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Mic/Preamp for fingerpicking guitar? Condenser Microphones
Old 14th June 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Mic/Preamp for fingerpicking guitar?

I am working on songs in the vein of John Fahey/Nick Drake/Elliott Smith, very simple mixes where fingerpicked acoustic guitar is the main instrument.

Using a Tascam 424, currently my only mic is an SM57. Even experimenting with mic placement and different rooms, I am having difficulty in A) getting desirable sounds. Certain notes, even with mid and low EQ knobs dialed way back, have an unpleasant midrangy boominess or percussive quality. Literally one note within a chord will stick out while the others seem balanced, and its driving me kind of nuts...and B) getting a good signal/noise ratio, having to back the mic up at least a foot to get a good sound, I'm getting a pretty weak signal.

Thus, I am thinking a preamp, different microphone, or both might be the answer to my problems...would greatly appreciate suggestions for both. It would be great if I could keep the total cost below $750 or so...

Old 14th June 2018
Lives for gear
spambot_2's Avatar
If literally one note within a chord will stick out while the others seem balanced, chances are your rooms are the main issue.
A preamp most certainly will not solve your issue.

I advise getting a sufficiently good interface with just a couple inputs (if what you described is your main focus at least), say an audient id22, a used apogee duet, a focusrite clarett 2in, something along those lines, or possibly something lower end, like one of those new mackie's, or a scarlett 2i2.
Then I'd head over the acoustics and studio building section of this forum and ask how to determine the problems of your rooms with some accuracy, and I'd address those in the room with less problems.
Then I'd get the highest quality LDC I could, something from a 3U warbler to whatever you can find that week on your local used market, and use that mic to record guitar, plus vocals if you're also recording vocals - your problem will probably already be solved, but I personally think using an SM57 to record an acoustic guitar is among the less ideal things one might do, and after solving your problem that will be your biggest concern if you ask me.
Old 14th June 2018
Gear Head

If notes in chords are sticking out unpleasantly, it is your performance,mace technique that is the problem.
Old 15th June 2018
Lives for gear
andychamp's Avatar
To me, „single note sticking out“ suggests you may be micing too close to the soundhole.
Try aiming the 57 somewhere else, like the region where the neck meets the body, at an angle that aims *away* from the soundhole
If the phenomenon still persists, THEN adress your room.
Also, a (super-)cardioid SDC should bring out the detail you need for fingerpicked parts.
Old 15th June 2018
Gear Maniac
Resis's Avatar

Try to experiment with mic placement.
If you have the chance to rent mics, take the Schoeps colette with a supercardioid capsule, mk 41g.
Old 15th June 2018
I think the problem is the mic, unless it's quite a pop or rock track, don't use an sm57 on acoustic guitars, when I have used it I use hardware compression on the way in to control the dynamics.

get an SDC condensor, something like a neumann km184 is what I'd go for.
Old 15th June 2018
Lives for gear
code green's Avatar
I have used LDCs, SDCs, ribbons, and several flavors of dynamics to mic my acoustic. The 57, thought not necessarily what you'd want for every sonic shading, is, for me, the one with which it's easiest to get a good, problem-free recording quickly. There are times when micing an acoustic seems simple and straightforward, and times when it's a nightmare--and every time it's been a nightmare, it's turned out that the room is the problem.

I'd guess from the fact that you're using a 57, and from the way you describe the problem, that the room is your issue too.
Old 17th June 2018
Gear Head

I was in similar boat. The 57 has to be close, so it's hard to get volume with balance. I bought an Audio Technica AT 4041. Can be found used for around $200. Balanced and forgiving. Agree with others about room treatment. Better dollar to sound value than equipment. See GK Acoustics.
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