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Another Rode NT4 for recording acoustic guitar question


I would really appreciate it if anyone/everyone who has experience recording acoustic guitar with the Rode NT4 could give me some tips on what mic placement works good for them. I have an NT4 and I'm trying to record a CA Guitar(composite acoustic) with it and I'm not having much success getting a really good sound. The CA Guitar has an incredible sound, somewhat like a hybrid of a Martin and a Taylor but I can't seem to get that beautiful tone captured on recording. I am running the NT4 into a Presonus Bluetube and then recording digitally with a Roland VS890.
I would really like to hear what has worked well for others who have used this mic. I am looking to get a really organic "Jars of Clay" type of sound. I will greatly appreciate any tips anyone can give me. :)
May 8, 2004 @03:29am

I think the problem lies in your presonus and the lack of a LD condensor. Having a LD condensor will pick up more of the guitars "body tone"....the lower midrange that really fills out acoustic guitar tones...
How and where do you have the mic placed? Pictures would be nice...
Also using a stereo xy mic like this might not be the greatest idea.....what other mic's do you have?
May 8, 2004 @07:06am

Have you tried the traditional recording setups:
12th fret/lower bout
Have you tried a different preamp?
May 8, 2004 @07:21am

Originally posted by sdelsolray
Have you tried the traditional recording setups:
12th fret/lower bout

I guess psm only tried XY:) (NT4 is a fixed XY mic)
NT4 would probably be a good choice (for the money) on guitar duo or even larger ensemble in a nice room. But I share Randy's concern it could be restrictive to mic a single guitar with an XY mic.
If NT4 is your only mic, try to use it as if it was a single mic and only use the one corresponding output.
Note: The farther the mic will be, the more natural sound you'll get with the disadvantage of picking up more room sound. The closer you pull the mic, the more bass response and the harder it gets to find the sweet spot.
May 8, 2004 @07:48am

Thanks for the input. I have read that a lot of people get great results with this mic for recording acoustic guitar. That's why I bought it. I was looking for a easy way to get a nice stereo recorded guitar track. I have also done a lot of reading on microphone techniques for recording acoustic guitar and almost everyone said that the x-y technique offered a great sound with easy set-up. Anyway, I have tried setting it up with the mic pointed at the 12th fret area of the neck so one capsule is pointed towards the sound hole and the other is pointed at the neck. I have tried it at different distances from the guitar but usually about 1-2 feet away from the guitar.
BY the way, I have also used a Carvin Large diaphram condensor at around the 12th fret area angled towards the fret board and not gotten the desired results. THis is a good mic also but for some reason it 's not working for me.
I am beginning to wonder if part of my problem is that I use too much EQ. I Lowered the Highs by 12 db right away for recording to make it sound warmer. THis totally changed to sound of the mid and low frequencies as well. I ended up with a metallic type on tone that I couldn't seem to get rid of no matter how I adjusted the mid and low EQ settings. Also cutting the highs that much forced me to raise the volume of the track because I had lost volume because of EQing so much of the original tone away. I'm thinking I should just record with no EQ and then make small adjustments to the recorded track 's EQ and volume.
Is it possible to get a great acoustic guitar recording with this mic?? Can anyone tell me what placement they have used with this mic to get a nice stereo sound?? Should I try micing at the sound hole with one capsule pointed towards the bridge and one at the neck?? Should I try pointing the mic right at the bridge?? I'd appreciate any advice.
If this mic is definetly not going to work, is there any single mic that will get me there?? Does anyone have any input on the Audiotechnica AE5100?? I have heard a lot of good things about it. Of course I heard a lot of goog things about the NT4 before I bought it.
May 8, 2004 @02:10pm

I work with NT5 (identical capsule as NT4) and I don't think there should be any problem arising from the mic. It's rather bad room, bad technique, bad instrument(strings) or, most probably, you not knowing exactly what you actually want (happens to me all the time :) )
NT4 deliveres fairly neutral sound so unless you hate the sound of your guitar itself it should give you undistorted image of what's happening in the room. I can't help it. I don't see why should even SM57 (far less NT5) be protecting you from getting a good acoustic guitar sound down on your hard drive.
I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful. I like NT5. I mean there will be mics I like more on acoustic guitar (C480) but again...
May 8, 2004 @02:39pm

Thanks for your input. Does anyone use the x-y technique to record acoustic guitar??
Should I only use a little EQ and monitor the volume better??
How important is compression?? I've tried a little compression but it seems that my guitar's tone is so balanced that I really don't need it. The recording sounds a little more natural without compression and it seems like the compressor brings the High frequencies up even more which I Don't want.
I appreciate all who have already given input also. Thanks!:D
May 8, 2004 @04:33pm

I am beginning to wonder if part of my problem is that I use too much EQ.

I am by far not the definitive authority on technique, but, eq should only be used to fix a problem. Get the best sound from the mic placement iteslf. Even a couple of inches will make a difference.
Try this, Hit record and play with the mic in a given position. Then leave it recording and move the mic to a different position (talk out loud and say what the position is so you will have it on the recording to reference). Keep playing the same song or phrase and place the mic in about five different positions around the guitar and then in one or two wierd places like over your sholder near your ear pointing at the 14th fret and the nut, and underneath the guitar pointing up at the 14th and the nut.
After you have done that, listen back to the whole long track and listen to how the differences in placement changed the sound. Then go back to the position that sounded best, and make micro adjustments from there.
May 8, 2004 @04:38pm

Thanks for your input. Has anyone used this mic with the standard X-Y technique, ie; with the mic pointed at the 12 fret???
May 9, 2004 @02:56am

Sorry about asking before about which stereo patterns you have tried, I got the NT4 confused with the NT5.
You should be able to get good results with the NT4. I've used a pair of NT5s and they worked well on acoustic guitar.
However, your pre..that Presonus Bluetube. Politely put, get something else in there. That might be a big part of your issue.
May 9, 2004 @04:13am

Originally posted by psm185
...and it seems like the compressor brings the High frequencies up even more which I Don't want.

That's strange. It should do the opposite. Try lowering attack, switch to soft knee, or use soft saturation if your compressor offers these functions.
I agree about rethinking your EQ habits. Use it gently - small boost/cut values, low (e.g. wide) quality parametric bands, etc.
May 9, 2004 @10:23am

Is the compressor being fed pre the eq? If so then it might have that effect.....
May 11, 2004 @09:20pm

May I humbly suggest recording the guitar flat and with no compression. Listen very carefully to the results on a pair of neutral monitors...Analyze what you do and do not like, and then modify the sound with your EQ/dynamics/effects...Your methodology of using EQ/dynamics to disc leaves little option for tweaking the sound, later.
May 13, 2004 @10:53am