Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Emulating that real unplugged sound live!!!??


realgonekid

Recommended Posts

Im after any advice on trying to emulate an unplugged sound live and if anyone has achieved this and there techniques on do doing so?

 

I've played quite a few acoustic gigs and pretty much came to conclusion that I dont think i'll ever sound as good live as i do sat with just me a guitar no mics no plugging the guitar in etc, you know when you really feel the guitar in your belly

and your more related to the instrument, but how do I take that live?

 

Ive thought about maybe having absolutley nothing in the monitors, one reason being, I could leave out a sound hole cover as this might mute the natural acoustic sound?

 

The main reason being I'm thinking this way i could totally isolate me and the guitar from the sound reaching the audience, so the sound man could get me sounding sweet to the audience but i would only hear myself singing with the guitar like it would be totally unplugged at home??? would this work.

 

thanks Scoff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will get a lot of different reponses here but after having a mike infront of the guitar the best Ive come across is a Fishman UST combined with the Aura Spectrum DI and the imaging technology it offers. Fishman claims it can eradicate all the UST quack and provide a very warm, mike like tone.

 

Im definitely a fan boy and feel can get a pretty natural acoustic tone when playing out.

 

Here's some footage from a year ago with this combo, which then would into a Marshall AS100D amp and a cople house speakers.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheers EuroAussie,

 

I have an Epi EJ200 CE, already fitted with the pickups though, everyone says it sounds great to the audience, i just wanna somehow get that unplugged sound.

A friend who is a sound engineer, has said the best way would be to use in ear monitor systems, these aren't cheap though !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont quite cath you drift here, how would an ear monitor help you get an unlugged guitar tone ?

 

Definitely a huge benefit for singers, but for guitar players ?

 

Dont really get that one.

 

Cheers EuroAussie,

 

I have an Epi EJ200 CE, already fitted with the pickups though, everyone says it sounds great to the audience, i just wanna somehow get that unplugged sound.

A friend who is a sound engineer, has said the best way would be to use in ear monitor systems, these aren't cheap though !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once you plug-in or play into a mic, the straight acoustic sound that goes to the audience is amplified (changed). It seems that it all depends on how good the equipment is. If your mic/amp are good, I wouldn't sweat your sound. You will likely have a good "acoustic" sound, even though the original sound is altered to a degree......Straight acousitc gigs can be great, but it typically takes a special location and a very quiet audience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im after any advice on trying to emulate an unplugged sound live and if anyone has achieved this and there techniques on do doing so?

 

I've played quite a few acoustic gigs and pretty much came to conclusion that I dont think i'll ever sound as good live as i do sat with just me a guitar no mics no plugging the guitar in etc, you know when you really feel the guitar in your belly

and your more related to the instrument, but how do I take that live?

 

Ive thought about maybe having absolutley nothing in the monitors, one reason being, I could leave out a sound hole cover as this might mute the natural acoustic sound?

 

The main reason being I'm thinking this way i could totally isolate me and the guitar from the sound reaching the audience, so the sound man could get me sounding sweet to the audience but i would only hear myself singing with the guitar like it would be totally unplugged at home??? would this work.

 

thanks Scoff

 

 

This is the million dollar question!!! The best I've ever acheived is putting a two condenser mics in front of the guitar. One pointing at the body of the guitar where the neck-joint is, and the other pointing at the bridge/lower bout portion of the guitar. Mixing the two equally really does a good job. I have played around with this set-up to get a variety of tones. One of my favorites is to add a touch of delay on one of the mics. You get a cool "12 string/reverb/ echo" type sound! But to answer your question, this set-up is pretty close. Acoustic players have asked this question for years!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, didnt explain myself fully, I am a solo acoustic singer/songwriter.

 

Basically, those BBQ gigs, where everyones gathered round and its the natural sounds from the guitar unplugged and also your voice unplugged you could say.

in reality prob not possible, because to play to bigger crowds, you must amplify the sound.

 

Guess its all about a good sound man and bypassing the floor monitors would be advantageous too.

 

Maybe I'll just try not having much in the monitors and be safe in the knowledge the sound thats reachin the crowd is ok.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think in this case it is the right approach. Monitors have natoriously poor tone, and whate youre hearing on stage is often very different to what the audience is hearing. I often wished the larger venues would have better monitors.

 

In that case I do what you suggest, keep the monitors low so I can feel the tone but also so its no too harsh and let the soundguy do his job. Other times I stand further back on stage so I dont get blasted by the monitor tone.

 

But either way you gotta amplify, theres no way around it, this then comes down to spoending time dialing in the right levels etc ..

 

However when we play I have the amp behind me which we use as a monitor and often main channel where sound is coming out and it doesnt bother me if its dialed in properly.

 

Sorry, didnt explain myself fully, I am a solo acoustic singer/songwriter.

 

Basically, those BBQ gigs, where everyones gathered round and its the natural sounds from the guitar unplugged and also your voice unplugged you could say.

in reality prob not possible, because to play to bigger crowds, you must amplify the sound.

 

Guess its all about a good sound man and bypassing the floor monitors would be advantageous too.

 

Maybe I'll just try not having much in the monitors and be safe in the knowledge the sound thats reachin the crowd is ok.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the million dollar question!!! The best I've ever acheived is putting a two condenser mics in front of the guitar. One pointing at the body of the guitar where the neck-joint is, and the other pointing at the bridge/lower bout portion of the guitar. Mixing the two equally really does a good job. I have played around with this set-up to get a variety of tones. One of my favorites is to add a touch of delay on one of the mics. You get a cool "12 string/reverb/ echo" type sound! But to answer your question, this set-up is pretty close. Acoustic players have asked this question for years!

 

 

When I was engineering concerts using acoustic guitars, this was a fairly typical setup, provided you had the mics to spare and the player could stay in one place. Otherwise, a single condenser mic near the soundhole is a reasonable compromise, provided, once again, you could get the guitarists to stay in position. This setup will work just fine for a seated player in a club setting.

 

How good it sounds in a room is a function of the sound guy. Playing a variety of small clubs and rooms, I used to start with my generic setup, then move around the room to search for dead zones, bright zones, etc, and adjust speaker positions and mixes to suit. Unlike a lot of engineers who work remotely through headphones, I had a compact custom-built board that I put in the middle of the room whenever possible, mixing through a combination of headphones and ears. I could also signal my players if they were getting out of position, which happens all the time. A professional player is always aware of where he is relative to the mic, whether it's his vocal mic or his instrument mic.

 

You can argue that modern on-board pickups will give more consistent results than direct miking of the guitar, and it's hard to fault that logic with today's equipment.

 

The speakers, as much as the mic and far more than the amp, will determine how close to a pure acoustic sound you get in a concert setting with a setup of this type. Once you start amplifying sound in some way, you aren't really going to replicate the pure acoustic sound. The goal is to convince the audience (and to some extent yourself), that what they are hearing is what the unamplified instrument really sounds like, if you are doing a "straight" acoustic show. It's a bit of an aural illusion, really.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trance Audio Amulet system has garnered some rather astoundingly great reviews - "beyond perfection". Expensive at $549 and an estimated $200 for the install, which takes some patience and talent I am told. I've used Highlander undersaddle, Fishman Rare Earth in the soundhole, Seymour Duncan Mag-Mic in the soundhole, all with acceptable results, but not astounding. I'm very interested to hear if anyone has tried the new LR Baggs M-80, or the Trance Audio. I am about to pull the triggger on the Trance, and have one installed in my Jackson Browne. I am not a pro - and only play the occassional open-mic, or when somebody panics and asks me to substitute at a solo quiet bar gig.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Years back, I use to do a short solo acoustic blues set on my Dobro in the middle of my blues band gig to break up the night a bit and to do a bit of fingerpicking blues/slide. It often went over well, but if the room felt 'wrong' I would skip the set because I had problems with getting a sound.

 

The very best live sound for a metal bodied Dobro was a Shure Sm57 mic (into a nice PA with JBL speakers etc.). I had the foldback down so low it was barely on - the metal guitar would cause screaming banshee feedback in the foldback very easily - and had my vocal level down low to match the guitar. The Shure 57 is not as good for a wood bodied guitar.

 

I worked out an arrangement where the band came in on my last solo song of the set - about half way through the song. They were supposed to come in very quietly to ease the foldback problems, but of course while I was playing my solo picking, they were at the bar getting an extra charge up.....so - they often came in too loud and for me - Disaster! The audience could hear everything I was doing, but I could not hear a thing and felt like I was miming. I tried all kinds of setups but was never really happy with a microphone and band noise.

 

5 or 6 years ago I got a Fishman Thinline pickup installed in the Dobro and jumped up at an open mic and plugged it into the house guitar amp and got what was easily the worst sound I had ever had! Steep learning curve with under saddle pickup lead to buying a variety of gadgets and pre-amps to try and get the subject of the thread: "Emulating That Real Unplugged Sound Live".

 

EA and I both rave about the Fishman Spectrum Aura D.I. and while it is very slightly electric sounding, it is a great compromise between mic's and hearing yourself. A lot of experimenting is needed with the setup, but the intent of Fishman was to provide a 'recording studio type mic'd sound'. (And you can jump up and down and around like Pete T if you want - I suppose a WI Fi system could easily be added.)

 

EA above says he has his amp behind him. I don't like that much, and while I don't play out much anymore, when I do, I do like to have my acoustic guitar amp set up in front of me (like a monitor). I also prefer to take my own microphone and run it into my acoustic amp as well. This way I get the balance between vocal and guitar that I like, then feed the signal out the back of the amp to the mixer/PA. All the sound guy has to do is turn up my level in the PA. I like to practice at home with the same setup facing me to get the feel of the amp sound if I haven't played anywhere for a while. All I have to do is turn up the master level to a nice level - my eq and reverb are all set - I don't have it too loud, but I have a few feedback notch filter options on the Fishman and on my amp.

 

Well, that was wordy, eh? But it is well worth getting a good 'portable' setup that you use at home to practice then take to the gig.

 

I am sure you are going to get many different replies on the best way to achieve a good guitar sound, but I am very happy with mine now, and I would not have believed that when I was struggling with mic's, Dobros and noisy gigs the range of gadgets and sound solutions you can use on an acoustic guitar live now!

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... EA and I both rave about the Fishman Spectrum Aura D.I. ...

+1

 

The only way I know of to improve on the tone you get with a dialed-in Aura is to have Fishman create a custom image using your guitar and preferred mic.

 

-- Bob R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks BluesKing777 and everybody else, some very good info and ideas to think about there.

 

Obviously money is a real issue, so I cant go spending big cash ! plus I do really love my Epi EJ200.

I really like the idea of using my Marshall AS100D as a monitor, cos i DO get a very nice sound from that, although would I be right in thinking

if I send the mic through that too, the sound guy will have no EQ control over the mic alone? only an overall EQ control of mic/guitar from the amp?

If I suggest at a gig sending the mic through my amp where I play in town, I can imagine the sound guy laughing at me too ! haha

 

So, I think conclusion is, either play 'truly unplugged' gigs and satisfy my need for that or use the amp as monitor, mic DI'd as normal but with very low volume through the floor monitors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, if you ran both the guitar and mike through the Marshall the soundguy would only get the mixed signal that came from the amp. Thats not necessarily a bad thing.

 

However I only use the Marshall as a monitor in small venues, where there might also be small house PA but no soundguy.

 

In large venues where there is a soundguy and a full PA I just run through the Aura spectrum and give him an XLR out and let him fiddle with the front of house tone and mix, with guitar and vox seperately.

 

Thanks BluesKing777 and everybody else, some very good info and ideas to think about there.

 

Obviously money is a real issue, so I cant go spending big cash ! plus I do really love my Epi EJ200.

I really like the idea of using my Marshall AS100D as a monitor, cos i DO get a very nice sound from that, although would I be right in thinking

if I send the mic through that too, the sound guy will have no EQ control over the mic alone? only an overall EQ control of mic/guitar from the amp?

If I suggest at a gig sending the mic through my amp where I play in town, I can imagine the sound guy laughing at me too ! haha

 

So, I think conclusion is, either play 'truly unplugged' gigs and satisfy my need for that or use the amp as monitor, mic DI'd as normal but with very low volume through the floor monitors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...