Playing the Angles with the Zoom Q3HD

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

The mics and preamp on the Q3HD deliver a new level of audio quality to lower cost video cams, simply by being as good as today’s average pocket recorder. But I read posts by folks who have the Q but are still frustrated in their efforts to get the sound they hope for in their videos. (more…)


A First Look at the Zoom Q3HD

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Most of my video work consists of “look at me” videos I post on YouTube, shots of my slack key guitar playing. The audio is at least as important as the video, and a couple of my camcorders, the Sanyo Xacti HD2000 and the Kodak Zi8, were chosen because they had some sort of audio input and some degree of control over that input. In both cases, though, I’ve never been really happy with the audio I was able to record with these cams, even when I used an external source. Both these cameras, and others I’ve tried, have some kind of processing on the audio that attempts to maintain a constant level. And, of course, the audio circuitry gets a pretty small share of the development and manufacturing budget. The combination of these factors results in noisy distorted audio unless every detail is exactly right, a rare thing indeed. (more…)


Vocal – Guitar Separation with Figure 8 Mics

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

I record solo acoustic guitar almost exclusively, but a couple of months ago one of my buddies wanted to lay down a few tracks with vocal and `ukulele. And he wanted to sing and play at the same time. I remembered reading about an arrangement of figure 8 or bidirectional mics that gave maximum separation in a situation like this, so I pulled out the Rode NT2a and NT2000 and set them up. We were amazed by the separation between vocal and uke, even though the mics were only a foot apart. (more…)


13 Broadband Absorbers

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I built a batch of broadband absorber panels before I recorded my Kaleponi CD. I have 13 panels constructed of 4 inches of OC703 wrapped in burlap. It’s been a while since I built these and I’ve lost track of the cost, but I’ll do better with the next batch, I promise. Here’s a look at what they’ve done for my recording space. (more…)


Acoustic Treatment – here’s what we’re trying to fix

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Room EQ Wizard is a wonderful free tool for evaluating the acoustic conditions in a room. And Sketchup is a wonderful free tool for modeling a room. I used both of these to evaluate my recording space, and to develop a baseline for comparison as I add treatment. (more…)


About the Blog

    Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

    I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

    I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.



    My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

    But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

    I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

    Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

    I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

    But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.