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If I like this mic for acoustic, I might also like...
Old 1st August 2005
  #1
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If I like this mic for acoustic, I might also like...

I've recently been shooting out a bunch of mics for acoustic guitar, to see what my tastes are. I do a lot of strumming with fingerpicking only once in a while. So far I'm digging the T.H.E. KP-6M, Stapes Omnis, and the Josephson C42. Believe it or not, mics I've tried and don't like as much (to my tastes and for my particular guitars) include the Microtech Gefell M295 and M300. They were great mics, but I ended up sending them back just cause they didn't quite capture what I was going for, even after spending a lot of time with different placements and preamps...while the 3 mics I mentioned above made me smile a lot more.

Now, my question is NOT what mics would compliment (sound the opposite of) the KP-6M, Stapes, and C42, but what mics would be in the same vein? I usually single mic acoustic, and my budget is around $1300 tops. Feel free to give me options above that price though, as I may have a little lee-way. I hope I'm communicating this clearly. Basically, if I like those mics, I might also want to check out...??? Earthworks? Shure? I think you get the point. Thanks!

-Mike
Old 1st August 2005
  #2
Gear Nut
 

I'm assuming the acoustic guitar is "steel" strings (vs. nylon). Are you recording more finger picked, strummed with a pick or both?

Audy O
Old 1st August 2005
  #3
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I'm recording steel strings, with a lot more strumming than fingerpicking. Music I'm working on is mostly rock, alternative, pop...that sort of thing.
Old 1st August 2005
  #4
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elambo's Avatar
I'm a huge fan of the Schoeps CMC6/MK4. I use it for strumming, for finger picking and for a few different types of guitars. It's almost always my 1st choice, even among some other money's-no-issue acoustic favorites. I bought a pair for around $2500, so a single must be in your price range.

Also, maybe a vintage KM84, if you can get a hold of one.
Old 1st August 2005
  #5
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I really love the KM56 for tracking an acoustic guitar with a singel mic. It goes for around 1300-1500$ on the vintage market. Said that I want to tell you, that even the KM56 won't sound good, if I couldn't find the sweetspot. And that's sometimes a work within millimeters.

I don't know if you're recording other artists or your own stuff. When recording my own stuff I'm using a "Guitar Performer Stand". It's a great help for finding and holding the sweetspot. Of course it needs getting used first.

Andreas
Old 1st August 2005
  #6
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I've been recording myself mostly. What I've been doing in these unofficial shootouts is hit record and move, either myself and the guitar (rolling chair), or the mic around until it sounds good in the headphones. I've got some Ultraphones, so the isolation is pretty good, and I've gotten pretty solid at connecting what I hear in the headphones with what will sound good in the monitors. When I find a spot I like, I'll "tell myself" on the recording what the signal chain is, and describe as best I can the placement. Once I play a few different segments from different songs in that position, I'll move around until I find another spot that grabs my attention and repeat the process.

BTW, just an observation I've made, I almost never like the sound of the mic closer than 12 inches, unless it's more towards the neck. Most positions I've liked usually end up being 18 inches away (or even more), meaning the omnis sound good on the guitar, but the room becomes more of a factor and I'll try moving some Realtraps Microtraps around to catch the first reflections off the walls.

What do you guys think of the Earthworks SR30 (aka SR77) at those distances (1.5 feet or more)? I've been thinking of trying one, but I've heard some people mention a significant bass roll off as you move farther away (I forget how far). Won't stop me from trying one, but I'd thought I'd at least ask. Though I welcome omnis, cardioids would play better with my room at the distances I usually end up liking the mics at.

About the KM54/KM56 option...I've thought about it, but always seem to be steered away from them just cause of their age, and it seems no gaurantee that they'll be in good condition. Anyone know where I might look to find on in good condition in my price range (around $1300)?
Old 1st August 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelT
About the KM54/KM56 option...I've thought about it, but always seem to be steered away from them just cause of their age, and it seems no gaurantee that they'll be in good condition...
You are right, I would only buy a KM54/56 if the dealer could guarranty that the capsule and tube is in good conditions. (you should try it before)! Otherwise it could be very expensive or often irreparable in the case of the nickel capsule... that's a risk!!!

On the other hand, if you could catch one in good conditions....


...well, I wish you good luck


Andreas
Old 2nd August 2005
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelT
I'm recording steel strings, with a lot more strumming than fingerpicking. Music I'm working on is mostly rock, alternative, pop...that sort of thing.
For strumming a steel string guitar, especially full/hard strums, I haven't found anything that I like better than a KM54. However, they go for around $2,000 ea. If you buy from a reputable dealer they will guarantee them in working condition so it's worth paying a little more.

With the KM54/56, they don't have the gain of say a KM84 or 451 so for quiet finger picking, noise becomes a factor but they are sweet, no or very little EQ needed (maybe just a touch of bass roll off) and a natural sound which isn't "hard" sounding. The lack of hardness in the midrange is one of the big characteristics I'd look for.

As a start, try placing the mic at a 45 degree angle (aiming from the guitar head towards the body), 12 to 20 inches away from where the neck joins the body of the guitar. You're right, small changes in position produce big changes in tone.

Let me know if you get to try the SR30/SR77, I've heard these are excellent for nylon string guitars. I have not tried the Josephson c42 or Schoeps CMC6/MK4 but have heard good things about them.

With strumming or finger picking Bronze strings seem to produce richer high harmonics and a more "zingy" or sildy tone but don't last as long. Phosphor Bronze last quite a bit longer but sound harder and less rich in the highs. The lighter gauges are also silkier than med. or heavy. Stay away from Elixir and coated strings. The high harmonics are missing. Also, I didn't care for the sound of DR, usually John Pearse or Martin SP works well.

Anyone for a guitar mic shootout? I'll supply the Radar 24 Nyquist. How about Hawaii, we can all write off the vacation!

Audy O
Old 2nd August 2005
  #9
Gear Nut
 
dach's Avatar
 

Michael,

I wish I could recommend something that would suit your taste but I can't. I have a nice group of mics that I use when micing acoustic instruments but my approach is to use an appropriate mic for what part I have to record at that time. That also depends on how dense the arrangement is. I do this with just about every instrument I or others play and need to record.

Quote:
I've been recording myself mostly. What I've been doing in these unofficial shootouts is hit record and move, either myself and the guitar (rolling chair), or the mic around until it sounds good in the headphones.
That's the only way I know how to do it when I have to record myself. I also use 2 sets of cans, one open for mic placement and one sealed for recording. I either keep the pre's and daw controller within reach or have someone else help with those. I end up in some pretty interesting positions but none of them really too uncomfortable to record for short periods.

Quote:
What do you guys think of the Earthworks SR30 (aka SR77) at those distances (1.5 feet or more)
Anytime I'm using omni's or a LDC set to omni, It will always be very close to the guitar unless I'm micing the room for depth or special effect.

I don't really have a favorite mic for ac gtr. I tend to only record with with 2 steels and 1 nylon. They all sound totally different. I tend to pick either steel string guitar and mic combination for timbre more than anything else.

One thing that I started doing a LONG time ago and repeat every couple of years as a refresher is a mic shootout. (not only ac gtr).

It can be a real pain but it really helped me to get to know my instruments and microphones, what they do and the character they have.... how they sound on and off axis, how they sound on different parts of the guitar (or other instrument), how they "punch", how they react with nails and different guages of picks, what's better for percussive vs strums vs solo, etc, how different mics blend together, etc. Now when recording a part, it's relatively easy to pick an appropriate mic for the part. It's not about what sounds best it's about what sounds appropriate for the part and genre of music. I do have a "best" sounding mic for each gtr but to be honest I only use that when it's appropriate for the application. Once you know your mics, you can pretty much guage what each of your pre's will do to them (assuming you know them as well- although I've been majorly surprised more than once)

Over the years, this has worked much better for me than just using 1 or 2 standard mics. Hope this helps or sheds different light on the matter...
Old 3rd August 2005
  #10
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I working it out that I can demo a KM54 soon. I'm excited to hear how it sounds, as I've heard so many good things, but have never yet got to try one myself. We'll see!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #11
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jpupo74's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelT
I've recently been shooting out a bunch of mics for acoustic guitar, to see what my tastes are. I do a lot of strumming with fingerpicking only once in a while. So far I'm digging the T.H.E. KP-6M, Stapes Omnis, and the Josephson C42. Believe it or not, mics I've tried and don't like as much (to my tastes and for my particular guitars) include the Microtech Gefell M295 and M300. They were great mics, but I ended up sending them back just cause they didn't quite capture what I was going for, even after spending a lot of time with different placements and preamps...while the 3 mics I mentioned above made me smile a lot more.

Now, my question is NOT what mics would compliment (sound the opposite of) the KP-6M, Stapes, and C42, but what mics would be in the same vein? I usually single mic acoustic, and my budget is around $1300 tops. Feel free to give me options above that price though, as I may have a little lee-way. I hope I'm communicating this clearly. Basically, if I like those mics, I might also want to check out...??? Earthworks? Shure? I think you get the point. Thanks!

-Mike
Hi Mike,

You´ve been using great mics for guits. Have you ever think that´s maybe your guit? Maybe you can buy a new guit for less money than a mic and you´ll get great results. You can also add LOT´S of color with compression and take your track to another level. Someone mentioned here millimeters, that´s so true, you can easily change a huge amount of sound just buy moving the instrument or the mic a couple of mm´s.

Have anyone used the new version of the 84´s, that´ll be Neumann KM-184? I´ve used them with great results.


Good luck,

PUPO
Old 3rd August 2005
  #12
Gear Nut
 

My first Schoeps experience.....

I'll never forget my first acoustic session in front of a Schoeps mic. I had my Martin ooo-18 with me. The engineer turned the phones on with Shoeps mic in front of me, I strummed a few chords and simply could not believe how real or should I say hyper-real/3D my guitar sounded. The Schoeps is THE most alive SDC I have ever heard. I wish I could afford one or two. It would be nice if someone could make an affordable clone of the Schoeps that sounded as good.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpupo74
Hi Mike,

You´ve been using great mics for guits. Have you ever think that´s maybe your guit? Maybe you can buy a new guit for less money than a mic and you´ll get great results. You can also add LOT´S of color with compression and take your track to another level. Someone mentioned here millimeters, that´s so true, you can easily change a huge amount of sound just buy moving the instrument or the mic a couple of mm´s.

Have anyone used the new version of the 84´s, that´ll be Neumann KM-184? I´ve used them with great results.


Good luck,

PUPO


I guess I should clarify that I'm already getting better sounds (in less time also) than I've ever gotten before using the mics I mentioned. I've got great guitars...I made sure that was the first issue taken care of.

As I'm pretty picky about my acoustic guitar sounds, I've been on a hunt for a while to try as many mics as I can and weed out the possibilities I don't care for. I actually was using the KM184's for a while, but got sick of them...that's kinda what started the whole search. Once I got my hands on the Josephson C42, Avenson mics, and the THE KP-6M, I was so excited that I was finally starting to find mics that seemed to give me a lot more of what I wanted to hear than the 184s did. I guess seeing how I really enjoy those mics, I'm just trying to complete the search and see how much better it gets according to my tastes.
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