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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any tips and tricks on recording an acoustic guitar?

As a rule, small diaphragm capacitor microphones give the best results though you can also get good results using a large diaphragm model if that's all you have. Avoid dynamic microphones if possible as they tend to be rather insensitive and their high frequency response is not as good as a typical capacitor model.

 

Though you will see articles in books and magazines suggesting 'standard' mic positions, these vary from instrument to instrument so the simplest way to find that 'best' position is to get the player to perform while you move the mic, at the same time monitoring the results over headphones.

  • Avoid directing the microphone towards the sound hole as this overemphasizes the bass end of the instrument and may make it sound very boomy.
  • Moving the mic towards the neck will produce a better tonal balance and the junction of the neck and body generally gives acceptable results, though it is also worth trying positions above the guitar pointing down or below the guitar pointing up. A typical mic distance is usually be about 30cm (12") but let your ears make the final decision.
  • Try to avoid room reflections by hanging blankets around the performing area unless you are lucky enough to have a great sounding room.
  • Try recording on a hard floor rather than over a carpet as this will give you a more lively sound.
  • If you have the option, try an omni pattern mic rather than the usual cardioid as they tend to produce a more natural sound and seem less critical of positioning.
  • You may need to improvise further absorption behind the mic than with a cardioid model but the improvement in sound is often worth the little extra effort this involves. If the recording sounds tonally correct but too dry you can always add a little artificial reverb when you mix.