champagne mic, coors style


Well-known member
I had the same problem when I moved from an SM-58 to an AT-4033 for vocals. It picked up too much acoustic guitar! I put it through an Aphex 107 pre direct into an MD4S. I use 1 of 2 solutions. First - record the guitar first. This is preferred sonically because I can then use the AT-4033 and my small diagphram mic (A TOA K2) I usually use on my guitar to stereo mic the guitar and then go back and do the vocals with the AT-4033.
Musically, however, I like to sing and play at the same time. My solution was to put the AT-4033 closer to my mouth so that it's almost right above the guitar body. Since the AT is cardiod, it blocks out more of the guitar when it's below the mic. The downside is that I lose a bit in the vocals when the AT is close to my mouth. With some experimentation, you should be able to find a nice compromised position to place the vocal mic. Good luck!
I'd really appreciate some feedback on this one. Keep in mind my recording situation: a room in the tropics with louvred shutters rather than windows - this means bird noise in the daytime and crickets at night, not to mention thunder and the occasional passing train. That's okay by me - the first project includes ambient noise, especially at night.

I decided to go big time today and bought a Rode NT-1. It cost about 2 1/2 times the price of a Shure SM-58, so the test was this: did it sound 2 1/2 times as good as the Shure? The answer was 'yes', hands down, no contest, I'm dead impressed - it's so sensitive compared to the Shure, but that's the problem. I play acoustic and sing at the same time, and the Rode is *so* sensitive it picks up everything - vocals, guitar, wife turning pages of book. Okay, I banished wife to balcony, but the problem remains - I can't separate out vocal and guitar tracks. I even tried recording both guitar and voice on the same track with the new upersensitive mic, but I'm not Robert Johnson and it was less than good. I quickly retreated to the safety of the relative deadness of my Shure 58 and 57, and better results obtained. Am I right in thinking that a mic like the Rode is best used alone, after others tracks have been laid down, using headphones? And if that's the case, and since that's not my approach to recording, is there a unidirectional condenser that's better suited to what I'm up to?

Well, those are my two questions, although I'd appreciate any feedback at all on this one. I don't mind having bought a mic I can't use now (I can sell a Rode, no problem, or put it in its case and wait for the time I live in hermetically quiet dwelling), but a better solution would be to find a way to use this fine, bold microphone.
I don't know your whole situation, but can you play the guitar first, then go back and lay the vocal track?
Yo-Do-Bro-Di-Bro in Singapore:

Since you don't have an "isolated studio" [who does except a hi-tech hi-priced studio], don't lock up your new Rode. Sounds like the Rode is even better than my AKG 3000 [there are plenty of mics better than the 3000 but I like it]

You can Do the musical tracks by over-dubbing with any mic you want. With a mic preamp, you can control the input/output ratio of the Rode and ride away happy. When the music is done, you can do your vocal on two tracks instead of just one; that will put your vocal "up front" and subordinate the music according to your ears at mix-down time. Also, when you do the vocal, you can juggle the input/output of the mic preamp and come up with some amazing results. [I hope you have a good reverb unit because that is what really puts a home recorded vocal into the pretty darn good catagory. As well, a touch of reverb can create great ambience for your guitar.

Keep wiggling the dials. Also, I have a parrot too and I usually shoot him with a water spray when I'm recording and he stays quiet for a while.

Happy recording.

Green Hornet
My first suggestion would be invest in a nice soundhole pickup or transducer setup for your acoustic. Run all that through DI boxes or preamps. At least you'll be able to separate the guitar.

If you don't dig the electronic approach or just prefer the air of a miced acoustic, try getting one of those old folding music stands and turn it parallel with the floor. Use it to create a barrier between the two. Again, if the Rode is picking up pages turning, this won't completely solve your problem either.

Finally, do what I do, and start getting into that classic "one mic" folky sound.

hope this helps...
Hey, thanks everyone - this was useful.

Fishmed, Green Hornet, Gordone - I can't overdub in this room - it picks up and layers cricket and birdnoise. Sounds of nature actually suit the project I'm working on, but it's got to be recorded in one take, or else the sounds of nature get unnatural.

Gordone - I'll continue to experiment with placement, but this mic is so sensitive that it'll pick up lots no matter where I stick it (no jokes, please)

Leaderbean - all three of your ideas sound worthwhile. A variation on #2 would be to strap the Rode to my forehead and then stick a box over my head and sing. Coupla eye holes. Nice. :)

Green Hornet - I'm curious about your idea that "you can do the vocal on two tracks instead of one" - you mean simultaneously or overdubbing? I'm recording to computer - can software double tracks? As for reverb - I'm using Cool Edit Pro, which has a huge selection of preset cheesy reverbs. I'm going to experiment with making my own settings, and if that doesn't cut it, move on to Plan C or D. I like S8-N's idea of using more than one mic at different distances for the same vocal.
Could you possibly overdub your vocal, but edit out the noise between vocal phrases? This would at least eliminate the background noise there.

Thanks for the heads up on sensitive mics, Dobro. I was just about to get an AT 4033
or perhaps a Rode NT-1 when I had to record a live jazz solo guitar 'concert'- actually a friend of a friend hired to play a party given to promote a local business. I recorded it with an AKG D770 mic on a Fender Vibrolux. I wish I had brought two of these mics instead of one as the levels on the tape were a little low, but after comparing the audio track on the videotape shot concurrently with the 4-track cassette recording, I was impressed with the sound isolation achieved with this cheapo mic. The venue was as noisy as a subway station, but the resultant 2-CD set (8 tapes later) was just guitar. My reference for this type of recording is the Joe Pass virtuoso series. I'd still like a nicer (more sensitive) mic, but I too have a problem with background noise in my studio.
Hi, emeric - hey, when did you become an *esteemed* moderator - wah! Well, even if I knew how to edit out the bits between vocal phrases, I wouldn't want to - I like the ambient noise on these recordings I'm making here. I'm trying to get the crickets and birds and trains, but only the once, not building it up take after take. Call me difficult.

DrStawl - thanks for the tip about the AKG. And there's that idea of using two mics again. And isn't Joe Pass *good*. Before all my vinyl went down in the flood, I used to listen to an album of him and Ella, just vocal and guitar. I didn't have that album long enough. I love that kind of music where I don't understand exactly why or how they're doing it, but it sounds good.
Dobro-di-bird call man:

Most tape and digital boxes for recording will let you record on more than one track. For example, with my Yamaha MD-8 I can have a vocalist sing once and put her voice on two, three, or four tracks. [two is usually plenty] Then, I can play with the pan on mix down and move the voice around. I'm not sure but you should be able to record on at least two tracks at once with your rig? This will add depth to the vocals and give you a chance to mix and discover left/right/center, etc.

You must access to some types of gear that we never see in the States.

Keep twiddling the dials and get some bug spray to quiet those crickets.

Green Hornet
dobro - tell me more about Joe Pass and....are you sure the light is good enough on that balcony for reading?