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Old 06-17-2013, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Acoustic Guitar Recording - Mic Choices

After coming to the conclusion that I'm either doing something horribly wrong or the pickup on my acoustic guitar is the cause of the hiss, I'm going to try microphones rather than direct cables.

I've tried a soundhole cover, it changed next to nothing, I've tried 3 different input methods (through an amp that is plugged into my computer through a USB, via an XLR to 3.5mm cable and a 1/4 inch to 3.5mm converter) and I've fiddled around with lots of settings, all to no avail. For anyone who's interested my guitar is an Ibanez EW35CPE-NT.
I should also probably mention that I haven't tried a proper audio interface because that would cost me as much as or more than a mic + mic stand.

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask a question; which would be better for recording acoustic guitar?

Behringer C-1 single condenser microphone
or
A pair of Behringer C-2 Condenser Microphones
(I can't post links because this is my first post ever)

An issue that I face here is that I don't have a microphone stand and with the C-1 I would only have to buy one, but with the C-2 it seems I would have to buy 2 stands or only use 1 microphone. What do?

I also don't have a preamp. I'm guessing that this is necessary?

I apologise if this comes across very novice and silly, we all have to learn at some point!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Recording an acoustic is fairly different from an electric.

You don't need to play the acoustic through an amp and record the sound given off by the amp via microphone.

The types of microphones and even individual models from the same brand and type, will all sound different and even just the placement of any given microphone in relation to the speaker will change the sound.

I am assuming your guitar had a pickup or mic of some kind factory installed? If you are not using any effects, record it direct input. That, for me anyway, works better. Hell, even if I want to add effects, I prefer direct input with effects added later VIA VST or something ththat way I can alter the effect without destroying tthe original recording's integrity or re-recording.

I get decent recording and I have what is an average computer today, with no recording USB input boxes or anything. I just put a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter on my instrument cable and plug directly into the computer's microphone jack.

I don't know what "hiss" you are talking about, but even with direct input, you will get noise. Some DAW programs have add-ons or to remove the background noise/hiss/feedback and there are, I am sure, free VSTs for noise removal. There are also free audio processing programs. One is Audacity, or at least it used to be free, I don't know if it still is, and it (or others) may have tools for eliminating noise after recording.


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Old 06-18-2013, 11:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The plan wasn't to mic up an amp, just to mic up the guitar on the soundhole and (if I got the pair) somewhere on the fretboard.

That's what I meant. I've been recording direct input for almost the entire time. I've tried both the line in on my motherboard as well as the microphone jack. It's almost definitely the pickup, not the input method. I've tried sitting all the way across the room as well as 3 different input methods (as mentioned).
Buying a soundhole pickup would cost as much as mic's, so there isn't really much point in that.

I'm also looking into mics because I want that sweet soundhole-y reverb sound.

I've tried various methods of noise removal and none of them have worked. From fiddling with EQ settings to actually doing a noise removal thing (on 2 different programs including Audacity), none of which worked.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd say get the two mics and as you mentioned place one on the sound hole and one at the fretboard, then in your DAW, pan one 50% left and one 50% right. As far as noise removal, thats a whole other can of worms. Got any sound deadening materials on the walls/ceiling?
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Far too poor to buy any real sound deadening, far too lazy to put quilts on my walls and I don't eat enough eggs to make any of that kind of stuff.

It just seems like a lot of effort for something that doesn't seem likely to work.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reign of Tachos View Post
Far too poor to buy any real sound deadening, far too lazy to put quilts on my walls and I don't eat enough eggs to make any of that kind of stuff.

It just seems like a lot of effort for something that doesn't seem likely to work.
I've used moving blankets before, like the ones you'd get if you rented a U-Haul truck. Not on the walls, but I created a small room within a room type thing (when I had a basement).

I understand how things can "Seem so simple" but the fact of the matter is, is that a lot of the the behind the scenes stuff for a quality recording has to do with preparation. You get out of it what you put into it.

There's tons of how-to's on the net if you know how to search for it.

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Old 06-18-2013, 12:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reign of Tachos View Post
The plan wasn't to mic up an amp, just to mic up the guitar on the soundhole and (if I got the pair) somewhere on the fretboard.

That's what I meant. I've been recording direct input for almost the entire time. I've tried both the line in on my motherboard as well as the microphone jack. It's almost definitely the pickup, not the input method. I've tried sitting all the way across the room as well as 3 different input methods (as mentioned).
Buying a soundhole pickup would cost as much as mic's, so there isn't really much point in that.

I'm also looking into mics because I want that sweet soundhole-y reverb sound.

I've tried various methods of noise removal and none of them have worked. From fiddling with EQ settings to actually doing a noise removal thing (on 2 different programs including Audacity), none of which worked.
If your guitar has a microphone pickup inside of it, buying a sound-hole pickup would be a pointless waste.

I am confused, I don't understand how moving around the room would have an effect or how dampening the walls would do anything if you have an interbal mic pickup because the sound from your guitar is not leaving the sound hole, bouncing about the room then re-entering the sound hole and going into the mic.

If you externally mic up the guitar, that problem will be greater, not lesser.

If there is that much noise from an internal microphone pickup that noise removal totally fails, something is way wrong ajd it isn't your room.

Double check some things. First, if your computer is a Windows machine, open up the sound devices and go to the microphone (if that is where you directly plug in) and try turning on DC offset cancellation. Also be sure to turn off acoustic echo cancellation. Next, make sure the microphone boost option is set to 0 and try reducing the microphone input volume.

Also, egg crates do nothing for improving room ambient sound. Room treatment depends on a ton of factors and what you have to do to treat it depends on said factors.


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Old 06-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Various guides around the internet that I came to before here told me that relative distance between the source and the speakers made a difference in noise levels. It didn't.

Right now, my guitar is plugged into my microphone jack on the front of tower via an XLR to 3.5mm cable. I went in to the settings, turned off DC offset cancellation and acoustic echo cancellation. I set microphone boost to 0 but have to put microphone volume to 100 otherwise I can't hear anything.

The noise seems pretty much the same. When I say noise I mean a constant background hiss - like white noise but less ear piercing.

This is why (as I've said and you also said) I feel like this is a guitar pickup problem, and am looking for advice on mics.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Also, when I say that noise removal and EQ fiddling doesnt work, I mean that once you get to a point where the noise is not annoying/ruining the sound, the sound is already ruined by poor EQ or the noise removal process itself
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here is why I am confused...

If your acoustic has a microphone pickup inside the body and you are recording directly input to the computer... how will moving around the room change anything? If you're too close to the speakers, you will get feedback, but that is only if the guitar pickup mic is too close to the speakers and the speakers are on and are playing what is picked up from the mic pickup.

Which begs the question... why are you monitoring the recording through speakers of an acoustic guitar? Turn OFF playback when recording/listen to this device id that is the case. If that is not the case, moving away from the source would mean you'd have ti take the mic pickup out of the guitar and move that, which would be equally as pointless because nothing would he coming out of the speakers anyway.

If sound removal just destroys the quality of the recording, you either had a bad recording or you did the sound removal/settings wrong.

Even if you externally mic-up, you WILL get that same background white-noise. Removing it should not detriment the sound unless the level of white-noise is stupid high and the sound level of the guitar is really low.

Now just to cover all bases and be perfectly clear, when I say direct input, I mean guitar straight into the computer, no amplifier involved.


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Last edited by anathematized_one; 06-18-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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