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recording/producing solo acoustic gtr/vox
Old 7th July 2002
Gear Maniac
๐ŸŽง 15 years
recording/producing solo acoustic gtr/vox

thought I'd state this random thought I have going here - since recording only a vocal and an acoustic guitar means minimal signals - and that's when we get to get "hi-end" all over that ****.

anyways, I am talking to a client and after listening to his demos I'm just trying to come up with a gameplan for this album.

note that in this case, I will probbably track guitar and vocals seperatly, and not have this to be sounding like an artist sitting in a small room with you - rather to be something sounding like straight ahead vocal with well played and semi produced acoustic music. hard to explain, but just not a player sitting on a chair vibe.

vocals arent really an issue here - they will be done lastly, probbably with something dark like a sm-7 (try it before you knock it) or my usual pretty good combo of a U87>API, the vox will have it's seperate verb/delay/chorus tracks come mix

as for tracking guitars, I'm thinking mix flexibility here. I definatly need guitars (which will be rythm for the mostpart), to be in stereo - yet not necessarily real life stereo - what do yall like to do for a really wide acoustic sound - do you like different mics panned accordingly, a ortf or xy config - or do you chorus or delay a mono mic?

for now, I'm planning on spending a day "on me" - to screw around and try a bunch of things - and then try to work with a rough mix that night.

In my head now, I'm planning on my usual schoeps mk4v into either a API, tele - or both (via jensen splitter from the mic). besides thinking about mics themselves (i plan to rent a few things like a 121, or one of the new soundelux toys).

I know i bit off alot here - yet curious if any of you have done projects like this, and your thought process behind your first day / and last day tracking...

thought this might make for some real conversation....
Old 7th July 2002
mwagener's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years

If the budget allows, rent a Soundfield Mark V microphone system to combine with your Schoeps/U87 setup. I just did a whole albums worth of acoustic guitar recording. We used everything from old flamenco guitars to steel string Django guitars and the MkV sounded great on all of them. Details here:
I recorded every mic on a separate track, which is a PITA but now in the mix it comes in handy, i.e. we can move the Schoeps up or down in level relaitve to the other mics, depending on how much high end or attack we want on that part of the song. The Schoeps and the 251 had a LittleLabs IBP in line, so I could adjust the phase in relation to the MkV. The Soundfield is great for getting wide (or narrow) stereo tracks which are completely mono compatible and you can dial it in sitting in front of your speakers. Great microphone, gotta get one.

With acoustic guitar the recording room setup is very sensitive. Little changes, like one more or one less sheet of Auralex, the position of the player in relation to the control room window, or the position of ASC TubeTraps is very critical. We put down a sheet of plywood on the concrete floor to get different, warmer reflections form the guitars. Really take your time listening to the guitar in the room and if there is any question about the sound in the room, before you mic it, change it 'til you like it heh , cause it will translate to the track in a big way.

There is also the issue with noise during recording. A/C can be deadly and even the players clothing and breathing technique are a factor. Shirt buttons, headphone cords banging against the guitar body or jewlery can destroy an otherwise great take.

Have fun.

Old 7th July 2002
Moderator emeritus
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I tend to record guitars with a a couple of mics - lately, Shure KSM 44's; before that, KM184's. I put one close to the 12th fret and the outher about at the level of the guitar player's nose, pointing down at the body. It gives me a wide guitar sound, and once I adjust the mic positions to minimize phase issues, sits well both unaccompanied and in a track. Obviously, this isn't as high tech (or expensive) as Michael's method, but it works every week...
Old 7th July 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I definitely would multi-mic the guitar, usually with positions similar to Dave's with 451s, 84s or 87s.

I bet Michael's Soundfield setup sounds wonderful, though!

When in doubt, there's always X-Y.

Listen carefully to the mic distance from the guitar...not too close, not too far...and try to maintain distance consistency between takes.
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