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Your favorite Acoustic Guitar Recording Setup?
Old 11th February 2016
  #1
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stresstour's Avatar
 

Your favorite Acoustic Guitar Recording Setup?

There are many ways to record an acoustic guitar but what are your favorite techniques that you like to use for capturing either solo or in the pocket acoustic recordings. Then feel free to share any mixing tips.

TRACKING
Pres/Compressor/EQ?
Microphones?
Microphone placement (Mono/XY/ORTF/Mid-Side)?

MIXING
Compression?
EQ?
Saturation?
Exciter?
Old 11th February 2016
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Mid-Side for me. Allows a lot of tweaking afterwards, and always offers very natural sounds. I absolutely dislike "stereo" settings with different microphones.


When a mono-track is enough, I take an omni at the 12th -14th fret.
Old 11th February 2016
  #3
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stresstour's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by livingloud View Post
When a mono-track is enough, I take an omni at the 12th -14th fret.
I mainly record my acoustic tracks like that. Depends on the kind of music/guitar/player etc. But 8-10 times it works great. I have been recording for 20+ years and have never tried the Mid-Side technique. So that is my next experiment.
Old 11th February 2016
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Mid-side - ldc as mid mic, and ribbon as side. Once I found that setup, I found peace with recording acoustic guitar. The sound I always wanted.

Mid: Lauten Horizon into Warm Wa12(tone button in)

Side: Tundra Pol8 (wonderful danish ribbon) into Daking mic pre one.
Old 11th February 2016
  #5
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doorknocker's Avatar
Mostly one-mic mono here. Microphone aimed towards the soundhole rather than the 12th fret. I love Gibson acoustics in the studio....

Preamp is almost always a Chandler LTD-1. No or little EQ. Sometimes I use an LA-3A in the chain as well.

Mics: Either a KM -84 or a AKG D19c. I had good results with a Sennheiser MD-409 as well though I haven't used that in a while. I need to try my MD-441 again as well.

I try to keep it simple though using two or more mics can work well for solo performances. I kinda regret selling a pair of AKG 451 EBs that were similar to the KM 84s, maybe not as silky and full sounding but with a nice snap to it.
Old 11th February 2016
  #6
It really depends on the tone im going for.

I'll sometimes use a Royer R122 through a phoenix DRSQ4. Great for strummed patterns and a very smooth and natural feel. For solo work I use a pair of T-funk M60's through a Vintech 273. EQ depends on the guitar. Usually ill go for a spaced pair, or one over shoulder one at 12th. Very rich and detailed. If the room and guitar sounds good, this setup sounds fantastic.
Old 11th February 2016
  #7
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Lately I've been getting great results with an M149 into a Neve 33115. But a pair of KM84's through the same pres work better for fingerpicking. I generally avoid compressing acoustic guitars on the way in.

Placement depends on whether I'm tracking it by itself or alongside other sources. I like to have the guitarist play, plug one ear and listen with my other one to find a spot where I think the tone comes together the best.

In post, I've been liking the UAD LA-3A followed by the Waves Renaissance Axx for compression. Both are used very lightly. If I need more cut, I will dial in the soundtoys Decapitator and make good use of the mix knob.
Old 11th February 2016
  #8
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TurboJets's Avatar
Lately I've focused on mono-mic'ing with a tube mic, then layering performances if I want more of a stereo spread. The tube mic just offers such beautiful separation from the other tracks because of the natural compression the mic provides.
Old 11th February 2016
  #9
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Dutchy15's Avatar
Try a Blumlein setup some day, if you have a nice sounding room it can produce surprising results. Since the stereo-ness isn't ajdustable after recording like with MS, you do need to more or less commit to the sound you're getting during tracking.


Dutchy
Old 11th February 2016
  #10
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i really like u67s in m/s. i normally only use the mid signal but still have the option if i need it in the mix. i like mellow sounding guitars - hence te u67s. if i need more detail/faster response i go for a km54. if on a budged a km84 is great too.
id never even think about compression during tracking. way too dangerous on an acoustic guitar. sometimes like 2db with a la3a but even then the signal is split right at the preamp and recorded clean as safety backup. nothing worse than false comp envelope on acoustic guitar imo.

ps: just had a terrible bright guita to track. even the u67s failed. a coles 4038 did it. it all depends on the source
Old 11th February 2016
  #11
Gear Head
 
MaxwellJPorter's Avatar
 

When I record classical guitars (finger-picking & nylon strings) I have success with the XY microphone technique. When you say acoustic guitar I assume you mean steel-string with a pick, but the XY could be worth a try.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #12
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stresstour's Avatar
 

These are all interesting tips and tricks. Thanks for your input. Can't wait to try some of these mics mentioned here. Compression has been mentioned and I agree that it can be a nightmare if the transients are destroyed going in.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #13
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Woodwindy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stresstour View Post
These are all interesting tips and tricks. Thanks for your input. Can't wait to try some of these mics mentioned here. Compression has been mentioned and I agree that it can be a nightmare if the transients are destroyed going in.
I generally agree about lack of compression. But listen to Stephen Stills acoustic on "Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and you'll hear heavily compressed acoustic at its best.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #14
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stresstour's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodwindy View Post
I generally agree about lack of compression. But listen to Stephen Stills acoustic on "Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and you'll hear heavily compressed acoustic at its best.
Oh no, I like compression on a mix. I meant it can be a gamble when used to extreme during tracking. Carry on...great song!
Old 23rd February 2016
  #15
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodwindy View Post
I generally agree about lack of compression. But listen to Stephen Stills acoustic on "Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and you'll hear heavily compressed acoustic at its best.
That's Stills signature sound that was there even back in the Buffalo Springfield days. Listen to 'Bluebird' for example. A great example is also 'Judy Blues Eyes'. I'm too lazy to search for it right now but there's an article online (possibly from Sound On Sound) where the 'Judy' engineer claims that this sound was a mistake i.e he overcompressed but Stills played the song all the way though and eventually loved that sound.

Nice story but I'm not sure if that's true, I could very well imagine that Stills was requesting that particular sound, especially as heavy acoustic guitar compression was already used on the earlier Springfield tracks.

'Black Queen' from Stills first solo album is another great example.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #16
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stresstour's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
That's Stills signature sound that was there even back in the Buffalo Springfield days. Listen to 'Bluebird' for example. A great example is also 'Judy Blues Eyes'. I'm too lazy to search for it right now but there's an article online (possibly from Sound On Sound) where the 'Judy' engineer claims that this sound was a mistake i.e he overcompressed but Stills played the song all the way though and eventually loved that sound.

Nice story but I'm not sure if that's true, I could very well imagine that Stills was requesting that particular sound, especially as heavy acoustic guitar compression was already used on the earlier Springfield tracks.

'Black Queen' from Stills first solo album is another great example.

Cool info! I need to hunt that article down. Always interesting to hear how mistakes turned into famous signature sounds for artist and songs. Reminds me of how Phil Collins ended up with that epic gated drum room sound that made him zillions.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #17
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stresstour View Post
Cool info! I need to hunt that article down. Always interesting to hear how mistakes turned into famous signature sounds for artist and songs. Reminds me of how Phil Collins ended up with that epic gated drum room sound that made him zillions.
I found it, enjoy!

Crosby, Stills & Nash ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ | Classic Tracks
Old 23rd February 2016
  #18
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

This exact subject seems to pop up every once in a while. Nobody ever posts clips.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #19
a single km84 is definitely my preference and mono is my preference over stereo with some subtle low ratio compression in parallel on the way in.

I love the sound of blumlein, to my ears it sounds the most natural of all in stereo.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #20
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
That was a good read.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #21
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stresstour View Post
There are many ways to record an acoustic guitar but what are your favorite techniques
I like mikes and pres that are as transparent as possible, with the mikes positioned to get the sound a listener 3 ft away would hear, live in the room. I need a good sounding room for that. For solo guitar.

Quote:
TRACKING...
Pres
- Great River MP2
Quote:
Microphones
- Schoeps mk41, though the player's sound matters more than the mikes. That's an understatement.
Quote:
Microphone placement(Mono/XY/ORTF/Mid-Side)?
My go-to is ORTF at approx 3 ft - and low to the ground if I want mellow more than bright.
Quote:
Microphone placement(Mono/XY/ORTF/Mid-Side)?
Mono is good too, positioned at the neck-body joint, 2 ft out. Closer if the playing is quiet.

Quote:
Compression?
Voxengo Soniformer or Waves Linear Multiband for Low and Low-mid compression. I rarely use broadband compression.
Quote:
EQ?
- Spline, Refined-Audiometrics PLPar
Old 23rd February 2016
  #22
TRACKING

Pres/Compressor/EQ- SCA N72s (don't have any A12s yet)

Microphones- Oktava MK-012s (will upgrade some day)

Microphone placement (Mono/XY/ORTF/Mid-Side)- ORTF, about 3 feet away, like Timothy Lawler

MIXING

Compression- Drawmer 1968

EQ- UAD stuff. I love the new Pultec.

Saturation- None.

Exciter- I play naked (just kidding).
Old 23rd February 2016
  #23
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rocksure's Avatar
The most common setup I use is two mics - an LDC aimed somewhere towards the bridge, and an SDC aimed towards the 12th fret. Keeping them at least 12" ( 30cm) from the guitar, and usually it's more like 18" (45 cm). How I blend them later varies from mix to mix. I lightly compress both mics on the way in.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Generally KM84 just below the 12th fret but angled towards the body just below the sound hole. If the guitar is a bit dead or being fingerpicked without picks or nails then maybe a KM54.

The biggest acoustic sound I have ever got was an AEA R84 ribbon from slightly above pointing down just behind the bridge through a Neve 3114 preamp with a Phoenix Audio 'Class A' mod.

Some high pass at 82hz and about 6-8db of 10khz shelving boost and it sounded huge.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #25
Gear Head
 

Ev 635a at the bridge.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #26
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vernier's Avatar
I like RE15 or D19 with tad of limiting from 175 or BA6A or something similar.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #27
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monkeyxx's Avatar
I used to be a mostly SDC sort of guy but lately am trending to large tube condensers. If you need it to really cut through you can always EQ.

If it's an acoustic track, singer songwriter whatever, I will probably set up a stereo array, either SDC XY or spaced pair one big one small. But for a lot of stuff one mic is fine.

In the mix you might have to filter out some of the low end. You can also boost the high treble regions to cut through if needed. You probably need to avoid messing with the midrange too much or at all, that can get weird with acoustic guitars.

If I had to just pick one mic and one position and just go for it, probably a KM184 at the 14th fret position. Or a big tube condenser of classic variety in a similar position, a foot or foot and a half back. If I'm going dynamic, it's going to be an MD441, or an RE15 or SM58 if I'm feeling lo-fi and old school. I don't have a good ribbon choice yet because I only have MXL ribbons.
Old 23rd February 2016
  #28
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mbvoxx's Avatar
When I record acoustic guitar for a mono track I prefer to use a Flea 49. There is just something about the 49 that brings out a sonic footprint with an acoustic guitar that my other mics can't duplicate. (and I've got a lot of mics) I've also gotten great results with an AK47 as well as a Gefell M300, but the 49 really does it. It's the only mic I've used that actually generates comments on the sound of the acoustic guitar when people hear the mix. I set up a standard mic placement aimed at the 12th fret about 18" from the guitar and box in the player with gobos.

for stereo acoustic I always use a Blumlein set up with a pair of AT4050s. I've tried every option and Blumlein is the one that I like best for it's spread options in the mix. Plus I can opt for a mono track from either the body or neck mic depending on how the mix develops, if I choose.

For the mic pre, I have settled in to using a Forssell FetCode for acoustic guitar, which is a great match, and sometimes add the Fearn VT-7 comp if I want compression on the guitar.
I also usually set up both micing scenarios with the player sitting so he can concentrate on staying in one position without floating in and out of the sweet spot.

I've tried a variety of mics and pre's on acoustics and these are the magic bullets for me.
Old 24th February 2016
  #29
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rhizomeman's Avatar
Martin guitar
AKG414 mic
ULN8

I move the mic around until I get the sound I want - usually a foot away from the sound hole. I never experimented with anything else.
Old 24th February 2016
  #30
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edva's Avatar
By extreme luck, I stumbled upon a somewhat rarely seen mic, a Nevaton MC 48, which is an x-y stereo microphone, Russian made. Most of the time, this is what my clients, and me, prefer, in comparisons with other mics. The stereo angle is adjustable on the mic, and of course can be further adjusted during mixdown. The mic has a smooth, rich, very "musical" tone.
I usually listen to the guitar being played with my ear, moving around until I find the spot with the best overall balance, which can vary by instrument and player, and place the mic there, typically though about one to two feet back, and usually about halfway between the neck joint and the soundhole, and usually about halfway down between the soundhole and the bottom of the body, would be a good starting point, for me.
Pre-amps vary, but currently I am liking the ULN8 on-board pre's, with no tracking compression. Although in mixdown I will usually add some as needed.
I've also had good results with M-S, using an older 414 for the sides, and a Beyer M160, or a Senni 441, for the center. Using Millennia and Avalon pre's with light compression on that setup.
In cases of gentle fingerpicking, such as for a soft ballad, if I want a mono sound, I'll use my M160, which has a Sank re-ribbon, giving a much smoother and more balanced sound than a stock 160. This softens and tucks the guitar in, reducing competition with the vocal, appropriate IMHO in a soft ballad.
Typically, other than perhaps some roll-off, if I need to EQ the guitar then either I've done something wrong with mic selection and/or placement, or, it was either a poor instrument or player, or both.
Just my 2c, YMMV, Good luck.
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