As I’ve watched some young engineers record acoustic guitars (or any acoustic instrument such as a mandolin, ukulele, etc), I’ve discovered that very little thought seems to go into this process. So I’ll briefly share some techniques that I personally use which will undoubtedly yield you some great results! These aren’t new or groundbreaking techniques by any means, but I’ve noticed that a shockingly large number of engineers do not get good captures when it comes to these instruments.
So here we go; let’s start with two quality small diaphragm condenser microphones. And no, they do NOT need to be a matched stereo pair. They don’t even need to be the same make or model of microphone! This is a very common misconception. Examples of the mics that I use for this application are the Audio Technica DR3700 (also known as the AT Pro37), the Audio Technica 2021 (very, very similar to the DR3700 and Pro 37), the Shure SM81, the Shure KSM141, the Neumann KM184, the Octava MK-012, and even the MXL 991. Now I understand that many of these mics are considered fairly high-dollar. But don’t fret, I’ve achieved good results with lesser mics many times. Just do your best with what you have! One of my favorite mic combos for this is the AT 2021 on the neck and the MXL 991 on the bridge, which are both under $100.00!
Now that we’ve got some ideas for which microphones to use, we need to address the ever-challenging issue of physical placement for the mics. This is also something that I see many, many engineers struggle with. So let’s take a look at the very popular X-Y coincident pair; I really hope you guys are familiar with this technique. If you aren’t, do some research on this because it is easily one of the most used and effective miking techniques ever invented. By creating a 90 degree angle with the two mic capsules, you virtually eliminate phasing issues and allow yourself a capture that is a more accurate and “complete” representation of the sound source. Now let’s talk about proximity effect; this is a huge problem. As most of you know, the proximity effect comes from microphones being placed too close to a sound source, resulting in an undesirable low-end boom in your tracks. Sometimes this can be filtered out without much of a problem, but why do that when you can do things correctly from the get-go?! So let’s start a good 10-12 inches away from our sound source (our acoustic guitar or mandolin or whatever it may be). One microphone aimed at the bridge of the instrument, and the other aimed at the neck. Try swapping the mics to see which is yielding a better capture for each side of the instrument.
Using these two signals in the mixing stage is where the fun comes in! Make note of which mic you placed on the neck and which one is on the bridge. Pan them in any way you see fit for you mix. Enjoy!
-Josh Franklin, MediaTech Institute Alumni
Check out what our student Johnny Cromer has to say about his experience at MediaTech Institute:
What can I say about MediaTech Dallas? For beginners, I can say “Creativity Is Welcome Here” because it surely is. Case in point, I helped a classmate out with his large band project, and we had to have drums and 15 tracks in all. After mixing the drums, we still needed seven more tracks to call the project complete. I added four more tracks by playing acoustic guitar, harmonica, kazoo, and sang. My classmate thought of using handclaps and finger snaps, so that added two more tracks. A tech happened by the studio we had booked and sat down at the Steinway and added another track. That was our 15 tracks. Now we could take down everything and go home. If that ain’t being creative, I don’t know what is!
Now a word about the staff. They are AWESOME. There is no doubt in my mind you can go to any staff member with a problem and they would help you find a solution. But, they cannot read minds, you have to tell them.
Please join us in welcoming Tha Kracken to MediaTech Institute Dallas! He will be guest speaking on Friday, June 27th at 2:00 PM! Please find his bio below:
When you look up the definition to the word “Chameleon” you very well may see the name “Tha Kracken!” The hard work that Tha Kracken put into his Chameleon styled production has paid off as he has found himself working with nationally known artists as Mya, Jermaine Dupree, Jagged Edge, Cherish, Lloyd, Young Joc, Bow Wow and Omarion, KeKe Palmer, Pleasure P., and Lecrae. The multi-talented producer considers himself an music producer who can “go in and do it all.” That includes writing, arranging, and actually playing the music. Tha Kracken learned to play every instrument he could because he thought that all music producers did so.
His official entry into the music game began with his first placement on Jermaine Dupri’s “Young Fly and Flashy” From that point came more success with the single for Jagged Edge “Good Luck Charm” which was nominated for a American Music award for best R&B Favorite R&B/Soul Band, Duo or Group RIAA certified Gold. Single. He is responsible for the 2006 summer smash “Do It To it” by Cherish that was certified gold by the RIAA. He also received an ASCAP Pop Music Award in April 2007 for most played song. Summer 2007 everybody was singing the catchy and memorable hook to “Coffee Shop” Yung Joc’s first single off his second album Hustlenomics. Fall 2007 all the ladies were being crooned to and mesmerized with Bow Wow Omarion’s first single “Girlfriend.” Off of there best of the best world album Face Off. Spring 2008 Tha Kracken continued to add to his resume by lending his production talents to Pleasure P’s Debut album, and in 2009 Mac 10’s Single “So Sharp.” In 2010 he teamed up with Reach Records to give them a more mainstream sound for the fast rising Christian Hip Hop genre. He made Hip Hop History with Reach Records’ artist Lecrae who released his album “Rehab” selling over 25K in the first week and was #17 on the BillBoard Top 200, #1 on the Christian and Gospel Charts, #1 on the independent Charts, and #5 on the Rap Charts. These Billboard numbers have never been achieved by any Faith Based Christian Hip Hop artist. In 2012 he lent his production skills to Lecrae album “Gravity” which sold over 70K albums in the first week charting at #1 on the BillBoard Hip Hop Chart. He has worked with every artist signed to the Reach Records and as a collective have sold well over 500K albums, receiving 2 Stella Awards, and 1 Dove Award.
“Now Thats What I Call Music 23″
Lloyd “Street Love”
Jagged Edge ” Jagged Edge”
Bow Wow/Omarion “Face Off”
Jagged Edge: “Good Luck Charm”
Karina Pasian: Best Contemporary R&B album
Bow Wow/Omarion: Outstanding Duo or Group
Lecrae: Best Gospel Rap/Rock
Lecrae: “Rehab Overdose”
Trip Lee “Between Two Worlds”
Lecrae ”Rehab The Overdose”
ASCAP POP MUSIC AWARD
Cherish “Do It To It”
A cool spot 2 land on May 31st at 8pm!!!
Local stars, drinks and music…
Plus a $100 footlocker giftcard raffle!!!
Doors open at 8pm
Performances start at 9pm
$7 after 10 it’s $5
Hosted by: HoneyMonroe Bry Jones
Birthday: May 13, 1950
Motown prodigy and multi-instrumentalist who broke the record for Grammy Awards held by a solo artist with twenty-two titles and released over thirty top ten hits during his career.
He suffered from retinopathy of prematurity, which caused his retinas to detach and he became blind. He signed with Motown Records when he was eleven years old.
He released the hit song “Fingertips (Pt. 2)” when he was thirteen and his album, Songs in the Key of Life, was ranked 56 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the top 500 albums of all time.
He married Syreeta on September 14, 1970 and, after their divorce in March 1972, he married Kai Millard Morris on September 1, 2001.
He played harmonica alongside Barbra Streisand on her song “Can’t Help Loving That Man,” which appeared on The Broadway Album.
George Lucas Facts
Director, producer, and screenwriter who created the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founded Lucasfilm.
He wanted to be a race car driver growing up. His debut film was American Graffiti from 1973.
His estimated net worth was $3.9 billion in 2013 after he sold Star Wars to Disney.
He married film editor Marcia Lou Griffin on February 22, 1969 and divorced her in 1983. He remarried to Mellody Hobson in 2013.
He cast Scottish actor Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.