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Advice for recording acoustic guitar in the room with band? Dynamic Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Advice for recording acoustic guitar in the room with band?

For a recording session I'm doing next week I want to track the entire band (Drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar) in the room. Vocals will be recorded later.

Do you guys have any advice on how to record the acoustic guitar in this scenario? It's a big room, so I can get the acoustic a bit further away from the drums.

I read somewhere that Dave Cobb likes to track acoustic in the room with the band and uses a Beyer M160 for it. Unfortunately I don't have one. What would you use?

Any tips as to mic selection, placement and other strategies are very much appreciated!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Have everyone else play very quietly and Gobo it off! And Gobo off the drums, amps etc.

Although it does depend on the style of the louder instruments. You’d need a pretty big room to make a loud drummer less significant on a mic than an acoustic guitar.

You could try a pickup/DI to get more acoustic, but then there’s a tone sacrifice.

Ultimately it’s very difficult. Usually you’d booth the acoustic player.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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I would appreciate the exact reasoning behind your decision to record an acoustic guitar simultaneously in a big room with hot back line elements, percussion, elec. guitar amps. etc, that will most likely be saturating the sound field. A much cleaner, manageable track would be captured if the acoustic was laid down after the primary rhythm tracks were in the can. As a producer I always try to put the musicians in the best possible environment to be at their best: your plan is a far cry from ideal and any benefit gained will be ultimately overwhelmed with unnecessary post production problems.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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andychamp's Avatar
Have the mics‘s directional patterns work for you.
Either try a supercardioid (like the M160) or even a fig.-8 and use its null to keep the bleed from the other instruments in check. But these two types have MASSIVE proximity effect.
Or (and that would be my 1st instinct) take an omni and get real close to the guitar. Omnis have no proximity effect, so you might even get away with micing the soundhole, if the guitar sounds balanced. With that strong a signal, inverse square law and a bunch of gobos around the acoustic guitarist, you should be able to get a pretty decent recording.
If you can, add a magnetic(!) soundhole pickup with a DI, just to be safe. Avoid piezos if possible.
Of course, be meticulous regarding the setup and volume of the other players.
If it helps the groove by having everyone play together, bleed needn‘t be of concern.
Let us know how it went.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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It really depends on what kind of music you're recording. If you're doing some Jason Isbell stuff in the massive RCA Studio A, it's not a big deal to track acoustic guitar along with all that other stuff. If you're trying to record acoustic guitar with the Foo Fighters in my "tiny" (by comparison) 500 square foot room along with everything else, it's going to be a problem no matter how well you gobo things off and position people. In short, it's only going to work well if the music dictates that sort of decision. I can understand everyone wanting to play together and locking in, in that case just record line in if they have a pickup and overdub later.

For isolation, you don't need a Beyer M160 as much as you need something in figure 8. Use those nulls to your advantage! An M160 is more hypercardioid than it is figure 8, but it's still got a bit of a null in it and can be a great choice for isolating something in a noisy room.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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If you can't isolate, I'd use a pickup and not mic the guitar. It'll give you flavor and feel, and you can track the guitar properly later.

The main issue with tracking it with the band isn't just the guitar sound, it's the band sound. If the guitar is up loud enough that everyone can hear it, then everyone will hear all the bleed into the guitar mic as well. There will probably be a lot of it, and it will probably be tubby and ugly, and you don't want to be making decisions and adjustments on the other instruments based on that.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I'll echo what the others have said. Bleed is the big issue and the style and volume of the other instruments will be a big factor. Gobos will help but don't forget to pay lots of attention to what's behind the player. Gobos between the guitar and band won't help if sound is bouncing off of an untreated wall behind the player and spilling into the mic.
Beyond that listen to the quality of the bleed in that mic and use that as a determining factor for where the player gets positioned in the room. If you're going for tight, dry drums and the AC GTR is across the room as soon as you turn up the guitar mic the drums will get very roomy. Think of the acoustic mic as a room mic (because it's going to be that too). Depending on the sound you're after you may need to put the players close together than you might expect.

Search threads about recording vocals or upright bass in the same room as the rest of the band. Lots of the same issues and solutions come into play.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Drumsound's Avatar
Position and mic pattern will indeed be very important. You can work with these to minimize bleed and other issues, but there WILL be bleed. Gobos near the drums and near the acoustic may help. Style and volume of the players will also have a lot to do with it. I did a record like this many years ago and a good part of my drum sound came from the acoustic guitar on many songs. So, you need to make sure that "all faders up" mix sounds good, because otherwise, you're pretty well screwed.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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I would track the acoustic with a pick up or any mic if there is no pick up available to get the feel/grove and then re-track the guitar afterwards by itself.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Find the mic and position that works as a room mic for the drum kit and put the acoustic guitar next to it.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Use a pickup and re-track later or put the acoustic guitar in the control room if you have no iso booths. The problem with putting the guitar far away from the drums in the same room is that it will have drum bleed with a noticeable time delay in it.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
Find the mic and position that works as a room mic for the drum kit and put the acoustic guitar next to it.
Seems like that would mean you'd have to get the balance of guitar and drum-room right, because you'd be married to it. Also, you'd need to make sure the guitar player doesn't need to do any punches, because you'd be punching in the whole band.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Seems like that would mean you'd have to get the balance of guitar and drum-room right, because you'd be married to it. Also, you'd need to make sure the guitar player doesn't need to do any punches, because you'd be punching in the whole band.
Do multiple passes and edit the best full band takes together. If everybody's in the same room bleed is inevitable and punching is a pain.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Head
 

Yeah, its tough. I've gotten a surprisingly natural sound with very little bleed with a omni lav (I have the countryman isomax) in the soundhole + pickup/di. Omni lav in the guitar might be a @
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Head
 

I've gotten a surprisingly natural sound with very little bleed with a omni lav in the soundhole + pickup/di...
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dunnoaname View Post
For a recording session I'm doing next week I want to track the entire band (Drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar) in the room. Vocals will be recorded later.

Do you guys have any advice on how to record the acoustic guitar in this scenario? It's a big room, so I can get the acoustic a bit further away from the drums.

I read somewhere that Dave Cobb likes to track acoustic in the room with the band and uses a Beyer M160 for it. Unfortunately I don't have one. What would you use?

Any tips as to mic selection, placement and other strategies are very much appreciated!
Try a dynamic ...my Martin loves RE15 or D19.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for all your responses!

It's interesting to see your different perspectives, ranging from 'it can't be done' to dynamic cardioid mics, to omni, hypercardioid, figure 8.

To answer the questions about music style: it's rootsy music, kind of similar to Jason Isbell, hence the reference. This is actually my own project - I'm going to be playing the acoustic myself.

The reason I wanted to get it all in the same room, is that the band has a good vibe while playing live, and I wanted to capture that. For the style of music I don't think bleed is so bad, but of course it needs to sound good and not cause phase issues etc.

Your comments made me reconsider the strategy. Maybe I'll take a line from the pickup (which is combined magnetic & condensor mic), play live in the room for the feel of it, but redo the acoustics later. I might stick a mic on there anyway - if it sounds good, we can keep the track.

I do think having the acoustic in the room will help the band play their best, especially since a number of songs start out acoustic and vocals only.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
In that circumstance, you could either sing/play at the start and redo both, or mic up and only play. Once you have the take, you simply quickly overdub the acoustic where you are, and you can keep the intro if needed.

Open vocal mic plus open acoustic mic will be too much! The thing with spill is that it has to be neglible or supportive in context - and drums on an acoustic mic tend to dominate! Hence the use of pickups on stage...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dunnoaname View Post
Thanks for all your responses!

It's interesting to see your different perspectives, ranging from 'it can't be done' to dynamic cardioid mics, to omni, hypercardioid, figure 8.

To answer the questions about music style: it's rootsy music, kind of similar to Jason Isbell, hence the reference. This is actually my own project - I'm going to be playing the acoustic myself.

The reason I wanted to get it all in the same room, is that the band has a good vibe while playing live, and I wanted to capture that. For the style of music I don't think bleed is so bad, but of course it needs to sound good and not cause phase issues etc.

You comments made me reconsider the strategy. Maybe I'll take a line from the pickup (which is combined magnetic & condensor mic), play live in the room for the feel of it, but redo the acoustics later. I might stick a mic on there anyway - if it sounds good, we can keep the track.

I do think having the acoustic in the room will help the band play their best, especially since a number of songs start out acoustic and vocals only.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Open vocal mic plus open acoustic mic will be too much! The thing with spill is that it has to be neglible or supportive in context - and drums on an acoustic mic tend to dominate! Hence the use of pickups on stage...
Not always true. It really depends on what else is happening in the room. My last record was cut mostly live in one room. Live vocal, live acoustic miced with a d224 (as well as running a small amp from a magnetic sound hole pick up). I spent a day before the sessions working out placement and bleed. Vocals were monitored through a small pa and floor wedges. The band played without headphones and we mixed ourselves in the room.
The stuff that got overdubbed was mostly just hand percussion and the odd acoustic on the piano based songs.


https://adavidmackinnon.bandcamp.com...-bring-me-down

Dont let anyone tell you it can't be done. Records were made this way for years and years. There are limitations but for certain kinds of music the payoff is well worth it. For my own stuff I wouldn't work any other way. It's alot of extra set-up work but the vibe is way better. Performance is king.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
Dont let anyone tell you it can't be done.
I don't think anyone's saying it can't be done. You did it, obviously, and your recording shows the result. I really like the song, actually, the lyrics are wonderful.

But using your recording as further food for thought for the OP... you're driving home from the session and you suddenly realize how to fix that one line that was bugging you.

Can it be done?
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I don't think anyone's saying it can't be done. You did it, obviously, and your recording shows the result. I really like the song, actually, the lyrics are wonderful.

But using your recording as further food for thought for the OP... you're driving home from the session and you suddenly realize how to fix that one line that was bugging you.

Can it be done?
Thanks for that. My post maybe came off a little more dogmatic than intended.
As for fixing mistakes, COMMIT!!!! Play it like you mean it and live with the results. If you have second thoughts go listen to Desire by Dylan. Emmylou Harris did one pass of backing vocals and then they sent her home. She misses line, fumbles lyrics and in the end it really doesn't mayter (to me at least). The vibe is great and the power of the songs isn't deminished.

But that's a whole other argument for another thread.

If there's something you can't live with record it again. Better yet, record a few takes and edit the multitrack to fix any mistakes that you can't bear to live with. Most of the tunes on my record we're tracked at least 4 times (some a lot more) and then I edited takes to find the best vocal sections.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
As for fixing mistakes, COMMIT!!!!
Now that's dogmatic. It's also a no. :-)

I, personally, often jump into recording a song before I feel like it's entirely "finished." I don't just prefer having the option of making changes, I require it.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
Not always true. It really depends on what else is happening in the room. My last record was cut mostly live in one room. Live vocal, live acoustic miced with a d224 (as well as running a small amp from a magnetic sound hole pick up). I spent a day before the sessions working out placement and bleed. Vocals were monitored through a small pa and floor wedges. The band played without headphones and we mixed ourselves in the room.
The stuff that got overdubbed was mostly just hand percussion and the odd acoustic on the piano based songs.


https://adavidmackinnon.bandcamp.com...-bring-me-down

Dont let anyone tell you it can't be done. Records were made this way for years and years. There are limitations but for certain kinds of music the payoff is well worth it. For my own stuff I wouldn't work any other way. It's alot of extra set-up work but the vibe is way better. Performance is king.
Cool song, Dave.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Gear Head
 

Pay VERY close attention to how it affects the overall mix of things. Don't focus so much on the sound of the acoustic itself that you lose sight of everything else. I learned the hard way recently trying this. I dialed in a great acoustic sound, gobo'd things off the best I could (the environment was not great), rolled tape... then was like "jesus, these drums sound like ****!". When I muted the guitar mic, the drums suddenly sounded great. Now I have to re-track all of the acoustic parts or the entire mix will suffer.

Really important to keep track of the whole picture. Honestly, I will never try it that way again, unless I'm in an exceptional acoustic environment with the necessary amenities.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Gear Nut
 

One way to do it:

Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dunnoaname View Post

Your comments made me reconsider the strategy. Maybe I'll take a line from the pickup (which is combined magnetic & condensor mic), play live in the room for the feel of it, but redo the acoustics later. I might stick a mic on there anyway - if it sounds good, we can keep the track.

I do think having the acoustic in the room will help the band play their best, especially since a number of songs start out acoustic and vocals only.
I think this is a safe approach. It's what I ended up doing for the project mentioned in my above comment. Just watch your vocal bleed in the other mics in the room in case you biff a part and need to redo it later. In my case, the singer just chose to sing quietly so the cues were still there, but you can't hear him in the OH's, etc...
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangolin View Post
One way to do it:

Dave Zirbel on the strat, one of my favorite people to record!

As for the OP: I've gotten live-off-the-floor, strumming acoustic tracks with full drum bleed using gobos and a KM84 in a not huge room (studio C at Hyde Street). Guitarist was maybe 15 feet from the kit, if I had to guess.

It can work—the acoustic mic just winds up contributing to your room sound, essentially.

I have never had the bleed of the acoustic into the drum mics be an issue. At all.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pangolin View Post
One way to do it:

Just wow... that is a great room and great musicians. I notice that the acoustic is largely inaudible once the band get going.

I don't believe you'll get much joy out of a Fig8 Ribbon. With a whole band in a room there isn't really an optimum null. Do you have a Beyer M201? That would be my first choice in this application over an M160. I own both and I've tracked acoustics with success in a small room and a drummer on brushes. It really helps if they are a loud player and singer.

If it's your own stuff you can experiment by trying out what everyone has said to achieve the best results.

I am someone who has always thought that a good musician can get the vibe and feel whatever the circumstances: 1 mic, live in room, live in booths or overdubbing. With lesser musicians I prefer to overdub and get the best out of them but conversely with very poor musicians I always prefer to record them as if they were rehearsing. Inexperienced players can struggle with more complex approaches.

Tony
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
Not always true. It really depends on what else is happening in the room. My last record was cut mostly live in one room. Live vocal, live acoustic miced with a d224 (as well as running a small amp from a magnetic sound hole pick up). I spent a day before the sessions working out placement and bleed. Vocals were monitored through a small pa and floor wedges. The band played without headphones and we mixed ourselves in the room.
The stuff that got overdubbed was mostly just hand percussion and the odd acoustic on the piano based songs.


https://adavidmackinnon.bandcamp.com...-bring-me-down

Dont let anyone tell you it can't be done. Records were made this way for years and years. There are limitations but for certain kinds of music the payoff is well worth it. For my own stuff I wouldn't work any other way. It's alot of extra set-up work but the vibe is way better. Performance is king.
No it's not always true - I was being dogmatic myself perhaps - but it is much more limiting. I've tried to do guide vocals with bands in the room in my recording space, and it's impossible - the drums just destroy the vocal. BUT that's probably a louder drum set than your situation, and maybe a smaller, live-er room.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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