Recording yourself

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
mousemat
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:26 pm
Location: Hungary

Recording yourself

Post by mousemat » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:12 pm

Hi All,

I have been informed that to record yourself playing classical guitar you need a condenser microphone. I was wondering if anyone knows what sort of price you need to be paying to get one that is worth using. Also, any recommendations as to makes?

Thanks,
mousemat

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9835
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Recording yourself

Post by lagartija » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:53 pm

Whether or not you need a condenser microphone depends on what you want to do with the recordings. Is this for a CD?
If it is for posting here on the forum or to hear how you sound from the audience perspective, one can use something like an Zoom H4N recorder which does a nice job for a simple relatively inexpensive setup.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

mousemat
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:26 pm
Location: Hungary

Re: Recording yourself

Post by mousemat » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:55 pm

I just want to be able to listen to my playing, as a sportsman/woman would use video to analyse their own performance in order to work on improvements.

Thanks for the reply.

mousemat

Bill B
Posts: 1022
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Recording yourself

Post by Bill B » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:02 pm

I use a a couple CAD mics and a scarlet interface into my mac. The mics and interface are a couple hundred I think.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9835
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Recording yourself

Post by lagartija » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:05 pm

Ah...ok. Then the Zoom H4N recorder is what I use for that purpose. It is portable, too...so I take it with me to masterclasses.
The interface is simple and easy to operate and you can download the files to your computer and listen through good speakers. The speaker that the recorder has is good enough to hear that you have captured the recording, but for real analysis of your performance, I would recommend using really good headphones or speakers plugged into your computer to listen to the recordings.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

Bill B
Posts: 1022
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Recording yourself

Post by Bill B » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:06 pm

I just google it. You could get set up with the same gear I'm using(not including the computer) for about 300, maybe 350
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

BellyDoc
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:52 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Recording yourself

Post by BellyDoc » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:26 pm

You can get a decent USB condenser mic for less than an analog mic plus digital interface, but then if you're like me you'll eventually end up with both!

You'll need a mic stand (or stands) and I suggest using a boom-stand type so that you can position the microphone close to your sound hole, If you get an analog microphone, you need mic cables which are sold separately, and I recommend some stabilizing weight on the mic stand (I've "borrowed" my wife's ankle weights).

If you're going to record yourself to learn about tone, you should probably consider getting speakers that are significantly better than the ones built into your computer. You can run a pair of studio monitors. As a plus, if you get the analog-to-digital interface (I use the Scarlett 2i2 by Focusrite - and love it), there's output for the monitors.

I recommend a good pair of headphones, too. They turned out to be surprisingly useful for me. I get some instant feedback about tone through them that's more immediate than recording and listening.

If you have a Mac, you have Garage Band already, which is completely serviceable for recording. Otherwise, you'll probably want to think about your software options.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton

Armin Hanika 56PF

el_guitarrero
Posts: 184
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 7:33 pm

Re: Recording yourself

Post by el_guitarrero » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:24 pm

Hello,

Just to shorten your learning curve by giving you advice based on my experience:

1) zoom h1 or tascam dr05

If you have a superior room with nice reverb or a studio room and a DAW (i.e. a computer with editing software and effects like convolution teverb) then proceed to 2).

2) use a good preamp and microphones.
From my personal experience, omni mics give the most natural reproduction of a guitar, but also record the room sound.
A good entry level preamp would be like line-audio 2MP and 2x Line Audio CM3 mics recorded into a field recorder.

3) audio soundcards (usb interfaces) f.e. Scarlett 2i2 or Audient or Zooms do not sound that rich as a dedicated preamp.

4)if you want to go the high- end road, use a specified preamp, good mics and a good room, and a good player& Instrument. Its the mix.

5) if the player/ Instrument/ tone production / room are not superb, there is no need to invest more than mentioned in 1).
The result will not be better or compensated by the pricier equipment.

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 3945
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: Recording yourself

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:41 pm

Zoom H2n or Tascam Dr-40 (and there are many more similarly priced devices of comparable quality) deliver more than enough sound quality to document and analyse your playing including the subtleties of your sound production. (BTW both use small diaphragm condensers stereo pairs or Zoom even 5 mics.).

The great advantage of these little mobile recorders is that the require only a minimum of 'tech mind', so that you can devote your attention almost entirely to the performance - a trait not to be underestimated. The recording quality surpasses that of many older commercial records and to make the leap to state of the art recording of today you would have to invest serious k$ in equipment and learn this and that bit about recording techniques. Still you would not be able to get the most out of it without the help of another person experienced enough to help you with the recording. You would be too buy with the technological side of the process and the performance would possibly suffer.

IMHO

best wishes
Robert
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

mousemat
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:26 pm
Location: Hungary

Re: Recording yourself

Post by mousemat » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:36 pm

Thanks for the info guys. I will look at it all very carefully and decide what is best for me and my budget.

Cheers,
mousemat

Kurt Penner
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:27 am

Re: Recording yourself

Post by Kurt Penner » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:35 pm

This is likely beyond the budget of beginner at recording but I am using a Zoom H5 with a single Neumann KM 184. Then I move the files to my laptop and process them with audio software Reaper to add digital reverb and a bit of bass boost EQ. I have most of the sound that I want at a moderate price.

Costs:
Neumann mic ~$1000 Canadian
Zoom H5 $380
Reaper $60 US dollars.


KP

User avatar
Mach13
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:34 pm
Location: Hampshire UK

Re: Recording yourself

Post by Mach13 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:58 pm

I see there is some helpful stuff here already, i'm gonna try not to repeat what's been commented upon.

I have been looking into mics myself just recently. There is some debate about small diaphram (pencil) condensers and large diaphram types as to which is best for guitar. Generally large diaphrams will give a wider area of pick up so more 'room' sound which can be good if you have a nice sounding room without other noises. I have both but I use small diaphram mics for my guitar and large for vocals.

There are some tech specs that you will need to know... you will see info on polar patterns ie: how and where the mic picks up it's sound
Omni (picks up sound all around the mic) good for natural even room sound (reverb/echo)
Cardioid -In my opinion BEST for acoustic :guitare: ( picks up just whats in front of the mic) Good for home recording
Bi directional - picks up on a 180' plain - whats left and right good for mid-side recording (wouldn't go there right now)

I know you say you want it just for practice :chitarrista: , but eventually you will likely want to record and share what you do :casque: , so a bit of investment in a good mic is worthwhile methinks :daccord:

Now then what mics?
Unless you buy a USB mic - you'll need an audio interface (as mentioned by others)
Non usb, well there are loads of options. But condenser mics require power, (Phantom power) so your Audio interface needs to have the ability to supply phantom power (they usually do but check)

so here is what I've gleamed on mics

Beware of specs that just say... 'Low noise'.. i bought some and erm they wernt :oops: It's not something necessarily noticeable straight away, but as you develop sound production and use techniques to lift the volume and enhance the sound, the hiss will start to come through, and it's a real pain.. :roll:

Mic Specs I found to look for:
Signal to Noise RATIO: Higher number is better anything above 74 seems GREAT -A low number will introduce hiss to your recording
Self Noise: LOW numbers are better anything below <21 This time a higher number will introduce hiss
Impedance: 150-600 seems to be considered a good LOW value

NB If any of these specs are 'missing' or without a value assigned then i'd avoid that mic.

I've simplified this alot, I know, but I wish someone had told me this when I first started recording, it's basic info that should help.

Kurt mentioned his mic (Neumann KM184). Kurt was kind enough to let me have a go at mixing one of his recordings to play around with trying to achieve stereo width on a mono track.. If you look it up and compare its specs to those i've given here you'll see the KM 184 is well within these specs and its a small diaphram pencil type. The raw recording was IMHO exceptional quality, compared to what I've had with my cheap SUBZERO's. It taught me I needed a better mic and I found one within these specs for just over £110 It's an SE5 and works for me. THe KM 184 would be about £500+

Be interested to know what you eventually go for and wish you well with it. :bye:
Rgd Mark
A lefty and new to classical guitar
Yamaha C40 (converted to lefty)
Ortega RCE 131L
...erm and a few others :)
Sonar Platinum & Izotope (for Mixing & mastering)
Very much an amateur, but if you need help with mixing or mastering am happy to help

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 3945
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: Recording yourself

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:39 pm

Mach13 wrote:... There is some debate about small diaphram (pencil) condensers and large diaphram types as to which is best for guitar. Generally large diaphrams will give a wider area of pick up so more 'room' sound which can be good if you have a nice sounding room without other noises...
Is that really your experience or is it an opinion written somewhere else?

What a mic pics up is dependent on its directionality and not so much on the size of the diaphragm, IMHO, and also in my experience. Because high frequencies tend to have shorter wave lengths, only parts of the large diaphragm are excited by high frequencies, and this can lead to a coloration (which can be good, interesting or outright bad).

That's why LDC tend to have more colour of their own, whereas the SDC tend to be more neutral (these are only generalizations allowing for quite a departure depending on product). I haven't found a big difference in terms of 'more of space' in LDC as opposed to SDC. If any, then (at least good) SDC tend to be more 'spatial' because of their much quicker transient reproduction.

Usually SDC are used for CG, but the exceptions are what makes a rule... Norbert Kraft produces great guitar recordings using his pair of AKG C12 tube LDCs...
Our Gabasa made great recordings using a pair of his moded AKG 460b CK62 omni mics ...

If the mics and preamps are decent, and you know what you're doing, you can always bring out stunning results - provided the playing is also worth being recorded :lol:
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

User avatar
Mach13
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:34 pm
Location: Hampshire UK

Re: Recording yourself

Post by Mach13 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:07 am

Hi rojarosguitar,
Thanks for your feedback.. Yep its just an opinion based upon some recent notes from stuff I've read and my own experience. I started out using an LDC to record my guitar and found that when I moved to SDC's I spent less time trying to deal with 'noise' (Which I figured was room noise) that I didn't want. I don't have the best space for recording and have been known to have turn the heating and fridge off when recording. I've come across articles mentioning coloration with LDC's but I guess I've never been able to notice the difference in that way. I've just found that the LDC works well for vocals (and mid-side) and SDC's work well for guitar. But yep I guess my attempt to keep it simple got a little over egged, thanks for mentioning it..

Recording is such a big topic and steep learning curve, which of course i'm still working my way up. Hopefully one day (in the not too distant future) I'll get to write a song that I can accompany myself too in a way that's worthy of all the effort I put into this recording malarky.. :bye:
A lefty and new to classical guitar
Yamaha C40 (converted to lefty)
Ortega RCE 131L
...erm and a few others :)
Sonar Platinum & Izotope (for Mixing & mastering)
Very much an amateur, but if you need help with mixing or mastering am happy to help

neil
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 3:22 pm
Location: France Paris

Re: Recording yourself

Post by neil » Sun May 28, 2017 4:07 pm

I use a microphone Audio Technica 4040, a wonderful preamp Great River and an Apogee duet.
The sound is really good.
This microphone is good price quality but as a condenser you need a phantom power.

Return to “Classical guitar recording and amplification”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 4 guests