#1
So my wife and I make music. She sings and plays acoustic guitar and we record on a track by track basis with our AKAI EIE pro into our PC running cubase AI4.

We have around 400$ that we want to put towards a better sounding acoustic guitar and vocals. This will be for studio use only. Our live setup is pretty complete. She plays through a Norman guitar (a big bright dreadnaught)

We don't care if it's new or used stuff

We play rock music so the acoustic guitar will have to compete with an electric guitar, a funky bassist and a neil peart wannabe.

Here is an idea of what we sounded like before we met our bandmates (recorded elsewhere so it's not indicative of our current recording capabilities)

https://soundcloud.com/broadcap/alice-et-mathieu-breathless

Her voice and range is very very similar to alanis morissette. That is to say she doesn't do screaming but she's not a whisperer. Her voice is neither very low or very high.


We live in montreal canada so our options are pretty vast.


So far I was debating wether we should spend all our money on one really good mic that could do the job for both, getting two decent microphones (one for each use) or one mic and one preamp.

Please keep in mind that I know next to nothing about mics and preamps.


These are the 3 big stores to give you an idea of prices and availabilities:

archambault

italmelodie

Steve's


EDIT: Just saw an ad on craigslist for a RØDE NT-2A and a Presonus Bluetube double channel preamp for 450. Could this be a good investment?
Last edited by flexiblemile at Mar 19, 2013,
#2
ok I also found a guy on CL selling a presonus tube pre for 50$, a rode nt1000 for 250$.

I'm going to go try them out at some point this week but any advice would be welcome.

I guess what I'm wondering most is would using a cheap preamp like the presonus add anything or are the preamps in the akai good enough?

Thanks!
#3
Really there are two main schools of thought on the micing of an acoustic. One is the stereo matched pair (think the kind of mics you'd use to mic drum over heads) and the single LDC, which is what you've got in the NT1000.

Common practise for a big modern acoustic sound would be to set the mic up around the 12th fret to capture both the body and neck sound.

You might want to think about room micing for a really big sound too (assuming the sound of your room with worth micing)

That's the extent of my basic microphone knowledge, I'm sure someone else will come along with more info.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
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#4
cool, thanks for your info!

However would a mic like the NT1000 also be good for a female singer?

Also does anyone have an idea of the quality of the preamps in the akai EIE pro? I don't mind spending 80$ on the bluetube if it'll give me a slight upgrade but if they're similar, I won't bother
#5
I'm not sure about either of those specific preamps, but I'll weigh in on a couple of things.

The Rode mic should be a good mic for a lot of things - acoustic guitar, and vocals as you have specifically asked about.

That said, let me use a wine analogy (I'm not a wine drinker, but a lot of people can conceptualize the comparison):

You've found a wonderful bottle of wine. Does it go with beef? Pork? Fish? Chicken? Vegetarian lasagna? I'll bet it's great with some of those choices, but I can pretty much guarantee that it won't go all that well with all of them. "Ewwww..... that tasted horrible with the pork!" Does that make it a bad wine? No. It just means it's not a good choice for pork.

Mics are the same way. It might be a great mic on some guitars and some voices, but NO mic is great on all guitars and all voices. There will always be some voices, some instruments, whatever, that an SM58 will beat the pants off of a U87, although conventionally, the U87 is a far superior mic. That said, the Rode will *probably* be just fine. Probably.

As a starting point, I will use one mic on a guitar if it is just going to sit in a mix, and two if it is going to figure prominently. With a single guitar and vocal, the acoustic guitar will figure prominently.

Also consider this: Your lead vocal will go up the middle. If you only have one guitar, will it go on the right or the left? (trick question... neither is a good answer)

If it's helpful, I have a couple of recordings that I can provide for comparison. If you go to www.greenroomrecording.ca and click on the "Recordings" tab, you'll find a music player on the page.

"Michaela T - Fireflies" was done as a quick demo for my 12-year-old daughter. She's the singer. For the guitar, I used a Rode NT1 (my last recording with that mic before I "graduated") and recorded a single guitar track. I then copied it and then panned them right and left and ran the voice up the middle. We played the song together to get a cohesive feel to it, and then I tracked the guitar. Playing the guitar track and the track with my daughter's voice back through the headphones, my daughter could sing along and track her vocal. Then we killed the original live take.

"Sam Keddy - Again, Again" was done with a single small-diaphragm condensor (Studio Projects C4). It sounds more detailed and airy. The reason I didn't use two is that I had the singer in the same room and used mic placement to minimize bleed between the voice and the guitar. Using two mics for that really wasn't an option. Again, I copied and panned the two guitar tracks. As it turned out, we didn't like the effect of having the guitar bleed even as much as it did into the vocal mic, but the vocal bleed into the guitar mic was not problematic, so we had the singer re-sing and tracked the vocal separately.

In both cases, then, there is a single vocal tracked on its own and placed up the middle with acoustic guitar done on a single mic and then copied and panned.

CT
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

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#6
Thanks for taking the time to write all of that. I understand the wine analogy. The reason I think maybe one mic might work is because my wife has a clear voice and usually sings in the higher registries and we usually prefer a bright sound for acoustic (oh and we have a 12 string guitar too so there's a lot of high end)

So.... I think (and I'm a noob so correct me if I'm wrong) that a mic that responds well to chimey sounds would be a good match.

Again thanks for taking the time to answer. If anyone has other opinions, feel free to voice them. I'll hunt around for more deals online and when I have a selection I'll post them here so people can give their opinions about it.
#7
If we're going to use wine as an analogy.....if the wine is the microphone, the preamp is the glass you serve it in.

It'll taste good out of any glass that's clean. However, serve it in high-quality crystal and people will automatically think it tastes better, mostly due to expectations and a perception of quality. There are also many different shapes and sizes - none is 'better', but different ones suit different wines due to some very subtle little changes in the way it reaches your nose and mouth.

Seriously, the EIE Pro preamps are decent. Nothing special, but (to use the analogy again) only a wine snob drinking a really good vintage would notice the difference.

Dammit, I want to crack open a bottle of wine now :|
#8
I'm happy to know my preamps are decent. I guess I'll put the money towards a better mic and see if it's worth it later down the road at which point I'd get a really good one.

That being said, I have a rack of ribs in the oven (rhum, garlic and maple syrup) it will be in there for a total of 9 hours at which point a nice bottle of chateauneuf du pape will have been breathing in a decanter for a few hours. This thread made me thirsty too, haha.
#9
Quote by kyle62
If we're going to use wine as an analogy.....if the wine is the microphone, the preamp is the glass you serve it in.

It'll taste good out of any glass that's clean. However, serve it in high-quality crystal and people will automatically think it tastes better, mostly due to expectations and a perception of quality. There are also many different shapes and sizes - none is 'better', but different ones suit different wines due to some very subtle little changes in the way it reaches your nose and mouth.


I'm not so sure I agree with this. I will agree that, in keeping with your sentiment, that a good microphone is more important than a good preamp.

But your analogy suggests that, in a blind test, people will statistically say that recording A sounds as good as recording B if they don't know what preamps were used. I think people would notice that recording A sounds better. They won't necessarily be able to articulate how or why, necessarily, but will describe it as "better." I find that, on a track-by-track basis, comparing two preamps might not reveal *that* much in terms of differences, but cumulatively, when 18 tracks all sound just slightly better, the end result is significant. Also, I find that music recorded with better preamps will almost mix itself with me there to just kind of nudge it where I want it to go. Recordings done with lesser quality preamps you kind of have to fight with sometimes to get what you're looking for.

It can be difficult to sort out the variables, though. Sure, take a recording done through an SSL or Neve console and compare it to a recording done through entry-level preamps and the better gear will be many times better... of course, it's not just the preamps that are going to be different.

CT
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

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.