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how to record this weird ovation guitar.
Old 28th July 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
iankaravas's Avatar
 

how to record this weird ovation guitar.

I'm going to be doing a few sessions with a friend of mine, and I need help getting a good sound out of his guitar. He refuses to play any other guitar. Its got a weird body / sound hole set up, and I can never figure out good mic placement. If anyone has any tips, it would be greatly appreciated.

I've got a 57,58,a cheap condenser, and a treated room.

heres the guitar

http://www.amazon.com/Ovation-Elite-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-Black/dp/B001OIN608
Old 28th July 2010
  #2
Gear Head
 
Daypass137's Avatar
 

man, good luck

that Ovation can be quite hard to get a good sound out of. i always start with a small diaphram condensore around the 15th fret or wherever the neck meets the body.

But if its a bad sounding guitar just have him play and move around until it sounds the best. You might try going for a lowfi sound with the 57.

Good luck.
Old 28th July 2010
  #3
Gear Addict
 
MMski's Avatar
 

Toss the condenser around the 12th fret, maybe lower and move it around til it sounds good. It's hard not to get too much boom out of it because of the weird sound hole placement.
Old 28th July 2010
  #4
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iankaravas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daypass137 View Post
that Ovation can be quite hard to get a good sound out of. i always start with a small diaphram condensore around the 15th fret or wherever the neck meets the body.

But if its a bad sounding guitar just have him play and move around until it sounds the best. You might try going for a lowfi sound with the 57.

Good luck.
the guitar actually sounds pretty nice when he plays it in the room, its just capturing the sound that's a little tough, but if I can hear it with my ears, there must be a way to grab it.
Old 28th July 2010
  #5
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swankdoc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iankaravas View Post
the guitar actually sounds pretty nice when he plays it in the room, its just capturing the sound that's a little tough, but if I can hear it with my ears, there must be a way to grab it.
Wherever it sounds good to your ears, put the mic there. Good place to start. Dont think you have to close mic everything, especially if the room sounds good. Take advantage of the strengths of the situation.


"Designed in collaboration with jazz guitarist Al Di Meola and acoustic rocker Melissa Etheridge"

OK, thats a bit of a strange pairing. Was their board room meeting: "OK name 2 recording artists you'd normally not put in the same sentence".
Old 28th July 2010
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daypass137 View Post

You might try going for a lowfi sound with the 57.

If you can convince the artist to go for it, this is the best use for an ovation.
Old 7th July 2012
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Suggestions on Recording Ovation AN35

I love playing this guitar. Perfect intonation all up and down the neck, the neck fits my hands, and it's responsive. Recording it has been another story altogether. That said, I have decided to stop trying to force myself to buy a $1500 taylor or martin dreadnought for my album of Duncan Sheik style singer songwriter material. So...I need pro suggestions on how to get the best tone. It has a normal sound hole, but records very bright. I never use the internal mic...does not sound good for recording. It doesn't have much low end. Suggestions? Thanks. David
Attached Thumbnails
how to record this weird ovation guitar.-model-20an35-5_lg.jpeg  
Old 7th July 2012
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iankaravas View Post
the guitar actually sounds pretty nice when he plays it in the room, its just capturing the sound that's a little tough, but if I can hear it with my ears, there must be a way to grab it.
then put the mic where your ears are

another place to try a mic when you don't know where to put it, is over the musician's shoulder. It may not be the sound you are seeking, but it will often be usable or interesting.

keep in mind that with an acoustic instrument, sound is constantly radiating off it in every direction - in 3 dimensions. The 'best spot' could be anywhere. Do not be hypnotized by the presence or the location of a 'sound hole'. Many times, the sound hole is a distraction as to where the mic should be.
Old 7th July 2012
  #9
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
...another place to try a mic when you don't know where to put it, is over the musician's shoulder. It may not be the sound you are seeking, but it will often be usable or interesting.
And it will be pretty much what he is hearing....

....could be what makes him want to play only that guitar.
Old 7th July 2012
  #10
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I have an Ovation Elite T and it is a great playing guitar all the way up the fretboard. That said, Ovations are a bit different in that the plastic body radiates less to the back and sides and more to the front, so it sounds better to listeners and less full to the performer. Still, good advice to place a mike where it sounds good. Don't be afraid to mike from a couple of feet and slightly above the centerline.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 7th July 2012
  #11
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You might try the condenser as a room/ambiance mic (wherever it sounds best), and blend with the electronic output from the guitar's onboard preamp. That will help avoid close proximity to the boomy sound at the sound hole using a "15th fret close mic" approach. Sometimes this works pretty well. Another approach could be to amp the guitar and mic the amp. Partly depends of course on the style of music and what type of sound the artist is going for.
Old 7th July 2012
  #12
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Boschen's Avatar
 

I'd try the above poster's approach.
Record the 1/4 inch output and mix with a room mic or over the shoulder mic.

I've played lots of this type of git. I don't much like the tone; bright, hyped, and plastic. They play easy, which is why lots of folks like them for acoustic leads, but the full body tone lacks IMHO. This is an acoustic guitar for electric guitar players.

Have you tried handing this player something that plays similar; baby Taylor or seagull or something? They might bite on that. Figure out what element is fixating this player, then offer them a guitar that does it better. I admire the player dedication but it would be better lavished on a superior guitar. That kind of attitude tends to hold your playing up until you make the leap, then kick yourself for not doing it earlier.
Old 7th July 2012
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
And it will be pretty much what he is hearing....

....could be what makes him want to play only that guitar.
very true!

the 'mystery' of what this guy likes about it might suddenly be cleared up!
Old 7th July 2012
  #14
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Salty James's Avatar
1. Break Ovation in half.
2. Grin.

seriously.. try not miking it like a regular acoustic neat the neck body joint but in front of the bridge. This will minimize the zing and maximize the boom.
Old 7th July 2012
  #15
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The price on that axe was over $4500, this is not your run of the mill "bowl back guitar" which often don't sound all that great. I had the privilege of playing a carbon graphite (neck and body) Ovation back in the '80s that retailed at $3900, and it was an eye opener. I am still a dyed in the wool wooden guitar fan, but I don't write these high end instruments off so easily any more. Some of them truly sound and play up to their price tag. I'm betting the live sound is pretty darn good, probably worth making an effort (as the OP is doing) to investigate novel techniques to record it effectively. The on board electronics in that price range should be well above just "usable" as well.
Old 8th July 2012
  #16
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

The BBE enhancer plugin (from Nomad Factory) can be helpful in trying to fix recorded tracks that suck. Be aware that it may change phase relationships if the instrument was multi-miced.
Old 9th July 2012
  #17
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Boschen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Nigel Go View Post
The price on that axe was over $4500, this is not your run of the mill "bowl back guitar" which often don't sound all that great. I had the privilege of playing a carbon graphite (neck and body) Ovation back in the '80s that retailed at $3900, and it was an eye opener. I am still a dyed in the wool wooden guitar fan, but I don't write these high end instruments off so easily any more. Some of them truly sound and play up to their price tag. I'm betting the live sound is pretty darn good, probably worth making an effort (as the OP is doing) to investigate novel techniques to record it effectively. The on board electronics in that price range should be well above just "usable" as well.
Yeah, I've played the high end ovations too.
Didn't like them.
Even the models with the nicer bridge transducers sounded pretty poor off the quarter inch output.
Always liked the way they played, just not how they sounded.
Yeah, I'm a Luddite though.
Old 11th July 2012
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boschen View Post
Yeah, I've played the high end ovations too.
Didn't like them.
Even the models with the nicer bridge transducers sounded pretty poor off the quarter inch output.
Always liked the way they played, just not how they sounded.
Yeah, I'm a Luddite though.
I've never been a fan of the sound of bridge transducers on acoustics. To me, it's a convenience feature for amplified gigs. OTOH, my Elite T actually sounds pretty good when miked. It has a deep bowl, a solid spruce top and the same basic hole pattern as the one in the link (upper bout only). Not sure I'd like the expensive ones with the carbon fiber tops. Given their physical properties, I'd expect a different tone that would be more brittle.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 11th July 2012
  #19
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godotzilla's Avatar
Man, good luck with that recording. I hate the sound of those Ovations. Plinky, thin, artificial. They weren't really designed as acoustic instruments but more as "acoustic-style" instruments that could be played live and compete with loud instruments. Their amplified sound was ersatz acoustic, but it was still leagues better than their unplugged sound.

Unless, as someone noted, you're going for a low-fi special effect, I can't imagine anyone choosing to mic and record one of those salad bowls with strings.

Of course, these are only the opinions of a lowly basement dweller with little means or well-meaning.
Old 11th July 2012
  #20
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Best luck I've had with Ovations is plugging it into an amp and recording that...
Old 11th July 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Not sure I'd like the expensive ones with the carbon fiber tops. Given their physical properties, I'd expect a different tone that would be more brittle.
If you get a chance, try one, I think you will be surprised. I was. You may still not like it, but I grudgingly had to admit the thing played very nice and sounded much more balanced than I ever would have believed. Much more full than I was expecting given my experience with a few wood topped sub-$1500 dollar Ovations. It's not the same as an all wood guitar, and I'm not sure I would pay the price for one, but I can now understand why some would.
Old 11th July 2012
  #22
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Unclenny's Avatar
Expectations meet reality.....

......and the beat goes on.

Old 12th July 2012
  #23
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aTelecine-Lex's Avatar
Ovations can be an utter nightmare to get to sound good... That being said -

I was taught to put some very good headphones on and while he is playing move the mic around and try to find the best place. In some cases you may very well need to move him around the room.

You may also try cranking the gain on the Mic-Pre and try placing the mic back further back then you might normally.

Good Luck
-Lex
Old 12th July 2012
  #24
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turtlejon's Avatar
 

I got a nice sound from an ovation with the unusual holes with a combo technique. One SDC up on the neck in the normal spot, one LDC about 8 in out from the sweet spot in the body below and past the bridge. Direct out to an amp in iso. Blend all 3, pan the mics pretty wide. You can do interesting things gating the amp track to only open on loud notes sometimes too...
Old 19th March 2015
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Ressurecting this old thread. I have one of these ovations with the wierd sound holes, and I've been struggling to find a good mic approach.

One clarification I'd make is that, I'm satisfied with the sound I can get for finger picking and for arpeggiating chords with a pick. I've been able to do pretty well with a blend of the a basic dynamic mic (sm7b, sm58 or sm57) mixed with the pickup.

Where I struggle to find good tone is strumming. The harder the strumming, the crappier the recorded tone. It manages to sound thin, plinky and trashy on the higher end and wierdly boomy in the lower mids. It sounds decent in the room, but recorded it sounds bad. I've tried a number of different mic positions including by my ear.

I'm not looking for great tone, just servicable for strumming in a medium or full density mix.

One thing I haven't tried is running through an acoustic amp and micing as was suggested by one poster. I don't have an acoustic amp, but I'd be willing to pick up an inexpensive one if it will get me a serviceable strumming tone.

I don't really want to invest in a different acoustic at this point unless I go inexpensive. How good do the Big Baby Taylors sound strummed?
Old 20th March 2015
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leemoore View Post
Ressurecting this old thread. I have one of these ovations with the wierd sound holes, and I've been struggling to find a good mic approach.

One clarification I'd make is that, I'm satisfied with the sound I can get for finger picking and for arpeggiating chords with a pick. I've been able to do pretty well with a blend of the a basic dynamic mic (sm7b, sm58 or sm57) mixed with the pickup.

Where I struggle to find good tone is strumming. The harder the strumming, the crappier the recorded tone. It manages to sound thin, plinky and trashy on the higher end and wierdly boomy in the lower mids. It sounds decent in the room, but recorded it sounds bad. I've tried a number of different mic positions including by my ear.

I'm not looking for great tone, just servicable for strumming in a medium or full density mix.

One thing I haven't tried is running through an acoustic amp and micing as was suggested by one poster. I don't have an acoustic amp, but I'd be willing to pick up an inexpensive one if it will get me a serviceable strumming tone.

I don't really want to invest in a different acoustic at this point unless I go inexpensive. How good do the Big Baby Taylors sound strummed?
maybe its your strings, try some d'addario silk-n-steels. that one, I use 2 cheap large condensors (at-2020) three and a half feet off the ground and four feet away from the chair. one positioned straight ahead the other about 2 o'clock. panned apart a little in the mix
Old 20th March 2015
  #27
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Johnny Favorite's Avatar
 

And a thicker pick. And mic your guitar and work on your strumming with headphones on, every little attack nuance has a great impact.
Old 20th March 2015
  #28
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

Try a ribbon mic. My Royer 121 always gives me better results than a sdc.
Old 20th March 2015
  #29
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swafford's Avatar
 

I love a hammer on Ovation guitars. No not the A Designs EQ, a hammer.





The track is sounding better already.
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