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Acoustic Guitar players, How do you record your acoustic?


NoFrills

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As the title mentions.

 

How do you people record your acoustics?

My Acoustic is an Acoustic/Electric and I have to say.....when I record direct it sounds......not good.

Even with new strings the sound is well.....doesn't have that sound as you would expect to hear with new strings.

That bright resonating almost metallic sound of new strings.

It's lacking fullness which I understand with my acoustic being a shallow bodied guitar but this is terribly thin and flat sounding.

The best way I could get the sound I want was by doubling the guitar which I believe I shouldn't have to do.

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Well, you should start with a good sounding, perferably mahogany or maple acoustic as they record well.

 

We have a very simple set up where we record with a Snowball condenser mike, into garage band or Audacity which allows for mixing.

 

On one track I doubled up a rosewood guitar (songwriter) with a mahogany guitar (Furch OM) to get a richer, 12 string effect, that would work. See below.

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/8480675

 

Mike placement and room is also critical, try to record in a room that has carpets to get a warmer sound and play around with mike placement, closer, further etc ..

 

For me mahogany guitars record the best by far having the balance of warmth and clarity.

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I am using this:-

IMAG0100.jpg

A Washburn EA22 Platinum Edition

 

It has an Equis II Pre Amp, all Mahogany with a Spruce Top.

It has a Piezo pickup built in under the bridge.

I have had ramps filed into the bridge recently in an attempt to get better pressure on the saddle, but still pretty thin sound.

 

I may have to go with recording through a mic since the sound I am getting is just not cutting it.

Might try out using a RODE NT1A Condensor to see if it makes a difference.

 

I am recrding direct into an Alesis mixer which is connected to my Pro Audio sound card on my PC.

I am using Cakewalk Sonar as my DAW.

I have tried using an Amp simulator and I am using reverb already but it still sounds pretty thin.

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I think you need a good Gibson mate, that will solve the problem instantly.

 

I am using this:-

IMAG0100.jpg

A Washburn EA22 Platinum Edition

 

It has an Equis II Pre Amp, all Mahogany with a Spruce Top.

It has a Piezo pickup built in under the bridge.

I have had ramps filed into the bridge recently in an attempt to get better pressure on the saddle, but still pretty thin sound.

 

I may have to go with recording through a mic since the sound I am getting is just not cutting it.

Might try out using a RODE NT1A Condensor to see if it makes a difference.

 

I am recrding direct into an Alesis mixer which is connected to my Pro Audio sound card on my PC.

I am using Cakewalk Sonar as my DAW.

I have tried using an Amp simulator and I am using reverb already but it still sounds pretty thin.

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Recording direct to the PC from a pickup on an acoustic is almost guaranteed to show off your guitar in a bad light, I've seen even high-end stuff sound pretty average by this means. You need a recording device, microphone and a decent room to be honest.

 

Also the guitar itself may be ok, but if you're finding it lacking in a pleasing tone then the root of the issue is right there, EA, is right, finding a good all solid wood guitar that you like the sound of acoustically should be a priority for you (if finds are available). Naturally you'll find many people here will advocate a move towards a Gibson, I'm no different.

 

There's an old saying that you can't make chicken soup out of chicken $h1t, this is true, especially in the acoustic world, treating a poor base tone will only mean you need heavy effects processing and it will sound like a very processed unnatural sound.

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The guitar sounds fine acoustically even though it does not project well, but when recorded Direct into mixer then PC it just sounds totally different.

 

Parlourman, what do you mean by recording device?

 

Even EAs is done with a PC and USB condenser mic and it sounds pretty good to me.

I'm thinking I may have to try the same process as EA.

Just use a Condenser mic.

 

Edit:-

As for getting a Gibson, I know someone selling a Vintage Kalamazoo by Gibson but I don't think it will have the right tone I'm looking for.

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I prefer using a mic to record acoustic guitar. Placement is very important to get the best overall sound. Typically micing lower front of the sound hole is good. I like the AKG 414 for acoustic.

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The guitar sounds fine acoustically even though it does not project well, but when recorded Direct into mixer then PC it just sounds totally different.

 

Parlourman, what do you mean by recording device?

 

Even EAs is done with a PC and USB condenser mic and it sounds pretty good to me.

I'm thinking I may have to try the same process as EA.

Just use a Condenser mic.

 

Edit:-

As for getting a Gibson, I know someone selling a Vintage Kalamazoo by Gibson but I don't think it will have the right tone I'm looking for.

 

You can buy digital recorder units that are able to produce decent results, but a PC/MAC with a DAW and a decent microphone and some time invested in learning how to use the hardware and software are what you need, although these handheld, or desktop units can produce good results a good computer setup will yield better results, so yeah having something similar to EA would be of great benefit to you.

 

It takes us on to one of my pet topics, recording gear, a lot of people will spend huge sums of money on a guitar then buy a cheap amp, cheap accessories and recording equipment, the other parts will make a cheaper guitar sound the best it can, but this doesnt work in reverse, a 10k guitar recorded cheaply on rubbish gear wont sound like a 10k guitar....

 

The other is those lusting vintage tone, if you want vintage tone you stand a better chance getting it from vintage recording desks and mics than you do from buying a vintage guitar and recording it in a modern setup, lest we forget all those golden vintage tones were recorded on guitars that were fairly new at the time ;-)

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Intersting reply from members here.

 

I do fall into the 'straight into the computer' school as I have used many different guitars that way from German Hofners to USA Gibsons and Martins.

 

Trying to get the right sound out of a room is a nightmare. I have a room at home that is large and stone floured, it records Ok but still the sound moves around and then you want a voice on it? Its not the guitar that is the problem get a good recording set up and someone who knows how to work it (even more important) and you will be amazed.

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I use the zoom h2. It was fairly cheap and is very easy to use and lets you connect a head set mic to it in case you want to record singing as well. Without the head set though it is hard to get a balance between your voice and the guitar. Not up to the specs of people who have info and money to burn on audio equipment but for recording yourself for entertainment it does the job.

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I record through a Rode NT1A mic, pointed at about the 12 fret, through an Apogee Duet into a Macbook Pro using Logic 9.x. I've gotten good - not professional studio-great, mind you - results with this set up. In fact, it's good enough to record a CD with and listen to it in the car.

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I usually:

- double guitars

or:

- use two mics. One facing the fret board at the place where the neck meets the body, the other somewhat below the bridge facing the bridge. Will give you the clear notes with a lot of definition, while adding some warmth as well.

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That guitar, seems to me, is designed for live use, to be played through a stage rig. For recording, I'd be thinking you'd want to repeat the stage set-up, flavor with sound processing, not direct to deck. But this isn't my world, so I'm just throwing that out there for consideration.

 

While there is no question that a pure acoustic (a j45 or J200) would have a better sound, that would be a big investment (unless you can beg borrow or steal). Unless you are after that purity [god forbid I encourage anyone to have G.A.S.), I'd be looking into maximizing your present box. And getting the songs together. Peace, Rambler.

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I just recorded "If I Laugh" by Cat Stevens this afternoon on my SJ200, Songwriter and Rick bass. I recorded the audio separately from the video which I'm still editing.

 

Here is the audio MP3:

 

If I Laugh

 

I placed my medium condenser microphone about 12" from the soundhole and a pencil condenser pointing at the 12th fret about 6" away. The medium condenser was fed to an analog tube preamp (Behringer MIC200) then to my little mixer (Alto S6) and panned hard right. The pencil condenser was fed to the mixer (digital preamp strip) and panned hard left. The mix was sent to my DAW software, Sonar X1 Producer. The lead guitar (SJ200) is panned slightly right and the rhythm guitar (Songwriter Deluxe) is panned slightly left in the mix, with my main vocal and bass straight up the middle. The bass passed through my Zoom B3 bass pedal, then to the mixer and to the DAW.

 

I applied light compression (Sony Wavehammer) to the acoustic tracks as well as a touch of reverb. The tracks were mixed together to a WAV file and then trimming, end fade and final overall compression added with Sony Soundforge. I converted the WAV to MP3 with the Acoustica WAV to MP3 converter.

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That guitar, seems to me, is designed for live use, to be played through a stage rig. For recording, I'd be thinking you'd want to repeat the stage set-up, flavor with sound processing, not direct to deck. But this isn't my world, so I'm just throwing that out there for consideration.

 

While there is no question that a pure acoustic (a j45 or J200) would have a better sound, that would be a big investment (unless you can beg borrow or steal). Unless you are after that purity [god forbid I encourage anyone to have G.A.S.), I'd be looking into maximizing your present box. And getting the songs together. Peace, Rambler.

 

So you believe guitar > amp > Mic > mixer > DAW & effects?

 

I think you might be on to something here.

This guitar is a shallow bodied guitar designed to be carted around the stage with ease.

 

In my search on hearing other people play my guitar, I came across Nuno playing his version and it sounds exactly the same as when I plug in direct.

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But to be honest that is not a good plugged in tone.

 

Even though Nuno's hands do wonders I still hear a lot of piezo quack and frankly it reminds of the tone a lot of budget acoustics had that i played in the 90's.

 

It is certainly not representative of a natural acoustic tone.

 

Mate, I reckon getting an all solid wood guitar would do wonders, and it doesnt have to be expensive. Im a really big fan of Cort Dreadnoughts, their Earth 200 series are all solid wood sitka over mahogany and in my opnion sound great, and record really well. Here's a recording I did on my $200 Earth 100, which to my ears sounds warm, earthy and reflecting the tone of a decent acoustic.

 

Don't mean to be harsh, but I figured you'd appreciate honest, constructive feedback.

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/6079567

 

 

 

So you believe guitar > amp > Mic > mixer > DAW & effects?

 

I think you might be on to something here.

This guitar is a shallow bodied guitar designed to be carted around the stage with ease.

 

In my search on hearing other people play my guitar, I came across Nuno playing his version and it sounds exactly the same as when I plug in direct.

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But to be honest that is not a good plugged in tone.

 

Even though Nuno's hands do wonders I still hear a lot of piezo quack and frankly it reminds of the tone a lot of budget acoustics had that i played in the 90's.

 

It is certainly not representative of a natural acoustic tone.

 

Mate, I reckon getting an all solid wood guitar would do wonders, and it doesnt have to be expensive. Im a really big fan of Cort Dreadnoughts, their Earth 200 series are all solid wood sitka over mahogany and in my opnion sound great, and record really well. Here's a recording I did on my $200 Earth 100, which to my ears sounds warm, earthy and reflecting the tone of a decent acoustic.

 

Don't mean to be harsh, but I figured you'd appreciate honest, constructive feedback.

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/6079567

 

EA....I have been appreciating the feeback.

Somehow you're misreading my posts.

Actually you were the first one I repped and I'm the one who has been adding rep to others as well for feedback in this thread.

 

I even said your recording with your simple setup was great if you read my previous posts which has made me inclined to use a mic to see what results I get with my current guitar so I don't get where you are seeing I am not appreciating your input and others.

 

I just don't get where people are telling me to get a decent recording setup when I already do and have mentioned what I am using.

 

As for the clip of Nuno, it's a representation of the not good sound I am getting direct.

Doesn't make sense to say I need advice to get a better sound and then say but I am getting this sound from my acoustic when recorded direct.

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Sorry, maybe we both misinterpreted our posts !

 

I certainly didnt for a moment think you werent appreciating my input, appologies if it came across that way, certainly was not intention.

 

The essence of my last post was the clip with Nuno is is not what i would call a good plugged in tone, which I think we both agree on.

 

Thats all, sorry for the confusion.

 

EA....I have been appreciating the feeback.

Somehow you're misreading my posts.

Actually you were the first one I repped and I'm the one who has been adding rep to others as well for feedback in this thread.

 

I even said your recording with your simple setup was great if you read my previous posts which has made me inclined to use a mic to see what results I get with my current guitar so I don't get where you are seeing I am not appreciating your input and others.

 

I just don't get where people are telling me to get a decent recording setup when I already do and have mentioned what I am using.

 

As for the clip of Nuno, it's a representation of the not good sound I am getting direct.

Doesn't make sense to say I need advice to get a better sound and then say but I am getting this sound from my acoustic when recorded direct.

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Sorry, maybe we both misinterpreted our posts !

 

I certainly didnt for a moment think you werent appreciating my input, appologies if it came across that way, certainly was not intention.

 

The essence of my last post was the clip with Nuno is is not what i would call a good plugged in tone, which I think we both agree on.

 

Thats all, sorry for the confusion.

 

Yeah that 'quack' sound is quite prominent when I record with this guitar just like in the video and was a typical piezo sound.

 

From the input I have gathered I am going to try a couple of ways to see what is the best sound.

 

Firstly I'll be trying mic at the sound hole, and direct.

Then I'll try, plugging into an amp and recording sound coming out of the amp.

Then just through the mic which I think will be the best result for what I am wanting to achieve.

 

At the end of the day it seems the mic is a very important part in getting the best acoustic tone.

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