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Old 12-23-2013, 01:39 PM   #1
Gemini86
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Should I Mic my acoustic, or buy electric acoustic for recording

Hello all (first time poster),

Let me start by saying what I want to achieve:

To record myself singing and playing the acoustic guitar in the best possible (sounding) way.

Now, I already can easily record myself singing and playing electric guitar through my audio interface (2 ins and outs) into my DAW. So recording is not an issue for me and Im somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. HOWEVER, I don't have a good way of recording my acoustic guitar (whilst playing) bc I don't have a good way of Mic'ng it (I obviously can't plug it into my audio interface).

Normally I'd just record via the soundcloud ap on my iphone and I would be completely content with it (in fact it doesn't sound too bad). However, this is no longer satisfying me....

I figure I have a few options, and I wanted to know your input to help me make my decision:
-Buying a mic just for my acoustic guitar. In this scenario I'd have a specific mic designated for recording only my acoustic guitar. I would then be singing through my current mic which would be plugged into the XLR input of my audio interface.
~~OR~~
-Buying an electric acoustic guitar so I can easily plug it into my audio interface. This would probably be the best option (although pricier), bc I can record and process both my guitar and vocals through separate chanels in my DAW.

OK, so those are my best options (at least through my eyes). I'm kind of leaning against buying a mic just for my acoustic guitar bc that mic will undoubtedly pick up my singing (I want to record myself singing and playing simultaneously). I also want both chanels separate so I can process each in my DAW. So sorry for the length of this post. Your input/thoughts/questions are much appreciated!
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #2
Sid McCall
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For the best possible quality without overdubs? Mic the guitar.

For the least amount of money? Buy a soundhole pickup for like $40 and use that to track guitar DI, then double track the acoustic with your vocal mic afterwards.

For the best possible quality overall? Mic and DI the acoustic, or use two mics on it. You'll obviously have to overdub, though.

Protip: Point the mic somewhere around the 12th-14th fret of your guitar, that's where it usually sounds best, not the soundhole. Obviously this won't always be right, but in my experience it has consistently been the best positioning.
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid McCall
Protip: Point the mic somewhere around the 12th-14th fret of your guitar, that's where it usually sounds best, not the soundhole. Obviously this won't always be right, but in my experience it has consistently been the best positioning.

Depends on the sound you're going for, I guess. If I were only using one mic, it'd definitely be at the bridge, but I also much prefer fuller acoustic tones and generally dislike bright ones.
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:29 PM   #4
Sid McCall
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Depends on the sound you're going for, I guess. If I were only using one mic, it'd definitely be at the bridge, but I also much prefer fuller acoustic tones and generally dislike bright ones.

Funny, those are the exact reasons I don't mic at the bridge! To each their own. I'm sure our individual microphones/preamps/acoustic guitars react differently in similar situations, which is to be expected.
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:07 PM   #5
Gemini86
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this may be a silly question, but is it bad (or not ideal) to record guitar and vocals (two mics; one for vocals, one for my acoustic guitar) simultaneously? i.e. the mic for vocals will pick up my guitar and vice versa? I know I could put a gate on each track to possibly get around this...
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini86
this may be a silly question, but is it bad (or not ideal) to record guitar and vocals (two mics; one for vocals, one for my acoustic guitar) simultaneously? i.e. the mic for vocals will pick up my guitar and vice versa? I know I could put a gate on each track to possibly get around this...



I've started doing this - mainly because I want to record a "performance" if you like.

Anyway - result here: https://soundcloud.com/michaeloneil...h-my-dreams-2nd (done bass afterwards)

As prev people have said, I had my mic around 12th fret, slightly left w my large condenser in front in line w my mouth + pop shield. Dropped some lower frequencies via EQ on acoustic gtr to let bass through. Try avoid too much production as it's not my area.


John Frusciante album Curtains was mostly recorded guitar + vox simultaneously
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:28 PM   #7
Sid McCall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini86
this may be a silly question, but is it bad (or not ideal) to record guitar and vocals (two mics; one for vocals, one for my acoustic guitar) simultaneously? i.e. the mic for vocals will pick up my guitar and vice versa? I know I could put a gate on each track to possibly get around this...

Definitely not weird. Just don't mess up!

Here's a song I recently did in figure 8, which isn't exactly the same since we're two people - it's much easier. That said, this is actually our first take, I eyeballed mic placement and preamp levels and just hit record, very happy with the result, after bussing to a room reverb it basically mixed itself!

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Old 12-23-2013, 11:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid McCall
Funny, those are the exact reasons I don't mic at the bridge! To each their own. I'm sure our individual microphones/preamps/acoustic guitars react differently in similar situations, which is to be expected.

Interesting. The reason many producers use an LDC at the bridge and an SDC at the 12th fret is because the LDC is able to pick up a more full bodied sound there, while the SDC, which will generally have a more distinct top end, can capture the best of the highs and string noise at the middle of the neck.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatrixClaw
Interesting. The reason many producers use an LDC at the bridge and an SDC at the 12th fret is because the LDC is able to pick up a more full bodied sound there, while the SDC, which will generally have a more distinct top end, can capture the best of the highs and string noise at the middle of the neck.

Eh, I know what sounds good to me, and my ears will always win out over anything I read somewhere. I like how it sounds, and love how it sits in a mix. The fact that I have a satin finish all-solid wood maple guitar probably has a major effect as well. The guitar is just incredibly resonant, especially at the neck joint (behind the 14th fret).
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid McCall
Eh, I know what sounds good to me, and my ears will always win out over anything I read somewhere. I like how it sounds, and love how it sits in a mix. The fact that I have a satin finish all-solid wood maple guitar probably has a major effect as well. The guitar is just incredibly resonant, especially at the neck joint (behind the 14th fret).

Oh, I'm not discounting your statement at all, that's just the first time I've ever heard someone say they get a warmer tone micing at the neck

Definitely sounds like it could be that guitar then. My Tacoma and Yamaha definitely sound much brighter micing at the neck. How odd!
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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Nice recording sid.

However did u compress the guitar or something, cause ur visual playing dynamics do not seem to match up with the sound dynamic wise, or overdub/di perhaps?
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by xxdarrenxx
Nice recording sid.

However did u compress the guitar or something, cause ur visual playing dynamics do not seem to match up with the sound dynamic wise, or overdub/di perhaps?

Thanks! There's master compression, just some SSL style bus compression (The Glue plugin). That may account for a bit of the dynamic discrepancies, but the I feel that whole song still came out dynamic as a whole.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid McCall
Thanks! There's master compression, just some SSL style bus compression (The Glue plugin). That may account for a bit of the dynamic discrepancies, but the I feel that whole song still came out dynamic as a whole.



Oh I find that the dynamics are more then adequate. I'm pretty sure the compression made it better.

I've been a guitar teacher for quite a long while, so a big part of my time I look critically towards how other people play, so it just tickled my brain how the accenting visually did not match up to the sound at all places
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:45 AM   #14
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I use both at the same time. I record my acoustic direct on one track (from the piezo pickup) and another from one of my condenser mics. This allows me to EQ separately and split the tracks for a wider and fuller stereo image. It also allows me (if the song calls for it) to delay one track by a few milliseconds so that I get an artificial but sometimes great sounding double track sound on the acoustic guitar without trying to play a second take that matches. I have two acoustics with built in piezo pickups and they record well but there is something about the attack on the strings that comes across so much better on a good condenser mic. For a big sound on a really up tune, use a Shure dynamic SM57. Still can't beat an SM57 in the studio for so many different projects.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rickholly74
I use both at the same time. I record my acoustic direct on one track (from the piezo pickup) and another from one of my condenser mics. This allows me to EQ separately and split the tracks for a wider and fuller stereo image. It also allows me (if the song calls for it) to delay one track by a few milliseconds so that I get an artificial but sometimes great sounding double track sound on the acoustic guitar without trying to play a second take that matches. I have two acoustics with built in piezo pickups and they record well but there is something about the attack on the strings that comes across so much better on a good condenser mic. For a big sound on a really up tune, use a Shure dynamic SM57. Still can't beat an SM57 in the studio for so many different projects.

SM57 would be just about my last choice for acoustic guitar, though I've actually gotten surprisingly good results out of the SM7b and Beyerdynamic M201TG. Mainly, I'd skip using a dynamic mic, at least on a cheap preamp, because most entry-level preamps don't have much gain and introduce a ton of noise in the last 20-25% of their range. Since dynamic mics aren't as sensitive as a condenser would be, and require more gain to run them, it's likely you'll have to turn the preamp gain up to the point where you'd introduce noise, unless you're just playing heavy strummed parts
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