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Tech: Recording for unplugged sound

Tim Leaning 11 Jun 09 - 06:27 PM
Andy Jackson 11 Jun 09 - 06:42 PM
Tim Leaning 11 Jun 09 - 07:12 PM
Acorn4 11 Jun 09 - 07:14 PM
Andy Jackson 11 Jun 09 - 07:32 PM
John P 11 Jun 09 - 08:23 PM
Tim Leaning 11 Jun 09 - 09:45 PM
Tim Leaning 11 Jun 09 - 09:47 PM
Phil Cooper 11 Jun 09 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 11 Jun 09 - 11:44 PM
Backwoodsman 12 Jun 09 - 06:09 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Jun 09 - 06:18 AM
treewind 12 Jun 09 - 08:10 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Jun 09 - 09:55 AM
Tim Leaning 12 Jun 09 - 11:05 AM
Backwoodsman 14 Jun 09 - 03:52 AM
Andy Jackson 14 Jun 09 - 05:39 AM
treewind 14 Jun 09 - 06:16 AM
Bernard 14 Jun 09 - 02:17 PM
Tim Leaning 14 Jun 09 - 06:08 PM
Nick 14 Jun 09 - 07:20 PM
Tim Leaning 15 Jun 09 - 07:02 PM
Nick 15 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM
Tim Leaning 15 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM
Will Fly 16 Jun 09 - 02:44 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 06:12 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 08:06 AM
Nick 16 Jun 09 - 08:55 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 10:06 AM
Will Fly 16 Jun 09 - 11:32 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 11:53 AM
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Subject: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:27 PM

I have got Reaper on my PC and am using an Alesis 8 Channel usb Mixer
To get audio into the soft ware.
I would like to get a reasonably accurate recording of my Guitar,but I am having some trouble in achieving this.
I have been using the guitar via a lead,which is great for avoiding ambient sounds in the house,but the tonal quality is not the same.
Playing to mic has its own drawbacks.
Any one care to share their own ongoing adventures,or past triumphs regarding this ?
Tim.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:42 PM

With a good quality acoustic instrument of any sort the only way to get a quality recording is with a good mic/s at the right position. Matresses across windows/doors - record at 2am, give the kids a trip to the cinema. All and everything you need to get a quiet environment. What you record on is the least of your worries!

Good luck, it will get better.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:12 PM

:-) lol cheers mate I suspected that would be involved in the answer.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Acorn4
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:14 PM

You can record through a mike and via a lead at the same time and then mix the sounds. If you're strumming position the mike up the neck a bit away from the soundhole.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:32 PM

3 feet in front of the sound hole is about where a good guitar sounds best. It is designed to project the sound of resonating air forward not to be listened to close up near to moving wires. Basic rule of thumb with any instrument - get someone to play it and move around to hear where it sounds best.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: John P
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:23 PM

The better the microphone, in general, the better the chances of having it sound like your guitar. I recorded my first album at home with decent stage mics (about $200 each). It sounded OK. The next album was done in a studio with two $3000 microphones. The difference is huge.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 09:45 PM

Thanks chaps I will try the mic and lead approach,I think the 6000 dollars of mics will have to wait:-)
thanks for tip re distance from sound hole I would have stuck it closer and been disappointed again


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 09:47 PM

In case its any help re giving me advice I try to finger pick and its a small martin guitar I am playing.
There are lots of effects and filters in the reaper software but I would rather get the sound right without trying to figure out what they all do .
Bone Idle me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:33 PM

Our recording engineer has really like the way my internal Highlander stand alone mic sounds inside the guitar. However he also uses two external ones. PM me if you want a link to hear what the guitar sounds like.

--Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:44 PM

I have a midi guitar that I can plug directly into the computer and record in Garage band--no need for messy or protracted mike set-ups, or any of that--just plug and play. It is helpful for capturing ideas, and for slapping together a quick demo of a song. For the finished product though, real music is best.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 06:09 AM

Tim, I use 2 small-diaphragm condensor mics (not expensive ones - AKG Perception 150's, cost about 80 quid each, I think). I put one pointing at the 14th fret and one pointing just below the sound-hole, both about a foot away. I record onto 2 tracks and thus have full control over balance, EQ and panning of the sound from each mic.

If necessary the two tracks can then be mixed and bounced into one stereo track (for instance if you have eight tracks available but need to use more than eight).

I record onto a Tascam DP-02FX portastudio and the results are pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 06:18 AM

And, of course, as someone else has said, you need to cover hard surfaces such as glass and wood to prevent unwanted back-echo (amazing how the mics pick it up).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: treewind
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 08:10 AM

Get a pair of Behringer C2 mics (they're dirt cheap and surprisingly good) and do lots of experiments with mic positions, rooms and room treatment. If you can get someone else to play the guitar, put a pair of closed back headphones and hold the mic in different positions to find the best spot. When you've learned all there is to be learned about best mic position (takes a lifetime or 3) get some better mics if you still think you need them.

Suggestions: Röde NT5, AKG C535, Neumann KM184, Schoeps MK41 - the sky's the limit!

A large room with soft furnishings is a good start. Bedrooms are often used as makeshift studios for a good reason - a well-upholstered double bed makes a good bass trap. Living room with soft armchairs + sofa also good.

If you want to get into proper acoustic treatment, Ethan Winer's Acoustics Articles are an absolutely brilliant place to start.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 09:55 AM

Anahata, I have a couple of Behringer B2 mics (large diaphragm) which I use for vocals, and they are very good too, at the price.

I agree about rooms - my sitting room is a great-sounding room and, apart from closing the curtains to prevent reflected echoes fom the window-glass, needs no other 'messing about', it has just enough 'life' on its own. In the spare bedroom, I tend to drape a double duvet over the wardrobe doors, and a thick bath-sheet over the full-length mirror. Otherwise, just close the curtains and press the 'Record' button! :-)

I've made some surprisingly good recordings under these conditions, although I guess a 'proper' studio with sophisticated facilities and a decent sound guy is always best!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 11:05 AM

Wow cheers chaps
That's a a lot to be going on with and I will adopt and adapt your advice in my experiments.
Do you think similar set up would work as well with accordion or other non stringed instruments?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 03:52 AM

Can't say about accordion, Tim - no experience there! I use a single mic with both my octave mandolin (wot I ain't got no more!) and mandolin. Again, I put the mic about a foot away, but pointing at the soundhole. Sounds OK to me, but I haven't spent a lot of time 'faffing' with that one.

I don't think a small instrument like a mandolin needs 2 mics - not a complex sound like guitar. If you wanted to 'widen' the sound, I suppose you could always clone the mando track and pan/EQ them differently, but I've never bothered.

But I'm no expert matey, just an accountant and part-time amateur folkie who's messing around! :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 05:39 AM

Tim, what I said earlier applies to all instruments. Have someone play and walk round listening carefully. You may be surprised where the sound comes from in some instruments. In a nice quiet, acoustically dead room, like a studio, you can place mics a fair way away to get a good pick up of the whole sound.You don't want to hear, strings, reeds, buttons or even breath, but the vibrating air produced therefrom.
This sounds simplistic, but remember that acoustic instruments are designed to project the sound.

Good luck I can see you are having fun already.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: treewind
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 06:16 AM

If you have multi track mixing facilities, you might want to put a mic on each side of an accordion. Many recording engineers routinely do this, and it's certainly the best way for live sound to avoid feedback, but I've also seen a very respected and capable recording engineer put a single mic in front of my melodeon, 2-3 feet away pointing at the middle of the bellows and picking up sound from both sides. I think the mic was a Neumann M147, and it sounded fantastic.

For the solo melodeon track I contributed to the EFDSS Hard Core English Album, I used an XY pair of Schoeps MK41 directly in front of me and 3-4ft away. My studio is a conservatory generously lined with bass traps, mostly slabs of 100m thick mineral wool, so the room sound, while not dead, is quite well controlled.

I like the sound of an EV RE20 close to the floor on my cello.
There's plenty of material on the web about mic positions for other instruments, but usually with woodwind, whistles and bagpipe chanters it's a mistake to point at the end of the pipe as the sound comes out of the finger holes. Brass is a different matter...

By the way if you're interested in acoustic treatment in the UK, my favourite material is the Acoustic mineral wool from Custom Audio Designs. wrap each slab up in a cloth cover (mine were used curtain material stitched up with a sewing machine) and ideally hung on a bracket to hold it spaced 100mm away from the wall, or suspended from the ceiling with a similar gap above. The material seems to be a good substitute for the Owens Corning 703 glass fibre that is popular for the same purpose in the USA. It's not hard to make such treatment temporarily installable in a room normally used for other purposes, as long as you have space (shed/garage/loft) to store them when not in use.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 02:17 PM

I've solved a lot of problems in my home studio by buying some cheap sapele-print internal doors and cladding them in 'contract carpet'. They can easily be screwed to the walls.

The carpet is the hard-wearing stuff with a foam backing that is used on staging for conferences and so on (so mine cost nowt as it was being scrapped!), and the doors are far cheaper (aT a fiver each) than buying wood and attempting to make your own frames.

If you want to make a 'splitter' - a screen with angled panels to reduce reverb in a room - you can use bi-fold gate hinges to attach the panels to each other.

I've got four B2 Pro mics, and they're excellent. The AKG C1000 is good on a guitar at the point where the neck meets the body.

Do try to avoid pointing a mic down the sound hole, though... bad for recording and even worse for PA!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 06:08 PM

All great stuff thank you .
Is quicker to read your posts than to try stuff out but the Ideas you are sharing would I think be a big help to anyone else reading them too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Nick
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 07:20 PM

Tim

I use two Dynamic mics that I use for vocals on gigs and position them much as Backwoodsman did. There's an example here which I've posted before of a friend playing done on a VERY primitive set up which is adequate for my purposes.

I rarely plug the guitar in as I like the sound of a mic'd rather than plugged in acoustic even though I thought Martin's electrics were supposed to be good.

Nick

PS On a totally unrelated matter I was wrong about Flaxton which has survived and thrived. I was practising with the rock band I play with last Wednesday and there must have been 45 people there when I got there late! Perhaps we'll see you again sometime? Regards to the family.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:02 PM

Thanks Nick
We will be there twice this summer unless we get lucky and manage another one.
I am so glad you were wrong mate


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Nick
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM

Always nice to see you - come early.

Keep away from the effects and just try to make a sound that sounds nice to you.

I don't know a lot about this but some basics - too much power in makes for a bad sound. You can never mend clipped sound.

Stick any mic in front of the guitar and just record a bit. If it sounds bad then nip it off to an mp3 and post it somwhere that people can hear and stick a link here. People's ears are VERY good here and they can help.

At the moment it's a wee bit hard because no-one quite knows the problem because ears is all - you may have a perfect sound and not know it. Post a link to a few strums and you'll get a really helpful response.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 08:20 PM

will try that tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 02:44 AM

I've used three kinds of unplugged recording device: Shure SM58+8-track recorder; Sony Minidisc Walkman+Sony Stereo mic; Zoom H2.

1. Shure+Roland 8-track: Gives a very clear and accurate sound of the guitar without sounding too "woody". I use a foam shield to cut out extraneous bits of sound.

2. Minidisc+Sony stereo mic: Great for recording voice and guitar simultaneously as the mic can be set to 90 degree or 180 degree separation, and careful placement gets voice and guitar in separate channels.

3. Zoom H2: Just borrowed this and, with the mic gain button the middle setting, it gives a recording with bite - though it also picked up the sound of my heavy breathing... However, quite impressive.

I record in my "music room" - basically a small room lined with books and musical instruments - with no artificial anything in it.

The most important thing in all of this, as others have said, is to find the "sweet spot" for recording your guitar. Put on headphones, play the guitar and adjust mic/guitar distance until you hear the right sound.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:12 AM

Cheers Maestro


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:06 AM

samples

Got two done as Mp3 files.
One with condenser Mic at around 7th fret and about 1 foot from frets
second is guitar plugged in with all sliders in center position.
If you have time and inclination would appreciate some expert ears.
Guitar is Martin 00016 with Aura thingy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Nick
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:55 AM

Will

I also use a Zoom H2 and love it to bits. I use it in the car, at home for quick recordings and when I play in a 6 piece rock band and thinks it's great.

Mind you it's probably got the drummer sacked!

Tim

I prefer the mic'd one rather than the plugged in one it has a more natural sound but the plugged in one does sound like an acoustic guitar. You could try various experiments with placement and see which you like most. Much of it is just trying out what sounds nice to you.

You could also experiment with two mics if you have them and there are all sorts of different things you can try. There are some mighty good articles on the web about mic'ing guitars which give some good ideas


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 10:06 AM

Cheers Nick the aura thingy has a lot of adjustments to it so maybe I will try fiddling around with it a bit.
also got a couple of Dynamic mics to try they are both senheiser E815s.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 11:32 AM

Tim - here's a link to a YouTube video of my Martin with what I think is a reasonable sound (purely subjective, of course):

Love Is The Sweetest Thing (video)

And, just to demonstrate how YouTube can mangle the sound slightly, here's the original audio file (mp3 version) of the sundtrack to that video. Note the better quality:

Love Is The Sweetest Thing (mp3)

In this recording, the Shure SM58 was placed about 2 feet, perhaps, slightly more, from the guitar, and towards the neck - certainly not over the soundhole. That was the particular "sweet spot" for that recording.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording for unplugged sound
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 11:53 AM

Both sound like guitar but there is real difference between them it is suprising.
I often think I can hear the speakers adding to sound in p.a and even home stereos maybe I aint as mad as I thought?


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