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If I gave you a poorly recorded acoustic guitar, could you tell me...
Old 11th February 2013
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

Where are the prizes? heh
Keep persevering, this is more fun than write a review and win a Royer!!!!!

My answer is change the mic and back off the hole.
Use an sm7b
Old 11th February 2013
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
I recorded a really killer performance the other day yet the final result was that I'd done something wrong - there's a muddiness somewhere in the 200-600hz range... <> "What caused it?"
The final result? Is that any different from what you were hearing as it was going down? Seems to me that "what caused it" is that you were enjoying the killer performance so much you forgot to listen.
Old 12th February 2013
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
If you want to know if I can tell boom, room, or zoom from listening to YOUR audio clip, maybe. It might even be obvious.

However, I am quite certain that if I were in your situation - i.e.
I was the guy who made the recording
I chose the mic
I know the mic
I was physically present in the room in question
I was in the physical presence of the guitar while it was played

that 95% of the time I would be able to correctly "guess" the cause of the boominess - listening back to MY recording at a later date. How? I would say it was 1000 little things and not any one big "clue".
I think there's your answer in a nutshell, Scott.

The biggest factor in what Joeq described is his presence during the recording. It's in that moment that you're able to hear and discern what may be the instrument itself, the room, or mic placement. If you catch this type of problem when you're getting sounds, one of the first steps before touching anything would be to go in the room w/ the player and just listen. Even then when you've taken everything gear-related out of the equation you still have quite a few variables. Trial and error will reveal what might be going on. If the room is suspect, move around or go into another room and listen to the guitar. If it's the guitar, move your head around and listen for where the problem is the strongest/weakest, and place the mic using that information.

If you don't mind, I'll zoom out a bit and consider the bigger picture, and what probably led you to pose this question. I'll make some assumptions in the process so please forgive any that are inaccurate.

I'm assuming that what happened is that (like so many of us have done) you listened back to an acoustic guitar recording that you made and found a problem after the fact. But when you were making the recording, even though you may have been careful, for whatever reason you didn't hear the issue as it was going down. And so now you're wondering how you could have missed it, and if you or anyone else might be able to tell from the recording alone what the problem is.
And so I'm assuming your logic is that if it's possible for engineers to hear and identify the problem by listening to the recording alone (without needing to know other details), that it should also be possible to hear and identify the problem when getting sounds (while there's still time to correct it), and that maybe it's just a matter of training your ears to hear what the problem may be?

So I'm now coming back to your original question, which I'll try to answer:

Is it possible to hear and identify the source of this kind of problem from a recording alone? MAYBE. If you have an accurate monitoring environment (monitors/room) and if you're an experienced engineer it's certainly possible, but not guaranteed. But here's the crux of it: Regardless of which of the qualities you mentioned (Proximity Effect, "boominess", or a "body resonance") you're actually hearing (or something else entirely), the solution is always to start listening and changing variables until it's fixed. Because all these factors are interdependent and related, you'll likely end up solving the problem before you had specifically identified and categorized exactly what you were hearing. I think that's probably why you're getting some resistance to the question, and a few "who cares?" responses. Most of the time the problem is solved and we've moved on with the recording before trying to categorize the nature of the boominess we heard. For better or worse, there are so many situations in the studio where we all walk away thinking/saying "Well, it's hard to say specifically what the problem was, but doing X fixed it. Let's move on.".

I mention the environment because there are scenarios where your control room may keep you from hearing a problem, especially in that frequency range. As an oversimplified example, if your guitar recording has a big woof around 250Hz, but your control room happens to have a null in the listening position right around that same frequency, you may not notice it, or certainly to a lesser degree.

Then the experience side will tell you to start with the most likely culprits and work your way down. Having the experience to recognize and correct this type of problem before it's committed to tape is one of the most valuable core assets of any engineer worth hiring.

In the scenario you described I'd check:

1. The instrument and player (listening to him play in the room).

2. The room (as part of the above step, moving around while listening and moving the player around).

3. Mic choice and placement.


In most pro studios with pro players, you can check off #1 and #2 pretty quickly. The most common thing I end up tweaking on ACGT recordings is mic placement. Especially when close, even an inch can make a difference.


If you're having to work in an unknown control room which may be suspect, you can work around it a bit by either getting to know the room (playing references etc.), or using some familiar headphones.
Old 12th February 2013
  #34
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If someone played me a boomy acoustic guitar track from a complete session that they did and then asked me what the problem is with the recording, giving the options of proximity effect, body resonance, mic placement, my answer would be that the real problem is they tracked a complete session without listening properly while tracking.

Why did they waste their time doing the whole session when they could have fixed the room, microphone, mic position, guitar, EQ, whatever, until it sounded something close to what they wanted? Don't we listen while tracking anymore?
Old 12th February 2013
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
If someone played me a boomy acoustic guitar track from a complete session that they did and then asked me what the problem is with the recording, giving the options of proximity effect, body resonance, mic placement, my answer would be that the real problem is they tracked a complete session without listening properly while tracking.

Why did they waste their time doing the whole session when they could have fixed the room, microphone, mic position, guitar, EQ, whatever, until it sounded something close to what they wanted? Don't we listen while tracking anymore?
Spoken like someone who has never had the experience of listening back to tracks he recorded and been surprised by a problem that was missed during tracking. Give the guy a break. There are all kinds of reasons why he may have missed the problem going to tape, especially if less experienced and/or in a home environment.

Some that come to mind are:

1. Inaccurate monitoring environment that masked/concealed the problem during tracking

2. The problem may not have existed while getting sounds, but once in the red something may have changed (player moved a mic, etc.) that caused it but the track was only monitored within a mix, where not easily heard.

3. Maybe they cut acoustic guitars at the end of a long day on dead ears (and didn't realize their ears were fried).

I've experienced every one of these first-hand, especially when first starting out. And I've had plenty of tracks come in from clients loaded with these types of issues that seemingly no one ever caught, for various reasons. Learning about how some of these scenarios can bite you after-the-fact is part of gaining experience in this field.
Old 12th February 2013
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Well, cutting through all the BS, you've answered the question. Your answer is "maybe".

I really don't understand what happened to this thread - why the vitriol, bull****, and unhelpful responses. I think it's both an interesting and a worthwhile question: if you're given an acoustic guitar clip that is poorly recorded, can you tell what the problem is without having to be spoonfed every little detail about the session?
My answer: usually.
Old 12th February 2013
  #37
Lives for gear
We're still skipping over the part where the person listening back to the recording doesn't know what they want to hear. That would probably be the biggest factor in guessing why a poor recording came about - lack of production or production expertise.

Those are hard concepts to develop.
Old 12th February 2013
  #38
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Without getting technical, I can tell you from experience that recording an acoustic guitar is like recording a vocalist. Some mics work on that PARTICULAR guitar (and playing style on that guitar of the player) and some just don't. Some very fine mics, that normally sound great on 75% of acoustic guitars, can sound really bad on some others. A lot of it has to do with how much bass, and the content of the bass frequencies and low mids, being put out by the acoustic guitar. A smaller bodied Martin being played by a fingerpicker will be quite a different thing on the lower end compared to some hard stumming on a 1964 Gibson SJ. Without blaming the proximity effect demon, bad mic placement, the room or anything else, the wrong mic on a given acoustic can create most of the described problems by itself. With enough skilled eq, you might get by with something usable, but it won't be good.
Old 12th February 2013
  #39
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The answer is simple. Yes I can tell where the problem lies.
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