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Mic and preamp

What are favorite mic/preamps for recording - not looking for live set up - and anyone have any tips on other elements they like to add to their chain? Again - recording not live. Appreciate y'alls experience.

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  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    Posts: 96

    Recording in a closet full of clothes (to reduce reflections) with your phone isn't terrible. The next step up is getting like a zoom recorder which is plug and play. The next step up is around $500, but you starting to get into "professional" sound design. However, this level is what I feel is the best bang for buck, and allows for some flexibility for playing live since your mic can double for live shows:

    • Audacity Recording software - Free
    • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface - $170
    • AT831 Mic (with AT8538 XLR to mini-XLR module) - $200

    Additional recommended accessories - these allow for mounting your mic similar to DPA mics.

    • 3ft - 10ft XLR cable (not bottom barrel, but not expensive either) - $20
    • AT8418 gooseneck mount for mic - $40
    • Basic mount to guitar (soft pads or suction cups) - $20

    ++

    +++

    ++

    Now that you've got your stuff, let's setup the mic & audio

    1. Turn on phantom power on your interface
    2. Enable the high-pass filter notch on your AT8538 (cuts out rumble)
    3. Point the mic where the body meets the neck (12-14th fret), about 4 - 6 inches away
    4. Pull up the gain on your interface until you start clipping when playing your hardest
    5. Open up Audacity, and make sure you're not clipping in there either
    6. Record your music
    7. Add a high pass filter at around 150 - 250hz (in effects, leave at 6db)
    8. Add a low pass filter at 10,000 hz (10khz, leave at 6db)

    With the above steps you should have a pretty decent sounding recording. Of course there are more things you can do, but it's an audio engineering rabbit hole at that point.

    Good luck!

  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 404

    Thanks - I am wondering what the high end mics and preamps people recommend though - ribbon, tube, condensor - manley pres, blue, avalon etc. . . I studied some acoustic architecture so I think I can tune my room in but I have never been happy with my cheap blue mic and akai soundcard.

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 406

    I really like the Neumann K184. I use it with a a lowly Zoom H6 and it sounds great, a huge step up from either my AT831 or DPA 4099. The DPA is pretty good tho.

    Check out this thread with some great responses from some of our more pro players


    https://djangobooks.com/forum/discussion/14915/recording-mics-and-placement/p2

    nomadgtr
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 404

    In general are the small diaphragm "lipstick" condensers the way to go? Stereo pair? How about ribbon mics - anyone experiment with those?

  • Posts: 3,166

    I also went with Neumann but TLM 102. I could've stretched for KM 184 but wanted to get a good all around mic. But @Scoredog records his guitars with 184 and they sound incredibly good to me. His recordings actually made me stop looking into stereo setup. Then I paired that with Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. Looking back I'd spend more and get Clarett. While Scarlett is in no way noisy, at times I'd like it to be quiter. On the upshot, Scarlett has a very good headphones amp and my headphones sound considerably better.

    Scoredog
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 3,166

    Neumann has a series of helpful videos. A lot of the stuff is very basic but they have several on single mic acoustic guitar recording that are very well done and educated me.


    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 404

    That is a large diaphragm right? I think that is a lot of good info. So you also go mono.

    I saw some agreement - high pass low pass, any other general tips on eq?

    I finally got some decent monitors and a decent room so am finally able to start hearing some of this stuff at home. I like Gonzalo's sound as an individual - rhythm futures as a group. New worlds opened when I started listening in a proper monitoring environment.

  • ArcticguitarArcticguitar Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts: 20

    The KM184 is always a safe choice. I’ve done a bunch of recording in 2020, instead of jamming/gigs. I like my 184s and my rode NTR ribbon mic. Below are some samples. For the preamp keep it simple and clean. I think all the modern stuff is probably good. For eq, I like a high pass filter just below the range of the guitar to get rid of room rumble etc. Sometimes there is a boxy, boomy sound between 200-250hz so mess around there and listen. I try to never use more than a 3db boost or cut. And really I never use more than 1.5-2db, if I hear something wrong that needs more than that it means I need to reevaluate the mic placement rather than mess with the eq. Sometimes I like a hi frequency shelf way up at like 13 or 14khz. This is all “to taste” though.

    here are some samples of different mics and setups. my cat plays bass in a couple of the videos. I didn’t keep track of exactly what mics so I picked out, so these are the videos I more or less remember (or in the case if the second one where I can see the mic setup in the shot)

    rode NTR ribbon in mono:

    KM184s and Rode NTR in a Mid Side stereo setup

    stereo km184s in ORTF


    Bill Da Costa Williams
  • edited March 20 Posts: 3,166

    Aaron, yes 102 is a large diaphragm. I really like the sound of 184 on an acoustic better but I was looking for a one trick pony mic and I think 102 fills that bill better with the price tag I could read without my eyes widening.

    Yeah, Adam's vids from last year sound really great.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 404

    @Arcticguitar cool man - that is going to be really helpful. I am not at home right now and look forward to listening in my monitors at home, but listening in my phone I can hear the difference between the ribbon and condensers right away. Over the phone the m/s sounds much like the rhythm future sound I like so much.

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