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Online Guide Recording Acoustic Guitars
Microphones

 


Dynamic or Condenser?

With the acoustic guitar, condenser mics will almost always give a better result. The guitar has a very wide frequency range, from just above 80Hz right to the end of the audible spectrum, and the higher frequencies must be reproduced accurately in order to preserve the
Harmonic1) Adjective describing the aspects of music associated with harmony (several differently pitched notes sounding together). 2) A clear, pure tone produced on the guitar by lightly placing a finger of the fretting hand directly above a mathematically determined position on the string. The easiest harmonics are found at the twelfth and (approximately) seventh and fifth frets.
harmonic
content which gives the instrument its character. Having said this, there are a very few dynamic mics, such as the Sennheiser MD441 and Beyer M201 which give a fairly
Flat ResponseTerm which refers to equipment that does not colour the frequency spectrum of a signal passed through it.
flat
response across the frequency range. Other dynamics and also ribbon mics can sometimes be useful where a very relaxed or Ďfatí sound is required - in this case itís particularly important to use a high quality pre-amp in order to achieve results that approach the dynamic range and low noisefloor of a good quality condenser.


Large or Small Diaphragm?

Small
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragm
condensers tend to have a more accurate and neutral sound than large
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragm
designs, which are often optimised for the human voice. Small
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragms
by definition have better
PhaseIn audio and signal processing in general, phase describes the relationship between one or more signals and time. If two signals are identical but one is delayed by less than one complete wave cycle, the difference is described as a phase difference. This is normally expressed in degrees, with 360 representing a full wavelength.
phase
coherence which helps the guitar to Ďsití in the mix more easily. Ultimately this choice is governed by the
ArrangementSetting of a piece of music. An arrangement can add details omitted by the composer, or may replace those originally notated and be merely based on the original work.
arrangement
being recorded - a
PFLPre-Fade Listen: a type of solo function on a mixing desk whereby a channel is monitored (usually via monitor outputs only, not the main outputs), bypassing its fader (and usually also pan) setting and muting all other channels.
solo
guitar
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
or guitar and vocal recording can often benefit from the warmth of a large
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragm
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
, while many pop tracks, which tend to use acoustic guitar as a mainly percussive element, are best made using a small
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragm
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
.

These are generalisations, of course. As with any other aspect of recording, personal experience and experimentation play a vital role. An open-minded engineer will often try various mics while setting up a session, or even change mics between takes if their initial choice just isnít working.


Response Pattern

The directional response pattern of a
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphone
can have a big effect on the sound achieved. The guitar sound we hear from across a room radiates from the instrumentís entire top, and even directly from the strings. Pointing a highly directional
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
at any one point will generally result in a sound focused on one part of the frequency spectrum at the expense of others. A standard
CardioidA heart-shaped microphone response pattern. In effect, cardioid mics are generally directional, but not strongly unidirectional.
cardioid
response generally gives much better results than hyper/supercardioid, and a wide
CardioidA heart-shaped microphone response pattern. In effect, cardioid mics are generally directional, but not strongly unidirectional.
cardioid
pattern can be even better, but is usually found only on expensive large
DiaphragmIn a microphone the diaphragm is a thin membrane up to 1" in diameter that converts sound waves into electrical current. A loudspeaker diaphragm does exactly the reverse.
diaphragm
mics.

An
OmnidirectionalsDescribes a microphone that responds to sound equally from all directions. This is represented as a circular or spherical response pattern; omnidirectional designs are often used as ambient microphones.
omnidirectional
response can also yield excellent results, though its use tends to be restricted to professional studios as room
AmbienceCharacter of an environment. In audio, the sonic characteristics of a space, from the size of the space to what type of sounds are a normal part of it.
ambience
will be faithfully captured as well as the guitar itself. On the other hand,
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
response tends to be flatter, as close miking with any other type of
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
will accentuate the bottom end to some extent. As a general rule, the more directional the
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphone
, the greater the ideal distance.

Small diaphragm condenser mic


MonoSingle-channel sound recording or mix, as opposed to multi-channel formats such as stereo and surround sound.
Mono
or Stereo?

Until recently, recording sessions were limited by the number of tracks available, from the four-track machines used on most of the Beatlesí catalogue, to the 48-track
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
machines found in large studios in the Eighties and Nineties. Nowadays, most home-based project studios can comfortably record many more than 48 tracks, and there is therefore always a temptation to record everything in stereo. While this can produce a big sound that sounds great on its own, a
MonoSingle-channel sound recording or mix, as opposed to multi-channel formats such as stereo and surround sound.
mono
guitar
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
will often sit more easily in a busy mix. The nature of the music will therefore play a large part in this decision.

 

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