#1
So I have some acoustic songs that I'd like to record. I bought a mic (Lewitt LCT 240) and tried recording with it, but it almost sounds like I recorded it with my phone. I uploaded a sample on soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/420883949234/song/s-A7rLe

I'm recording it through Line 6 POD Farm 2 from the Line 6 UX2 soundcard, the same thing I record electric guitars with.

I am an absolute noob in recording acoustic guitars, so I'll need some counsel here. I guess I'm clueless about what really makes acoustic records sound good - is it more of the raw mic recording itself or is it loads of mixing, effects and processing afterwards? Should you get an almost perfect sound right away from what the mic picks up, with not much processing needed, or is it normal that the recording sounds pretty shitty and you only make it sound great afterwards on the computer?
All the tutorials I've found only tell me different mic position techniques and to always 'back that mic up' so you don't get unnecessary 'boominess', but that doesn't even seem to make a difference in my recordings - my mic picks things up really silently and I guess my room isn't the best for recording either (wooden parquetry floor and a quite a bit of reverb from the walls). I don't know what I'm doing wrong, maybe it's something in my mic setup, maybe it's the room, maybe it's my lack of knowledge of mixing/producing.

So my question is, how do I achieve the clarity and fullness that I hear on acoustic records? How do famous acoustic guitarists get that beautiful sound? And is the sound that I get 'okay' for a raw recording ? Does it just need some mixing/processing?

Thanks
#2
I'd try putting the mic closer to the guitar to eliminate the room a bit. Backing the mic up does help with proximity effect but you could just keep the mic aimed at the 12th fret/away from sound hole. I'm not sure if you're getting any phase cancellation from room reflections but definitely worth miking closer to the guitar. Listen to the example acoustic track on the mic website: https://www.lewitt-audio.com/products/microphones/lct-recording/lct-240. Sounds closer and more direct right?

Personally, I'd focus on getting a good sound at the source, imagine that any editing and mixing after will be minimal.

EDIT: I had a quick look at the recordingrevolution video* on recording acoustics, somewhat contrary to what i've written but then he has a fairly treated room...if you are limited to the one room you're using i'd still recommend trying to remove some room sound to see if that helps.

*
"If you want beef, then bring the ruckus." - Marilyn Monroe
Last edited by USCENDONE BENE at Oct 12, 2016,
#3
Firstly, the recording is very low in volume. I do not imagine, for acoustic guitars, you will need any of the db attenuation pads on the mic or on your interface. Generally you want to have enough input gain on your Soundcard/Audio Interface that, on your loudest strums, the input is just below clipping. So you get the interface to clip, back it off a bit, and you are good to go. If you need to afterwards, you can normalize the track so that the maximum signal volume peak is at whatever you set it to (often -1db, right below clipping of the output).

Secondly, utilize the low-cut filters on the mic. 40hz is too low for acoustic guitar, 300hz seems maybe too high at first, but I imagine the light(er) reduction of 6db per octave preserves low-end fullness. Try the mic with the linear response with a low cut afterwards in your DAW, and try the 300hz cut and compare them. I imagine the 300hz cut will help the highs seem to cut through more. I would not worry about "boominess" with micing an acoustic guitar so long as you are not micing inside the soundhole itself, so having it just far away enough so that you can strum would be ideal- you will get the most audio signal hitting the mic that way.

Your room does have an impact on the sound of your recordings. You can either make it work for what you want to accomplish, or you will have to get acoustic proofing to help silence room reverbation. Your mic has a cardioid polar pattern, make sure you are facing it the right way as well.

Do you have the signal going through any of the amp or effects software of POD farm? Also is there anything hindering the volume input/output? Some acoustic recordings (especially when DI, although you are micing) need a cut in the midrange, around 300-1000hz depending. Generally you will want to cut sub/bass frequencies out completely. And very often, you will add some reverb to the recording. Over-dubbing the recording multiple times can also help, but you will need to be careful about phase cancellation.
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 12, 2016,
#4
Will Lane
Oh yeah, I had the mic gain set really low, I thought it was supposed to be like that Now, without any effects or volume rising in POD Farm, I put the mic gain almost to max, pulled the mic closer, put on the 300Hz cut and it already sounds much better: https://soundcloud.com/420883949234/song1/s-PR6XT

Thanks for the tips! I still have little clue about EQs and compressors and such, so it'll take me a while to utilize everything you wrote, but at least you've given me a head start.
Last edited by Zordon at Oct 12, 2016,
#5
Quote by Zordon
Will Lane
Oh yeah, I had the mic gain set really low, I thought it was supposed to be like that Now, without any effects or volume rising in POD Farm, I put the mic gain almost to max, pulled the mic closer, put on the 300Hz cut and it already sounds much better: https://soundcloud.com/420883949234/song1/s-PR6XT

Thanks for the tips! I still have little clue about EQs and compressors and such, so it'll take me a while to utilize everything you wrote, but at least you've given me a head start.
Sounds much better and louder! Compression takes the lowest volume points of your signal and the highest volume points and makes them "closer together", stated basically. What it accomplishes sonically is your playing is more even volume-wise. It is very useful for acoustic guitars, especially in a dense modern mix. However, since it raises lower volume points, your noise floor will elevate as well so be careful.

Best thing to do is to just experiment. See what does what, how, and why and have fun with it.
#6
For EQ, you want to use a high pass filter at about 80Hz, that will cut out the rumbling. Always do this.

For mid and high EQ, it all depends on what else is around it.

Compression is a bit trickier as that is incredibly dependent on the rest of the mix. If it's just the acoustic and a voice, just put the compression to the point it's slapping the really high peaks and nothing else. Acoustics like having dynamic range, so let it have it. If you're adding it into a full mix (drums, bass, electrics, vocals, pads) then compress it a fair amount so that it stays present enough to be heard in the mix.

With acoustics I find that you almost never want to solo them out to adjust compression and EQ; do that in place to ensure that it's fitting into the required sonic space.
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