Mic distance recording singing guitarist

davecg321

New member
If I'm only using two mics to record voice and guitar should the distance of the mics (regardless if close or distant) always be kept the same (for both mics) to avoid phase issues?

I've been tracking things separately for awhile now, the reason being is that I performed some really nice takes using the two mic/live method but ended up with lots of phaseyness. I can't remember how I miked stuff up at the time.

Am up for giving this another shot!
 
I was asked this same question about three months ago. I found this great article on the proper way to do what you are doing. I recently purchased a set of matched stereo mics just for this purpose, however, I have yet to use them for this application. From the article:

"This particular miking method also puts both mics at roughly the same distance from the guitar strings, so you shouldn't suffer any significant phasing when the two mic signals are mixed". You can read the article here.

I am sure that members of this community will give you other options as well. When I take the time to bookmark a site/article, it is so I can refer back to it when the time comes. This one went straight to the top.
 
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rob aylestone

Well-known member
You have to get comfy with the techniques you can use. Two identical mics making a stereo pair will work nicely in a nice sounding room, but of course, the only real width comes from the room - the voice and the guitar are left to right almost in the same position, and a guitar from a distance has little real width - the overall sound coming from the 'whole' instrument. If you try to mic up the voice and the guitar with two mics at a distance where they both hear almost the same thing, you'll get that nasty phasey sound, so to get separation, both will need to go close in, so the other sound is further away and quieter, and then probably treat the sources to give a bit of width with reverb and eq. Stereo miking in a gorgeous room from a modest distance can sound nice, but few recordings have access to spaces that sound nice enough. For me, it would be a mic to flatter the voice and another to flatter the guitar. Stereo then becomes artificial.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
I was asked this same question about three months ago. I found this great article on the proper way to do what you are doing. I recently purchased a set of matched stereo mics just for this purpose, however, I have yet to use them for this application. From the article:

"This particular miking method also puts both mics at roughly the same distance from the guitar strings, so you shouldn't suffer any significant phasing when the two mic signals are mixed". You can read the article here.

I am sure that members of this community will give you other options as well. When I take the time to bookmark a site/article, it is so I can refer back to it when the time comes. This one went straight to the top.
That's an interesting approach I'd like to try to remember to try.
I'm curious if the guitar is a little dull from there, but maybe not.
Thanks for posting that.
 
That's an interesting approach I'd like to try to remember to try.
I'm curious if the guitar is a little dull from there, but maybe not.
Thanks for posting that.

I think it will all come down to mic placement as well as the mic used. I love the face shield method behind the mic. I own one and it never even dawned on me. Anyway, you are quite welcome.
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
When I've had to use two mikes on a performer, one on voice, one on guitar, I get the mikes in fairly close, aim the vocal mike up to the mouth, and the guitar mike down to the guitar.

That works reasonably well to minimise bleed and phase problems. The further away you get, the more you exacerbate these problems. An x-y stereo configuration will deal with phase, but you get no separation.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
If I'm only using two mics to record voice and guitar should the distance of the mics (regardless if close or distant) always be kept the same (for both mics) to avoid phase issues?
Just keep in mind that in any situation where two mics both share bleed from both sources, you can not make their bleed in phase. Either by alignment in the DAW or placement -except for coherent X/Y stereo. .. I.e. everything arrives at both caps at the same time. = No phase differences.
(If you think it through, the paths to both mics, 'both the same distance' from each source, can't solve for both.
There is the mic distance / separation attenuation 'rule (AKA 3:1 ) which is to minimize the depth (loudness of the bleed) of arrival time phase effects.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
When I've had to use two mikes on a performer, one on voice, one on guitar, I get the mikes in fairly close, aim the vocal mike up to the mouth, and the guitar mike down to the guitar.

That works reasonably well to minimise bleed and phase problems. The further away you get, the more you exacerbate these problems. An x-y stereo configuration will deal with phase, but you get no separation.
Using the polar patterns and distance (closer to each source) to attenuate the bleed each one sees.
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
I usually use 2 x figure 8 mics, 1 aimed at the guitar around the 12th fret pointing towards the sound hole, and one close to the singers mouth. Almost no spill, so no phase problems.

Alan.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
Yep, proximity and polar pattern are your friends.

Figure-8 gives the most separation of the direct path, but they are prone to picking up reflections from the room. Supercardioid would likely be the best option for maximum separation in an imperfect room.
 

davecg321

New member
When I've had to use two mikes on a performer, one on voice, one on guitar, I get the mikes in fairly close, aim the vocal mike up to the mouth, and the guitar mike down to the guitar.

That works reasonably well to minimise bleed and phase problems. The further away you get, the more you exacerbate these problems. An x-y stereo configuration will deal with phase, but you get no separation.


How close is 'fairly close' I'm recording in a large room with some absorption, wooden floors, no absorption on ceiling. should I keep both mics at the same distance?
 

drtechno

Member
If I'm only using two mics to record voice and guitar should the distance of the mics (regardless if close or distant) always be kept the same (for both mics) to avoid phase issues?

I've been tracking things separately for awhile now, the reason being is that I performed some really nice takes using the two mic/live method but ended up with lots of phaseyness. I can't remember how I miked stuff up at the time.

Am up for giving this another shot!
well, the way I would track it using that method is using a good sounding dynamic mic for the vocals, Distance it normally with the boom stand, dail the vocal mic, then take a cardioid condenser mic, stick it on a short stand, raise it to about the height of the sound hole when the artist is playing the guitar, Then I would take and pan apart the channels (about 50%) and monitor with headphones as you position the condenser to the right (or left depending where the front of the guitar is). I draw an imaginary circle around the artist, with the boom stand being one point of that circle, and the condenser positioned to the left or right on another point of that circle. when you find your best amplitude, rotate the condenser mic slightly clockwise or counter clockwise to position it for the best results.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
How close is 'fairly close' I'm recording in a large room with some absorption, wooden floors, no absorption on ceiling. should I keep both mics at the same distance?

Making the mics equal distances to their intended sources and the resulting degree of phase shift is irrelevant. Closer is better, if less bleed is the goal. What you're doing is controlling the relative levels, intended source vs. bleed, in each mic. The greater the difference between those the better. There's going to be some bleed, and it's going to be out of phase by some amount, but if the level is low relative to the intended source then the effect will be minimized.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
should I keep both mics at the same distance?
Answered already. :rolleyes:

Making the mics equal distances to their intended sources and the resulting degree of phase shift is irrelevant. Closer is better, if less bleed is the goal. What you're doing is controlling the relative levels, intended source vs. bleed, in each mic. The greater the difference between those the better. There's going to be some bleed, and it's going to be out of phase by some amount, but if the level is low relative to the intended source then the effect will be minimized.
This. ..Or 'that :)

Read up on the 3:1 rule of attenuation of bleed between the micing of two mono sources.
More or less it defines (approximates) an amount of reduction in cross bleed needed to sufficiently reduce an unwanted effect. (-9dB was it?
But know... that bit of 'math - goes roes right out the window- if either source is louder, you mix one or the other 'louder, or compress.. etc, etc
And it's not to say isoltion has to be an end all. I.e. bleed can be 'complimentary as well.

So here we are. Juggling 'best place'(s) for eace of their tones (alone), vs the compromises for 'isolation'.

Pick yer poisons boys ;)
 

davecg321

New member
I usually use 2 x figure 8 mics, 1 aimed at the guitar around the 12th fret pointing towards the sound hole, and one close to the singers mouth. Almost no spill, so no phase problems.

Alan.

do you have to engage to figure 8 setting on the mic? or does it just have to be a mic with this feature?

hope that makes sense
 

davecg321

New member
Answered already. :rolleyes:


This. ..Or 'that :)

Read up on the 3:1 rule of attenuation of bleed between the micing of two mono sources.
More or less it defines (approximates) an amount of reduction in cross bleed needed to sufficiently reduce an unwanted effect. (-9dB was it?
But know... that bit of 'math - goes roes right out the window- if either source is louder, you mix one or the other 'louder, or compress.. etc, etc
And it's not to say isoltion has to be an end all. I.e. bleed can be 'complimentary as well.

So here we are. Juggling 'best place'(s) for eace of their tones (alone), vs the compromises for 'isolation'.

Pick yer poisons boys ;)

I'm assuming a 'singing guitarist' can be treated as a mono source then? as I'm more familiar with the 3:1 rule when capturing a solo instrument in stereo i.e spaced pair

Perhaps this is why I ran into problems with phase issues. I was seated whilst playing and had the mics at least 10" away from the 12th fret and mouth (bearing in mind one mic could of been further away) Both microphones wouldn't of been 30" away from one another. So in that case I should of gone in a lot closer right?
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
I'm assuming a 'singing guitarist' can be treated as a mono source then? as I'm more familiar with the 3:1 rule when capturing a solo instrument in stereo i.e spaced pair

Not sure what you mean here, but 3:1 doesn't normally apply to a solo instrument, unless it's really wide.

Perhaps this is why I ran into problems with phase issues. I was seated whilst playing and had the mics at least 10" away from the 12th fret and mouth (bearing in mind one mic could of been further away) Both microphones wouldn't of been 30" away from one another. So in that case I should of gone in a lot closer right?

The distance between the mics is just a byproduct of the important thing, the distances from each mic to the various sources. For example, you want the distance from mic 1 to source 2 to be at least 3x the distance from mic 1 to source 1. Proper use of polar pattern adds to the beneficial effect.

But, yeah, get them closer. And angle them away from what you don't want in them.
 

davecg321

New member
Answered already. :rolleyes:


This. ..Or 'that :)

Read up on the 3:1 rule of attenuation of bleed between the micing of two mono sources.
More or less it defines (approximates) an amount of reduction in cross bleed needed to sufficiently reduce an unwanted effect. (-9dB was it?
But know... that bit of 'math - goes roes right out the window- if either source is louder, you mix one or the other 'louder, or compress.. etc, etc
And it's not to say isoltion has to be an end all. I.e. bleed can be 'complimentary as well.

So here we are. Juggling 'best place'(s) for eace of their tones (alone), vs the compromises for 'isolation'.

Pick yer poisons boys ;)


this article treats the 3:1 technique as one mono source

What is "3:1 Rule of Microphone Placement - inSync"?

"The 3:1 Rule works because the level of the signal entering the second mic (the one farther away) is reduced in level compared to the signal entering the first mic"

this seems strange as one mic cant be further away than the source when there is technically two sources (voice, guitar)


maybe I'm Getting confused somewhere
 

davecg321

New member
Every article I've read thus far explains the 3:1 rule with with only one source. A singing guitarist is technically two sources.

Do we from an engineering perspective treat both guitar and voice as one source when using 3:1?
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
That article and any article that says that is just plain wrong. Think about it: you're going to compensate for the different sound levels by adjusting the gain to get proper recording levels, so the signals will be about the same. And the phase shift will be from the absolute difference in distance (distance 2 minus distance 1), not from the ratio of the distances. The 3:1 guideline is absolutely 100% always about multiple sources (or a very wide source like a choir) and multiple mics.

3:1 Rule of Thumb Illustrated
 
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