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Help with home recording classical guitar!

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Anonymous
February 8, 2005 7:19:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I am totally new to recording and want to start home recording
classical guitar. I have researched some options and was hoping to get
some feedback. Basically, I have a new iMac G5 but its not located in
a place in my home that I can use for late night recording. So I don't
want to use the computer as the recorder, but would like to use it if
needed for editing and burning to cds.

I am trying to stay under $600 and more importantly is ease of use...I
am looking for simple yet quality.

I was thinking of the Tascam DP-01FX since that would be provide me
with both the recorder and the phantom power for external mics. The
other option is maybe the Fostex MR-8 (a couple of hunder $ less than
the Tascam), but I don't think that has phantom power so I would need
to get a preamp (no clue which one) and the mics.

What do you think of the above alternatives and do recommend anything
else?

Thanks!

Clement
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 12:57:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>
> What kind of room do you plan on tracking in? What do you want to do
with your
> finished recordings? Most all of us here are Professional guys and we
would
> tend to steer some one away from building a studio unless they have
the know
> how to do it right from the first dollar they spend.
> There is a FAQ for this group here...
>
> http://www.phys.tue.nl/people/etimmerman/recordingfaq/R...
>
> Read thru the "Newbie" section first, there's a lot of really good
info there.
> And you can find a link to the "Four Track forum" at the top as well,
everyone
> in that forum is geared to the lower cost consumer set up.

Well..I would be recording in a typical new home style bedroom
(carpeted floors and dry wall). I will use my recordings mostly for
friends and family, to share with other guitarists and to be able to
critically review my playing.

Your point is well taken which is why I am looking for simplicity and
ease, while maintaining some degree of quality in the recordings. I
will take a closer look at the links you provided although most of the
4-track stuff seems to be outdated. Any other advice or direction
would be appreciated. Sorry if I am in the wrong place...

Regards,
Clement
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 6:46:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>From: raouf.ibrahim@gmail.com
>Date: 2/8/05 7:19 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
>Message-id: <1107908391.942491.281770@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>
>
>I am totally new to recording and want to start home recording
>classical guitar. I have researched some options and was hoping to get
>some feedback. Basically, I have a new iMac G5 but its not located in
>a place in my home that I can use for late night recording. So I don't
>want to use the computer as the recorder, but would like to use it if
>needed for editing and burning to cds.
>
>I am trying to stay under $600 and more importantly is ease of use...I
>am looking for simple yet quality.
>
>I was thinking of the Tascam DP-01FX since that would be provide me
>with both the recorder and the phantom power for external mics. The
>other option is maybe the Fostex MR-8 (a couple of hunder $ less than
>the Tascam), but I don't think that has phantom power so I would need
>to get a preamp (no clue which one) and the mics.
>
>What do you think of the above alternatives and do recommend anything
>else?


What kind of room do you plan on tracking in? What do you want to do with your
finished recordings? Most all of us here are Professional guys and we would
tend to steer some one away from building a studio unless they have the know
how to do it right from the first dollar they spend.
There is a FAQ for this group here...

http://www.phys.tue.nl/people/etimmerman/recordingfaq/R...

Read thru the "Newbie" section first, there's a lot of really good info there.
And you can find a link to the "Four Track forum" at the top as well, everyone
in that forum is geared to the lower cost consumer set up.
Related resources
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 10:07:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<raouf.ibrahim> wrote:

> Your point is well taken which is why I am looking for simplicity and
> ease, while maintaining some degree of quality in the recordings. I
> will take a closer look at the links you provided although most of the
> 4-track stuff seems to be outdated. Any other advice or direction
> would be appreciated. Sorry if I am in the wrong place...

You're not in the wrong place. And it's pretty easy for "professionals"
to think you want to build a studio when all you want to do is get
started tracking your guitar. I have recently pointed friends at the
DP01-FX because it's so danged straightforward. It'd probably serve well
to get you started. Spend money on decent mics, if you can, like a pair
of Josephson Series 4 condensors, and later on a preamp, like the FMR
RNP, which isn't a wallet buster. If your mic budget isn't up to that,
plenty of folks here have stuff to say about cheaper mics.

The RAP FAQ is a worthy read, and don't worry that vis a vis some
specific gear suggestions it's a little out of date. The basics it
covers won't change until George Bush rewrites the laws of physics. It
can also be found at:

http://www.recaudiopro.net

--
ha
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 10:53:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1107908391.942491.281770@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> raouf.ibrahim@gmail.com writes:

> I am totally new to recording and want to start home recording
> classical guitar. I have researched some options and was hoping to get
> some feedback. Basically, I have a new iMac G5 but its not located in
> a place in my home that I can use for late night recording. So I don't
> want to use the computer as the recorder, but would like to use it if
> needed for editing and burning to cds.
>
> I am trying to stay under $600 and more importantly is ease of use...I
> am looking for simple yet quality.

> I was thinking of the Tascam DP-01FX since that would be provide me
> with both the recorder and the phantom power for external mics.

What you need is just a way to capture your playing with reasonably
good quality. Since there are really no affordable "studio quality"
(note the quotes) stereo recorders capable of file transfer to your
Mac that are within your budget, I think that something like the
TASCAM DP-01 is a reasonable choice. You don't really need the FX
version so you can save a few bucks there and perhaps put it toward a
better microphone.

But look closely at the literature for the DP-01 and be sure that
there's a way that you can transfer the recordings as files to your
computer. I assume this is possible through the USB port, but it would
be best to make sure.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 12:04:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for all the advice!

Mike...you indicated that you thought I wouldn't need the FX...wouldn't
I need that for the phantom power for external mics?

Also, do any of you have any thoughts on the new Edirol R-1. Although
I am not necessarily in need of portability, it certainly achieves my
objectives of ease and simplicity!

I don't know how good the internal mics are on the Edirol unit but I
see you can add external mics (one or two?) so I suppose (please
correct me if I am wrong) that one could imporve the sound of the
Edirol with a quality set of mics...

Clement
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 2:29:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Recording Acoustic Guitar

Hi Clement I hope this helps

The main difference is that the end treatment will be at a lower
frequency and you might opt for a little limiting and no compression.
Small Dia-Condensors are the way to go.
Watch out for proximity effect
The acoustic guitar is very much in style today. Crossing between folk,
pop and rock genres. While the acoustic guitar remains one of the most
simple instruments, it also remains one of the hardest to get a great
sound on in the studio. It's really not that difficult though if you
follow a few basic rules.


The sound you get has a great deal to do with the quality of the
player.
Choose an appropriate type and gauge of string for the instrument and
for the kind of sound you're after, and make sure that the guitar's
action is set up correctly so that it plays without buzzing. There are
many different types of steel-cored wound string, all of which have
subtly different properties. The most commonly used types on acoustic
guitars are bronze, phosphor bronze and nickel wound. An instrument
with lighter gauge strings (perhaps an 11 to 50 set) will generally be
easier to play, but the sound will be thinner and low in volume. On the
other hand, very heavy strings (perhaps a set beginning with a 15-guage
top E) can sometimes sound tubby and lacking in overtones on the wound
strings. The best compromise is usually the heaviest set of strings
which are still comfortable enough for the guitarist to play. Usually
starting with medium gauge strings will give you a decent sound.

The size of the acoustic guitar has a lot to do with the frequency
range that it projects. The bigger the guitar the more low end. These
guitars are most effective with strumming chords in the open position.
These "jumbo" guitars are normally strum with medium to heavy gauge
strings that are capable of producing more resonance due to the larger
amount of wood that will resonate sympathetically. A medium size guitar
will sound tighter and project the sound quickly which makes it great
for soloing.

There is also the nylon or better known as the classical guitar where
the top three strings are nylon. This type of guitar produces a mellow
and a very harmonically even sound. It obviously does not contain the
same amount of mid-range and high frequencies that steel-string guitars
have. Nylon guitars are becoming more popular in pop music due to their
capability to produce harmonic content in a frequency range that will
not affect the lead vocal. A great example of this is in the music of
Sting. In a song like Fragile the nylon guitar can be mixed tighter to
the lead vocal for it is not encroaching in the presence frequency
range of the lead vocal. If Sting were to use a steel-string instead,
he would have to lower the overall level of the guitar because of the
high frequency encroachment produced by the steel-string guitar in
comparison to the lead vocal. That would lower the musical harmonic
content of the guitar whereby it would separate the vocal melody from
the harmonic accompaniment provided by the guitar.

The 12-string guitar is the grand piano of the guitar family. Usually
played in a strumming fashion with a pick and chords in open positions.
The 12-string guitar works most effectively by itself or with little
accompaniment for it takes up a lot of the frequency and musical range.
If you already have a basic 6-string performance and you feel you need
a brighter guitar in addition try changing the 3 low strings with
lighter gauge and tune them up an octave (Nashville tuning). Try to
avoid capos', for I feel they tend to choke the sound of the guitar.
If the guitarist is using a pick, it is always worth trying one of a
different thickness. With strumming you will tend to get a more even
sound with a medium to light gauge pick. With soloing a thick or medium
gauge pick works best for incorporating dynamics.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the sound of acoustic guitar
recordings can depend a great deal on the environment in which the
instrument is played. Acoustic guitars thrive on live acoustics, and
insufficient natural reverb is a common problem when recording them in
small home studios. While artificial reverb can be used to liven up the
sound of a dead room, getting a sympathetic natural acoustic always
produces better results, even if you want to add more artificial reverb
later.
To get a more live sound out of your room, try to position the
guitarist so that the instrument is played close to some reflective
surfaces -- hard floors, doors and solid furniture can all help here.
If there is carpeting on the floor of your recording room try placing a
sheet of plywood on the floor and get the guitar player the take off
his/her shoes. Be prepared to have an additional pair of socks in case
of gross air pollution.

Most studios will have a broad range of different mics to choose from,
there are few dynamic mics capable of doing justice to the acoustic
guitar. It is best to use a small-diaphragm condenser mic for its
greater high-frequency accuracy, and one with an omni polar pattern for
a more transparent sound and removing any proximity effect. If the room
has bad acoustics you will need to use a cardioid to minimize the
influencing characteristics of the room.

Capturing a natural sonic balance from the guitar is very important.
There are different sounds coming from different places on the guitar
that are important in contributing to an overall natural sound. If a
mic is used too close to the guitar, the direct sound from that part of
the guitar the mic is nearest to will dominate the sound from other
parts of the instrument and from the room. You risk miking up only a
part of the instrument when what you're really after is the bigger
picture. Opposite if your mic is too far away from the guitar. You can
end up with a lot of room ambience, leaving the original sound distant
and unfocused. As for the specifics of mic placement, position your ear
as if it were the microphone while somebody else is playing the guitar.
Move your ear around to find the "sweet spot". A common approach is to
set up the mic around 6-8 from the guitar, with the capsule aimed
between the sound hole and where the neck joins the body. This will
usually produce a well-integrated sound -- the levels of direct and
reflected sound will be about right, and the sound hole's contribution
will be controlled because the mic doesn't point directly at it. If you
need more low-frequency content move the mic position closer to the
sound hole. If you need a brighter sound move the mic closer to the
12th fret for this is where the first series of harmonic overtones
originate that contribute more high-frequency content to he overall
guitar sound. If you have a pair of enclosed headphones that are very
accurate to a reference point that you have established, you can easily
experiment with tweaking this mic placement while listening for the
best sound. If you find a promising sound in this way, remember to
check it out on your monitors before committing yourself -- headphones
can sometimes be rather misleading. If you find a good position but
feel the sound is too dead try switching the pattern to omni and if the
opposite occurs switch the omni pattern to cardioid. Be careful to not
get too close for this will create an unnatural balance from the
guitar. If you are working with a studio musician they will most likely
have a custom-made guitar. Ask them where the "sweet-spot" is on
their guitar for the performance they are playing. If the guitar player
is soloing and moving up the neck try placing the mic closer to the
sound hole to give you a fuller sound of the guitar. This will
obviously compensate for the lack of low-end that the guitar can
produce when used in a soloing fashion.

Selecting a microphone depends on the size of the guitar, if the player
is playing open chords or soloing. If the player is strumming with open
chords use a pencil condenser. If they are soloing move to a large
diaphragm condenser. Dynamic mics simply don't cut it.




A guitar with a built-in pick up and a microphone will undoubtedly
create some phase problems. Experiment with moving the mic closer and
further away from the guitar. That will affect the phase relationship
of the two sound sources. Phase, he can be a tricky bugger.
This will work effectively if the guitar player is also singing whereby
minimizing the vocal leakage into the guitar microphone. If you are
cutting a track in a studio with drums try using the direct pickup only
and replacing it with an acoustic pickup in an overdubbing stage. Even
though direct pickups on acoustic guitars have come a long way I have
yet to discover one that sounds as good as a microphone pickup.

Stereo miking works well for solo applications. The XY technique is
good but still falls short due to its lack of direct sound access. It
will give you more of a big cardioid pickup but with less high-end than
a single mic. I have found placing a mic over the 14th fret and another
just slightly off-center from the sound hole provides a good starting
point for stereo pickup. Make sure both mics are pencil condensers, the
same model and miked with the same distance from the guitar. Also
incorporate a slight off-axis pickup.

The main challenge when using a stereo technique is to make sure that
all the different signals are in time with each other when mixed -- if
there are delays between signals, this could cause phasing problems.
Some prod/engineers get around this problem by placing all the
different mics at exactly the same distance from the guitar's sound
hole, and this can be successful.

As with any studio recording, the composition of the cue mix you feed
to the guitarist will be extremely important, so be prepared to take a
little time in preparing it -- given the sensitivity of the mics
traditionally used in acoustic guitar recording, it's easy to pick up
unwanted leakage from the headphones. Solo the recorded track to check
for this, and if there's a lot of leakage coming through (from a click
track, in particular) then consider turning down the overall headphone
mix level or using a different pair of headphones -- closed-back models
are obviously best in this application and reduce the possibility of
feedback.

Recorded acoustic guitar sounds will usually benefit from a little
processing. This should be kept to a minimum while recording, so that
you leave your options open for the mix. In recording roll-off any
problems in the low-end such as rumble by inserting a high-pass filter.
As always stated, it's always safer to leave EQ and dynamic processing
until the mixing stage.

Equalization of the acoustic guitar is very common but used very
subtly. The first thing to try is just rolling off some boominess bass,
if there is some, using a high-pass or shelving equalizer at 60-80Hz,
as this can prevent the compressor from working too hard and
maintaining an even harmonic balance. It can make a big difference, for
example, if other sounds in the mix have strong low mid-range
components, and if you listen carefully to rock or pop mixes that
include acoustic guitar, you'll notice that the low end is quite even.
Most acoustic guitars performing in a strumming or finger-picking style
have a mid-range and/or high frequency boost. With the mid-range use a
wide Q centered anywhere between 3 and 7K. If high-end is needed try a
shelving EQ from 8-12K which will produce a silky top-end sound. Be
aware of making the acoustic guitar brighter than the lead vocal, if it
is mixed at a loud level. If you need musical body boost in the
600-1.5K range with a medium Q. With acoustic solos you might need to
enhance the low end between 100-200Hz to add more body to the
performance especially if the guitarist is soloing high up on the neck.


With compression for strumming a ratio of 2:1 - 4:1 with a medium
attack and medium release should be used if required. Remember that the
transient sound of using a pick identifies the rhythmic component of
the performance. If the attack time was too quick it would create the
illusion that the guitar player is playing behind the beat. For soloing
you might need to limit the transients slightly, then EQ and then
compress. With processing on an acoustic guitar it should be done with
transparency in mind.

If the guitar performance is continuous strumming, there will most
likely be no need for reverb. Reverb may be needed if the recording was
made in a small room or studio. Mono recording can also be given a
sense of space and width by adding a little stereo reverb. Ambience
settings with pronounced early reflections are particularly effective
in adding life and realism to the acoustic guitar.
With strumming use a short pre-delay of 30-50ms and a bright reverb
with a 1-2 sec decay time. With a guitar solo use a pre-delay of
100-150ms with a warm reverb with a decay time of 2-4 seconds. De-ess
the send to the reverb if there is a lot of high frequency finger
noise.
Extra Attack To Rhythm Guitars
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 6:14:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1107968669.392506.217220@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> PhiloMertz@gmail.com writes:

> Mike...you indicated that you thought I wouldn't need the FX...wouldn't
> I need that for the phantom power for external mics?

As I said in my "retraction" I have no idea why they tied those two
features together, but given that you're going to want to use some
sort of decent mic, you might as well spring for the FX just to get
the XLR inputs and phantom power.

> Also, do any of you have any thoughts on the new Edirol R-1.

I have, and you can search the archives for mine. I'd love for it to
be my recorder of choice but I have a problem with its use of flash
cards for the recording media, and of course there's the mini input
jack, no XLR, and no phantom power.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 9:17:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers wrote:

> You don't really need the FX version so you can save a few bucks there and
> perhaps put it toward a better microphone.

You need the FX version if you want XLR mic inputs and phantom power.
The DP01 doesn't offer those.

--
ha
Anonymous
February 10, 2005 12:49:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Matrixmusic wrote:

> Hi Clement I hope this helps

I kind of doubt it, because you apparently missed that he will be
recording himself at home playing his classical guitar. Beyond that your
statements about mics, mic placement, guitars, and more, are at variance
with much of my own experience.

--
ha
Anonymous
February 10, 2005 2:41:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks again to everyone's help. Let me ask this question and see if
anyone has any thoughts.

Do you think there would be much difference in quality betweeen:

A) Using the Tascam unit (16 bit), along with it's own phantom power +
2 mics (under $300 for both mics)

and

B) Just using the Edirol R-1 unit (24 bit) which has two built in
stereo mics.

???

If the difference wouldn't be that great than I might as well go with
the Edirol and get the benefits of ease and portability as well.

Clement
Anonymous
February 10, 2005 9:22:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1108064499.106388.60410@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com> PhiloMertz@gmail.com writes:

> Do you think there would be much difference in quality betweeen:
>
> A) Using the Tascam unit (16 bit), along with it's own phantom power +
> 2 mics (under $300 for both mics)
>
> and
>
> B) Just using the Edirol R-1 unit (24 bit) which has two built in
> stereo mics.

You bet your ass. The difference between 16 and 24 bits isn't going to
be nearly as great as the difference you can make by selecting the
best microphones for the job within your budget and placing them
correctly.

The Edirol would require a lot less effort, and if all you want to do
is document your playing, then go for it. But if you want to spend
some effort getting the best sound you can afford, go with separate
microphones, which on your budget (unless you want to change gears yet
another time) means the TASCAM.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 10, 2005 10:49:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<PhiloMertz@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1108064499.106388.60410@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks again to everyone's help. Let me ask this question and see if
> anyone has any thoughts.
>
> Do you think there would be much difference in quality betweeen:
>
> A) Using the Tascam unit (16 bit), along with it's own phantom power +
> 2 mics (under $300 for both mics)
>
> and
>
> B) Just using the Edirol R-1 unit (24 bit) which has two built in
> stereo mics.
>
> ???

Yes. With the Edirol you have no choice about the type of mic, the relative
placement, etc.. My impression is that they're okay for, say, recording a
meeting, but not the quality one would want for classical guitar. The Tascam
with a pair of decent mics (see if you can stretch to $400 for a matched
pair of Oktava MC012s from Sound Room) will give you quite decent results
and allow you to experiment with all sorts of mic positions.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 10:17:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<PhiloMertz@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1108064499.106388.60410@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com
> Thanks again to everyone's help. Let me ask this question and see if
> anyone has any thoughts.
>
> Do you think there would be much difference in quality betweeen:
>
> A) Using the Tascam unit (16 bit), along with it's own phantom power +
> 2 mics (under $300 for both mics)

The Tascam unit is larger and more battery-hungry. It seems to street
price for about $500, so with the mics you're looking at close to $1K.

> and

> B) Just using the Edirol R-1 unit (24 bit) which has two built in
> stereo mics.

Not a fair comparsion. The R1 is quite a bit smaller and probably has
longer-lasting batteries.

But, nobody is going to tell you that internal mics are anything like hifi.
They're what you use in a pinch, or for recording a meeting or something
like that.

> ???

The answer to the question seems self-evident. These units seem to address
fairly different needs.

> If the difference wouldn't be that great than I might as well go with
> the Edirol and get the benefits of ease and portability as well.

If you're going to make a quality recording of music, the use of external
mics is pretty much a given.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 10:45:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:
> <PhiloMertz@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1108064499.106388.60410@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com
> > Thanks again to everyone's help. Let me ask this question and see
if
> > anyone has any thoughts.
> >
> > Do you think there would be much difference in quality betweeen:
> >
> > A) Using the Tascam unit (16 bit), along with it's own phantom
power +
> > 2 mics (under $300 for both mics)
>
> The Tascam unit is larger and more battery-hungry. It seems to
street
> price for about $500, so with the mics you're looking at close to
$1K.
>
> > and
>
> > B) Just using the Edirol R-1 unit (24 bit) which has two built in
> > stereo mics.
>
> Not a fair comparsion. The R1 is quite a bit smaller and probably
has
> longer-lasting batteries.
>
> But, nobody is going to tell you that internal mics are anything like
hifi.
> They're what you use in a pinch, or for recording a meeting or
something
> like that.
>
> > ???
>
> The answer to the question seems self-evident. These units seem to
address
> fairly different needs.
>
> > If the difference wouldn't be that great than I might as well go
with
> > the Edirol and get the benefits of ease and portability as well.
>
> If you're going to make a quality recording of music, the use of
external
> mics is pretty much a given.

Yes, but with the R-1 I believe you can use external mics, although not
XLR. I think with the line-in, however, you should be able to run a
preamp to it, no? Then you could use XLR mics. If so, then the cost
might be the same between the two options, plus you have the R-1 as a
very portable stand alone unit for travelling and such.

Am I off base?

Clement
!