Best approach to live miking acoustic guitar

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Wally Mississippi, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Wally Mississippi

    Wally Mississippi Member

    Mar 30, 2016
    Hi gang,
    I just can't get the sound I want with my accoustics on stage. Sound is good at lower volumes, but when I punch it up to hit the back wall, they get tinny.
    So, I want to live mic my rig. I realize I won't be able to move around as much, but the sound improvement is well worth it.
    Present set up is Guitar, through a compression pedal to AG60, coupled with a little line out from the AG60 to my Mackie 808S. Then I balance the sound between amp and pa. It's okay, but, gets screech and tinny at higher volumes.
    So.....a condenser mike pointed at somewhere between 12 fret and sound hole?
    I'm a little frustrated with it...
    Thanks for any ideas or tricks.
  2. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Get rid of the AG60. 60w through a 2x8 is very limiting. Get a regular 1x12 w/ horn monitor and run a monitor mix and a mono main.

    Whats the guitar/electronics?
  3. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Sedona, AZ
    I would look into a pickup system that integrates a SDC, in the soundhole.

    Also, as noted, look into better amplification.
  4. 335guy

    335guy Member

    Dec 26, 2008
    I use a K&K Trinity pickup system and it works very well. It uses K&K's Pure Pickup ( a bridge plate design ) and a small condenser mic. I rarely have the small condenser mic on when playing live, as it feeds back easier and the Pure Pickup sounds great the way it is. I sometimes plug directly into the PA, and sometimes plug into a very small Fishman Loudbox Mini amp that sends a signal to the pa via the built in XLR line out. I get great tone from my Martin dread out of this setup. And when the PA is decent, it can get very loud.

    What guitar are you using? What is the pickup system?
  5. Icegator8

    Icegator8 Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I'm a big fan of the LR Baggs Anthem. It has an under saddle Element and a condenser mic.
    HerrRentz likes this.
  6. The1hub

    The1hub Member

    Jan 22, 2010
    Salt Lake City
    i tested a bunch of pickups/mics for my new Nowland guitar. I went with the KK trinity pro it was the one that captured the tone of the guitar the most accurately. every engineer that has mixed it live has remarked at how good it sounds and easy to mix.

    Nowland guitars
  7. mattymel

    mattymel Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    Age old problem. For me I have basically given up on using acoustic guitars if there is going to be other loud instruments, drums, bass, etc.

    I'm so used to hearing the acoustic sound good at home that it's just too distracting/annoying to hear the pickup sound. Especially got tired of getting my hopes up that it was finally sounding good playing by myself, only to have to resort to the same old, pins and needles sound of the pickup/no mics once the band kicks in.

    I much prefer using a archtop guitar plugged into an amp or even just going electric than pretending it still sounds like an acoustic.

    It can be done. Neil Young probably gets the best acoustic sound I've ever heard live. Not surprisingly. It's plugged in, but pretty convincing. But he rarely uses it with any kind of loud stage volume scenario that I've seen. I think that is key. Plus, he's Neil Young. Best sound and tech guys in the biz running his stuff.
  8. Rockerduck

    Rockerduck Member

    May 3, 2011
    I play a Martin GPCPA4R with a Feedback destroyer soundhole cover, plugged into a Zoom A3. I can play as loud as I want, and it sounds real good.
    buddaman71 likes this.
  9. CactusWren

    CactusWren Member

    Feb 12, 2015
    Tempe, AZ
    Mic'ing just is a pain unless you have good conditions for it. I am often jammed in a corner with people way too near me ("ass-in-face gigs", we call them). I hear my guitar at gigs nearly as much as at home, so I'm not "spoiled" by good sound. Neither are audiences--they seem to accept nasty piezo sounds far more than I do. The odd reality is that ye olde Fishman Pre-blend, set to 50% mic, gets a pretty darn good live sound if properly EQ'ed.
  10. MattLeFevers

    MattLeFevers Member

    Mar 29, 2016
    Chandler, AZ, USA
    I would never advocate live-miking an acoustic if you don't physically need to. Issues with feedback, the sound level changing every time you move, etc. make it not very worthwhile. That being said, I've had pretty good luck placing a dynamic mic (the place I play uses an Audix i5) directly in front of the sound hole. For recording at home I would second what you mentioned about a condenser mic around the 12th fret but in a live situation I doubt you're going to get a loud enough signal level there.

    I've had better luck running my acoustic pickup through some kind of pedal or DI to fix the sound. The Fishman Aura is a great choice, as is the L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI. TC Electronic recently came out with a tiny pedal called the BodyRez that looks pretty promising as well.

    In a studio recording situation I would always go with mics, but live, going direct is an infinitely better solution. You just need something to EQ or image your pickup sound back to something more natural.
  11. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Tampa, Fl

    Neil's actually been using condensers mics on acoustic guitars and vocals since the 90's, although it is supplemented with a pickup similar to the K&K pickups.

    Pretty sure the guitar mic is a Neumann KM84, and I know the vocal mic is Neumann KMS140
  12. HerrRentz

    HerrRentz Member

    Dec 11, 2010
    If you have to mic it, use a supercardioid if possible to cut down on the feedback through the monitors. I will once again recommend the Sennheiser MD-441/U for this task.

    Although not the same circumstances, when I was recording an acoustic guitar I usually pointed this mic slightly above the top three strings, off-axis of the sound hole, pointed at about a 45 degree angle forward of the sound hole. Exact placement depended upon the guitar. But that's a start if you try this.

    The Sennheiser E945 Supercardioid dynamic might be a less expensive alternative for stage use if you don't want to pay the freight on a -441. You just need something to keep the sound out of the monitors on a feedback loop. Sennheiser pretty much has this perfected with their Supers.
  13. nickbruce

    nickbruce Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    Also an option: Mic in the mains, piezo in the monitors
    leonard d rock likes this.
  14. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

    Apr 25, 2009
    Las Vegas, NV
    You don't see many pros using mics. James Taylor, Larry Carlton, etc when playing acoustic, ever see a mic?

    Read the part on how he gets James Taylor's acoustic guitar sound:

    Mics on acoustic guitars are prone to feedback, especially condenser mics, but even dynamics too. Hard to get enough gain before feedback.

    Once you get a good source system (pickup, DI etc), then you need good speakers.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    Barnzy likes this.
  15. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

    Jan 27, 2004
    Troy NY
    Neil also plays $10,000 guitars, has the best preamps , sound guys etc. it's not realistic to expect his level of sound on a budget.
    Rockinrob86 likes this.

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