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Marcel Manzardo

Help with Acoustic Guitar Recording - Workflow

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I have to preface,  that  I am new to Cakewalk and trying to figure out the best way to record acoustic Guitar.
Here is as far as I got:

  • I have two condenser mikes and record in Stereo to two tracks
  • I create a bus for L and R and pan one track to the left and the other to the right which gives me two independent buses for each channel
  • The two buses have sends to a reverb and wider bus which are blended together to a master bus for final processing.

This setup works well and gives me lots of control. However, if I record something complex I will have to inevitable re-record or correct certain sections.

I am somewhat familiar with comping but that does not allow me to just fix a section easily because it will never be in the correct spot.
Moving and trimming a fix on 2 channels at the same time appears to be VERY difficult.

So here is my question how would you go about fixing/re-recording a small section of a song and then placing it into the same spot on multiple tracks?
Is comping the correct method?
How would you duplicate a section and re-use it when you have multiple tracks and you have to do the exact same manipulation on multiple tracks?

Would you recommend NOT recording to two tracks but just record in stereo to one track, which would make fixing sections much simpler? 
I could separate the L and R channel into buses afterwards if required, I believe...

Your help is greatly appreciated!

Happy Holidays! 

Marcello

 

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I for sure would record to a stereo track, Much simpler -

This stereo track  then could be routed to a bus or not, depending on your needs. If you are recording on different tracks (cloned from the first one), then all this tracks can be routed to a single "guitar" bus, and apply EQ, compressor, etc to all audio at once to this bus. One of the purposes of buses is to group several tracks to a single unit.

You can use comping to select and arrange your takes made on a track, but you can rearrange this lanes in and out of other recorded tracks as well. CW is very flexible to adapt to your workflow and your preferences.

Hope this helps!

 

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4 minutes ago, Andres Medina said:

I for sure would record to a stereo track, Much simpler -

This stereo track  then could be routed to a bus or not, depending on your needs. If you are recording on different tracks (cloned from the first one), then all this tracks can be routed to a single "guitar" bus, and apply EQ, compressor, etc to all audio at once to this bus. One of the purposes of buses is to group several tracks to a single unit.

You can use comping to select and arrange your takes made on a track, but you can rearrange this lanes in and out of other recorded tracks as well. CW is very flexible to adapt to your workflow and your preferences.

Hope this helps!

 

Thank you very much for your advice.  I will record to a single stereo track in the future. Because I always got lost making identical changes on multiple tracks.

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You are welcome!

Tip: when recording stereo, be sure to setup your mics right, or you'll get cancelling problems. Check out his video for recording guitars. Very helpful and fun. 

Another tip: if you are recording guitar as a solo performance, stereo is the way to go. BUT, if your guitar is part of an ensemble, it would probably be a better choice to record in mono, and perhaps double the guitar (on different takes) panning them full L and full R. It's very common and blends better in a mix than recording stereo most of the times.

 

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There is Channel Tools but this issue not what happens after recording.

The issue is ease of creating the track in the first place.

For this one could use clip groups but since the subject is one instrument with two microphones, a stereo track makes more sense to me. 

Once the performance is captured, the two channels can be split into separate tracks if desired.

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True. However, I have the habit of recording each mic onto its own mono track. Since it's going to end up that way anyways, it's simpler for me to just record it that way in the first place

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Thank you everyone for your advice.  I did watch the Paul Davids video a while back and it is very helpful.

I record a single guitar as a solo performance.

Thanks again!

Edited by Marcel Manzardo

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Marcel , I think a single guitar can sound Very nice using a pair of mics. A "matched" pair is even better. Each going to its own  panned track. Way more control over everything this way. Then bus them how you like.  As far as recording and fixing sections ,  Sound on Sound is the "only" way I'll record.  If I don't like a performance  "undo" . Putting an "undo" button in the control bar was the first thing I did in CbB. Want to redo a section later , cut "them" and slip edit it out. Back up and re-record the tracks (like you did the first time) ,  then slip edit the dead space out . I always mark my mic stands and chair position with tape ,  just for retakes sometimes done days apart.   Everyone has their own process , this is the only one for me ..    mark

Edited by mark skinner
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I use one track for piezo pickup and a second track for a Neumann U87 microphone and put them L and R. In this way you have a more controlled sound using a differente level of reverb for each track.

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8 hours ago, mark skinner said:

Marcel , I think a single guitar can sound Very nice using a pair of mics. A "matched" pair is even better. Each going to its own  panned track. Way more control over everything this way. Then bus them how you like.  As far as recording and fixing sections ,  Sound on Sound is the "only" way I'll record.  If I don't like a performance  "undo" . Putting an "undo" button in the control bar was the first thing I did in CbB. Want to redo a section later , cut "them" and slip edit it out. Back up and re-record the tracks (like you did the first time) ,  then slip edit the dead space out . I always mark my mic stands and chair position with tape ,  just for retakes sometimes done days apart.   Everyone has their own process , this is the only one for me ..    mark

Thank you for your suggestion. I will try the Sound on Sound and see how I do with the editing 🙂

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7 hours ago, lapasoa said:

I use one track for piezo pickup and a second track for a Neumann U87 microphone and put them L and R. In this way you have a more controlled sound using a differente level of reverb for each track.

I have two identical mikes but they are pointing at different spots on the guitar.  if I move the guitar during recording, then the levels may vary and I may have to adjust one channel only. So definitely more control compared to recording on a single track.

 

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FWIW, here's an alternative approach. I almost always record guitar primarily in mono (one mic or direct). I started doing this years ago, when recording the late classical guitarist Linda Cohen,  because:

  • Setup is easier - find the sweet spot, and start recording. I usually position the mic about 6 to 12 inches directly in front of the 14th fret, angled in slightly so it points toward the fingerboard between the body’s edge and the sound hole.
  • Zero phase issues. 
  • Only one mic preamp contributes hiss.
  • Much easier comping.
  • More repeatable setups if a session is interrupted (make sure you take a picture of the mic's position). I use taped "marks" on the floor for the chair and the mic stand, like the marks actors use on stage in theaters.

I then use EQ to create a stereo image. This can involve any of several different techniques, depending on the program material. 

The reason I said "primarily" in mono is that I may also use a direct out if it's available, or stereo room mics to fill in the space. If quality stereo room mics aren't available, I'll use electronic ambiance processors. When going direct, though, you have to "nudge" the audio slightly behind to line up with the miked audio. 

I use  EQ-based stereo imaging only when doing guitars that need to sound "solo." If it's a situation where the guitar needs to sound doubled, I do delay-based stereo, but using techniques that allow collapsing it to mono without artifacts.

I'm certainly not saying this is the way to record acoustic guitar! But sometimes it's the best option for particular circumstances.

 

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After reading the different approaches to this, I made a few tests, and found out that as bdickens said, having two mono tracks can be better for controlling the stereo image of each mono track (Compressor-Eq), and the spread of the stereo image when mixing.

Of course, recording stereo doubles the work in many ways...!

Regarding comping: as long as you configure the comp options to "Group all clips", as said above, it's kind of the same process that comping mono.

And, depending of the particular piece of music, having a large, big, stereo guitar can be a huge improvement or a huge waste... jeje -

---

Here is a thing  I haven't been able to properly to figure out:

When using the spaced mics approach (2 mics on the sides) , to avoid phase issues, you have to keep the two mics at least 3x the distance from the mics to the guitar. It means that you have to mic really close to the instrument (I don't like this because it picks a lot of unwanted noise; breathing, the tapping of the fingers on the fretboard, etc), to get a small distance between mics.

But if you mic a bit further away, let's say  12 inches, this distance increases a lot (36 inches), and the mics cannot point close to the body of the guitar, but in an angle, because of the increased distance. 

Is this ok?

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Not mentioned here is how I work with any guitar tracks, electric or acoustic. I often will use 2 tracks recorded simultaneously. I then use Take lanes to replay parts I wasn’t happy with. I always use Overwrite mode. I think that’s the trick. Otherwise the behaviour of editing seems weird to me because there’s always something hidden underneath the new recording. 

Anyway I might end up with 3 lanes and it’s pretty easy to use them to create one good take. Not that hard to treat both tracks the same. Might not be sample accurate but ?  

I like to record my Acoustic with one condenser and it’s LRBaggs PU. I don’t hard pan them I blend the sound and use effects to achieve stereo. 
I only hard pan if I play the part twice. The 2 condenser mike method never worked for me. You solo the tracks and one would simply sound worse than the other! Why would I want that? 

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55 minutes ago, John Vere said:

Not mentioned here is how I work with any guitar tracks, electric or acoustic. I often will use 2 tracks recorded simultaneously. I then use Take lanes to replay parts I wasn’t happy with. I always use Overwrite mode. I think that’s the trick. Otherwise the behaviour of editing seems weird to me because there’s always something hidden underneath the new recording. 

Anyway I might end up with 3 lanes and it’s pretty easy to use them to create one good take. Not that hard to treat both tracks the same. Might not be sample accurate but ?  

I like to record my Acoustic with one condenser and it’s LRBaggs PU. I don’t hard pan them I blend the sound and use effects to achieve stereo. 
I only hard pan if I play the part twice. The 2 condenser mike method never worked for me. You solo the tracks and one would simply sound worse than the other! Why would I want that? 

Thanks for your insights!

There are endless ways to get the work done, for sure.

I try to get the best individual sound from each mic (one AKG 414 - really good condenser -, and the other a Behringer B-1 - good, but not as much as the AKG), and then blend them together in a stereo image, 40% pan L, 40% pan R. It sounds pretty good, and translate fine to mono as well, specially for classical guitar. Creates a nice spacey vibe, that mono recording does not provide, despite the use of good convolution reverbs+algorythmic reverbs.

For steel string guitars I found the stereo image unnecessary and get a bit blurred audio image, but for a simple voice+guitar setting it makes the guitar fuller. 

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