acoustic guitar and compression


New member
After posting my previous topic with what I have available (see "something from nothing"), I know that my best option is going with my Evloution Mic (Senheiser) and my preamp, with the Mic angled toward the neck.

Should compression be used during recording with an acoustic guitar (as you would with vocals) or should it be done in the mix?
I've always looked at compression as a necessary evil. If you can lay down a track without clipping while still keeping good average levels on your meters, you'll have a more dynamic track to work with on your mixdown. If you mic close and leave lots of bass in the eq, your meters will be buried in the red and you'll have to cut back the levels, but if you back off the mic a bit and cut back some of the bottom end (that boomy stuff which you don't want anyway), you can get a lot more signal on your track without compression. The other thing is, the compressor can often add some noise to the track since it's reducing the difference between your peaks and your noise floor --a double edged sword.
I think a lot of engineers will agree that most of the time, it's best to compress if going to digital multitracks so you get the most bit-resolution. If tracking to my ADAT, I compress around 2:1 with a -10db threshhold for acoustic guitar, vocals, and sometimes drum overheads, around 3:1 with a -10 to -20db threshhold for electric guitar cabs, and around 4:1 with a -10 to -20db for bass guitar, snare bass drum, and toms.

If tracking to my reel-to-reel, I usually don't compress acoutic guitar, vocals, or drum overheads. However, half of the time, I do compress electric guitar cabs and bass guitars; and always compress bass drum, snare, and toms.

As far as pianos, brass, woods, or strings (violins, uprights, etc.), it all depends on the style of music.