Can someone chime in on their acoustic guitar mic experience and maybe suggest a second acoustic condenser mic for my set up.
I currently have an AT 30305 and would like to add a second mic to pull in other fasets of my recordings.
There are so much good condenser mics out there to perfectly record your guitar, but it all depends on what kind of guitar you have, what kind of strings, what kind of sound you would like (or don’t like), or just how much budget there is:) Placement is another important thing not to underestimate.
Have you seen/heard the ElectroVoice Cardinal? Its a great guitar mic. Also check out mics in the N/D series of ElectroVoice.
if you record with only one mic, you need to experiment with distance from the mic and angle of the mic. I usually avoid being straight in front of it. If you do that, you get rather wild amplitude fluctuations (spikes). If you record at about 45 deg from the front of the mic, you will get a more stable wave form and smoother sound (the other front placement produces a more dry or harsh sound, which can be nice sometimes but you have to have the spikes under control - a compressor can help but it is difficult to set up correctly as these spikes are really short in time - you will definitely hear the compression, which sucks I think). So try some different angles : compromise a bit between front and side, I would say 30-40 deg. is good. You don’t need to have the mic too close to the guitar. Place it not far from the guitar hole (30cm to 1m maybe). And don’t place the mic too close to a wall.
Record once, and then record again. Pan the 1st track to the left, the 2nd to the right and enjoy
Some will say: yeah, but you can just copy the 1st and play with the phase. Sure … but this is not too natural to me. I like the little diffs and you will not have any weird phase issue by having 2 independent recordings
If you have 2 mics, that’s another story. You have to place them in certain ways (so-called AB or XY positioning, don’t remember now, I only record with one condenser mic, and one “stage” mic from further for the room ambiance).
I forgot : you also need to play with the “polarity” shape : cardioid, “8” shape, etc.
If you can afford one, check out the Neumann TLM103. It was originally launched as the ‘baby’ of the Neumann range at a very reasonable price (about £380 sterling when I bought one about 8 years ago) but not much configurability (i.e. only one polar pattern). Nevertheless, it has a beautiful sound but I think Neumann must have cottoned on to the fact that it’s a much better sounding mic than it’s price would suggest. I was gobsmacked when I checked the current price just now. £800-£850 seems typical, although there’s one on ebay (buy it now) for £575 and a couple in auctions, currently standing at around £400. You won’t regret it if you can afford one. The TLM103 is an excellent mic for recording usage. The only drawback is that it’s cardiod only - but that’s usually what you’d want for studio style recording.
apparently, you have a AudioTechnica 3035 (large diaphragm),
so, it can be interesting using a omni directivity & small diaphragm condenser microphone for warmth and room acoustic
if you have more money you can use 2 omni microphones, make a “AB system” for the same purpose and best space feeling
depends on so many variables… so you have to be more precize… i sometimes use a cheap rode nt1 and its cool
Thank you all for the great feedback.
The Neumann TLM103 unfortunately is out of my price rang.
After some searching within my budget of 100-200 I found the “Shure SM137”
The mic was just introduced at “Winter NAMM 2009”
Any thoughts or anyone have experience with this mic?
Not that one, but the Shure SM57 is a legend for electric guitar recordings.
What about some DPA’s ?
The SM57 might suffice in a live situation, but you really want a small-diaphragm condenser for recording to complement your large-diaphragm mic. In the budget range you listed, I’ve got an AT3031 that provides serviceable results on an Ovation that tends to be boomy. I’ve seen favorable opinions for the KSM137, but haven’t personally used one. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Shure SM81 is probably as good a SDC you’ll find under $500.
I have found a SURE KSM137 for about $160 us.
And I can get the AT3031 for about $160 us.
Any feedback on these two and which one I should go for?
Ok I found a great deal on the AT3031 I could not refuse.
I got it for $99.00 at a place called “Music Go Round”
Better price than ebay.
i hear from the tapeop forums that the naiant.com mics are fun n they are dirt cheap too theyre omni mics
Any of the large diaphragm condenser mics from shure sound great, and are priced right. I own two KSM-27’s and two KSM-44’s and am thrilled with both. The 27’s are more budget minded and have only one pattern (cardioid) but should not be ruled out based on their price.
Historically, when recording acoustic guitar in studios I have had good luck with 4050’s (a little bright), U-87, KM-184, and various vintage offerings.
If you have a low budget and like to experiment, try this :
take a cheap headphones and extract the capsules,
rewire one of them to have a mono unit with mono jack (or not),
with some tape, apply this on different parts of your guit, just like your guit is the ear (I like the junction between neck and body, but you have to make no move, cause that’s really close where your body touch the guit)
If you’re lucky (headphone is not so bad))), the result could be nice (you can hear the strings without the strum) but of course needs to add precision from a mic well placed !
PS : I don’t invent this, Beatles have recorded violins with this method in a couple of tunes !
I can suggest the beyerdynamic MC930. Its a very good professional mic for a reasonable price. I have a pair of them. You will have to pay 600 Euro for a pair. One of the advantages are the sensivity of 30mV/Pa which means you will need less amplification so the demand of the preamp is not so high as for other mics.
I already posted this record twice, anyway it´s made with these mics as support mix for the solo instruments. Make you own picture:
I highly recomend this mic. We have a set in the live venue i work in, and its the best sound mic ive heard for acoustic instruments. I dont think it comes with 3 capsuls thoiugh, as we only have 1 with hours, the other 2 must be accessories yoiu buy serperatly.
If you can’t afford a matched pair of Schoeps CMC641, the Octava MK012 is a good, inexpensive mic.
Oops this is the link I meant to post - more info here:
Depending on the guitar and player, I usually end up using one of the following:
AKG C12 (for bright steel string)
U87 (nylon string or dull steel, a Rode NT2 works good if you can’t afford a U87)
AKG 414 (usually use a stereo pair on a steel or nylon string)
Royer 122-R (great for guitarists who don’t like the mic too close, warm sound at a distance, sounds good close too on bright guitars)
Of course the preamp makes a big difference for each mic.
As some others have mentioned, use more than one mic. Even two mics on the same source gives you a bunch of mixing/expressive possibilities.