Best Recording Acoustic around $1K

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by smallbutmighty, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,541
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    Well?

    I have a Taylor 514 that's a great finger picker, but I play and record mostly flatpicking stuff. I've tried miking it many different ways and can't find a way to make it work well in a mix. I can probably get around $900- $1000 for it. SHould I sell it and get something else, or try some different mics? Options?

    A
     
  2. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,664
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Try getting a pick up installed in the guitar perhaps? I'm a big fan of the I-Beam, but you could try an under the saddle as well all very non-intrusive.
    Or you could get a sunrise soundhole or a rare earth one (I use one of those quite succesfully with a 12 string)
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    Hi Aaron - what mic are you using and how are you using it? Also, what don't you like about the sound you're getting?

    JMO but I never use a pickup for recording acoustic guitar.
     
  4. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,541
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    I usually double mic, with one pointed at the bridge and one pointed and the neck joint. THe only mics I have are SM57, C1, EV757, and an EV Cobalt series mic. Usually I used the C1 and the EV Cobalt (small condensor).

    What I'm hating is the thwacky mid-range and low mud. I'm looking for the classic flat-picked, country radio acoustic sound with the clear low end that stays out of the way and less mid content.

    I've tried lots of different mic positions. I've also got a K&K Pure Western pickup installed that I've tried in conjunction with micing, with poor results. I'd prefer micing anyday.

    A
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,801
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    "Thwacky midrange and low mud" doesn't really sound like the description of a Taylor to me. Does the guitar actually sound like that or is it only coming through on recordings? If it is the guitar, then sell it and get a guitar that sounds right or mess with strings/picks to see if you can improve the tone of the guitar. If it is the recording, then look into all the usual things: the sound of the room (especially if you are having issues with the low end), microphone choice, microphone placement (also a candidate for bass issues, especially if you are getting in the path of the soundhole), and any of the ways that you are processing your guitar.

    Personally, I think the guitar should be fine. A lot of those old country recordings were made with Martins, which are even boomier in the bass than the Taylor you play. Get the guitar to sound right in the room and then use the recording equipment to capture that sound.

    If it were me, I would also focus on working with one microphone to start. Position it pointed at the neck joint, anywhere from 8" to two feet out, and see if you can capture the sound of the guitar.

    Bryan
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,801
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Aaron,

    I just checked out some of your songs on your website. Is the Taylor on "All the Riches Money Can't Buy?"

    Bryan
     
  7. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

    Messages:
    3,131
    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    If you're putting it in a mix, don't be afraid to EQ. I usually record the pickups in my guitars along with mic(s) but don't always use it. Sometimes I'll use a little on fingerpicked stuff, or just part of the signal - EQ highs or lows away.
     
  8. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,541
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle

    Yep. That was just single mic'ed with the C1, IIRC.

    Listen to "Quiet Company". That's more the sound I'd like to acheive. That was a friend's old Guild D35 double miced with a couple cheap dynamics.

    I think my cedar-top Taylor is better for woody sounding finger-picking. However, I'm beginning to think my real problem is my square little basement studio...unfortunately the hardest thing to fix.

    A

    p.s....THanks for going the extra mile Bryan!
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    If the guitar sounds good in the room you shouldn't need a new guitar.

    I'm not familiar with EV cobalt mics and I have not used the C1 on acoustic guitar, but the C1 and SM57 ought to be workable to start. Try recording to two tracks like this:

    Position the 57 about 3 - 5" away from the 12th fret, then angle it toward the 14th fret. The more you angle it, the more low end it till have, but there's a sweet spot somewhere between aimed the 12th fret and aimed at the sound hole. The only thing is a 57 won't get much high end and you'll need a lot of gain. A better mic would be a small diaphragm condenser like a Neumann KM184 because it has a wider frequency range and you can place it farther back, like 5 - 6", which is a better position. There are less expensive SDCs available that I'm not familiar with which may be fine.

    For the second track position the C1 about 6" away aimed straight at the bridge. Then lower the whole mic about 3 - 4" so it's aimed dead-on at a spot on the soundboard below (meaning toward the floor, not toward the strap button) the bridge. Try moving it around that area a little till you find the sweet spot.

    You might have to move one or the other mic a little farther back or closer if you have phase problems, but oddly enough I rarely do even though the mics are almost the same distance from the guitar. Even if they are in phase, you might find that you prefer the sound of one or the other to the combined sound - I often do.

    You can try switching the C1 for the 57 and see how that works, though I think you'll get better results the first way. Don't position the C1 as close as you had the 57, though, try more like 6 - 8" away from the 12th fret.

    Without actually being there I'll just venture this: if the guitar sounds good but you can't get a good enough sound starting with those mic positions, a better mic might be in order. One small diaphragm condenser like the Neumann is usually enough to get a great sound. The key is really positioning. I usually record fingerstyle or jangly flatpicking from the neck position, big thunky rhythmic flatpicking from the soundboard.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    P.S. - I concur with Bryan, that it's likely not the guitar at all.

    Is there any way you can set up in another room?
     
  11. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,541
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    THanks Michael. That's similar to what I'm doing, with the exception of lowering the c1 below the bridge. I'll have to try that. I'm gonna have to also try venturing out into another room.

    Thanks!

    A
     
  12. royd

    royd Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Another option for placement... if you like the way the guitar sounds, Put the C1 or the EV up near your left ear pointed down at the guitar. It should pick up pretty much what you're hearing then.

    FWIW, I alawys add some pickup (a Sunrise and a McIntyre out through a Raven blender or separately) to my recording of my Lowden. I wouldn't want the pups to be the entire sound but I like them mixed in with the microphones. As always, you can hear it at the link in my sig.
     
  13. suttree

    suttree Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    small town ontario
    try different strings, too. some are better to play, some record better. YMMV, but you'd be surprised how much change that might make.

    a great little super cheap condensor that is a decent second mic is the behringer ECM8000. i've gotten surprisingly good results with that and a nice condensor for the body.
     
  14. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine Member

    Messages:
    3,172
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    NY, USA
    I'd spend the money on a good large diaphragm mic, or maybe a pair of decent midrange mics.

    I had the same problem with my Larrivee C-09 while using a single mic in every position I could imagine at home, and in the studio with a small diaphragm at the 14th fret and a large diaphragm behind the guitar at the lower bout.

    The best sound I got was with an AKG C535EB (my first decent microphone which I had used for everything over the years) and a large diaphragm Audio Technica AT-4040 in an x/y pattern at the 14th fret (small diaphragm AKG aimed up the neck a bit, Audio Technica aimed between the sound hole and the bridge). They were about 11-14 inches away.

    Also, the AKG did get a good sound placed at forehead height angling straight down (player's perspective). That placement might have to move either closer to the neck side of body side depending upon what you hear.

    Interestingly enough, my 612C is a dream to record. I never really had to work to get a good sound down with it (very spoiled by it); very straight forward and stringy.

    Brett
     
  15. CaseyI

    CaseyI Member

    Messages:
    2,021
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    SW Washington
    I have a very boomy martin DM, the best way to tame it for recording is to use a lighter pic. It makes the highs shine and the bottom end a little more even.
     
  16. noises ten

    noises ten Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Aaron,

    I think you are on the right track with the room being the problem. Do you record facing a corner? on a hardwood floor? square rooms with low ceilings can create some pretty subtle standing waves that you will only notice on the recording.. I think everyone else is on the right track.. 1 mic, small diaphragm condenser at the 12th fret, angled a little towards the soundhole for more bass, exactly perpendicular for less bass, at about 4-6" away from the fret board... Maybe try facing different directions in the room, or putting something in the corners to break up the bass frequencies??

    I don't know, just throwing quarters!!
     
  17. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,541
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    Hey thanks everybody!

    I've experiemented with some different mic/room positions and managed to get a workable sound. MichaelK's suggestion seems to work the best, but I used my EV Cobalt mic on the neck, with the C1 on the soundboard below the bridge. Then I pan one hard right and the other about 10 o'clock left for a nice wide sound.

    The song I'm working on now uses a drop D tuning, so I think that "slappy" low E string was part of my frustration.

    I'm more and more convinced the room is the biggest problem. There is a low-mid emphasis on so much of what I record, from vocals to guitar, that I'm sure it must be. For some reason this guitar is particularly bad though.

    A
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    Since it's on everything, your theory sounds likely. It might be worth recording with EQ to take a bite out of the offending frequencies on the way in. Not that it would solve the real problem, but it could help.

    Glad it's working better.
     

Share This Page