Sound test : Du Å Me

Not long ago, I made a sound test with a mic setup and I didn’t really document it as thoroughly as I should and so I thought I should do so from memory while I still can.

I used six microphones in all, a zoom h1, two Røde NT1-As large condenser mics, two NT5 small condenser mics and a GM10 small condenser mic. I used them to record and overdub three guitars.

  • Seagull S6 Cedar
  • Merida Classical Guitar
  • Takamine EG512C Bass Guitar

I didn’t care about getting good takes, so they’re particularly bad here. I just wanted to know if it was a good setup for the guitars I used and for this particular song.

Zoom H1

This was used as a stereo overhead. I love this mic for field recordings and thought it might be nice for overhead use. I had it hooked up to two inputs in my soundcard and recorded it as a stereo-channel.

I did not like the sound very much on any of the three guitars I recorded with and I don’t think I ended up using any of them in the mix.

Future tip: My other mics generally seem better for recording a single guitar.

Røde NT1-A

I had one NT1-A placed about 15~20 CM from the area where the neck meets the body and another NT1-A placed about 40 CM away to the right of the guitar, pointing towards the sound hole. I got a fairly warm, intimate sound from this setup on the acoustic guitars, but on the acoustic bass, the closest NT1-A did basically nothing. My impression is the bass guitar is large and more distance is needed for any mic to pick up the sound from the whole instrument.

Future tip: For my large bass guitar, the NT1-A needs more distance than 15~20 CMs.

NT5s

The NT5s were positioned at about head height for me when sitting down and pointing down towards the guitar body. They were perhaps half a metre away or so. One was to the left of me and the other to the right. The setup is similar to what’s shown in the video I made in the last post, only there they are positioned lower.

Future tip: I think I prefer micing these a little lower, but it worked out pretty well either way.

GM10

The GM10 I almost always put 15~20 CMs over the 12th fret basically because I read on the internet that it’s a good placement and it seems the manufacturer intended it to be relatively close proximity as it comes with a clamp for securing it to the guitar. I did so this time as well.

The result

Check it out!

Du Å Me is a song by a folk band I play in. It normally has vocals, but as I hate the sound of my own voice, I put in some other things. The other things recorded here, concertina, fender rhodes midi, flute from my GR-55, are relics from other sound tests of the same song.

The sound I got on this version was mostly made by muting the mics that I didn’t feel worked and then panning the instruments slightly different. There’s no comp, EQing, etc. on the guitars. However, the reused concertina recording is compressed somewhat.

I think what I ended up with is a warm and intimate guitar sound and it suits the song well. Still, that I removed some mics entirely from the mix indicates they were positioned poorly. I think the warmness of the sound is mostly a combination of the NT1-As position in combination with the GM10. The NT5 gives it a brighter “hi-fi” dazzle, but it’s pretty subdued here. A similar setup might work well in the future for warm, cozy, sleepy sounds.

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