New mics and live recording

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

This past sunday I performed at Pacific Bay Coffee Company here in Walnut Creek. As always it was an enjoyable experience.

Since I just snagged some new mics on Ebay I decided to try them out as live performance tools. The mics are a pair of Electrovoice RE16 dynamic hypercardioids. These mics have the “Variable-D” feature that reduces proximity effect.

I used one RE16 for my vocal introductions and the other pointed at the bridge of my Martin OM-18GE. The mics were plugged into my very modest Peavey powered mixer, which was driving one pole-mounted Klipsch Heresy speaker.

I also recorded the show, using the tape out jack on the Peavey to feed the line in connectors on my Marantz PMD-670.

The results were interesting. It took a lot of attention to keep from bumping the guitar into the mic. I’ll probably try moving the mic to the 12th fret area, next time. The audience seemed happy with the balance and volume, but on the recording the guitar is pretty quiet, and the typical coffee shop background noises are pretty loud. I did think the tonal quality of the recording was pretty acceptable, and I’m looking forward to trying some “studio” tests with these mics.

In the meantime, I put two of the tunes from the Pac Bay show up at the Music Page.


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.