Mic Comparisons : 10 SDCs For Acoustic Guitar

spantini

COO of me, inc.
I just tripped across this cool demonstration of SDC mics on Sweetwater's site. I'm mainly interested in how they may handle a heavily strummed 6-string acoustic, as when I get going I produce lot's of thumping sounds from the lower strings.

My personal favorite in this bunch is the Avantone Pro CK-1. It's one of maybe two that don't reproduce that little bit of low-end boominess (thump) in the guitar strum. And my question about that is.. could it be that they had set the HPF on the mic, or used a specific capsule, or both, or... what? They don't say how this CK-1 was set up for this test.

I still like it, though. Especially price-wise. I for sure cannot afford $600-$1500 for a single mic.

I've got a Taylor guitar that's on the bright side, so I'd have to experiment with that and the CK-1 to bring some fullness back into the sound. Then I've got an inexpensive Chinese acoustic (Rogue) which does have that thud / boominess when I get to strumming.

Anyway, check these out. This group of 10 was tested with 2 guitars and there's a 30-second clip for each mic from each guitar.

My ears are not so discerning in this area, I just react to the most obvious of sounds and not to the finer details.

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/best-small-diaphragm-condenser-mics-acoustic-guitar/
 
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TalismanRich

Well-known member
Its been a while since I listened to that comparison. Maybe tomorrow I'll revisit it.

A year or so back I did a comparison of my SDCs. An old CAD 1200XL, AKG P170, Rode M5 and Lauten LA120, plus my NT1. The Cad and AKG were really close, the Lauten sounded nicely balanced. The M5 had the least bottom end, but I remember someone commenting that it would probably sit in the mix the best. I thought the NT1 sounded the closest to what I hear from the guitar.

I haven't been recording anything for the past few months. I've been sitting my daughter's dogs while they have their house repaired from a electrical house fire. (They're prone to barking at the slightest noise) That should be coming to an end this week.

I've been wondering how the SDCs would sound with vocals, vs the V67G, NT1 or SP B3 LDC, or the 57 and Senn 935, Maybe that will be my next project.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
I probably listened to it before. I think the Miktek sounds good, though I'm biased as I like their mics, and that's one that I have on my search list (used).

The problem with any kind of comparison is it's, truthfully, close to impossible to make it fair. If you put the mics in the same spot to record the same source at the same time, well, is that [same spot] really possible with this many mics, and then, why would you insist that different mics all have to perform at their best in exactly the same spot, when it's pretty clear that's not true. Then, if you do separate passes, with mics optimally placed, folks will say it's not a true comparison. Damned if you do...

Not many mics I'd turn down in that set. I was surprised I didn't like the sE8, because they look good on paper. But, again, in my little room, with time to set up, I'm sure they'd be just dandy.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I have issues where you have multiple performances and then try to compare the microphones. Often there are more differences in the nuance of the performance than of the mic under test.

On of the best ones I've heard was using a Yamaha Disklavier. Since its a digital playback on an acoustical instrument, it is very consistent. That makes it much easier to have the various mics in exactly the same spot. Nothing else changes. The other was a comparison of electric guitar. Using a reamp system, the mic gets the same performance every time.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Listening to the comparisons again, I was struck by how much I disliked the Earthworks. It was just brittle and thin. Of the group, I think the ELA M260 Telefunken was my favorite. It didn't have the boom that some of the others had, but it had the bottom end. Second place for me was the AKG 451. The KM184 was probably 6th or 7th on my list. Definitely mid pack.

The Avantone didn't have the boom, but it sounded a bit thin to me. A -1 or 2 dB shelf at around 4 or 5k would probably dial it right in, with maybe a slight bump in the lows if needed.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
...

The Avantone didn't have the boom, but it sounded a bit thin to me. A -1 or 2 dB shelf at around 4 or 5k would probably dial it right in, with maybe a slight bump in the lows if needed.
It is definitely on the thin side, which is a characteristic I'm interested in. I have similar thoughts on your EQ suggestions.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
I've been wondering how the SDCs would sound with vocals, vs the V67G, NT1 or SP B3 LDC, or the 57 and Senn 935, Maybe that will be my next project.
my small vocal time experience was the SDC had p-pop issues so foam, shields etc...not a big deal. ..just need protection.
SM81/PG81 were my favs but I only tried a few on a weekend.
the SM81 used on TV shows and other vocal applications. The old ones had a weird plastic screen for it...weird.

The Black Keys recorded vocals with a Neumann 184 pointed at the singers forehead.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Ironically - the avantone was the one I didn't like because of the brightness - and the Earthworks was close to it, but just inside my 'ok' category. Funny how we all like different things. I guess in truth none were bad, and if we had any of them, we could probably move them and do a little EQ to suit our tastes better.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
If I were an acoustic guitar fingerpicker I would choose a different mic for that. One not so bright. But my hard strumming has me wondering how a brighter mic could help clean that up while recording. I'm also thinking 'what's the point?' because I get very similar results using a LPF HPF while mixing.
 
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CoolCat

Well-known member
I agree. listening to them all the thinner are clearer on the chords, while the thicker seem better on the picking parts.

For the middle ground I found the Miktek and 184 there...others were more middle, but its a gradual slope to going to say the Earthworks and Avantone on the thin side and the 451 more blurred on the chords, but with the sparkle full picking part?

Martin D28 and the J45 group of samples was a pretty large difference too.
 

Songfarmer

New member
I know it is probably bouncing against you lower price range or at least close,but the Rode NT-4 is an AWESOME mic and so easy to work with.
 
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