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Help Recording setup for Acoustic

posted on #1
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Posts: 6
Joined: 29.11.14
I am not an audio wizard so i would like to keep things simple. What is the best way to record unplugged instruments? I am open for any suggestions on setting this up. My equipment list so far is as follows:

PC (laptop)
Behringer V-amp3 with the u-control USB device
Marshall MG10cd amp

Acoustic Mandolin
Digital Yamaha Piano
Electric Mandolin
Roland AX-1
JV1010 sound module

Audacity (free version)

I did find this Audio-Technica AT2020USB USB Condenser Microphone but not sure how this would work.

Thank you all in advance for your help in setting up my recording!
posted on #2
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Posts: 236
Joined: 09.05.11
Most essential is a good mic and a good interface. That interface seems to lack in you otherwise very nice equipment.
Never go into the lalptop via the internal soundcard. Maybe focusrite or M-Audio under way under 200€.
That's what I do..
posted on #3
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Posts: 63
Joined: 25.08.14
Indeed, get a good interface, Focusrite is good value for the money, make sure you have at least 4 inputs, so you can put in 2 mics for the instrument and a vocal mic.
Don't go for a USB mic, if you can afford it go for a condenser mic, you’ll never regret it
posted on #4
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Joined: 23.10.12
Definitely condenser mic. If On a budget these are good starters.


posted on #5
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Posts: 63
Joined: 25.08.14
I'm not that keen about the KM 184's, I have a matched pair and I find them a bit too hyped in the high frequencies.

I would go for a large-diaphragm mic and you sure can use them for vocal too.

Don't buy a cheap mic for it will disappoint you in the long run, remember a good mic will always hold his value and you won't have to buy another one maybe for the rest of your life.

If you want to record a solo acc guitar you got to have 2 condensers, but if you want the guitar as an accompaniment instrument for vocal, one will do the job.

However, the most important thing in recording an acc instrument is the space you're recording in,
You can buy a vintage Newmann and record something in a bad acoustic environment and you 'll be disappointed, on the other hand a good budget mic in a great acoustic room gives a good result.

Don't relay too mush on You Tube vids 'cause they all are tested in acc treated rooms.

I'm curious what oliVBee has to say about this 'cause I find his recordings excellent.
posted on #6
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Posts: 510
Joined: 07.01.13
hello and glad you come up with wise questions :)

i am seconding what Lutz and Johnv pointed about the audio interface of course !! this is the very first thing you should take care of :)

next comes the mic question ... which type and brand is very much depending on your budget ... though i very much agree with Johnv about a large diaph because you'll get a decent mic for not that much and you'll be able to use the mic in various situations !

now on the room that's the real touchy part ! of course a well thought room is very nice : i have worked in studios with fully acoustically treated rooms and everything sounded great but honestly ??? i wouldnt want to live inside such a room ? ok let's put it this way : the huge amount of bucks that an acoustically treated room requires makes it unreachable for the common mortal like you and me ... might be different if you're setting up a nice studio but i take it you're not, right ? so my point on this chapter is use your environment to your advantage ! cover your windows with thick heavy curtains ... use your fourniture to break reflections ... cover your hardfloor with some carpet ... i am recording in my living room : huge window panels, hardfloor etc ... a real sound engineer nightmare haha : this doesn't keep me from doing what i'm doing ;)

then concentrate on the things that will really matter to you : HOW TO RECORD PROPERLY :) ... how and where to set up your mic ... what kind of gain you should use ... learn to breath and play in front of a mic while recording (hey that's important !!)

hope that helps you :)
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #7
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Posts: 6
Joined: 29.11.14
This is awesome help folks...i just wanted to post a quick THANK YOU. I am still reading and researching all these suggestions. I will be likely recording in a spare bedroom which is my little manspace for now. I will not be building studio...i am no where near good enough to justify that:-) So, the USB condensers are also a bad pick?

What do you guys think about the Zoom H2n digital recorders?
Edited by lbracale on December 07 2014 23:21
posted on #8
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Posts: 510
Joined: 07.01.13
Zoom H2n are very nice devices to record a gig live ... but i'm affraid to say you don't want to use that in a solo recording session ... you'll catch way too much of the room !
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #9
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Posts: 63
Joined: 25.08.14
I see no need why you should buy a hand held recorder ? I use a zoom Q3 for a sudden attack of inspiration :) and point the camera at my fingers,no time to write the notes down,but I never use it for a decent recording
And: the batteries are ALWAYS dead,you'll spend a fortune on new one's.
Edited by fanne on December 08 2014 12:03
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