Need your opinions about acoustic guitar through Kemper for studio recording.

  • I'm in the process of recording our last alt-rock song before sending it to master. This particular song has a very familiar vibe as the Coldplay - Yellow song has. The intro acoustic guitar on the Coldplay song is very heavily compressed and lows gone, and that type of sound would fit perfectly in our track!! All the guides and online tips suggest that I should record one track with DI and one track with a condenser microphone on fret 12.. But my own logic says I can just settle with a DI recording through my Kemper for this particular usage.. That I don't need an extra micced track to mud up my mix.. If you listenin to Coldplay - Yellow, would you say the Kemper alone can achieve this, or would you have a micced track aswell? If only Kemper, should I go DI cab bypass, or should I run it through a simulated amp?

  • From a Gearslutz thread;

    Ken Nelson (who recorded Parachutes) on recording acoustic guitars:

    "I don't like the sound of DI'd acoustic guitar. I'll usually use KM84s, again, or a U87. They're all good mics, it's just a case of placing them. What I tend to do sometimes is have something like a Km84cardioid mic, and I'll have say a 414 set on figure-of-eight as a room mic, that way you get a bit of the room sound."

    KEN NELSON: Recording Coldplay's Parachutes

    Michael Brauer about mixing Coldplay acoustic guitars:

    "On the acoustic guitar I did what I normally do, which is to send it through my acoustic patch, an API 525 going into an API 5502. That's a great combo and I have been using that for years. It makes the acoustic guitar very natural and full and gives it great presence without it sounding processed. In this song it's not very evident, because the acoustic guitar isn't very important, but, for example, on Parachutes the acoustic is very important, and I used the patch back then."

    Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Michael Brauer

  • I'd never DI an acoustic when recording but if you're set on it, record it and a few mics too. You don't need to use them all in the final mix and you can pick whichever combination works best.

  • Thanks guys. paults I don't have an API 525, but judging by his first comment, he only mics the guitar? So no DI at all here? I have a rusty old AKG Perception 200, I don't know if it can compete with the U87 or the more expensive ones.

    I'd never DI an acoustic when recording but if you're set on it, record it and a few mics too. You don't need to use them all in the final mix and you can pick whichever combination works best.

    The problem I have when mixing is that my initial assumption when recording is that the sound is good. And then I spend several hours mixing and making it sound OK. And in the process I spend so much time listening to the track that it becomes familiar to only me. And because I can hear myself "deaf" on my own mix, I then later finds out that I could have done it better.. That's why I ask here before going down that road, so I know the best basis for success before starting.. If miccing is that much better in the end, I'd rather do it right from the start. :)

  • The nicest acoustic guitar mic's I've ever heard, was a pair of Neumann KM184's. One pointed at an angle at the 12th fret towards the sound hole, and the other pointed towards the bridge. If you could rent a pair of those for the recording, you'd be way ahead of the game.

    I have an L.R Baggs Anthem on my j-100 xtra, even with the stack on the Kemper turned off, plugging in an acoustic to it, doesn't do it for me, no DI sounds good acoustically, to me.

    Kemper Powerhead w/remote & Kabinet
    Focusrite 18i8 (2nd Gen) - Windows 10 - Ableton Live - Yamaha HS-8's - DT770 80 ohms

  • It doesn't have to be an expensive microphone or preamp.

    I've had songs and instrumentals signed by publishers with the acoustic guitar (and vocal, for that matter) captured with an AKG C3000 and/or an $80 large diaphragm condenser mic from Guitar Center, using the preamp in my interface.

    There was at least one Neil Young album with all of his acoustic guitar captured with an SM57.

  • The nicest acoustic guitar mic's I've ever heard, was a pair of Neumann KM184's. One pointed at an angle at the 12th fret towards the sound hole, and the other pointed towards the bridge.

    I use a Rode NT-1 (or sometimes a newer NT-1A) roughly 8 inches off the guitar and pointed at the sound hole from the 12th fret (if you position it at the lower bout it sounds okay but your arm keeps swinging between the guitar and the mic, causing interference). I then have a pair of 184s set very wide in the room, about 30 feet apart, pointing in at the guitar. I've been happy with the blend I get of those three, but I put a lot of work into the room acoustics before that could work.

    That said, keem85, you might consider an NT-1A next time you're looking at mics. It's only $200 USD and delivers a spectacular bang for the buck. When I purchased my first one I compared it side by side with the Neumann TLM series mics. What little difference there was (and it was very, very little) was so subtle that you're not going to hear the extra $1000 you spend on the Neumann. You can get great results with nothing more than the Rode and proper mic placement.

    By the way, I'm not saying that Rode is always as good as Neumann. Their M5s are a comparable style of mic to the Neumann KM184s, and on every recording I've heard they're not within 1000 miles of the Neumann quality. The NT-1A is just one of those mics that happens to be excellent at what it does.

    There was at least one Neil Young album with all of his acoustic guitar captured with an SM57.

    I'm pretty sure a 57 can even make pizza for you. There's almost nothing that mic can't handle in the right hands.

  • Yep, that's the one.

    Wonder how my AKG Perception 200 from 2006 holds up compared to this one?

    See the Alternatives section at the bottom, where the NT1-A is listed.

    Since you already have this mic, I'd suggest tracking acoustic with it using the placement techniques several folks have recommended. If you're happy with how it sounds, no need to buy another mic.

    Of course, need is never quite the driving factor with gear as it's always nice to have a number of options in your mic cabinet.

    That said, right now you're focusing on acoustic. If the AKG doesn't give you want you want, the Rode is, as they said in the article, a good alternative. They also list a few other good ones. Lots of great inexpensive mics out there these days. But I'd definitely try your AKG before spending any money.

  • So I tried recording with my AKG P200 and ran an insane compressor on it afterwards.. I got it to sound exactly how I wanted! Thanks for the tip guys.. So lesson learned to never ever record acoustic guitar with DI :)

  • So lesson learned to never ever record acoustic guitar with DI :)

    As with all things recording, that really depends on what you're going for. While I prefer the sound of a miked acoustic and probably wouldn't use DI as my only sound source, I wouldn't apply that rule as an absolute.

    If you track the DI in addition to the mic, you might find songs where bringing a little of that into the mix, processed / EQed appropriately, gives you another element to play with. It can add different characteristics to the miked guitar that could be useful for a conspicuous effect, applied subtly to help it punch through in a dense mix, etc.

    Much like the use of parallel compression (aka "NY compression") on drums, the idea is to not replace the original sound but rather to mix in a second sound that contributes to the overall goal of the instrument in the context of the mix.

    There's something to be said for making decisions as you go, but I also enjoy having options. For example, when I track electric guitar, I record the Master out of the Kemper but also include a track for the DI. I may be happy with the Kemper output as it is and never end up using the DI for reamping, but it doesn't cost me anything but a track and a fractional amount of disk space to include it.

  • Yes I used to do mic and DI before, many many years ago when I did recording back in the old ancient days :) I actually tried it yesterday.. I reamped and generated three different amped tracks, tried to pan them out and add a little bit of delay so they seperate.. I think I am hearing phasing, but I'm not sure ^^

  • 1. When discussing acoustic guitar for recording, the first topic should be room treatment. Where are you recording? If the walls aren't treated, any mic, KM84, U87, will sound like crap (due to the reverberations sound canceling.) So WHERE you record is of the most importance. You want dead space. Say, a walk-in closet if nothing else. Using a U87's Figure-8 in an untreated room is a disaster.

    2. When discussing mics for acoustic, it's more important to know what the preamp is. Typically clean ones are best for most people who want a modern sound if not already doing solo acoustic. (i.e. Flamenco) If you got a so-so mic going to a so-so preamp or a colored preamp (i.e. tube preamp or Neve clone) then you got more than mic problems. The pairing (much like Guitar/Amp pairings) is where the sound is at.

    3. Placement is key. Experiment. You can move 6 inches in a room and where you put the mic will sound drastically different if the room lacks pro treatment. I have a Taylor 510 and recording too close is my problem as its a very LOUD guitar. This is typically why ppl prefer parlor guitars for recording. You can get in close, get less room, and not overload the sound making it muddy at the mic.

    4. You could spend a day just playing with the knobs on your preamp/eq and get different tones.

    5. Are your strings new? Some people swear by that. Others swear that older strings are best (i.e. blues/jazz) But the age can affect your playing style as the strings get tighter. So if you were fighting old strings, put on new ones, you might be over-playing them and they don't sound as snappy.

    6. DI. So... if you don't have a treated room, a good mic-preamp pairing, then I'd say try DI with the Kemper, but close mic your acoustic to get the fret noise and mix that in for more realism. Trial a few Kemper presets to see what you like, don't like. What sounds bad in person may sound great in a mix. Remember: Thin is best, not a full bodied sound. That makes a mix sound muddy.

    7. After that, then just use EQ. High pass filter that to make the ACG sound tinnier than you'd like to hear alone and it will sit in the mix better. But just don't make it an ice pick.

    8. Get something like the Maserati Waves ACG plugin. That will help assuage the poorness of the DI recording to some extent in a "dummies" way.

    That's all I got, haha. Experiment like hell and don't blow thousands you don't got until you know why you don't like what you are currently hearing!

    Best of fun!

  • I've had really good results using (KPA) profiles taken of a ToneDexter (look it up). Using a DI and a microphone (in my case a KM184) the TD 'listens' to the instrument being played and alters the DI sound to make it sound like the mic - It's uncanny. The room acoustics are apparently not relevant.

    I've used the TD live with banjo (!) but took it one step further and profiled a XII string wavemap (TD's version of a profile) to used the XII string with the KPA direct. It worked a treat ( the soundie made a point of commenting on it!)

    Not an economical option BUT, if you go here:

    Need to record acoustic guitars... best methods and profiles???

    There's a link to KPA profiles created by Bommel . You can then DI your acoustic into one of those.

    Ideally the you would use a Tonedexter waveform that was made on your instrument BUT, others do work - try a few.

    sorry - a bit long winded 8o