[Ardour-Users] acoustic guitar tone

Chris Caudle chris at chriscaudle.org
Mon Mar 5 17:43:24 PST 2018

On Mon, March 5, 2018 4:22 am, Matt Keys wrote:
> I googled first and the general recommendation seems to be to use a single
> dynamic mic aimed just forward-left or forward-right of the sound hole, or
> a single condensing mic about 2 feet away. Is there a rule of thumb for
> what mic to use and placement of those mics for the tone you're going for?

It really depends on what sound you want.  For classical style guitar it
is typical to have a sound similar to what an audience would hear, just a
little closer maybe, so a mic placement several feet away so that plenty
of the natural hall ambience is recorded is typical.
For pop productions, one or sometimes two microphones, placed close, and
sometimes in the mix the low frequencies are attenuated so that the rhythm
guitar becomes almost a percussion instrument.  Or anything in between.
Really there is not much substitute for trying different microphone
placements to see which you like with your guitar and your style of music.

> As an example, I would love to have tone like this:
> https://youtu.be/u7RLjNOael4 . It looks like he's using two condenser mics
> in opposite phase and maybe the pickup too.

That sounds to me like primarily pickup, and with quite a bit of
compression.  Notice how the sections that have only left hand hammer-on
are nearly as loud and bright sounding as the section he is strumming.  I
won't say you can't get the acoustic sound that consistent, but it would
be unusual.

> I'm lost on the purpose or
> intention of the components deployed in that configuration.

No one says that everything you setup has to be featured in the mix of
every song.  Perhaps they wanted to compare different sounds and just used
the one best for a particular song.

> Why dual condensing mics?

If I had to guess a typical answer to that question I would say either the
microphones sound different, so they are picking which one sounds best for
a particular song, or if the microphones are identical they are being used
in a stereo configuration either to focus on different parts of the guitar
(sound hole vs. fingerboard) or just to pick up stereo ambience from the
room.  It is hard for me to tell from that camera angle the distance
between the microphones and the guitar.  If only 30cm or so I would say to
pickup different parts of the sounds, fret board noise vs. sound hole
sound (which would have more bass).  If one or two meters, then I would
say to pick up the natural reverberation of the room.

Chris Caudle

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