Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Recording Acoustic Guitars

3. 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 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 response across the frequency range. Other dynamics and also ribbon mics can sometimes be useful where a very relaxed or ‘fat’ sound is required - in this case it’s 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 diaphragm condensers tend to have a more accurate and neutral sound than large diaphragm designs, which are often optimised for the human voice. Small diaphragms by definition have better phase coherence which helps the guitar to ‘sit’ in the mix more easily. Ultimately this choice is governed by the arrangement being recorded - a solo guitar track or guitar and vocal recording can often benefit from the warmth of a large diaphragm mic, while many pop tracks, which tend to use acoustic guitar as a mainly percussive element, are best made using a small diaphragm 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 isn’t working.

Response Pattern

The directional response pattern of a microphone can have a big effect on the sound achieved. The guitar sound we hear from across a room radiates from the instrument’s entire top, and even directly from the strings. Pointing a highly directional 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 cardioid response generally gives much better results than hyper/supercardioid, and a wide cardioid pattern can be even better, but is usually found only on expensive large diaphragm mics.

An omnidirectional response can also yield excellent results, though its use tends to be restricted to professional studios as room ambience will be faithfully captured as well as the guitar itself. On the other hand, bass response tends to be flatter, as close miking with any other type of mic will accentuate the bottom end to some extent. As a general rule, the more directional the microphone, the greater the ideal distance.

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 Beatles’ catalogue, to the 48-track 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 mono guitar track will often sit more easily in a busy mix. The nature of the music will therefore play a large part in this decision.

Your Contacts
PA
Phone: +49-9546-9223-35
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Phone: +49-9546-9223-20
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Quad Par Profile 5x8W RGB WW worth €66.
What is the ´Fundemental´?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our Fans
Thank you for the perfect Job! Very fast and high-quality delivery.
R. U., 10.04.2018

Recording Acoustic Guitars overview

Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 Alesis Surge Mesh Kit Adam T5V Subpac M2X Roland R-07 black Yamaha Stagepas 600BT Arturia Minibrute 2 Focal Listen Professional Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite Focal Shape Twin Sound Devices MixPre-3 Yamaha Stagepas 400BT
(4)
Recommended
Alesis Vortex Wireless 2

Alesis Vortex Wireless 2; USB/MIDI Keytar Controller with Accelerometer; Portable Performance Keyboard with Shoulder Strap, 37 touch sensitive keys with aftertouch; Eight touch sensitive RGB illuminated Performance Pads, Eight illuminated faders for volume or parameter control; Programmable tilt sensor with...

to the product
€249
Recommended
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

E-Drum Set 385 Sounds, 40 kits, 60 songs, Additional input for a fourth tom and a second crash pad, 2 Master outputs 6.3 mm mono jack, Headphone output 3.5 mm stereo jack, Aux input 3.5mm stereo jack, MIDI input...

to the product
€585
(1)
Recommended
Adam T5V

Active Nearfield Monitor Equipped with: 5" woofer and 1.9" U-ART ribbon tweeter, 2x Class-D amplifiers: 50W RMS woofer, 20W RMS tweeter, Frequency range: 45 - 25000 Hz, Crossover frequency: 3 kHz, Maximum input level: 106 dB (1m/pair), Rear bass...

to the product
€169
Recommended
Subpac M2X

Subpac M2X, Mobile tactile bass system, SubPac adds real depth, connection and enjoyment to whatever you play through it - your music and media comes to life with the added dimension of physical bass. Frequency Response: 1hz-200hz, Wired Input: 3.5mm...

to the product
€385
(1)
Recommended
Roland R-07 black

Portable MP3 / WAV Recorder with Bluetooth Functionality Stereo recordings up to 24 Bit / 96 kHz in WAV format or up to 396 kbps in MP3 format on microSD / SDHC card, Built-in stereo microphone, Integrated hybrid limiter,...

to the product
€225
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 600BT

Mini-PA System with Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 10-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 600i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6...

to the product
€799
(2)
Recommended
Arturia Minibrute 2

Arturia Minibrute 2; analog semi-modular Synthesizer; Combination of classic and modular Synthesizer; 25 note Keyboard with Aftertouch; Brute-Oscillator; Steiner-Parker-Filter; additional Loop-Envelope; linear FM; Hardsync; two free assignable LFOs; integrated Step Sequencer; Arpeggiator; 48 point Patchbay; Pitch- and Modulation Wheel; Connections:...

to the product
€649
Recommended
Focal Listen Professional

Headphones Closed, Circumaural, Conversion technology for acoustic transparency and dynamics, Impedance: 32 ohms, Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz - / 1 Vrms): 122 dB SPL, THD (THD, @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL): 0.3%, Frequency range: 5 Hz to...

to the product
€249
Recommended
Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite

Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite; 1-Channel Mic-Preamp wit EQ; based on the 1073; hand wound Carnhill Transformers; 3 stage fully discrete class A mic preamp; max. Gain: 80 dB Mic and 50 dB Line; -20 dB Pad; LO-Z switches the...

to the product
€945
(1)
Recommended
Focal Shape Twin

Active Near Field Monitor Tweeter with low directivity for flexible listening position, Closed design with two passive membranes for easy installation near the wall, 2.5-Way concept for optimal control of the bass and lower mids, Optimal integration through extensive...

to the product
€849
Recommended
Sound Devices MixPre-3

Sound Devices MixPre-3; portable audio recorder with USB audio interface; 5 tracks: stereo mix + 3 isolated tracks; Kashmir microphone preamp with 76db gain; equivalent Input Noise: 128dBu max (A-weighting, gain=76dB, 150 Ohm source impedance); limiter per channel; low cut...

to the product
€745
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 400BT

Mini-PA System Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 8-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 400i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6 m...

to the product
€555
Feedback Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

Please leave a comment. Please enter your e-mail address.