Recording Acoustic Guitar & VocalsBy
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Hello again, fellow musicians!
In today’s article, I wanted to tackle recording acoustic guitar with vocals and choosing the right microphones.
Recording Guitar with Vocals—How Many Mics?
A lot of you are probably wondering, “How many mics should I use when recording my guitar with vocals?” Well… it all depends on what type of sound you want.
It’s not uncommon for a modern recording session to have a mic (or several) or direct input for each instrument or vocalist, with each mic/input feeding into a unique audio track in the recording software. This allows the audio engineer to isolate sounds and control them individually.
But, just because it’s common practice doesn’t mean it’s the only way (or even the best way). Before multitracking, using a single mic to record a guitar and vocals was very common. As unusual as it might be today, some of your favorite bands of the past used only 1 or 2 mics to record the whole band, from drums to vocalists. Mics were selected, all the instruments and vocalists were positioned strategically, the engineer pressed record on their 4 track tape machine, and a record was made.
As I said above, the right number of mics for your project depends on the sound you want. To get the right results, though, it’s important to use the right mic and to position it correctly. Keep reading for more details.
Choosing the Right Type of Microphone
Dynamic mics are considered your typical stage mic. Most concert venues, churches, and so on use dynamic mics because they can handle high pressure sound levels, and they are used when the sound source is close and loud. The most popular dynamic mics are Shure SM58, SM57, and SM7B.
PROs: These mics are fairly inexpensive, rugged, and road-worthy. The sound is pure and focused. They do not require phantom power (48v).
CONs: These mics can produce a nasal sound. They lack some high end (in comparison to condenser mics). They also have a pronounced proximity effect (the closer your source is to the mic, the more enhanced the bass sounds), so some EQ tweaking may be needed depending on the sound you are after.
Condenser microphones are the most common types of microphones you’ll find in recording studios.