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Help with Recording Instruments


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#1 M4uesviecr   Members   -  Reputation: 419

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:17 PM

Hey everyone! Basically I have been recording for a recent game track using my acoustic/electric guitar. I have recorded before, but after listening to a plethora of different acoustic sets, I think that my use of space and balance is left to be desired. I would greatly appreciate some feedback from audio-heads who tend to record acoustic instruments (via mic), on ways that I can improve the quality of my recordings. Also, tips on balancing the song as a whole would be greatly appreciated.
I know that balance depends on the musician, but I think that this is beyond personal preference, and more so inexperience.

I use FL Studio 10 Pro Edition, and I am using a Yeti Snowball Microphone.

Link to the piece:

http://soundcloud.co...-ball-game-demo

Edited by M4uesviecr, 15 October 2012 - 05:17 PM.

My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jasminecoopermusic

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you are an artist." Max Jacob


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#2 BloodyOats   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:17 PM

I mostly record everything directly into my computer since I mainly use electric instuments, but I have recorded a few times with acoustic instuments, namely the guitar. If your mic and system is good and you aren't getting any interference from one end to the other then it really just comes down to the room you are in. Typically the recording directly into a mic won't affect this much but if you are for instance playing an acoustic guitar five feet away from the mic then the room can give you desired effects. Smaller rooms give less resonance while larger rooms give more. Different surfaces on the walls such as carpeted panels can affect the sound as well. Also I reccomend having the least amount of things as possible in the room. If you look at any professional recording studio all of the equipment is in another room while the actual recording room where the player is at is virtually empty.

Really it does mostly come down to personal preference but I hope this helps some. Like I said I mostly record electric instuments directly into my system but this is my experience with acoustics.



Edit: I forgot to talk about your track you listed. From the sound of it you got your recording down pretty good and well mixed. You can try some of the things I listed with changing the room you're in and the distance away from the mic to get slight echoes or resonance, but to me your track sounds pretty polished.

Edited by BloodyOats, 15 October 2012 - 06:20 PM.


#3 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:10 PM

My two cents:

The hand drum rhythm seemed to drag at a few points.

The bass was loud and muddy. Try turning gain and bass down, low mids up. This will result in a tighter sound.

Try either compressing for a more sterile sound on the acoustic, or try adding some gain or something for a tube/tape/vinyl type sound on that. Maybe more mids and less treble. Experiment with small amounts of reverb too.

But that's just me picking it apart. It sounded really good! If you think you want more control over your sound, you can make a homemade piezo mic for like $1.50 from parts online and add chorus, reverb etc. from there.


Now perhaps you can help me with electronic stuff! What kind of VST's do you use? You're getting a very good sound from songs like the Celtic Battle Theme.

#4 M4uesviecr   Members   -  Reputation: 419

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:08 AM

Thanks a lot for the feedback guys! It seems I need to spend some time recording in different spaces to get a feel for the environment (and compare). I recorded this track in my dorm room, so needless to say, there are plenty of things around that affect the acoustics. Thanks Bloody!

Dakota, thanks for your advice as well! I will definitely try using the tips that you gave.

As far as virtual instruments are concerned, I use a lot of soundfonts. I use little to no VST programs since most of what I use is free, and all of the free VSTs I've come in counter with (minus the few I have), aren't good to me. I picked a lot of the sfz on websites like...

http://www.hammersound.net/
and
www.sf2midi.com

Not to mention picking up a few packs offered on various forum (packs of sorted, free soundfont libraries). Was I helpful at all?

Edited by M4uesviecr, 16 October 2012 - 12:10 AM.

My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jasminecoopermusic

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you are an artist." Max Jacob


#5 fartheststar   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:57 AM

Here's my $0.02. I'm not an experienced pro by any means, but have tried a few techniques on a few occassions to see what worked for me)

I've had best results recording acoustic guitar by pointing a mic (TLM103 in my case) at about the 12th fret and pointing a second mic at the bridge (either something like a small diaphragm condensor or I've heard some folks have success with SM57). Mix and match what you like. The main sound I like is thin and bright usually so I prefer mostly the 12th fret mic, but the mic at the bridge gives you more body to blend in.

I do think the guitar used and strings makes a big difference. This is a Larivee OM model, which is not a jumbo size - (I think OM is orchestral model) - so it tends to have a more trebly-bright sound than the big juggernaut type guitars that have more going on in lower audio range.

Here's a couple tunes recorded this way to give you an idea of the sound (me and my and highly amateur friends recording in my living room - but I think these give an idea of the acoustic guitar sound):

http://www.unsignedb...24&song_id=2164 (beginning of song is acoustic intro)
http://www.unsignedb...24&song_id=2012 (sortof an acoustic strum thing throughout)

I probably put some verb on the guitars - and probably a fair amount of compression. Acoustic guitar can have some pretty spikey transients that need to be tamed sometimes.

ONe thing I noticed too is there is a sweet spot, and putting on the headphones and moving just slightly in relation to the mics can "greatly" change the sound. I'm talking moving simply an inch or two. With headphones on you can hear it easily when you shift around and hear the sweet spot. I found I liked it best with the mic very close to the 12th fret- maybe 3-4 inches away. The bridge mic didn't seem to be as picky, but there's probably a sweet spot there too. It's kindof hard to get everything right when you're trying to do all of this as a 1 man show, so I did find setting the mics pretty close to what I wanted and then moving my body around to be the best approach (while still being able to hit the "record" button without banging into stuff! LOL. Hope this helps

edit: one more thing - acoustic guitars can get kindof boomy - angling your mics slightly away from the soundhold can help manage that. (or moving your body slightly around to get the boominess away from the mics.) I'm not sure how to best handle finger "squeeks", but I try to minimize it when playing via technique - it can sometimes be distracting. Similarly controlled strumming helps sometimes too - strumming too hard can create buzz sometimes.

I really like your tune once everything kicks in at about 1:06 or so. Are you using a nylon string?

Edited by fartheststar, 16 October 2012 - 01:04 AM.


#6 Tonedeafrob   Members   -  Reputation: 225

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:01 AM

A good tip I also find for recording acoustically is to cut off everything below about 60hZ (give or take, depending on the instrument) this gets rid of a lot of horrid background rumble and makes the mic recording sound clearer
www.soundcloud.com/roblaidlowmusic
Call me Rob :)

#7 GeneralQuery   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1263

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:57 AM

The room you record in will make a big difference to the end result, more so than mic/pre. Depending on how much time, money and space, fixing the acoustics of the room can be as primitive as sticking some duvets on the wall to try and reduce flutter echo to properly acoustically treating the room with some choice absorption and diffusion, but ultimately the laws of physics (room size and shape) will be the final decider. Don't make the mistake a lot of people make and try turning your closet into a recording booth, it's a bad idea. Use the room you have instead.

#8 M4uesviecr   Members   -  Reputation: 419

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

Oh! More great feedback. I haven't really experimented with the use of acoustics (or I have, but I never paid any mind to it). I think if I worked around with it more, I could get an idea of what would be the best place, or at least get good ideas of where I should record if I want a particular type of sound. I'll also take the 60hz method and use it to see what results it yields.

@Farth:

Thanks a ton! I've never heard of the sweet spot theory, so I will definitely try that and see what comes up. To be honest, I usually have my mic facing the sound hole on my guitar, and I have never thought of moving it up the fret. I would think that there may be different places you can put the mic to perhaps get a little more bass, or treble, picked up in the recording. It seems that this will be another thing I have to experiment with. Another thing, in your first track, you have electric guitars that come in after the acoustic intro. Any advice on recording electric guitars? I have an electric, ad I record using the UX1. Do you record by using the microphone method in front of the amp? (I really liked the second song. The harmonies in the vocals were nice)

Also, I am using a steel string! I'm actually very happy with Jagger (yes, I named my instrument). I think I should invest in a new acoustic/electric soon, but he will definitely be one I keep around. I like the intimate sound I get from my Epiphone. Oh, how I want (and will have), a nylon string.

Edited by M4uesviecr, 16 October 2012 - 08:37 AM.

My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jasminecoopermusic

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you are an artist." Max Jacob


#9 fartheststar   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:23 PM

Oh! More great feedback. I haven't really experimented with the use of acoustics (or I have, but I never paid any mind to it). I think if I worked around with it more, I could get an idea of what would be the best place, or at least get good ideas of where I should record if I want a particular type of sound. I'll also take the 60hz method and use it to see what results it yields.

@Farth:

Thanks a ton! I've never heard of the sweet spot theory, so I will definitely try that and see what comes up. To be honest, I usually have my mic facing the sound hole on my guitar, and I have never thought of moving it up the fret. I would think that there may be different places you can put the mic to perhaps get a little more bass, or treble, picked up in the recording. It seems that this will be another thing I have to experiment with. Another thing, in your first track, you have electric guitars that come in after the acoustic intro. Any advice on recording electric guitars? I have an electric, ad I record using the UX1. Do you record by using the microphone method in front of the amp? (I really liked the second song. The harmonies in the vocals were nice)

Also, I am using a steel string! I'm actually very happy with Jagger (yes, I named my instrument). I think I should invest in a new acoustic/electric soon, but he will definitely be one I keep around. I like the intimate sound I get from my Epiphone. Oh, how I want (and will have), a nylon string.


LOL - The "Sweet Spot Theory" is something I just made up- mileage may vary. It works for me but there are lots of approaches I've heard people use. I do like getting the mic very close to the fretboard though. Some folks like an over the shoulder technique also (putting the mic up by the player's ear), but I don't dig that as much - but it could be due to my recording constraints as much as any. I do think you'll like some sounds somewhere other than the soundhole though.

It was a long time ago when I recorded that (maybe around 2000), but I think it was signal going through a Rocktron Voodoo Valve effects processor, to 12" speaker, into probably an SM57 up near the grill of the speaker. I can't tell much difference between amping rock guitar to the side or angled or at edge of cone, but alot of guys try different placements. Edge of cone is supposed to be softer than middle of cone. Turn mic angle a bit to change things a bit. I've never really spent much time on micing guitar amps though. I might move a mic up closer or farther away - but it doesn't seem that hard to pick up the sound if it sounds right coming out of the speaker.

I normally doubled (played them twice) rhythm guitar tracks in those days and panned one fairly hard left and one fairly hard right and that often made a big difference in the rock styles I liked, but it's easy to get too thick if that's not the sound you're going for. I relistened to that tune last night when I posted the link and was a little surprised at the electric guitar sound because I have only been playing through tube amps more recently and love them (the small heads like Blackstar, Blackheart, and Nighttrain), and my ears hear and expect things differently now. Back in the 80s when I was growing up the FX processors were more utilized as part of the more processed rock sound and that influenced my tone - but it's definitely different than a more simple tubey tone that I appreciate now that I'm older.

One thing I will say is don't think expensive equipment is necessary. You can spend fortunes on guitars and amps - but so much is the player and the fingers.

I haven't tried any of of the direct line in boxes like the PODs recently, but alot of folks like them. I went with a friend who was recording a country demo in a studio and the steel guitar player was running directly through a POD into the board - and it sounded great. The only thing that wasn't direct was the acoustic guitar player who was miced. So direct input devices might be the way to go now - but I gave up on them years ago once I fell in love with tubes.

edit: one more thing - yes - on acoustic - I agree with other posts - try rolling off the low frequencies with EQ - especially when you have an acoustic guitar in a denser mix. It doesn't matter much when it's just a simple mix where there's room for everything - but making an acoustic guitar stand out in a thicker mix is hard and cutting out the mud down low can help (I think it helps the compressor too).

Edited by fartheststar, 16 October 2012 - 05:28 PM.





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