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  1. #1

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    Hi all,

    I'm wondering how you guys mic your acoustic archtops? With my L-00 flat top I tend to have the mic around the 12 fret, actually where the neck joins the body is where I think it sounds best. I've tried micing my Gibson L-30 in the same way and I don't think it does it justice. I find having the mic further back nearer the f-hole gets a more balanced sound with more bass. I've toyed with the idea of getting anther mic and having one at the 12th fret and one at the f-hole and then blending them but no idea if this would well well or not.

    How does everyone else do it? I've googled this and can't seem to find anything relating to acoustic archtops!

    Thanks

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  3. #2

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    i like 2 condenser mics...one aimed at the lower bout/bridge area at an angle to the body..and another a little further back aimed toward fretboard....

    always good if you can headphone monitor while you are positioning mics for your favored sound


    cheers

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    i like 2 condenser mics...one aimed at the lower bout/bridge area at an angle to the body..and another a little further back aimed toward fretboard....

    always good if you can headphone monitor while you are positioning mics for your favored sound


    cheers
    Thanks that makes sense, I'll give it a go.

  5. #4

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    I dig about 6"-12" off the top, pointed at directly at the bridge.

    When I was recording my solo acoustic CD, the engineer did a crazy 6 mic combination (two stereo pairs, two more mics - one at the bridge, one on the fingerboard/neck joint - all phase corrected).

    The most important thing I noticed was that I needed to keep the top perpendicular to the axis of the mics - 90°. If I turned slightly with the neck more toward the mics, the body and fullness of the sound disappeared. This is merely to point out that minor position changes make a big difference. Off axis might work on a speaker cone, but not so much with an acoustic archtop.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by campusfive
    I dig about 6"-12" off the top, pointed at directly at the bridge.

    When I was recording my solo acoustic CD, the engineer did a crazy 6 mic combination (two stereo pairs, two more mics - one at the bridge, one on the fingerboard/neck joint - all phase corrected).

    The most important thing I noticed was that I needed to keep the top perpendicular to the axis of the mics - 90°. If I turned slightly with the neck more toward the mics, the body and fullness of the sound disappeared. This is merely to point out that minor position changes make a big difference. Off axis might work on a speaker cone, but not so much with an acoustic archtop.
    That sort of multi-mic arrangement with a solo guitar seems to me to show a complete lack of respect for the instrument. The guitar is, after all, carefully crafted by the luthier to produce its own sound field which is realised fully at some distance. What, in that solo context, is the point of trying to synthesise a new guitar sound from the dissected components of the real sound? Why not just capture the guitar in the room at a proper listening distance with, for example, a simple crossed pair?

    Arthur

  7. #6

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    in my super unprofessional, untreated bedroom studio set up, a single sdc pointed at the lower part of the lower f hole seemed to work well enough. depends a lot on the sound you're after, the room you are in and your guitar's dimensions. even with one mic, it can be tricky to stay in the sweet spot if you're doing everything yourself. placement and posture matter a great deal.

    it's also fun to blend signals, if you have a pickup installed.

  8. #7

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    Experiment, it's fun and interesting to see how mic placement effects your overall sound.

  9. #8

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    I find different positions work at different times. Even on the same guitar in the same space using the same mic. Go figure.

    My wife is a good sport so she will move the mic around while I use headphones to figure out what's working best. This of course means complete indulgence on her purse/shoe budget but totally worth it.

    I use a good quality large condenser though many swear by a pair of small condensers in XY or other patterns. You do have to be aware of the mic's pickup pattern. I don't have a good sonic space so cardioid works better for me and you have to know where it's aimed.

    And finally.. don't buy MXL mic's. You don't have to have the best. But not MXL.

  10. #9

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    For my early '90s EP Five Flavors we used small condenser mics on the fingerboard area of the upper bout and lower bout. Also, we mic'd the glass control room window for a plate reverb effect.

  11. #10

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    A Royer SF12 about 2 feet out is the best sound I’ve found.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    For my early '90s EP Five Flavors we used small condenser mics on the fingerboard area of the upper bout and lower bout. Also, we mic'd the glass control room window for a plate reverb effect.
    yeah man...great...i'm still a student of those ingenious mic placement techniques!!! what an art-form!!

    just the things a clever recording engineer could do with figure 8 mic!!...like most old ribbons were!!!..

    like talking strings or picks with a dedicated guitar man...

    cheers

    ps- i do remember a contact flat mic put on mixroom/studio glass...yes!
    Last edited by neatomic; 04-26-2020 at 12:07 AM. Reason: ps-

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesbreaker
    Hi all,

    I'm wondering how you guys mic your acoustic archtops? With my L-00 flat top I tend to have the mic around the 12 fret, actually where the neck joins the body is where I think it sounds best. I've tried micing my Gibson L-30 in the same way and I don't think it does it justice. I find having the mic further back nearer the f-hole gets a more balanced sound with more bass. I've toyed with the idea of getting anther mic and having one at the 12th fret and one at the f-hole and then blending them but no idea if this would well well or not.

    How does everyone else do it? I've googled this and can't seem to find anything relating to acoustic archtops!

    Thanks

    What sound do you want to capture : what you are hearing when you play the guitar, what a listener is hearing sitting 10 feet away from you ? Is it for a quiet solo piece , played lightly with fingers and/or a pick or do you comp behind a singer/another guitar, a whole band ? In what kind of room do you plan to record ? What kind of outboard gear will/can you employ to further "manipulate" the material ?
    All that and an armful of further questions/aspects all come into play ... And last, but not least : everyone else is doing it differently

    I plan to record some tracks with a couple of my archtops in the near future and will be placing my cheapo OKTAVA large diaphragm condenser a foot or so away from the lower bout PLUS track the pickup-signal (from a floater) independently straight into my DAW where I can later futz with different amp/mic/cab simulations til the cows come home. I can't do much about the inherent acoustics of the room I have so I won't worry about that .... I don't really care what others will think re the "sound quality" but I WILL be careful not to over-use compression, EQ, fancy reverbs and other fx etc. and try to keep the noise floor as low as possible - the notes that I play and the quality of the tune is more important IMHO. And I will try to minimize any finger-squeeks .....

  14. #13
    Thanks for all the suggestions so far, some food for thought and definitely looking forward to plenty of experimentation. Gitman - I'm just looking to capture the sound that a listener would hear sitting a few feet in front of the guitar. Purely acoustic (though if i do add a pickup I'll try blending the two - sounds fun) and not too heavily effected with reverbs/delays etc. Either solo guitar chord melody/fingerpicking type stuff and probably some tracks with vocals - either mine or a singer I'm collaborating with.

    I've done quite a bit of recording for my YouTube channel, mainly on flat tops, electric or a National resonator (though I have done one with my L-30) and these have all been done as simply as possible - just a zoom recorder set in front of the fingerboard roughly where the neck meets the body and then put through Garageband to add a bit of compression and reverb. I'm planning on ordering an SM57 though to get a better recorded sound.

  15. #14

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    Ok, if you want to step up from the Zoom quality then you should invest in a little more expensive but truly better suited condenser mic. Even with a mediocre pre-amp you'll get much more detail, clarity and dynamics from that type of mic. I only had any success with my dynamic mic (a Sennheiser E906) in front of my banjo and that beast puts out TWICE the volume than any of my guitars and I DON'T play it softly ;-)

    check this out : Oktava MK-012 | RecordingHacks.com

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Ok, if you want to step up from the Zoom quality then you should invest in a little more expensive but truly better suited condenser mic. Even with a mediocre pre-amp you'll get much more detail, clarity and dynamics from that type of mic. I only had any success with my dynamic mic (a Sennheiser E906) in front of my banjo and that beast puts out TWICE the volume than any of my guitars and I DON'T play it softly ;-)

    check this out : Oktava MK-012 | RecordingHacks.com
    thanks I'll check out that mic, sounds like just what I need. Are there any particular pre-amps you would recommend, preferably not too
    costly!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquin43
    That sort of multi-mic arrangement with a solo guitar seems to me to show a complete lack of respect for the instrument. The guitar is, after all, carefully crafted by the luthier to produce its own sound field which is realised fully at some distance. What, in that solo context, is the point of trying to synthesise a new guitar sound from the dissected components of the real sound? Why not just capture the guitar in the room at a proper listening distance with, for example, a simple crossed pair?

    Arthur
    If it was some hack just throwing up mics willy-nilly, sure. I mean, the phase issues alone could make that sound like crap no matter what.

    But, a pro engineer documenting the various mics/positions, just for options in the mix (especially when some clients might think their instrument sounds different than it does - or perhaps they want it to sound different that it does) does no harm. I'd say 95% of the sound was just one of the two stereo pairs, with a little bit of sweetening from the others. Moreover, I played a couple different guitars, so what sounded ideal on one might not be true for the others.

  18. #17

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    Yeah you have two lugholes. And sound is a three dimensional experience.