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Thread: Microphone recommendation for my specific style of acoustic playing?

  1. #11
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    I am going to stick my oar in here! NOT because I have anything like the experience of Rob or the other guys but because,..
    1) I have had a 204HD and sent it to my son in France,
    2) He is spending his time in lockdown recording his classical guitar, Bach mostly, using several microphones, the most expensive of which is an SM57!

    And finally (4) I have posted a couple of his efforts here and people have been complimentary about his playing but, NOT a ONE has said "FFS tell him to get a decent microphone!" But first "gain".

    I may not own a studio but I do have a smattering of electronics nouce...Gain is felkkin G.A.I.N! It is just the word we use to descibe that property of amplifiers that makes the signal bigger, usually the voltage but can be the current, always the power.
    Does not matter whether you get it from a $3000 'booteek' pre amp or a $50 mixer, 40dB is 100 times. (noise and distortion are whole other colour of fish but leave us K.I.S.Sirs for now?) Yes, guitar amps have knobs labelled "gain" which technically tey are not but, triode, transistor or op amp, gain is just amplification.

    So, son has recorded with a USB LDC and quite likes the result. He also has a £20 "BM-800" which works fine but the sound pleases him not. He has an SM57. Now, whilst the 204HD is fine with a 57 for signing at 25-35mm it is a but weak at 600mm for classical guitar and noise creeps in*. However he LIKES the sound the dynamic gives him and has tried it closer but then he loses his rather nice room and tends to knock the mic.

    Finally he has had a Mackie EM-91C LDC for just a day or so and that seems to be the best choice so far, time will tell.

    (BTW did anyone catch the BBC's Young Jazz Musician of 2020 last week? I watched and recorded it. The soloists were captutred on a single Coles 4038 but then they were playing saxes and a bull bass plus they had the benefit of BBC pre amps!)

    *I have bought him a Fethead and have made just a couple of tests here that I have not worked out the results of yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fujauroste View Post
    Is there a good place to post audio clips for feedback? I see folks over on the acoustic guitar forum posting soundcloud links. Seems like this would be a great way to share what I'm making and get some feedback from people who could actually point out the flaws in my recordings.
    Once you get a few more posts, you'll be able to include links to Dropbox or Soundcloud files. You can also embed an MP3 directly into your message. You have to GO ADVANCED below and manage attachments. Thats especially handy if you are using a service that modifies your postings heavily like Youtube.

    My preferred way to record would be to get the instrument sounding the way I want, THEN try to get a neutral microphone setup to capture it. To me that is preferable to having a mic "voiced" to record something different.

    An issue that I learned early on is that you don't hear a guitar the same way as the audience! You are above the guitar, with the soundhole face forward. If you can, have someone else come by and play for a bit and try to listen to the different sounds as your position changes. Some people have tried to record from up by the guitarist's head to simulate more what the player is hearing. Interesting concept but can create some problems if the player is making noise (breathing, etc).

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    My first real reel to reel recorder was a Ferrograph 722HD - ľ" mic inputs, and two 545 Shure dynamics and I don't think I ever ran out of gain - indeed, looking at the circuit for the unbalanced preamp online - it was really a very simple thing. It sounded, from memory, great. The thing hissed a bit, but at 15IPS, with the Dolby tricked to function in the 15IPS position (normally for licence reasons, no Dolby on the highest speed) hiss really wasn't something to worry about. Once we moved to digital it was a shock to SEE noise on a meter but be unable to hear it!

    Maybe we're too harsh on low output mics, expecting miracles? Dave mentioned Coles on TV - the BBC still have old kit hidden away because modern doesn't mean excellent. If a mic has too low an output for a certain application, swap it out for something that can do the job.

  4. #14
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    Good points Rich and there is an underlying, unstated fact, we cannot know how true to the source we are being unless we have an at least reasonably accurate way of listening to the results, so many "help me" threads ask about microphones and interfaces, almost never about 'good' monitors (though that could be because the newb has looked at the price of even a tolerably good monitor, **** themselves and then tried to ignore the issue!)

    People rarely listen to real acoustic instruments any more. That of course is hard for the lone guitar player but one step anyone can take toward better 'fidelity' is to reproduce recordings at realistic sound levels. A sound level meter can be had for as little as $20 and will give a good idea how loud the guitar is at the mic position and thus aid correct replay level.

    "Back in the Day" in the 70s and 80s most people who got into semi pro recording, with tape of course, did so AFTER assembling a pretty stonking home hi fi system. Many of them attended live concerts and many indeed were gifted amateur musicians and played with others. Thus these people had an appreciation of what 'real' music sounded like.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fujauroste View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm looking for custom-fit microphone recommendation:

    I have a Seagull cedar folk guitar
    I play with D'Addario flat tops, for warm tone and less squeak
    I typically fingerpick without using fingernails
    When I do pick, I often enjoy using a Wedgie rubber pick.

    I guess the takeaway is that I like soft, smooth, round, warm sound. I'm looking for a good microphone that will compliment these characteristics. I've been interested in ribbon mics, but still doing research. I'd like to spend $1000 or less. Thanks for any input that anyone has for me!
    I would choose the most transparent option in the range. DPA 2011C would be an excellent choice. Any colouration of one mic will leave a fotoprint on every track you record. And you donít want that same footprint on every track!

    Thereís a Series of Microphone tutorials below, that I think you should watch before considering your choice;

    Microphone Tutorials - Chapter One - Introduction - YouTube

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    I get a decent mellow tone with 2 AT-2035 large condensers. My room is untreated though so .....

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    Buying a mic is always a huge guess and fingers crossed. In fairness, the only mic I have ever had that recorded my acoustic guitars badly was an AKG C1000, and despite my EQ attempts it always sounded cutting, or with EQ, dull. Never in between. Every other mic has worked - some a little better, but I usually now use an AKG 414 as first choice, but for something a bit mellower, a Beyer 201 dynamic. Oddly, I have a couple of cheap Samson chunky sized side fire mics and they do a fine job too - just tiny differences, not major ones. The ribbon I have is less successful because frankly, it hears too much of the room, and the room is less good than I'd like. Figure-8 works well in nice rooms, making the sound of guitar AND the space work nicely.

    I really think people should never jump into buying an expensive mic - say one over 200 Dollars/Pounds/euros without having at least two or three different cheaper ones. Then you can do sensible comparisons. You have cheap and bright, cheap and mellow, cheap and nasty so if you really like the mellow one, and want better but similar tone - you have a starting point for buying a better one. I wish I'd not bought my two expensive dynamic mics (SM7B and RE320) because they just don't offer anything the SM57/58 can't do really. The lack of proximity effect I find a bit unimportant. I'd lump them in with the Shure KSM-8 - which for me, again doesn't have a home - it's a really nice feel microphone and I do (or rather did, before Covid) use it on less disciplined singers - those who copy the stars and wave the mic around a lot, but without realising why they do it. Close or further away it sounds the same - a bit like a Beta 58 about an inch from the mouth, but it's not special. All the mics go into hire stock if I can't find a home for them in the studio, so none (bar the C1000) have ever been useless. They're just don't impress me much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    In fairness, the only mic I have ever had that recorded my acoustic guitars badly was an AKG C1000, and despite my EQ attempts it always sounded cutting, or with EQ, dull. Never in between.......none (bar the C1000) have ever been useless. They just don't impress me much
    Ironically, I've just done a session with that mic ! Vocals, tambourine and shakers. I don't have many mics but of all the ones I do have, it's the weirdest and seems to impart a hard brittle sound although sometimes, I like that on the acoustic guitar {depending on the part it plays in the song}.

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