Thanks to everybody for listening to the mic shoot-out I posted on Thursday between the Shure SM7B and SM58.
A lot of people joined in the discussion, and things got pretty interesting! There were several comments here on the blog. Also, I published a link to the post over at Harmony Central, which got a few responses.
However, the biggest discussion is happening over at Gearslutz. Somebody posted a link to the shoot-out there, and a lot of folks joined in the discussion. Be sure to check them out. Pretty interesting reading.
This episode of Ask Joe is a bit on the long side, but Chris asked some really good questions, and I think a lot of readers have the same sort of questions, so here we go!
First, great website. I’ve been dabbling in home recording for a few years now, and this is by far the most user-friendly and intuitive user-generated website I’ve seen. It’s a great service, and I really appreciate it.
As I indicated, I’ve been “dabbling” in home recording for a few years. I initially got into it to make hip hop beats (a phase I went through) and to record basic guitar/vocal demos. Here’s my current rig:
If you’ve been involved with audio for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve used a Shure SM58. It’s the workhorse of the live sound world, and it’s not a bad mic. But how does it sound in the studio?
Typically, when you think about recording vocals in a studio, you picture the singer in front of a nice large-diaphragm condenser microphone. Condenser mics are great, but is it ever appropriate to use a dynamic mic to record vocals?
A few days ago I wrote 3 Reasons to Stereo-Mic Acoustic Guitar. While stereo-miked acoustic guitar can sound amazing, sometimes it makes more sense to use a single microphone. With that in mind, I’ve come up with the following list. (Be sure to share your opinions in the comments section.)
3 Reasons NOT to Stereo-Mic Acoustic Guitar
1. The guitar is cheap (or just doesn’t sound all that great.)
For several years I owned a fairly cheap Ibanez acoustic guitar. It didn’t sound awful, but it didn’t sound great. It was made out of a wood laminate and was lacking in the low end.
I tried recording that guitar with two mics, but it never gave me a much better sound.
If you think about it, it makes sense. One of the main reasons I proposed for stereo-miking acoustic guitar was the fact that it allows you to capture the entire instrument. However, if the entire instrument doesn’t sound all that great, capturing more of the instrument won’t help.
In case you’re wondering, I was still able to get a decent recording out of that Ibanez. I used the proximity effect to my advantage. I would place a large-diaphragm condenser a couple inches from the 12th fret. The recording ended up having much more low end than the guitar itself normally had. (You can read more about the proximity effect here.)
If you’re attempting to record a cheaper acoustic guitar, spend some time with a single microphone, find a “sweet spot,” and go from there.
If you’re a home studio owner, then you will inevitably be recording a lot of acoustic guitar. Whether you play yourself, or you’re working with a local singer-songwriter, it pays off to spend some time learning how to mic an acoustic guitar.
There are as many ways to mic an acoustic guitar as there are engineers in the world. For the purposes of this article, I want to show you why you should consider stereo-miking acoustic guitars (that is, using two microphones on the guitar instead of just one.)
Most home studio owners will throw a single mic on an acoustic guitar, point it at the 12th fret, and hit record. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I think a lot of people are missing out on some very cool guitar tones.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with 3 Reasons to Stereo-Mic Acoustic Guitar.
1. It adds width to your guitar-vocal demos (or solo acoustic guitar).