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  1. #1
    Dutchbopper Guest

    Best mike for recording an archtop?

    Is the Shure SM57 still the best one? Does it do the job for both amped and unamped archtops equally well?

    Regards,

    DB

  2. #2
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    I use a Rode NT4, which I really like. It's a stereo mic.

  3. #3
    I think the Shure's a bit 'old-school' now, it's a dynamic mic so probably ok for miking an amp, but not that sensitive or high-frequency enough for acoustic sounds such as recording directly from an archtop.

    I've got an SM57 and I find it a bit too 'woolly/boxy' sounding. I prefer a condenser or electret-condenser mic. for any kind of acoustic recording. The Rode mics are supposed to be very good, I will probably get one myself sometime.

    At the moment I sometimes use an old AKG C1000s which is better than the SM57, but even they are a bit out of date now, the Rodes seem to get better reviews.

  4. #4
    SM57 for amp but I wouldn’t touch an acoustic with it. I use a Neumann tlm102, which has remarkable warmth. I typically create and artificial stereo image. The Rode NT4 also sounds great. As rob mentioned, it’s stereo so you get great depth with minimal setup time.

  5. #5
    Yes, SM57 or Sennheiser 609 for amp mic‘ing and Rode NT4 for acoustic. Neither breaks the bank and is good.

  6. #6
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    shure 57 is still fine to stick in front of an amp cab/speaker and record...also great for snare drum and vocals in a pinch

    but for micing an archtop guitar acoustically...you are way better off with a condenser mic..capable of far more nuance and clarity..in fact its always nice to record it with 2 mics...many great condenser mics available, depending on your budget...neumanns are always nice


    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 02-13-2018 at 10:46 PM. Reason: sp-

  7. #7
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    For recording acoustically a Shure SM81 is excellent. I thought I was clever when I sold a pair of them around 2000 at a profit, missed them immediately and cannot afford to replace them today.

    For mic’ing an amp I replaced an SM57 with the Sennheiser e609. The e609 is easy to use and great at rejecting off axis noise.
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  8. #8
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    Big old ribbon mic like an old RCA. Local studio here has a couple of those and they are fabulous for miking upright basses, acoustic guitars, etc. Oh, wait, did you mean one that is actually affordable? I don't know what's affordable in ribbon mics, they all seem to be pretty speedy but I love the sound. The NT4 seems to get a lot of love but I've never tried one.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  9. #9
    I'm no expert on this but consulted with some.

    Royer 121 is the old standby for amped electric guitar. Placed directly in from of the speaker. You have to turn up the volume a bit. It's a ribbon and is kind of pricey.

    I was advised to try a pair of Peluso's for acoustic/classical guitar playing.

    For plugged in archtop playing, using the Royer at the amp and one Peluso in front of the guitar can be nice too.

  10. #10
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    Peluso is a new name to me, but having looked them up, this stereo ribbon mic looks very tasty:

    Peluso SR 14 Stereo Ribbon Microphone

  11. #11
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    I had a pair of their CEMC-6 mics for a while when I was doing a lot of recording and had great results...

    Peluso CEMC-6 Solid State Pencil Microphone

  12. #12
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    A lower cost Ribbon solution might be these guys...

    MXL® Microphones - MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone

  13. #13
    Jonathan Stout has good tips and review on archtop amplification but more geared towards acoustic (and not cheap):

    Rig Rundown 2017 — Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  14. #14
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    ribbons can be great mics..hence their recent resurgence after years of oblivion..but they require a bit more effort and are much more fragile to use & handle...they usually require a pretty good pre-amplifier as well

    they have a warm wooly sound..that can be great in some applictions and suffocating (not enough top end) in others

    rudy van gelder couldn't wait to get away from using ribbons and was one of the first studio guys in the usa to use the neumann condensers

    lots of studios these days will mic an amp with a combination of a dynamic or condenser with a ribbon...to get clarity and warmth

    i would recommend having a couple of good dynamic and condensers before moving on to the more "exotic" ribbon


    cheers

    ps- a great many ribbbons are also figure 8 patterned..which means they pick up sound from both sides of the mic...not always optimal in tight recording situations

  15. #15
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    KM84 if you can $wing it!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    I use a Neumann tlm102, which has remarkable warmth. I typically create and artificial stereo image.
    I'd be interested to know how you go about this. I generally just use Audacity, so I just add a separate 100% wet stereo reverb track (mixed very low) and pan the reverb track about 70% to one side, which helps make it sound a bit more stereo. But I wondered if there are other methods and I've just been reading about Haas effect, mid/side etc. and it's all a bit confusing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper View Post
    Is the Shure SM57 still the best one? Does it do the job for both amped and unamped archtops equally well?

    Regards,

    DB
    Although the SM57 is still somewhat of an industry standard to record an amplified guitar by just putting it in front of the speaker, it wouldn't be my first choice for recording an acoustic archtop. Any large membrane condenser microphone does better in that aspect is my experience: much more detailed, neutral and truer to the sound source.

    I have an SM57, but to record amplified guitar I prefer the Sennheiser e609 nowadays. It's cleaner, more neutral and 'punchier' to my ears.

    I don't have any high-end large membrane condenser mics, but I do have a Nady PCM 100 condenser and a Superlux h6a. Although the latter could be obtained for only €20 some years ago, I got better results recording acoustic instruments (flattop acoustic, vocals, sax) with it than with the SM57.

    That being said, the SM57 would not sound bad, it's a great all purpose mic! So for a quick recording in a quiet room it would be a perfectly acceptable solution. It's just that an SM57 colors the sound (not always in a bad way, I love 'em for snare, hi hat and dirty guitar sounds!).
    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul, Groove & Boogaloo: My group ::
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I'd be interested to know how you go about this. I generally just use Audacity, so I just add a separate 100% wet stereo reverb track (mixed very low) and pan the reverb track about 70% to one side, which helps make it sound a bit more stereo. But I wondered if there are other methods and I've just been reading about Haas effect, mid/side etc. and it's all a bit confusing.
    i typically make 3 copies of the track. One is centered, one is pan left 70%, another is pan right 70%. I lower the gain on the centered one. On the left I usually apply a very very short delay. I apply slightly different EQ on left and right. Et voila.

    Sometimes I add reverb to the master track and sometimes just to the delayed panned track.


    However, I just picked up a Rode NT4 for super cheap on reverb. With that I keep the Neumann centered and pan the two RODE channels left and right respectively. It sounds incredible and much better than either mic separately. I’ll share some clips of the setup some time

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by medblues View Post
    Jonathan Stout has good tips and review on archtop amplification but more geared towards acoustic (and not cheap):

    Rig Rundown 2017 — Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander
    Thanks for sharing a great post. It sounds like that’s more for the bandstand than for the studio though.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    i typically make 3 copies of the track. One is centered, one is pan left 70%, another is pan right 70%. I lower the gain on the centered one. On the left I usually apply a very very short delay. I apply slightly different EQ on left and right. Et voila.

    Sometimes I add reverb to the master track and sometimes just to the delayed panned track.


    However, I just picked up a Rode NT4 for super cheap on reverb. With that I keep the Neumann centered and pan the two RODE channels left and right respectively. It sounds incredible and much better than either mic separately. I’ll share some clips of the setup some time
    Thanks, I shall experiment with that. maybe I'll also start saving for an NT4, sounds cool!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Thanks for sharing a great post. It sounds like that’s more for the bandstand than for the studio though.
    You are correct. I believe he records at a professional studio (except for his YouTube clips of course) but he is a forum member and is very helpful with questions.
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  22. #22
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    For recording with just one mic in front of the speaker i favor the Sennheiser MD441.

    My favorite setup these days is a Royer R-101 and a AKG 414 in front of the speaker and a Schoeps MK4 pointing to the top of the guitar. Blending these i get away without having to use any equalization at all.

    A lot of professional recording engineers use the Royer together with a SM57. It's certainly a successful combination but personally i don't like the SM57.
    _________
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  23. #23
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    I have always had SM57 and for a loud live sound reinforement, they are predictable.
    Used them for recording too, but only on a speaker, not for acoustic.

    I've not the budget for great condensor or ribbon, I do have some lesser type of condensor but they don't get used.

    A year or so back, I bought this inexpensive ribbon "the t.bone RB 100" from Thomann (€66 / £58.32), and while it may not be good enough for all types of use, but it has "something" that makes it work really well for amplified clean guitar, it can capture a good Jazz sound.
    John
    the t.bone RB 100 – Thomann UK
    Best mike for recording an archtop?-10252494_800-jpg

  24. #24
    If You need something different, check Rode NT1A
    Microphones - Studio and Recording Gear - musicsquare.co.uk
    Condenser Microphones | Sweetwater
    Condenser Microphones | Gear4music
    Maybe it's something wrong with me, but i prefer Novox NC1 USB mic over Shure.

  25. #25
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    I want the biggest and shiniest, valviest and most expensivist mike I can get. :-)

    That said, the engineer did get a great acoustic archtop sound with a Neumann U47 on my cheapo Loar LH600 on my album.... I think he also had a ribbon mike on it.

    He has lots and lots of really nice mikes and likes to spam them on the guitar - 2 on the box, one on the amp. It makes me feel terribly important.

    Talking to engineers I was told to mike both the box and the amp. I think a SM57 is fine for the amp, and a NT1A for the box gets good results. Just be careful how you mike the speaker - I've been advised to mike the speaker slightly off axis, but it's best to use your ears.

    For a more electric type band, or with ridey drums you might prefer a pure electric sound, obviously if you struggle to get separation with the drums in the space that decision is made for you... But in a proper studio should be OK.

  26. #26
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    I think most commenters here have more depth knowledge.... TBH, I prefer to pay other people to do these things for me so I can concentrate on the playing.... Not always a possibiity, of course.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper View Post
    Is the Shure SM57 still the best one? Does it do the job for both amped and unamped archtops equally well?

    Regards,

    DB
    "Best" for both? Probably not. An SM57 is the closest thing to a Swiss army mic. It does a lot of things pretty well. It records amps and snare drums very well; it's OK for some vocalists. For acoustic guitar, a higher sensitivity mic with a flatter response (SM 57 has a distinct presence peak) might be better, but it really depends on the particular guitar, placement, and what sound you're going for (and you can compensate for the peak with EQ). If you have a 57, might as well use it. If you're looking for a predominantly amplified sound, with a hint of acoustic blended in, a 57 should work well. There are lots of recordings made with them.

    John

  28. #28
    The only time I've used a SM57 for an acoustic was on a flat top. I used it pointed towards the body beyond the bridge. And then used a condenser on the 12th fret. Nice blended sound. I think I got the idea from Brent Mason in an interview. Not sure if it'd be a good technique on an archtop but experimenting in recording is half the fun.

  29. #29
    Royer SF 12 and/or Mytek C5. The combo is great!
    Pete Martin - just a mandolin guy but loves jazz guitar
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  30. #30
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    ribbons

    I think ribbon mics came back into flavour because digital recording made everything a little sterile sounding. Van Gelder was recording with tape and tube/valve equipment. I'm sure ribbons just added to the noise floor and low end.

    I've heard that placing a ribbon too close to the subject is not a good idea as they are very prone to the proximity effect and the ribbons are sensitive to plosives. Otherwise I quite like how they sound.
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