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Simple setup for recording acoustic guitar
Old 31st January 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Question Simple setup for recording acoustic guitar

Hi all! I want to put together a simple recording rig for capturing acoustic guitar performances. My budget is between $1500 and $2500.

I play solo instrumental music. The last solo CD that I did was with a pair of Josephson C42s, an Apogee Mini-me, an MBox, and an iBook. I was able to fit everything in a bag and record in good sounding locations. I've since sold off the mics, Apogee, and MBox. For my current project I want results that are as good or better.

I suspect that a 2-channel recorder and a pair of mics will be the way to go. However, I might also be interested in capturing the pickup on the guitar, if only for a safety track in case of excessive environmental noise.

What would you do if you were in my shoes? Portable and easy to setup, excellent sound quality for recording solo steel string guitar.

Thanks!
Bryan
Old 31st January 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Some different rigs I've considered:

Stand-alone
Korg MR-1000 and a nice pair of mics (Beyer MC-930, Josephson C42, etc.)
Zoom H4N and a nicer pair of mics (Earthworks SR-30, Gefell M300, etc.)
Sound Devices 702 and a lesser pair of mics (Oktava MC012, Shure SM81, etc)

Laptop-based
Apogee Mini-me and some nice mics
Sound Devices USBPre and some nicer mics
Metric Halo and some lesser mics
Grace Lunatec and some lesser mics

So, I guess what it comes down to is where should my money go for the best quality recordings? Really good transducers with decent pres/converters? Pretty good transducers with excellent pres/converters? Can I get a lot better results if I'm willing to drag my laptop along?

Thanks for any input!
Bryan
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you still have your iBook, maybe an Apogee Duet is a good idea, good quality, good price, the preamps go to 75dB and I read they can manage ribbons well...
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoteque ➑️
If you still have your iBook, maybe an Apogee Duet is a good idea, good quality, good price, the preamps go to 75dB and I read they can manage ribbons well...
Good idea, but my computer only meets the minimum requirements for the Duet. Think that would be an issue?
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't have it, but it can record a couple of tracks, so I think any iBook can record a couple of tracks!!! You should better ask in an Apogee forum before buying...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
I'm puzzled by the lack of response. Is my problem too simple for this forum? Alas, the solution isn't obvious to me.

Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I get the impression that you have not searched this forum enough.
Have you tried the "Popular Tags" to find your answers yet?
All the answers are in the forum, you just have to search for them.
Please consider trying that route while you wait for more responses to your questions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan T ➑️
I'm puzzled by the lack of response. Is my problem too simple for this forum? Alas, the solution isn't obvious to me.

Old 1st February 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Here's my advice..

Check if the Audiofire4 can go with the ibook. It has four analog I/O and spdif. Two of the inputs is high quality phantom powered mic inputs and when you need more than two chanells you add up an extra smallish two chanell pre.

AF4 will give you pro quality. Don't skimp on mic's since that's what really counts.

EMU 0404 USB may be an option as well.


/Peter
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I would not consider recording the piezo pickup or whatever electronics you have on your guitar. Instead, if you think that ambient noise is really going to be an issue, I'd us a relatively tightly placed M-S mic setup.

Nothing beats a stereo mic setup of course, and with M-S, you always have the safety of a mono on axis cardioid mic to fall back to, if there is a lot of noise pollution, where all other stereo techniques have your instrument off axis to the mic and pick up the room much more.

I'd go with Sennheiser mics, but that might kill your budget and not leave enough room for pres / interfaces / recorders. Using a computer just seems a bit of a hassle to me compared to a portable recorder, but then again a Grace Lunatec with the optional optical output direct to a Mac's digital input would work wonders. The Mini-Me was ok, but I always felt that the pres were a weak point on it - great for rock & roll, but a little bit too noisy for acoustical performances.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness ➑️
I get the impression that you have not searched this forum enough.
I've searched a lot, which is probably why I'm as confused as I am, but I'll do some more digging.

Thanks,
Bryan
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Cool Bryan, but it seems like you got a few more replies to think about.

In time I bet you will know exactly what you need and want to do!
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser ➑️
I would not consider recording the piezo pickup or whatever electronics you have on your guitar. Instead, if you think that ambient noise is really going to be an issue, I'd us a relatively tightly placed M-S mic setup.
I love M-S, too, and use it a lot in the studio. I have an AKG 414, so I could probably just find a good mid mic and go with that. Of course, ease of setup could be an issue there, as a lot of the portable recorders don't encode mid/side, so I'd have to wait until post to make sure I didn't mess anything up.

Quote:
I'd go with Sennheiser mics, but that might kill your budget and not leave enough room for pres / interfaces / recorders. Using a computer just seems a bit of a hassle to me compared to a portable recorder, but then again a Grace Lunatec with the optional optical output direct to a Mac's digital input would work wonders. The Mini-Me was ok, but I always felt that the pres were a weak point on it - great for rock & roll, but a little bit too noisy for acoustical performances.
Maybe the Lunatec, my laptop, my AKG, and a good cardiod is the way to go. I hadn't considered that.

Or I could go with the Duet and a really nice pair of mics, like the Sennheiser 8040s. The 'right' solution really isn't obvious here.

Thanks!
Bryan
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm pretty sure you get higher quality with the AF4 than with the Duet.

Why not pick up another 414 and a AF4 and then you're ready to go with a lot of flexibility on the mic side.

MKH8040 is nice, my favourite cardio's. They give a natural sound that is not far from the QTC1.


/Peter
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
One last bump for further input. Thanks!
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Well, I've gone with a Korg MR-1000 and a pair of SM-81's. It would probably help if you gave us your budget. Since a $5k sound devices recorder and $10k neuman mics are such a no brainer. </sarcasm>

Oh wait, you did give us your budget. Stay away from my setup, it's my patented brand... </sarcasm>
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
AdamJay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think a pair of Beyer MC930's and a ULN-2 would suit you well.

If you want to save some money, look for a 2nd hand legacy (non 2-d) ULN-2. They usually go for around $750. And you can always upgrade to 2d down the road.
A second hand MC930 pair is around $650. So you could really do this for as low as $1400, leaving room in the budget for a nice ribbon for M/S work, maybe a Royer or an AEA R84

That's how i would spend your money.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Lots of good stuff here:

https://gearspace.com/board/tags/guitar/

Effectively you want to be using a stereo pair (ORTF, MS etc.) for this type of guitar recording.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
c.gymer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I like the Korg/Joesephson combo myself, though I would budget for a nice pair of mic amps with that too.
Old 27th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Just an update: I ended up taking a cheaper route than I initially anticipated. I decided to use my AKG 414 as a side mic, I bought a Beyer MC930 for the mid mic, and I ordered a Zoom H4N as the recorder. Total out-of-pocket was about $750 since I already had the 414.

Bryan
Old 27th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Cool! Two great mics. Please let us know how it goes.

I've recorded some good tracks on the H4 and the ease-of-use is awesome.
Old 15th March 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➑️
Cool! Two great mics. Please let us know how it goes.

I've recorded some good tracks on the H4 and the ease-of-use is awesome.
I've posted a sample clip in the Show-and-Tell section. MC930/414 in mid/side into the Zoom H4N. I'd love some feedback on the recording quality and some suggestions for improving it.

https://gearspace.com/board/work-pro...ml#post4000172

Bryan
Old 4th June 2009
  #22
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I get great results with my DAV BG1 and an sm81. Also sometimes will use an AT4050 with the sm81. Also have a nice d'armond soundhole pickup (a strange thing I found on ebay - says 240 on it, that's all i know about it)..
That into an Edirol UA101 and onto a laptop with cubase and a few basic plugins

A cool technique I learnt from Adam Levy (Norah Jones/Tracy Champan) is mic the guitar and run the pickup through a nice little amp (something small and warm with tremolo..) and mic the amp with a 57.
Also got good results with the sm81 thru the DAV BG1 and running the pickup straight into Cubase through the preamp, using an amp sim.. amplitube or guitar rig.. add a tiny bit of Tremolo and play with blending the 2 sounds (the mic and the line with trem)... can get some great sounds with that little trick. The bass from the amp (or sim) can replace some of the boomier lows from the guitar, giving it more punch and prescence.

Not sure if this exceeds your budget or not... but thought I'd give my 10 cents worth and share that cool little trick.

happy recording

Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Bryan,

I listened to your sample tune and like it a lot.

I'm a fingerstyle guitarist (or try to be with my Lowden O23) as well and I miss nothing listening with my HD600.

The birds add nicely to the atmosphere. thumbsup


/Peter
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