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  1. #1

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    I'd like to try recording my Emerald X10 unplugged to see if I can get someting close to what I hear in the room. What mics do people use for that and for that matter, how is it done?


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I’m no expert, but since you said you want to record something as close to what you hear in the room, I’m thinking a pair of omni mics. Directional mics (such as cardioid) would be better if you wanted to reduce the effect of room acoustics.
    Here’s an article about recording the Goat Rodeo sessions:
    Richard King: How To Record Acoustic Ensembles
    He relied heavily on omni mics supplemented by spot mics on individual instruments. Since you are just one instrument you might not need a spot.
    I haven’t played spot mics much though, so if someone says I don’t know what I’m talking about they are probably right.

  4. #3

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    From Goat Rodeo:

  5. #4

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    Last thing I did with acoustic I cheated and used no mics for anything. I ran a piezo, under-bridge pickup direct to record the classical guitar:

  6. #5

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    I used two different mics, one for the left and one for the right channel. Also a common trick for adding space. Add to that two Omni mics for left and right room and your only problem left is noise.

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  7. #6

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    Traditional method is a pair of Neumann KM184's in an X pattern aimed at about the 12th fret. I'm sure there are less expensive alternatives but not the MXL's I tried. I've been sucked in by price a couple of times and their inexpensive mic's have been pretty awful.

    Another sort of pricey option is a Neumann TLM103. I do have one of these and it works well. I have an extra set of hands (patient wife) move the mic around the guitar while I play until a good spot is located. Again, starting about 18 inches out from the 12th fret but sometimes over the shoulder, out from the soundhole, top near bridge, bottom, and sometimes aiming back from the nut. And it changes even in the same room with the same guitar. Did I mention that I'm not much of a sound engineer?

    Doesn't hurt to have another mic (pretty much anything, I use a Shure 57) to pick up room ambience to mix in a bit.

  8. #7

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    I like PZMs for a natural room sound .

  9. #8

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    Line Audio Design - Made in Sweden CM4 cardioid

    Line Audio Design - Made in Sweden OM1 omni

    Line Audio Design - Made in Sweden 2MP preamp

    A pair of microphones plus a preamp for USD583.50 plus shipping and import duty and Canadian GST.

  10. #9

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    Michael Watts records his guitars for Youtube with a pair of Microtech Gefell M300. The Gefell M300s are on my shopping list for 2021. They are spendy.

  11. #10

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    Jim, this is my expertise. How much you want invest?
    Nothing beats a SDC in terms fidelity. Also they are cheaper than LDC. Run away from cheap LDC... They are birght and harsh.

    Top of the top: + 1400$

    Schoeps Cmc641
    Seenheiser Mkh8040
    Neumann Tlm-170 / U-89


    Neumann Km184/84
    Soyuz Sdc mics
    Gefell Sdc mics

    Cheaper but great

    Shure sm-81
    Rode nt-5

    Hope it helps.

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  12. #11

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    Two very popular ways to record acoustic are either a matched pair of small diaphragm condenser mics (Sdc), or a combination of one sdc and one ldc (large diaphragm condenser mic). A third option is using a ribbon mic, very popular for jazz, but a mellow sound so not that popular with acoustics as a main mic.

    Mono recording is pretty effective and simpler as well, but mostly in a group context.

    The Rodes are pretty popular at a middle price point (I've have a matched pair of NT5s and a NT1-A for years and they have been great).

    Even lower priced mics are a great upgrade to recording direct (though I also often record direct for the convenience of it).

    If one gets more expensive mics (like the industry standard Neumann ones) then I feel you'd start to also need great dedicated mic preamps, a room with good acoustics and/or sound treatment, good knowledge of recording, mixing, a great instrument etc.. The higher you move the more all links become important.

    Last but not least, you need a perfectly quiet room to record acoustics, even the noise from a laptop will be heard, so plan accordingly..

  13. #12

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    For the $ it’s hard to beat the paired condenser mics in the zoom recorder, been using it for several years now for CG recording. I then add reverb electronically in audacity

  14. #13

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    Thanks for all the input. This sounds a lot more expensive that I was hoping.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Thanks for all the input. This sounds a lot more expensive that I was hoping.

    Zoom H4n Pro Handy Recorder - Black | Sweetwater

  16. #15

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    Jim, you should go to audio test kitchen and listen for yourself.

    The quality on this youtube video I just made is not as good as directly from the site. This youtube video sounds thin compared to direct from the site. But, you can watch to see what the site does. I picked a solo acoustic guitar and some random mics... actually I've been considering the Lewitt and the Aston Origin.

    You can find some good sounding mics around $100, imo.

  17. #16

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    I just watched a video with Eric Skye demoing his SCGC signature model and he mentioned using a single AKG 214. I think they're about $400 and his stuff sounds real natural to me.

  18. #17

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    sE Electronics SE7 or SE8, $99 each, could meet your budget. You could borrow a pair from Vintage King to demo in your own space.

    High quality electret (Made in China) microphones like the Line Audio Design CM4 and OM1.

    Hook them up to an Audient ID4 digital interface and record directly to DAW.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Thanks for all the input. This sounds a lot more expensive that I was hoping.
    Try specifying a budget.
    If your budget is low, do look at those Zoom products. I’ve been happy with my old H2 for casual recording. I’m thinking of upgrading to one of the newer Zoom models with XLR inputs and phantom power so I’ll have the option of using outboard mics.

  20. #19

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    all good suggestions ....

    i think a condenser mic captures the
    shiney top end of top end of an acoustic
    instrument better than a dynamic

    a lot of the more budget condensers are
    pretty great (Rode , SE etc)

  21. #20

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    The most important thing to remember is that if your room sounds like ass, your recordings will sound like ass. And if your preamps are trash, your recordings are trash. So trying to get "pro level" recordings at home assumes and requires that your room, preamps and mics are up to the task. Not the cheapest prerequisite, but more doable than you'd think.

    The quickest "shortcut" to quality would be two mics; one pointed at the about the 12th and another pointed at the body, depending on your guitar. Here's a pretty good explanation of that methodology.

    My less grandiose version of that is parking an sm81 and a fathead 2 in front of two large acoustic panels and going for it. But I did ok with just the single sm81 in the past. That's my recommendation because it's an affordable studio legend and it's very directional. The last thing you want is an ldc picking up everything in a bad room.

    If you want to get clever and you have a pickup in the guitar, you can mix that signal with a single mic. Not as good, but still plenty usable.

    Here's another great video you can skip around to see different techniques and philosophies you might consider.