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I want to record me playing my acoustic guitar. What type of microphone should I use for this, a dynamic or condenser type? Are there any tips for where the mic shpould be positioned in relation to the sound hole?

Alternatively, it is acceptable to just plug it in (it is an electro-acoustic) straight into a recording interface?

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4 Answers 4

The mic you use depends on your budget. A dynamic mic (eg the SM57/58) do good jobs at the lower end of the price scale. Condenser mics however capture a wider range of frequencies during recording so therefore sound slightly better, although this is based on the preference of the player. They are more expensive however, with some going up to and beyond £1500. For a good, cheaper condenser mic that still does a good job I would recommend the Rode NT5.

When it comes to recording, position the mic about 30-40cm away from the guitar, at about the level with of the lower end of the fretboard (near the sound hole). Angle the microphone body towards the sound hole from it's position. You can experiment with what gets the sound that you want, moving the mic around. Trying different mic techniques can also be interesting. I have known people to place one mic pointing at the fretboard, and one down at the sound hole, to give an interesting stereo effect.

And yes, plugging the output cable from an electro-acoustic into an audio interface is absolutely fine. From there, inside the software, you can change the EQ, put effects and reverb and whatnot on the recording.

Note however that the output from an electro-acoustic sounds different from a mic-recorded acoustic guitar. Sometimes you just want that background strumming (particularly with twelve-strings) sound that electro-acoustics don't always produce.

Hope this helps :)

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I would say a condenser mic at a reasonable distance from you; something like a Rode NT1A is a good and reasonably priced solution for this; and will pick up vocals really well at the same time.

Here is an example I found on Youtube with the search nt1a acoustic guitar

And yes it is acceptable to just plug the electro acoustic into a recording interface, you can do a lot with VST's to make the guitar sound as if it were being played live.

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Id suggest a matched pair of CAM i2. You get very much for a little money, if you direct one at the fretboard and one at the corpus.

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There is no single correct answer to this -- every answer will be subjective, and your options will change dramatically depending on your price point. Every microphone and mic preamp has its own character, and it's up to you to determine whether that character is what you want for that application.

The previous poster is correct -- the Shure SM 57 is the Swiss Army Knife of microphones. If your budget is under $100, you can pick up a 57 and use it on just about everything. It won't always be the best mic for the job, but it will record anything from a screaming half stack to classical guitar. They are famously durable, a trait which is not necessarily shared by high-end condenser mics.

If you go to a recording studio, you will most commonly see acoustic guitar recorded with a high-quality small diaphragm condenser microphone.

As for whether you should go for a matched pair of small diaphragm condensers, this will also depend on both your budget and the specifics of the application. If the acoustic guitar is the foundation of a song, you may find it useful to record in stereo. If you record in stereo, you will likely find that you get better results with a matched pair of small diaphragm condensers.

There are more threads on recording boards about which small-diaphragm condenser mics are the best for the money than one could ever reasonably read, so the best thing for you to do is go somewhere where you can test several options with your guitar, and pick what sounds best to you.

There are some people out there who work miracles modifying cheap microphones. Mark Fouxmann can take an AKG C-1000, which you can find for under $100 used, and make it sound like a mic that costs ten times that much.

http://tapeop.com/reviews/gear/75/mod-of-the-akg-c-1000-s-mic/

I have one of these modded C-1000s, and I've A/B'ed it in a recording studio against some very high-end mics, and been very impressed with the results.

In regards to placement, this is again subjective. The default placement is around the 12th fret, away from the soundhole. You may find, however, that there are other placements you like for different applications. Try having a friend play your guitar while you listen. Move your ears to different spots, and find what sounds good to you.

There will never be a single right or wrong answer. Know your options, experiment, and trust your ears.

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