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#939012 - 01/03/12 02:24 PM Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 2,887
PopTodd Online content
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PopTodd  Online Content
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Western Springs, IL, USA
So, it's just gonna be me and my acoustic guitar.
I'm thinking about just sitting down in front of a few mics and busting out and mixing the 8 or 9 songs in a single session. Cutting it completely live, with no (or bare minimum) overdubs.
I think that, with the format that I've chosen, it will bring out the intimacy inherent in that kind of recording. I know that it will be more difficult to get a perfect take, but that is maybe part of the point.

What do you all think about albums like this.
I'm thinking if stuff like Springsteen's Nebraska and Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs. Do you prefer the intimate imperfections of those records, or would you prefer to have better, more-perfect takes of the songs?

And yeah, I am planning on multiple takes, of course.

(For the record, I AM planning of maybe overdubbing a guitar solo on one song and maybe a vocal harmony on a couple others. Oh, no pun intended there.)

#939015 - 01/03/12 03:02 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic. [Re: PopTodd]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,710
Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Posts: 3,710
MI
Todd, I've always enjoyed a bare-bones arrangement of a song. Just a guy and a guitar or piano. It really allows you to show off the song without any distractions. So good luck with it.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#939056 - 01/03/12 05:52 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: PopTodd]  
Joined: May 2001
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Nigel Quin Offline
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Birmingham, UK
Hi Todd

Itís an interesting point. I do a lot of Guitar/Vocal recordings and if itís for more than just a quick demo I tend to record the guitar first then the vocal. That way I get more flexibility when it comes to the mix. However, by doing it that way there is a risk that some of the feel may be lost. I suppose if you want the killer performance, sort out your mic placements and go for it!

Just some thoughts

All in one approach
Advantages
quicker smile
Retains the feel and spontaneity of the performance
guitar/vocal interaction would sound more natural
Disadvantages
A mistake could spoil the whole take
Possible mixing issues with overspill

Separate takes approach
Advantages
A better mix
Vocal and guitar tracks can be treated in isolation so that they fit better
Vocal or guitar track can be redone without loss or having to redo the part that was good
Punch in/outs are easier and less noticable
Disadvantages
Potential loss of feel and spontaneity
There is a risk of timing issues
Takes longer smile

Cheers
Nige

#939067 - 01/03/12 07:22 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Nigel Quin]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
The problem with guitar/vocal as masters is stereo. If you are mic-ing your voice and guitar with two different mics and panning them, the stereo will sound wonky. If you have a real good stereo reverb, that can help. Or, you can record with a stereo pair of mics and every little movement you make will add to the "live room" sound. For stereo pair setting, I've used X Y, an approximate ORTF and Baffled Stereo all with good results. Here's a website that explains those and others:

http://www.dpamicrophones.dk/da/MikrofonUniversitet/Stereoteknikker.aspx

I've also used reverbs with the stereo pairs. The only drawback is you need a matched pair of mics. I've used a pair of Shure SM 81's.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#939068 - 01/03/12 07:26 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Jun 2001
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PopTodd Online content
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Western Springs, IL, USA
What about using more than 2 mics?
Placing a few around my body, and a couple near the guitar and my mouth? Would we be able to get a good mix from that, or would there be other issues that a recording dummy like myself couldn't anticipate?
From my ignorant p.o.v., I would think that we could probably get good, natural room/reverb sounds. But, like I said, I don't know much about sound and how it works like that.

#939069 - 01/03/12 07:40 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: PopTodd]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
More than two and you'll really be fighting phase issues.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#939070 - 01/03/12 07:42 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
When the waves hit one mic out of phase with how they hit the other mic, they cancel each other out. If they are just a little out of phase, they cancel parts of the spectrum out. The wave is going in while the other one is going out.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#939071 - 01/03/12 07:44 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
If you use several mics, best to place them further away, even then they often sound "mushy" unless you get lucky. I've tried this. I don't try it any more. smile


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#939077 - 01/03/12 08:05 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,899
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Posts: 7,899
Saint Petersburg. FL
As mentioned above, there are plenty of challenges getting a guitar/vocal recorded properly, but I would also consider whether the result will be satisfactory. There are certainly a few artists who I would enjoy listening to doing just guitar/vocals, but there are also a lot who would be boring. Modern productions typically have the song building and changing as it progresses. There are small instrumental fills coming and going, harmony vocals, backup vocal parts, etc. etc. You are very limited with just a guitar/vocal and unless you are James Taylor or Paul Simon, you are in danger of what I call droning on and on. This is often heard at open mics and songwriter showcases when an artist drones on for 10 minutes basically doing the same thing over and over. I call those suicide songs because after the first 5 minutes, I am ready to commit hari-kari.

Your mileage may vary......


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#939079 - 01/03/12 08:14 PM Re: Recording solo/acoustic - live take vs. overdubs [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 2,887
PopTodd Online content
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PopTodd  Online Content
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It's just gonna be an EP, Colin. So, hopefully I won't overstay my welcome.

Anyway, the only reason that I am attempting this in the first place, is because I have been encouraged to by many, many friends and former bandmates to do so. So, hopefully they see something that other folks will see/hear too.

We'll see...

And, this is me doing the solo/acoustic thing for a few songs, at any rate. I think that I pull it off...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH0AS7y_Ms0


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