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Thread: Advice for an inexpensive second Mic for guitar etc?

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    Advice for an inexpensive second Mic for guitar etc?

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    Hi Folks, I'd really appreciate some advice - I play acoustic guitar and sing, and recently invested in a Audient D14 and Rode NT1a. However I'd like a second mic so that I can record vocals and guitar at the same time using separate mics. Presumedly the Rode NT1a would work best for the vocals, so I was wondering what type of mic would be recommended for the guitar? Would a large or small diaphragm mic be best? Or dynamic? Ideally I'd like the second mic to be a bit of an all-purpose mic too - I sometimes play with a pianist for example so on occasion would like to record the piano with one mic and guitar and vocals on another. I was hoping that a Shure SM58 might be suitable because then I could use it for gigs too, but i don't seem to hear of people using it for recording? I'm on a really tight budget, so can't afford to spend more than I did on the Rode NT1a . Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by willison; 02-01-2019 at 03:21.

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    You could use an SM58 for vocals and put the NT1A on the guitar, but it's likely not going to be as good as another LDC if you have to press it into use to do both guitar and vocal at the same time while the NT1A is on the piano. The NT1 (no "a") gets positive nods around here.

    However, it depends on your recording space, the material, and the piano to some degree whether a mic is going to be the deciding factor in the end result. I've recorded a piano with a small digital recorder (Zoom H2) and a pair of dynamic mics (Beta 57a). And, yes, a nice pair of condensers would have done a better job, but since it was just the accompanying instrument, nobody said peep about the piano quality. I've also recorded my voice and guitar with one of those same Betas and it was fine for a home recording. So, if you really are looking at something for use live, you might try out something like that or similar. (The SM58 would not be my first choice for an "all around" dynamic, though I like it for live vocals.)
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    You could use an SM58 for vocals and put the NT1A on the guitar, but it's likely not going to be as good as another LDC if you have to press it into use to do both guitar and vocal at the same time while the NT1A is on the piano. The NT1 (no "a") gets positive nods around here.

    However, it depends on your recording space, the material, and the piano to some degree whether a mic is going to be the deciding factor in the end result. I've recorded a piano with a small digital recorder (Zoom H2) and a pair of dynamic mics (Beta 57a). And, yes, a nice pair of condensers would have done a better job, but since it was just the accompanying instrument, nobody said peep about the piano quality. I've also recorded my voice and guitar with one of those same Betas and it was fine for a home recording. So, if you really are looking at something for use live, you might try out something like that or similar. (The SM58 would not be my first choice for an "all around" dynamic, though I like it for live vocals.)
    Thanks very much for the help Keith. I'll take a look at the Beta 57a. Out of interest, if I were to buy another condenser mic instead, specifically just to mic the guitar (whilst recording vocals with my existing mic), would a small or large diaphragm be best? And are there any under 100 dollars that you can recommend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willison View Post
    Thanks very much for the help Keith. I'll take a look at the Beta 57a. Out of interest, if I were to buy another condenser mic instead, specifically just to mic the guitar (whilst recording vocals with my existing mic), would a small or large diaphragm be best? And are there any under 100 dollars that you can recommend?
    Either LDC or SDC can record a guitar, though I might go with the SDC just for a difference.

    There are some under $100 SDCs out there I've heard folks like, but I don't have one personally. Used is always a good option, I got my ATM450 at a local GC for $100 used, and it was like new. A pretty versatile mic.

    Make sure you have your expectations set for recording vocal and guitar at the same time - it will help with balance and take a little of the positioning problems away, but there will be a lot of bleed, and if you're seated, a whole lot. So, yeah, you can adjust the balance between the mics, but whenever you raise the level of the "guitar" mic, you'll still be raising the vocal some, and vice versa. Unless I'm just doing a scratch track for one of my home recording projects, I'll always try to do the tracks separately. (I've recently been recording a guy's long list of songs for some copyright submissions - vocal & guitar with a couple mics - and I'm glad I'm not trying to make a "radio-ready" mix out of it.)
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Yeah, I know the thread is months old, but I just got a pair of monoprice SDC for $70. I liked them so much, I bought 2 more pairs and 4 hypercardioid capsules. We AB'd one of them at a friend's studio on a nice 100 year old rosewood Washburn parlor guitar with a Neumann KM184, and the difference in sound does not reflect the difference in price. Amazing how inexpensively you can get gear these days that doesn't get in the way of your music.

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