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Recording Acoustic Instruments
Recording Acoustic Instruments!
Other Jeza Tips
I will not be getting into MIDI recording, that is not my area of
expertise. I am an acoustic guitar player and vocalist. Recording an
acoustic guitar or any acoustic instrument well is notoriously difficult.
The sound produced is different coming from the soundhole, the bridge, the
strings themselves and the reflected sound from the wall of the room.
Placing an industry standard SURE SM57 microphone 6 inches away from the
soundhole does not quite do the overall sound justice and I am often
disappointed with first takes, even though I gave my all in the
performance. How do you achieve that Crosby Stills Nash and Young sparkling
guitar sound with one microphone and a home recording set-up?
On my CD 'jeza wined up' we were very aware of this problem and
experimented in numerous ways. There is an amusing photo of me recording in
the family bathroom - but the take will never be heard. We tried recording
with a PZM mike in parallel. These are surprisingly cheap, wall mounted
mikes (the type used in Police interview rooms (or so I've heard)) designed
to capture an ambient room sound. Great for recording those bedroom jams or
small gigs when you really wish you had a tape recorder going for that
knockout jam session .. but we found there was a little too much low level
hiss that required much filtering to leave a thin and unusable recording.
At the end of the day, my original takes were only ever used as guide
tracks and we approached a pro-studio nearby to hire a hyper sensitive
Russian stereo mike for the weekend to make the finished recordings before
mixing. Of course your primary aim is to capture a perfect performance. No
amount of studio trickery will cover up a botch job in the first instance,
so once you have that primary good take, what can you do with it?
I record my music direct to PC using CoolEditPro software, a single
industry standard mike, a mid-range soundcard, and no mixing desk .. On a
recently released 'experimental' home recording called 'Darkness', I used a
hardcore drum&bass techno rhythm track, but no other techno instruments ..
with Santana-esque lead rock guitar, but the lead instrument was my
acoustic guitar, I wanted it up-front in the mix with a big fat stereo
sound so I could hear all the harmonics and open strings. To achieve this,
once I had my primary 'perfect performance' mono take, I remixed it into
stereo and entered each side of the track, treating left and right slightly
differently. Tweaking the EQ to enhance either bass or treble strings and
adding either room ambience or subtle echoes to each side of the track. I
then added the original 'clean' recording to the centre of the stereo
seperation, slightly higher in the mix, 'compressed' each recording to
maximise the mid range sounds and remixed the three tracks together -
result, a sparkling 3 dimensional ambient recording.
Don't discard that first take if you are making post production changes.
You never know when you might need to pull it out again.
C. 2001, All rights Reserved
Recording Acoustic Instruments I
Tuning a Guitar (properly) I
Finding Unique Visitors I