front of it or slightly from above (sounds a bit flat and "small" somehow), I also tried MS (Josephson C700S), but still that sweet, full, meditative sound as I hear it when playing not reached ...

Any special tips welcome Thank you ...
Old 27th November 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
PuebloAudio's Avatar
 

For classical guitar, lute, etc., the acoustic overwhelmingly contributes to a sweet or bitter sound. I usually find recording these instruments in a studio setting to be an exercise in frustration.

Presuming the sweet sound you want exists in the recording space, then I have had luck capturing that with 4038โ€™s
Old 28th November 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 

I believe this has been shared here before at some point, but you may find it interesting if you have not already seen it:

https://vimeo.com/21498274
Old 28th November 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
One of the best AGTR sounds I've had was when I put a mic over the player's right shoulder, looking straight down at the top of the body of the guitar.

I suppose you could add a left shoulder mic for stereo.

Chris
Old 28th November 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 

single directional ldc at short distance plus (either a sdc at the neck or) a stereo pair for ambient sound.

i don't see a point in using stereo mics on any instrument unless it's very large or has a very wide frequency spectrum (piano, drums etc.).

stereo means movement within the stereo or surround soundfield (and bad localisation if using spaced pairs); two mics often lead to a too wide recording angle and bring up more noise...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 30th November 2019 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: info added
Old 28th November 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
One of the best AGTR sounds I've had was when I put a mic over the player's right shoulder, looking straight down at the top of the body of the guitar.

I suppose you could add a left shoulder mic for stereo.

Chris
Yes, interesting - because the best sound I hear is when I play, it means where my ears are
Old 28th November 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Yes, interesting - because the best sound I hear is when I play, it means where my ears are
Yep, that was the theory. I was pleased with how it worked in practice.

Chris
Old 28th November 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Yes, interesting - because the best sound I hear is when I play, it means where my ears are
'best'? well, it's the 'only' sound you can hear... - the audience however gets to hear something different as the instrument projects in it's direction; therefore one often aims at capturing instruments from the audience's' perspective.
Old 28th November 2019
  #9
Recording a classical guitar is indeed surprisingly difficult. Iโ€™m a classical guitarist by trade, and musicians are frequently frustrated with the same issue.

The over the shoulder approach can work. Many of those โ€œsound pureโ€ videos on YouTube use that technique. But can be difficult if you have a click running on headphones. Also, the stereo image (using a second spot on 12th) isnโ€™t as natural as a ORTF or AB Omni etc

My recent attempts have been with MKH 800 Twins, Neumann USM69 and Schoeps MK5. Using 2 DPA 4007 as room mics.

The client likes the Neumann, because it has more body. To me, itโ€™s muddy and not transparent enough. He is probably chasing that โ€œfullโ€ sound he can hear while playing. The MKH has great clarity (my favorites on that attempt) but could have more weight in the low end. The Schoeps was also good but sounded a little โ€œdryโ€ somehow.

The room mics gave it a little more air.

I wonder if a KU100 approach with a headless musician solves the issue. ?

Last edited by Julian J. Ludwig; 1st December 2019 at 04:17 AM.. Reason: Fat fingers
Old 28th November 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian J. Ludwig View Post
He is probably chasing that โ€œfullโ€ sound he can hear while playing.?
Bone conduction. We hear with more than our ears.

Difficult to capture that, though.

Chris
Old 28th November 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
Difficult to capture (...)
easy to emulate with a vibrating plate which are getting used in live sound more often these days (as well as in music therapy btw) - a sub (for instruments with more lf content) can also emulate the effect (to some degree)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian J. Ludwig View Post
(...) I wonder if a KU100 approach with a headless musician solves the issue. ?
ku100 alone doesn't do the trick either; an additional .1 mic and sub get you closer though (see above).
Old 28th November 2019
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
For non-classical nylon in studios (not halls), I've never gotten great results with condensers. Too much "tink," too much thump. Probably the best results have been with a 421N, a 421U or an EV666, all up pretty close. I wanted to try an RE20 up really close one time (no proximity effect) but the player freaked out because it was so big, so I didn't.
Old 28th November 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Yes, interesting - because the best sound I hear is when I play, it means where my ears are
This could be a bit of a trap, ie to try to reproduce what is heard as a player. The soundboard straight out produces much richer sound than from the side. A couple of MK22's out in front (about 0.5-1m for Ivo's style of music) or a blumlein pair might work well.
Old 29th November 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
Sometimes when seeking a newer approach to recording a more natural (or even just 'different') sound, it's useful to step aside from conventional wisdom regarding mic types/brands, angles, distances, which fret to point it/them at ....etc.

To this end ie adopting a more open ended experimental approach, I suggest arming yourself with a good lavalier mic or two and some blu-tack. Try locating the lavalier at various places on the soundboard, at the edge of the sound hole (and even inside it), plus along the edge between soundboard and curved upper edge.....in other words the same place where you'd be pointing your 'over the shoulder' regular mic.

When using a lavalier mic, you can choose between Omni and cardioid type, and due to its proximity to strings, sound hole and board, finger and pick noise etc you need to be prepared to engage in more drastic eq and perhaps dynamics control to rein in some of the extremes that this placement generates.

The lavalier approach is very easy, quick and low cost to play with...and can generate an extremely fast (transient) string sound, with extended (actually exaggerated) dynamics and frequency response....hence the need for eq and dynamics control to restore some naturalness. Not to mention proximity effect to the power of twelve !

The lavalier approach has the capacity to generate a 'hyper-real' sound...which can be exciting and irritating, and you'll want to dial back from that.

A 4038 has been mentioned above, and as Brent says it's worth trying conventional dynamic and ribbon mics for a different type of sound, I suspect there's a small degree of compression inherent in the dynamic mic principle which can work very well on acoustic guitar.

Finally, if you have access to a pzm/blm mic (or a pair) try them on a sheet of plywood or acrylic in front of the guitar, or even attached to a wall or window. Then just play to the sheet/wall/window !

Adopt a playful, experimental, iconoclastic approach away from all of the old conventional ("sensible, parental") 'Schoeps/MKH/DPA at xx cms from the 12th fret' type formulas and you could come back with something really satisfying !

At worst, you'll gain many valuable insights and derive methods useful to some of the other instruments (eg percussion) that you are attracted to....it will repay the time invested very handsomely indeed !
Old 30th November 2019
  #15
If I put AB pair of Schoeps in front of the guitar, the sound is a bit small, flat and 2D. What I hear when playing is much better. If I put AB pair of Schoeps over my shoulders (following the advice above), the result is much better, fuller and more spacey

The best sound so far I just reached is combining shoulder Schoeps MK2 with MS Josephson C700S placed in front of the guitar (in cca 60:40 or 70:30 relation)

My intention is not capturing a player as if he is playing live on the stage, but rather "abstract" music ...
Old 30th November 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Move to a church and move to ribbon mics.

Church should be wood and stone architecture.
Old 30th November 2019
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Move to a church and move to ribbon mics.

Church should be wood and stone architecture.
And you can leave your hat off. :-)
Old 30th November 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Move to a church and move to ribbon mics.

Church should be wood and stone architecture.
Ribbon mics noisy ... (when the music is subtle and oscillates between sound and silence)
Old 30th November 2019
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Move to a church and move to ribbon mics.

Church should be wood and stone architecture.
Funny you should mention that. Check out "Levintine Tales" by Dusan Bogdanovic' on the MA label. It was recorded in a stone church in Bosnia with a pair of matched B+K 4003 mics into an Audio Upgrades mic preamp. The sound is deep and haunting.
Old 30th November 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
robert82's Avatar
These shots, and the accompanying Soundcloud are from Stefano Amerio's studio in Udine, Artesuono. Stefano is an engineer for ECM as well as for independent projects like Maciek Pysz, the guitarist here. As you can see, in each case it's a pair of TLM 103s spaced close enough to create a stereo image, but not generate too much phase cancellation in mono.

I've been playing with this setup, it's better than most - I suspect my room could better though. . . Oh, and I have also tried setting the mics at figure 8 as well (obviously I don't have TLM 103s!). That makes a pseudo Faulkner Array, I guess. ;~)

Attached Thumbnails
Recording nylon string guitar-screen-shot-2019-11-12-2.19.28-pm.png   Recording nylon string guitar-screen-shot-2019-11-30-12.59.12-pm.jpg   Recording nylon string guitar-screen-shot-2019-11-30-12.59.53-pm.jpg  
Old 30th November 2019
  #21
Gear Addict
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 

Thanks for sharing this, Robert.

I remember Stefano provided several posts with some really good information here quite a while ago about sessions he had worked on. In the context of this discussion, as much as I appreciate the ECM sound, I'd also be curious to hear this totally dry.
Old 1st December 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Ribbon mics noisy ... (when the music is subtle and oscillates between sound and silence)
Active ribbons like Rode NTR or Samar ? I very much doubt it, but users of such mics on guitar can check in here and contribute their experiences...
Old 1st December 2019
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Active ribbons like Rode NTR or Samar ? I very much doubt it, but users of such mics on guitar can check in here and contribute their experiences...
Yes, I tried quite few times ...
Old 1st December 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Most all classic and most famous guitar records were recorded with ribbon mics.


Use a booster or quiet mic amp like Hardy, Gordon, or D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1.
Old 1st December 2019
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Ribbon mics noisy ...
Most hall ambience noisier.
Old 1st December 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Comment away!
Brent Hahn is on my ignore list so I do not see his postings.
Old 1st December 2019
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Comment away!
Brent Hahn is on my ignore list so I do not see his postings.
But apparently you can still feel them. Sorta Spidey-like, maybe.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
But apparently you can still feel them. Sorta Spidey-like, maybe.
Hiding in plain sight..but apparently still on jock-strap carrying detail, lol ! I love both your postings guys !
Old 2nd December 2019
  #29
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
I believe this has been shared here before at some point, but you may find it interesting if you have not already seen it:

https://vimeo.com/21498274
Thank you for sharing this. I hadn't seen it before.

Any idea what the mics are ? Green with gold, doesn't bring anything to mind.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #30
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Most all classic and most famous guitar records were recorded with ribbon mics.


Use a booster or quiet mic amp like Hardy, Gordon, or D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1.

Royer SF-24V does a superlative job. Frequently used for just this at Capital.
๐Ÿ“ Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
๐Ÿ–จ๏ธ Show Printable Version
โœ‰๏ธ Email this Page
๐Ÿ” Search thread
โ™พ๏ธ Similar Threads
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ View mentioned gear