To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Tom Poore
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by Tom Poore » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:24 pm

Just a reminder. When you’re hearing an unamplified guitar recital, you’re not hearing the guitar alone. You’re hearing the guitar combined with the acoustic properties of the hall itself. That affects the resulting sound at least as much as amplification.

There’s a reason why the best sound engineers search high and low for the right recording space. Most will say this is more important than choosing the perfect recording equipment. Would we fault them for adulterating the “pure sound” of the guitar? Not if we want great sound.

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BreamFan

Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by BreamFan » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:49 pm

Quite right - nothing to do with guitar just saying natural acoustics are always a better option .... in my humble opinion.

bob1a
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by bob1a » Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:59 pm

I suspect that it has to do with expectation. Now there is an expectation of hearing an electronic sound. I was at a poetry reading in a café with four tables, there was a mic. I was at a classical guitar concert recently, not held in a concert hall, I thought the guitar sounded incredibly thin. A well known guitarist amplifies if there are more than 750 in the audience. Plus of course there is the simple fact that each audience member absorbs a considerable quantity of sound I think I am on the side of amplification.
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Moje
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by Moje » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:29 am

Why is everything so polarizing in the CG world? To me it's obvious that micing can be done wel; if it couldn't, nobody would ever listen to recordings of anything, let alone CG. When it's done badly, it's a problem but that doesn't make micing "bad."
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AndreiKrylov

Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:21 pm

Moje wrote:Why is everything so polarizing in the CG world? To me it's obvious that micing can be done wel; if it couldn't, nobody would ever listen to recordings of anything, let alone CG. When it's done badly, it's a problem but that doesn't make micing "bad."
+1

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:59 pm

I saw Ana Vidovic in a medium hall with a few hundred people. She used mics and amp. I was struck by the range in dynamics and sustain and the beauty of the sound. Especially those pp sections. Exquisite. Really the first concert I've been to where the guitar sounded like it would in a parlour. And I've been to many. Find out what system she uses and use that.

I've also hear many jazz and flamenco players on pickup guitars. This changes the sound of the guitar completely. May as well play a strat.
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John Stone
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by John Stone » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:45 am

Moje wrote:Why is everything so polarizing in the CG world? To me it's obvious that micing can be done wel; if it couldn't, nobody would ever listen to recordings of anything, let alone CG.
Exactly. Every recording is a mic'd guitar pumped through speakers. And, when done well, that can sound wonderful. But a live, unamplified guitar, in a not-too-large room is so much better.
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by John Ross » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:14 pm

Moje wrote:Why is everything so polarizing in the CG world?
It isn't really the CG world, it isn't even really this forum, it's just a few people on it.

edwardsguitar
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by edwardsguitar » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:31 pm

I don't see the original question and the ensuing opinions and discussions as "polarizing". We are not dividing into "microphone" vs. "no microphone" camps; just exploring personal preferences. Human hearing is a very complex thing, so to expect us all to agree is not realistic. Perhaps I should have simply put the question as "how do you feel about microphones used in live guitar performances?" And as a performer myself I am genuinely inerested. I thought paraphrasing Shakespeare would be an amusing way to put it, but I guess not; my apologies.

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Moje
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by Moje » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:45 am

edwardsguitar wrote:I don't see the original question and the ensuing opinions and discussions as "polarizing". We are not dividing into "microphone" vs. "no microphone" camps; just exploring personal preferences. Human hearing is a very complex thing, so to expect us all to agree is not realistic. Perhaps I should have simply put the question as "how do you feel about microphones used in live guitar performances?" And as a performer myself I am genuinely inerested. I thought paraphrasing Shakespeare would be an amusing way to put it, but I guess not; my apologies.
Not at all, it's a perfectly valid question and my "polarizing" comment wasn't aimed at you.

Ultimately I feel that recording technology has gotten to the point where any audible degradation is due to human error; we've all heard terrible amplification but to claim that major talents ought to perform 10 times as many shows as they do (and anything else is unacceptable!) as one commenter suggested, is absurd. How many of us can compete, in any room, with the sounds from Julian Bream's 20th Century Guitar?

So in short, my answer is not "Don't amplify," but "Amplify well, when necessary." :D
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riffmeister
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by riffmeister » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:21 am

edwardsguitar wrote:I submit that both players and audiences have become lazy. I also submit that perhaps I am just an old curmudgeon.
Curmudgeon! :lol:

I think amplification can be done tastefully.

But certainly I appreciate those who are able to play well enough not to need it in a medium size hall.

WilliamSchart
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by WilliamSchart » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:08 pm

From mmapag's post, it would seem that properly done, a mic'd guitar can sound appropriately good, but problems can arise if not done right. If some situations in some venues, micing might not be necessary and in other situations it might be either necessary or at least helpful if the goal is to have all members of the audience, even those up in the nosebleeds, hear the artist. Then there's the question of playing with other instruments, which might well drowned out the guitar. So it might be helpful if playing Boccherini with a string quartet or the like.

But ultimately it's a matter of choice for both the artist as well as potential audience members. Segovia absolutely refused any such enhancement and maybe on occasions people had difficulty hearing him, at least in large venues. A factor to consider if you are thinking about attending a concert, if there are artists today with similar attitudes about micing. On the other hand if you have problems with a classical guitarist micing, then you might want to avoid a concert where such was being used. Someone else might have no problem.

WilliamSchart
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by WilliamSchart » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:08 pm

deleted double post

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Lawler
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by Lawler » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:00 pm

IME live miking can be a good thing if done by a skilled engineer using high quality gear... including a carefully done soundcheck adjusted based on the engineer's knowledge of how the hall will sound when full of people. From the player's perspective - During the soundcheck if you can't hear the amplification over your real playing while you're playing on stage, but the guitar sounds clear and realistic (and natural relating to the hall's real ambience) when you have someone else play it while you walk around the hall... you're golden. If someone slaps an sm57 in front of you, plugs into a generic vocal PA or guitar amp on stage, slaps on the compression, cranks up the verb, it's going to sound low-rent. Which is perfectly OK if you're playing in a bar.

mmapag
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Re: To mic or not to mic, that is the question

Post by mmapag » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:20 pm

Lawler wrote:IME live miking can be a good thing if done by a skilled engineer using high quality gear... including a carefully done soundcheck adjusted based on the engineer's knowledge of how the hall will sound when full of people. From the player's perspective - During the soundcheck if you can't hear the amplification over your real playing while you're playing on stage, but the guitar sounds clear and realistic (and natural relating to the hall's real ambience) when you have someone else play it while you walk around the hall... you're golden. If someone slaps an sm57 in front of you, plugs into a generic vocal PA or guitar amp on stage, slaps on the compression, cranks up the verb, it's going to sound low-rent. Which is perfectly OK if you're playing in a bar.
Well said!
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