Instrument Miking

Classical and Acoustic Guitar

Does the guitar sound right for the music you're recording? Do any of the frets buzz? When were the strings last changed? Is it in tune? Is the guitarist wearing anything that could knock against the guitar while playing? These questions may sound obvious but it's important to consider them before each recording session.

When it comes to mic placement, tests have shown that placing one mic around 20-30cm from the guitar, with the capsule aimed at the point where the guitar's neck joins the body works well. This produces a well-balanced sound with about the right levels of sound from the neck, body, sound hole and the room. Pointing directly at the sound hole produces a bassy sound and is to be avoided for studio recording. In general, moving the mic further towards the neck will brighten the sound, while moving closer to the sound hole will add bass. Moving the mic further away from the guitar will increase the proportion of room acoustic and the relative level of electrical noise from the mic, while moving in will reduce the contribution from the guitar's body and the room giving a dryer sound - this can be useful in small rooms with a poor acoustic as you can always add reverb afterwards. Though beware of room resonaces in small rooms when recording. If you hear bass notes popping out of the recording - treat the room or hang some duvets on the walls! For a more in-depth look at mic placement we recommend reading Paul White's excellent article in Sound On Sound magazine entitled 'Recording Acoustic Guitar'.

Vocals

The MiniSonic Mic Kit comes with two important accessories for the singer, a pop-shield and a windsheild. When a singer sings hard consonants like 'p' or 'k' a short fast burst of air is created. If this rush of air contacts the diaphragm of a microphone directly it creates a popping sound and ruins the recording. The pop-shield breaks up this air flow without changing the sound and protects the mic's diaphragm. For particularly loud/expressive singers you may need to also need to use the foam windshield as extra protection. Tests have shown that foam shields used directly add a hissing sound as the air passes through the foam, but by first softening the inital impact using the pop-shield before passing it through the foam windshield this is avoided completely. This combination provides very effective protection against plosives and sibilants without compromising frequency response.

Advice on other instruments coming soon!

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