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Old 11-15-2012, 02:02 PM   #1
Nervouspace
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Acoustic guitar recordings sound lifeless?

Hi all,

I am working on a song and for a rough draft I put a clean electric guitar down for where the acoustic goes to go back later with my acoustic and play that part

well when I finally got to it

I was thinking omg....I cant get the acoustic guitar to sound better than the electric!

I only have one mic stand but two condenser mics. It just doesnt sound pretty...

It sounds chunky, too much on the hi end, and really lifeless. I don't have much experience with recording acoustic guitar. I have a good acoustic too so I know thats not the problem

Thank you
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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Sounds like you need some EQ.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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A lot of the sound of most recorded acoustic guitars comes from the after effects. Def experiment with EQ & light compression depending on what style it is. A lot of tracks usually have a good amount of reverb & a little delay on there to give it that airy & acoustic feel.

If you could upload a clip of the acoustic track, we can all help you better. Its hard to tell by "Its too chunky" since you already know whats to fix.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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http://soundcloud.com/nervou/dragged-sample-57


Heres the sample, Is it workable or I am just doing a bad job recording acoustic guitar?
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:45 AM   #5
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Thats actually pretty workable. I'd add EQ wise a High Pass around 100-150hz, mess around in the 250-600hz range to find some of that low end and boost a little (maybe 2 or 3db) & add a little more high end and you should be set there. Some light compression would also help.

Throw in maybe a short delay with a room reverb mixed behind it and it'll sound great.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:17 AM   #6
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Also when shit hits the fan and you're not satisfied with what you got you can always try a harmonic exciter. I wouldn't overuse it though.

Your clip's not that bad.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:07 AM   #7
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It doesn't sound bad, for an unprocessed home recording of an acoustic... I'd rather hear something clean like that, than a fancy processed sound that doesn't really represent the true way the guitar sounds.

Try changing the room acoustics and mic position, before you resort to processing...
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:44 AM   #8
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You can even try double-tracking and panning L/R if you want your guitars to seem bigger and wider.

Or you can use another trick which is pretty common as well. The lazy/easier version of double tracking. Capture both the signal from your pickups and the mic at the same time.

Last edited by Sethis : 11-16-2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sethis
Or you can use another trick which is pretty common as well. The lazy/easier version of double tracking. Capture both the signal from your pickups and the mic at the same time.


I wouldn't hard pan them if I was doing this method since most of the time the results between the DI & it Mic'd are pretty different.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #10
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and disagree with most of what has been said here.

Yes, some EQ and compression can help enhance it, but if it's not a good sound to begin with, then you're simply engaging in the age-old tradition of frustrated recording engineers everywhere called "turd polishing."

Before we can help you get a nice sound to start with, please tell us:

-what kind of mic(s) you are using, exactly
-where you are putting the mics (placement, distance, angle, etc.)

Another factor that affects all of this is your room. If the room isn't right, you're already fighting an uphill battle before you even take the guitar out of the case.

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Old 11-17-2012, 06:32 PM   #11
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I'm getting way too much pick noise in your sound there, it sounds like the pick noise is right in your face while the guitar is 5 feet away.

I'd mess around with your mic position to start with.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:11 PM   #12
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Well I am using these mics minus the soundcard

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-...mic-pack-bundle


I only have one mic stand so I would use one at a time and I tried first putting the condensers up to the hole of the acoustic then I tried up towards the 12th fret pointing towards and away from the bridge.

I've recording thousands of takes and yes, I do feel like I am turd polishing. X(

I tried position the mic towards the wall and away from the wall as well.

What needs to be right about my room for sure anyways?



and yea I did greatly notice the horrible pick noise. I tried using two different gauge picks and I found the heavier gauge made the whole takes not sound so lifeless and bleh... and alot of pick noise from the floppier pick

Last edited by Nervouspace : 11-18-2012 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Well, the soundcloud link to your recording isn't working, now that I'm in the studio to listen. :-(

Anyways... those mics should do an adequate job of recording, and the interface should give you a usable recording. None of them are stellar, but it's all good enough that we can rule them out as the source of your problem.

Pointing a mic at the sound hole is the best way to get a "boomy" track.

First, here are some videos from a great magazine resource that I highly recommend.

http://www.recordingmag.com/videos/9.html

What I would do, personally, is to use the stand and put the 991 pointing at about the 12th fret and slightly below the guitar pointing upwards to the higher strings. Put it maybe 2ft from the guitar. Then, maybe get a chair or something and hang the 990 over the back of it (put a pillow under it if you're worried about it falling to the floor), and set it about 2ft away from the body of the guitar, maybe in line with the strap peg and point it towards the bridge of the guitar.

You basically want to avoid the sound hole, but capture the string vibration and the body resonance.

As far as the room goes, the best example is this: You know when you record something on your phone and it sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box? That's not the mic's fault - it is the room's fault. By having a room that is fairly dead sounding (no reflections, etc.), you avoid that hollow, boxy quality. Also, the size, shape, and materials of your room will impact which frequencies are exaggerated or under-represented. The differences across the frequency spectrum can be really quite significant - as in similar to taking a graphic EQ and creating all kinds of whacky spikes and dips.

CT
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:57 AM   #14
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I've found that what works for me is slightly more towards the 15th fret, perpendicular to the fretboard, with the distance anywhere from 4" to 2 feet
After getting a decent sound from the position alone, slap a compressor on it and it sounds fat as hell, eq it fit with the rest of your mix , and if you want to be even fatter do the doubled hard panned left/right thing (it helps to have the part simpler to make it easier to get two tight takes)
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
What I would do, personally, is to use the stand and put the 991 pointing at about the 12th fret and slightly below the guitar pointing upwards to the higher strings. Put it maybe 2ft from the guitar. Then, maybe get a chair or something and hang the 990 over the back of it (put a pillow under it if you're worried about it falling to the floor), and set it about 2ft away from the body of the guitar, maybe in line with the strap peg and point it towards the bridge of the guitar.

i have done almost this exact thing with that same pair of mics. 991 towards the twelfth fret, and the 990 towards the bridge and endpin (sor of between them). it isnt the greatest acoustic sound ever, but it is very usable.
the mics sound kinda meh, but ok, when by themselves. you have to use both of them to complement one another to get the best out of them. either pick up another mic stand, or find some way to rig something up. even just taping the mic clip to a guitar stand and using that will work.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:48 PM   #16
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alrighty thanks again everyone
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
Well, the soundcloud link to your recording isn't working, now that I'm in the studio to listen. :-(

Anyways... those mics should do an adequate job of recording, and the interface should give you a usable recording. None of them are stellar, but it's all good enough that we can rule them out as the source of your problem.

Pointing a mic at the sound hole is the best way to get a "boomy" track.

First, here are some videos from a great magazine resource that I highly recommend.

http://www.recordingmag.com/videos/9.html

What I would do, personally, is to use the stand and put the 991 pointing at about the 12th fret and slightly below the guitar pointing upwards to the higher strings. Put it maybe 2ft from the guitar. Then, maybe get a chair or something and hang the 990 over the back of it (put a pillow under it if you're worried about it falling to the floor), and set it about 2ft away from the body of the guitar, maybe in line with the strap peg and point it towards the bridge of the guitar.

You basically want to avoid the sound hole, but capture the string vibration and the body resonance.

As far as the room goes, the best example is this: You know when you record something on your phone and it sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box? That's not the mic's fault - it is the room's fault. By having a room that is fairly dead sounding (no reflections, etc.), you avoid that hollow, boxy quality. Also, the size, shape, and materials of your room will impact which frequencies are exaggerated or under-represented. The differences across the frequency spectrum can be really quite significant - as in similar to taking a graphic EQ and creating all kinds of whacky spikes and dips.

CT


Would you prefer a 'dead' room over a regular tiled or other room in a house?
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:53 PM   #18
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Generally, yes. You can't EQ or edit out bad room reverb, but you can always add good reverb.

CT
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Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Quote:
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