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Thread: 1 or 2 microphones for recording solo vocal/acoustic guitar?

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    1 or 2 microphones for recording solo vocal/acoustic guitar?

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    Which provides the most acoustically natural sound ..... using 1 or 2 mics?

    I wish to record myself into a digital recorder. I'll be fingerpicking a small bodied acoustic guitar, and singing at the same time. I'm only interested in recording the music 'live", and not guitar first then vocals second. I will be purchasing 2 Studio Projects B1 condenser mics. The only effects I'll be using are equalization and a very tiny bit of reverb. The goal is to get a natural, acoustic sounding tone on the recording.

    Which is best, 1 or 2 mics? If 2, should I use one for vocals and the other for the guitar, or position them both in front of me so that both mics pick up both the guitar and vocals equally?

    I doubt recording in stereo would be worthwhile, seeing I'm after a "natural" acoustic sound. Is that so?

    Thanks for any help.

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    Experiment, try out various methods and see what gives you the results you are looking for, or if you get 'close' but then get stuck, come back and ask more specific questions. There are so many variations- guitar and voice sound, room acoustics, playing style, results desired ...
    Your questions at this point are like going to a car enthusiast site and saying "I want to buy a car, should it be a Mustang or a Cadillac?"
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    SPB1's are good mics in their price range. I had one as my first mic and was very pleased with it. It still gets some use from time to time. As for whether 1 or 2 of these mics is best for your situation is not really an answerable question.

    A condenser mic is going to pick up a lot of the sound of the room unless you close mic with low gain. So 2 condensers are going to pick up more of the room sounds. That could be a good or bad thing. Is your room treated acoustically?

    You will certainly get bleed from one mic to the other so mic positioning is where you'll want to spend time most. Avoiding phase issues, too much bleed, etc.

    The guitar itself will play a massive part in the sound. How it sounds to you, in your position, in the room, won't necessarily be how it sounds through the mic. Strings will play their part too. New or dead strings or something inbetween. Everyone has their favoured sound.

    What preamp/interface are you going to be using for these 2 SPB1's? You probably know already but you will need a 2 channel preamp/interface with 48v phantom power to use 2 of these mics.

    Which provides the most acoustically natural sound ..... using 1 or 2 mics?

    Personally, I would say one good mic, positioned well, through a decent preamp with someone performing who can control the dynamics of his vocal and guitar well.
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    As ever...
    Recording A Singing Guitarist

    But if you are really not interested in stereo (I would be!) I would go for a B1 and a smaller, pencil style capacitor on guitar.

    In fact I would go for a matched pair of Rode M5s!

    Dave.

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    My cell phone has an mic on it that I've recorded with. Its got a real "natural" sound. I've never tried using two though, that would just be weird. Sorry if that sounds sarcastic, its the room noise. The only room here that has a non-sarcastic sound is the newbies forum, but for that to work you have to use the Stickies comprehension plug-ins.

    Try this one. Acoustic Guitar Recording 101

    Seriously,,. give an example of the recorded sound you'd like to get close too.

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    I'd use 2 mics putting the 1st adjacent to 12th fret just less than a foot away and the 2nd on vocal and using a pop shield.

    As well as your EQ & Reverb I'd consider reading up on Compression.

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    Go in clean, and treat later. You can't undo compression or reverb or any of that stuff. Actually, there are a number of different ways to do what you want to do. As mentioned above, check out the stickies . . . . There are some big advantages to recording the guitar and vocals separately--that's what I would normally try to do, but I've recorded other players many times who simply won't do that. They have to do guitar and vocal together, so I've worked out ways to do that well. Me? It can be tough and strange, but I always try to do the two things separately.

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    As people have said already, probably a single mic would sound the most "natural". I would still probably opt for two, however, just to have a bit more control over EQ and compression to enhance the recordings.

    The only other thing to say is that it's all about positioning. Place the mics somewhere, record a bit, and listen back. Move the mics, rinse and repeat. Don't just listen in your headphones as you're recording because you won't hear it properly. Record a little bit, stop, and listen to the recording.

    When positioning the mic(s), remember a few things:

    - The closer the mic is to the source, the more low end you will have in your recording. This is called the "proximity effect". Too close, and the recording will be too boomy. Too far away, and it might sound thin.

    - Consider where the rear of the mic is facing. The mic will not pick up as much sound coming from directly behind. So, for example, if you want to use two mics, point the vocal mic up toward your mouth, and point the guitar mic down toward your guitar. This will give you more separation.

    - If you're room sounds good, that's great. If not, however, you may want to try to position the mic(s) fairly close to the source. That way the bad sounding room won't be as noticeable in your recording.

    Good luck! Hope this helps

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    For doing acoustic guitar and vox in one pass you might want to put up a pair of mics about 2-4 feet away.

    Depends on your room, the volume balance between your vocal and the guitar, and a bunch of other factors.

    But I would at least give it a shot.

    At a couple points in this video the camera pans back to show the mic placement.

    Notice that the mic aimed at the guitar and the mic aimed at the vocal are spread and he is pointing the guitar very slightly to his right and singing to his left. My guess would be that the LDC's are panned right up the middle and the SDC's are slightly panned L/R to provide a little more "space" so everything isn't right down the middle.

    Last edited by c7sus; 11-29-2014 at 19:39.
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