Friday, August 28, 2009

ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 Review.

Recently I had acquired ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0, and have been using it for a couple of weeks straight. I have found some very good points to this package, but with my DAW version (Pro tools LE 6.8.1) I have found a work around. Here are the details.

To begin, ToonTrack is the leader in virtual drumming software.

The sound patches in their products are incredible in sound, and as close to the real thing as possible. But, if that isn’t enough for the inner songwriter in you, the good folks at ToonTrack went on and added different sections to their products. The different sections include a virtual microphone mixer and a loop browser with tons and tons of loops for us all to drag and drop into our musical creations.

Why not invite a professional drummer to play on your cuts? Some of the professional drummers that perform the hits, smashes, and loops in midi form for ToonTrack are Thomas Haake, Sterling Campbell, and NIR Z, just to name a few. These people are without a doubt the best at the style of music that they play. I just love the digital age!

The EZ DRUMMER 2.0 main kit interface.

Perhaps you might want to jump over to a ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 video demonstration first, and then return for more of the finer details. Here is a link to the video. Be sure to click on the speaker at the lower right in order to hear the sound.

As the software plug in finishes loading (as an RTAS plug in) the user is taken to the “drum kit room page”. This screen is where the user can audition the individual drum kit pieces (snares, toms, cymbals, ect.), and the user also can interchange among the many other kit pieces from a drop down menu. Putting together your dream kit is a snap, and then it is on to the midi drum loops.

Choosing the loop that is perfect for your song is as easy as point and click. ToonTrack has created a very easy to use browser for finding and selecting the perfect loop. The user may audition loops on the fly, and then when the one for your work is located; it is only a drag and drop to completion. EZ Drummer 2.0 ships with tons and tons of loops in commonly used timings and styles.

Each loop is played in many different ways, such as with the high hat closed, open, half way, or with a ride. Each style is performed a little bit differently too, so finding a loop for the verse, and a slightly different version of that loop for the chorus is a breeze.

I (once again with my PT-LE 6.8.1) could not seem to drag and drop the loops into my tracks. However, I found a solution to that problem and I explain the fix HERE.

OK. You have found the drum loop that is just perfect for your next number one smash hit and then you placed the loop into your song. So now what?

Opening the mixer will allow the user to “fine tune” the drum loop as you want it to sound for your particular style of song. The sliders actually increase or decrease the individual microphones in volume. The microphones in EZ Drummer 2.0 are on the kick, two on the snare (above and below), tom microphones, overhead microphones, and room microphones. How is that for precise mixing? Rather amazing, if you were to ask me. I had no problem customizing my kit so that it “sat” in my mix perfectly. I found myself returning to the mixer again and again in order to tweak the microphone level settings, just to see, or hear, what would happen. I should also mention that ToonTrack has included some very impressive sounding pre-set settings in the mixer area. These settings are named “tight kit, ambient kit, basic kit, and the default kit) and they are great sounding by themselves, or perhaps you can use these settings as a starting place. Either way, it was nice to see that the folks at ToonTrack took the time to include this feature.

Adding fills with EZ Drummer 2.0 and then writing added notes with midi.

EZ Drummer 2.0 comes with tons of fills included. These loops are also midi files, and are added to your tracks with a simple drag and drop. After you audition the fills, adding the perfect one to your song is a breeze.

I found adding an extra drum hit here or there was not an issue at all. I used the Pro Tools midi tools, and added the notes where I wanted them. Believe me, it is that simple! ToonTrack EZ drummer 2.0 integrates seamlessly into Pro Tools LE 6.8.1. Way to go!

Wrap up…

Over all I found ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 to be a great sounding package that was very easy to work with. The songs that I have added EZ Drummer 2.0 to sound incredible, and just like a well known professional drummer has done the percussion for me. Good bye to lame digital midi drum tracks, and a warm hello to ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0.

What are you waiting for? Get it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

IK Multimedia Releases GrooveMaker® for the Apple iPhone and/or the iPod touch.

Now everyone can create electronic, dance and hip-hop Tracks; non-stop, in real-time, everywhere!

Yes, there is an app for that! Sorry, I could not help myself.

Writing music on the go?

If you have an Apple iPhone or an iPod touch, IK Multimedia has a new application for the song writer in us all. How cool is this?

IK Multimedia is proud to announce the launch of GrooveMaker® for iPhone/iPod touch - the revolutionary app that allows you to create and share non-stop electronic, dance and hip-hop songs on the go in real-time just like a professional DJ or music producer.

GrooveMaker, a full porting of the previous Mac/PC application from IK Multimedia, gives you a completely new way of making music with audio loops. Thanks to IK Multimedias patented “groove generator” technology, you can automatically remix the hundreds of loops included, on the 8 available tracks, in virtually limitless ways, all with one touch.

With GrooveMaker you can create professional full-length tracks and grooves for your music compositions, ambient soundtracks, movie scores and more. And it’s so easy to learn that you’ll be creating your songs and remixes in minutes.

Everything in GrooveMaker is done in real-time, without ever having to stop the music. It’s like working with a real instrument! You can add, remove, and replace single or multiple loops as you listen, so there’s no stopping to your creative flow.

GrooveMaker makes remixing a breeze and a totally new experience.

Composing is as easy as “drag and drop” and puts you at the controls of the music. It’s your mix, and it all happens in real-time. Pick a drum groove. Layer on a bass riff. Add a bass drum beat. Spice it up with melodic and rhythmic lines, leads, pads or effect loops. Browse millions of grooves with one click and pick the ones you like. Change tempo on the fly without stopping the music. Then save it all as a new remix and export it to your Mac/PC.

With GrooveMaker, ANYONE can be a DJ.

GrooveMaker features

- Instantaneous control over 8 stereo loop tracks
- Massive loop library of drums, bass, bass-drums, lines, pads, percussion, effects included
- Play, Mix and Randomize loops on the fly
- Combine studio-quality loops to produce a million possible grooves
- Manipulate loops in real time (pan, volume, mute, solo, group, tempo)
- Arrange grooves easily with drag and drop to create full-length tracks
- Save, preview and recall your mixed tracks
- Upload your tracks as hi-quality WAV file to your Mac/PC (Wi-Fi network required)
- Interactive Help feature allows for quick learning, simply follow the indicated steps.

There are 4 GrooveMaker applications already available and 4 more to come soon for every dance music style, including a fully functional FREE version that you can download to start making music right away!

GrooveMaker FREE
- House and Hip-Hop styles, 125 loops included (78-125 BPM), FREE

GrooveMaker Club
- Techno, Trance and House styles, 189 loops included (130-135-145 BPM)

GrooveMaker Hip-Hop
- Hip-Hop style, 315 loops included (80-85-90-100 BPM)

GrooveMaker House
- House style, 315 loops included (120-123-125-127 BPM)

All these GrooveMaker applications are already available for download and purchase from the Apple iTunes App Store.

For more information, video and audio demos, please visit:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Using MIDI in Pro Tools LE 6.8.1.

This post will explain some basic information on recording midi using Pro Tools. The version of Pro Tools LE that I am currently using is 6.8.1. There are some upgrades available, but that is another story.

Different midi programs can work differently in Pro Tools. Working with midi in what is known as “piano roll” is basically always the same, well give or take. Writing midi information can be as simple or as detailed as you might like it to be, but you might set up for it, and approach the track set ups differently; depending on the midi software itself.

I would like to extend some basic information to those that might need it, on a bunch of midi stuff. I’ll discuss writing and editing midi notes, midi note values, and midi note duration. Keeping in step, I’d like to also supply some information on automating midi, with such parameters as setting note velocity, volumes, and panning.

I will use a couple of different midi software examples in this post in order to perhaps help the widest range of midi music writers. Again, this blog post is for Pro Tools version 6.8.1.

Writing MIDI in Reason.

Let me start with writing midi using the piano roll style of editor found in Reason software. Reason is set up in Pro Tools LE 6.8.1 by opening up a new stereo audio track. Let’s say we are writing a stereo bass line in Reason, using the NN19 module.

All that one needs to do is write the midi notes into Reasons piano roll.

Reason is so darn easy to work with that I highly recommend it to everyone. Writing and/or removing midi notes in Reasons piano roll is done with the pencil and the eraser tools. Enter the duration value of the note that you wish to write, lets say a quarter note, and then find the note that you need (A through G), and write it using the pencil tool. Switching the note duration value changes the grid in the piano roll to that value, so adding or changing midi notes is easy to “hear” before you write the notes.

The main point here is that the piano roll remains in Reason. Reason, in Pro Tools LE 6.8.1 shows up as an audio track. We do all of our midi writing, editing, automation, ect., in Reason itself. So what about writing and editing midi in Pro Tools? So glad that you asked!

I recently received ToonTracks EZ Drummer 2.0 so I will use this awesome software for the next example. I quickly found out that I needed to open two new tracks in Pro Tools in order to write midi using EZ Drummer 2.0. First, I had to open a stereo audio track, and select EZ Drummer as an active insert.

Next I found out that opening up a new midi track was necessary in order to record the midi notes. This is due to the version of Pro Tools that I am currently using. Pro Tools 7.0 and on do not require this midi track, as you can simply drag and drop the midi straight into the stereo audio track. Make sure to select EZ Drummer as your midi out on the midi track, so the notes that we will put on the midi track will go where they should go. Refer to the image above to see this.

Once I opened up the EZ Drummer software and found the loop that I wished to open, I found that it would not allow me to drag and drop it onto any tracks at all. Oh well, instead of giving up I decided that it was time to try some new methods. I had to select “import midi”, under the “File” tab, and manually find the loop in my computers drive. This proved to slow me down at the beginning, but I soon got pretty good at locating the desired loops.

The midi information will appear on a new midi track, so now you will have two midi tracks. You must now select the midi notes that you want from the loop (if not the whole loop), highlight them and then copy and paste them to where you want them in the first midi track. No problem, right? Once this task is complete you can delete the imported midi track. Next, find another loop and repeat the importing midi process. Again, look at the image above to get a better look at this process.

After putting the loops just where I wanted them, it was time to add some single midi notes. I wanted to add some cymbal crashes and some extra kick and snare hits to my track. Making your midi track larger makes things easier to work with. Click on the mini sized keyboard and select “jumbo”. Next, use the midi zoom buttons to enlarge the midi notes and the piano roll grid spacing. They are located in the upper left hand corner of your Pro Tools interface. Press or click on the top most part increases the size of the individual midi notes.

Adding notes is as simple as drawing them on the grid with the pencil tool. If it is drawn where it should not be, then just use the grabber tool to highlight the note, and move it where it should be. Remember to make sure that you have the correct movement type in the grid set up. Having the edit mode set to “grid” will move the note to the next note value. Having the edit mode set to “spot” allows you to type in the exact placement of the notes beginning in means of bars and beats.

If you click on the track view button (below the midi tracks title) you will be able to select between “blocks, regions, notes, velocity, pan” and on and on. Choosing velocity allows you to raise or lower the notes velocity using the pencil tool. Simply highlight the note in which you desire to alter with the grabber tool, and raise it or lower it using the pencil tool. You use this same procedure to change a notes panning, volume, or whatever you desire to alter.

Monday, August 17, 2009

ToonTrack Music becomes new sponsor.

I am proud to announce the news that ToonTrack Music has become a sponsor of the Home Recording Weekly blog, and ToonTrack Music is currently supplying its’ products for the up and coming song writing contest, once again, here on Home Recording Weekly.

Please keep a look out, here on Home Recording Weekly, for a full review of ToonTracks’ EZ Drummer.

For those of you that have yet to become better acquainted with ToonTrack Musics’ line of drum software products, let me lead the way. I will briefly describe what sorts of fine products they are currently providing to both the professional, and to the home recording scene and then I will explain what they are and how they can easily work for you!

ToonTrack Music makes some of the best, and easiest to use drum software on the market. This I will say weather ToonTrack Music is a sponsor or not.

I say this because of the wide range of ToonTrack products that can accommodate for any percussion styles! The quality of each of the products (both in detail and in sound) and the ease in which these products are to place into your workflow is simply incredible.

Let me start this post over, and detail for you just what ToonTracks’ products can do for you.

Imagine having a drummer sitting beside you, as you write your music. This drummer can play any style of beats that you wish him or her to play for you. This drummer can switch up every single nuance of each performance with ease, right down to creating the best fills possible for your song. This drummer came with tons of ideas all readily available to audition for you, and this drummer never tires!


Well, this drummer came to your studio with a complete array of microphones, all of which are set up in an impressive drum room. Your very own drummer has a microphone mixer all set up that allows you to fine tune the percussions input in order to get the best possible sounding tracks, and all in seconds flat. Adjusting between the drums themselves and the room microphones is as easy as moving sliders!

This is what ToonTrack Music has done for us all. Their products range from a trendy “Nashville EZX” drum kit to a full on metal-pounding experience that is “Drumkit from Hell EZX”. If you have a vision ToonTrack has your percussion, right down to the most eclectic sounds that you will ever need which can be found in their Twisted Kit EZX.

So, ToonTrack has made a product for every type of percussion style, for any type of music, and all of which is completely tweakable right from the drum room. Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t.

Each product from ToonTrack Music integrates seamlessly into any DAW set up.

ToonTracks drum software products can be played with a midi keyboard. If writing each note isn’t your forte, than perhaps you might choose to audition different midi patterns (all created from high quality samples) and then choose the one that is just right for your new number one hit. The list of midi drum patterns is simple overwhelming in number, but not overwhelming in their use! Putting a drum line into your new creations is as simple as performing a “drag and drop”. Drumming is now fast and easy for everyone!

I am pleased to offer a hearty “Welcome onboard” out to TuneTrack Music, from the Home Recording Weekly blog! Thanks for your sponsorship, and thanks for your great line of time saving, incredible sounding drum software!

Take a minute out of your crazy work day, and check out some of the videos that they have put together just for you at ToonTrack Musics website. Here you can see, and hear these amazing products in action. Go ahead and see for yourself why ToonTrack Music is the leader in great sounding, easy to use percussion software.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tricks to fatten up the guitars in your mixes.

First of all, the golden rule with fattening up guitars in your mixes is that there are no rules.

Sometimes our mistakes turn out to be the coolest parts of our works. Keep an open mind, and try everything that you can think of. You can’t record the one or two ideas that you fail to try out.

I love trying to beef up guitar tracks. I enjoy the end result; which is getting a guitar track to stand out and sound different from all of the rest. I have many different tricks that I use, and I think that it is time that I shared several of them with you.

I’ll start with a guitar layering EQ trick that I had read about some time ago. The author of the article and the publication that it was in completely escapes me at this moment, but most likely it was a popular recording magazine. The article was about taking a guitar track, copying said track, and then pasting two (or more) duplicates into the same mix, but on separate tracks. One track, the original, remains untouched. The two duplicate tracks are where they focused their layering attention.

The idea here is to adjust the EQ settings on the first duplicated track for the bottom end (or bass), and then pan it slightly to one side. Follow suit with the next (or second) duplicate track, only bring out the highs on that track, and then pan it to opposite of what you did on the prior track. The center spot of the three tracks’ panning is reserved for the original track. This makes one guitar track come alive, but it does not “muddy up” a mix as too many guitar layers might. This gem of an idea also creates an interesting stereo panning arrangement for the tracks.

Next, let’s talk about layering the actual guitar parts. The layering of guitar parts is as old as the hills. Listening to any Lynyrd Skynyrd albums will bring your ears full attention to this old trick indeed. Basically speaking, layering notes is just finding out which note is being played, and then find that note on another octave and let her rip. This practice holds true with playing and layering chords as well. However, I often like to take it further than that. How? Read on.

I will often times find the notes of the key that the song is played in, and play the notes of that scale that make up the songs key along with the note to be layered. One example of this could be as follows… Let’s say that the songs key is in D Major. The note that is sounding/being played is a “D”, and let’s assume that it needs some thickening up. What I might do is to play an “F#” note over the “D”, and then record another layer with an “A” note being played. This can make it sound like a chord is being played all at once so be carful. You don’t want to confuse the listener by having too much going on at the same time.

Often I will use this very idea and apply it into, or along with a songs motion, or direction. If the original part is played “D, F#, then A”, I might layer with a separate track playing it backwards or playing some alteration of the three notes. This can add a cool dimension to a solo.

There is an up and coming post; here on Home Recording Weekly that will further explain, and also list some of the most often used alternate tunings for the guitar. With that, let’s just take a look at what we can do with alternate tunings in our music.

Perhaps one of the best tricks for layering guitar sounds in a mix is to tune the guitar differently with each layered track. Here are some fun ways to accomplish this.

One of my most often used “guitar track fattening agents” is to use a second or third guitar tuned to an open tuning. Open tunings are just as fun to play with as anything in a recording studio can be. Open tunings are often easy to dial in, and playing whole chords with just one finger is possible.

Perhaps the main reason that I use open tunings is to introduce a slide into my music. Using a slide on a guitar opens a whole new can of worms, sonically speaking. Adding a slide guitar solo, or a guitar riff which is made from using a slide, just sounds awesome! A couple of great open-tuned slide songs that come to mind are “I drink alone” and “Bad to the bone”, both by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Classics, if I do say so myself!

Drop D tuning is another great way of adding some deepness to a weak guitar riff. Eddie Van Halen has invented a bridge for tuning your top E string down to a D with just a flick of a lever. His list of songs that are based off of drop D tunings is as long as his solos are, and just as fun to listen to. An acoustic guitar can really come alive with a drop D tuning dialed in, as in the main guitar part on the song “Copper Head Road”, by Steve Earle.

How about employing the trusted capo?

Custom tunings are something that you can easily make with the use of a capo. A lot of my recorded songs have been recorded with guitar parts that stand out, just by the use of a capo. The main reason for using a capo is to temporarily move the nut to anyplace on the guitars neck. You can then pick away on a C chord fingering (on the guitars neck) but be playing, er sounding, a completely different chord. Using capos to double guitar parts in songs can also add a very cool “12 string sound” to a guitar part.

The ideas are endless folks! The idea is to try as many things as you can think of. There are no rules, except that it sounds good to your own ears.

Feel free to subscribe to the Home Recording Weekly blog by typing your email into the box at the upper right hand side of this blog. As always, “Thanks for stopping by and for adding this blog to your favorites”.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ampeg SVX bass guitar amp software review.

As I posted about IK Multimedias' Stealth Pedal Deluxe a while back, I promised that I would follow up with a post on the included IK Multimedia Ampeg SVX software. Well today is that day, and here we go.

My own recordings were lacking balls. The bottom end used to be written note by note, and people could tell. They knew within three notes that the bass guitar was a computer, no matter how well it was written.

Problem was that I couldn’t afford to buy a bass amp and the additional effects pedals that would make my recordings pop. That problem has been solved, and in a great way. I am now running my bass directly into Ampeg SVX, and it's presence is obvious as you listen to my recordings!

To begin, IK Multimedia has become the fore runner in amp modeling software. Their “target correct tone” products are as niche as niche can be. This is perfect for the tone purists out there. IK Multimedia’s products for such tone fanatics include Ampeg SVX bass amp software, Fender guitar amp software, Metal guitar amp software, and even a Jimi Hendrix guitar amp bundle/package! C’mon, what are you waiting for, get on board!

My version of Ampeg SVX shipped with an installation CD which included an instruction manual in PDF form, and the Ampeg SVX software installer. Ampeg SVX loaded in seconds, and with Pro Tools it works flawlessly. Ampeg SVX also works in Macs and/or PC’s, with support for both Leopard (MAC) and Vista. Ampeg SVX can operate in either VST mode or in RTAS mode, so if you gig or you write at home, this product should be on your “must have” list.

Ampeg SVX fits into the “powered by Amplitube” series, which means that it is compatible with a host of IK Multimedia’s products like the Stealth Pedal and the Stomp I/O Pedal Board.

Getting around the interface is a breeze.

The four separate modules are the tuner, a stomp pedal board, the amp section, and the cab and microphone module.

The Amp section is where the heart of the tone resides. Here you will find four signature Ampeg amps all modeled using the IK Multimedia DSM technology. The four classic Ampeg amps are the SVT-Classic, B-15R Portaflex “flip top”, BA-500, and the SVT-4Pro. Four classic amps and each one is amazingly dead on in both sound and in the small tonal details. What more could anyone want? How about some Ampeg stomp pedals?

There are a total of eight stomp pedals included in Ampeg SVX. Each one packs a tonal punch, and is completely tweakable right down to the smallest of details. Using the stomp pedals became as much fun as the software itself and the fun was only getting started!

The next module is the Cabinet and the microphone selection. You will have a total of six Ampeg speaker cabs to choose from, and a total of six different microphone types to pull your tone from. Add to this the ability to add room ambiance with just the move of a slider, and you may place the microphone as close to or as far away from the cab as you wish. Making “your own” envisioned music is now possible!

To wrap up my review of IK Multimedias Ampeg SVX, I can only add this to my list of IK Multimedia’s product reviews with another “Two guitar pics way, way up”! This is the top honor, as dished out by myself here at Home Recording Weekly Blog!

Using Ampeg SVX is a snap and it is as comfortable to set up and navigate as the real thing would be. Twisting knobs really does stuff, which just makes me tickle way down deep inside. Choosing the perfect microphone/cabinet combination, and added effect pedals gets me just where I need to be in order to make my recordings shine.

Ampeg SVX is a professional recreation of some of the most sought after Ampeg bass rigs in the world. Get it, because you need it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Home recording techniques; recording the acoustic guitar.

Adding an acoustic guitar track to a song is probably one of the most often performed operations in our home recording studios. Getting an acoustic guitar to sound as you envision it is sometimes a task, but it need not ever to be a chore.

I would like to discuss some of the most often used microphone placing techniques by home recording enthusiasts (and big budget studios alike) in order to capture some great sounding acoustic guitars. Add to this some great “Direct In” signals from an acoustic guitar pick up or an on board pre-amp and this blog post deepens.

In today’s blog post are some great ideas, and please try them out in your next recording and then find your own version of these different set ups that best suit your own unique vision.

Most of the acoustic guitar tracks that we all have heard in popular recordings are somewhat misleading. They sound as if a professional guitarist stopped by the studio and laid down one great sounding track, and then called it a day. Truth is that it may very well be just one take, but it also may be many, many layered tracks. Most often many different acoustic guitar tracks are mixed down to make a single acoustic guitar track. These tracks are all from the same “take” but they may have some very different signal chains.

For an example, an acoustic guitar (in a studio setting) might just have several microphones pointed at it, several more set around it, and it just might also have a direct signal output which travels from the guitars pick up system, all running into one mixer or a DAW.

But why use so many different microphones?

The microphones pointed at the guitar can be used for picking up the boom-ness of the guitars sound hole, the necks fret and string noise, and even the air that the body pushes outward as it sounds, just to name just a few ideas. The guitar picks attack, the fingers movements, and what the guitar player might actually hear can all be recorded using some well placed microphones. The microphones placed around the guitarist (room microphones) are for recording, or adding a very slight delay in time which adds a room/live feel to the mix. This “room feel” is what makes the listener feel as if they are in front of the guitar player.

The actual sound that one might hear if they were inside of the guitar can be made audible by using acoustic guitar pick ups. This signal is oftentimes routed into a mix and used as a great starting source for adding layers of different sounds.

Putting all of these signals onto separate tracks, lets say in a mixer set up (before the recorder), will give you the most control possible for getting either a room vibe, or a close-up microphone sound, or any mix of both. You can certainly play with the levels of all the signals as you play the song back, or as you mix it down to get many different “spatial” settings.

To get the best recording possible, solo each signal and listen closely using headphones to better isolate the sound. . Microphone type and the exact placement of the microphones around the guitar is what we are dialing in here, until the sweet spot is found.

With all of the signals sounding as good as you can get them, next check your input levels. You want them as loud as you can have them with out overloading or clipping the mixers pre amps. This adds “fizzles and distortion” to the guitar tracks and it will simply ruin your recordings. Having all of the inputs as close to the same level as possible can also make play back more enjoyable and mixing down a much easier task.

Microphone set up for recording acoustic guitars.

The first choice, “go to” microphone whenever you are even discussing recording is the much acclaimed dynamic microphone that is the Shure SM57. Being a dynamic microphone it can handle loud volumes with ease. However, were talking about mic’ing an acoustic guitar here, so forget about the loud volumes. But when it comes to recording, this microphone should be in every studio around the world, so if you have one, try it!

Perhaps a better choice for this application is the trusted condenser microphone. A small condenser microphone is all about picking up the little sounds that your fingers and picks might make while playing the guitar. Try out a couple of directional microphones, like cardioid's and hyper-cardioid's as to better control bleed from the rest of the guitar. Perhaps a nice choice small condenser microphone would be the Rode NT5, but be warned as it is a little pricey. A small budget choice would be perhaps a CAD GXL 1200. These microphones can be pointed right at the sound source (the guitars neck in our case), and very close to the source, and they will give a great sounding recording.

Large diaphragm condenser microphones are just about perfect for close mic’ing of the whole guitar. When it comes to putting the listener in front of your performance I could not offer a better suggestion. These microphones are all about listening, or hearing, so what better microphone is there? A small budget home studio should be able to obtain an Audio Technia AT4040 microphone. These are great sounding, durable, and usable for all sorts of recording applications.

Be aware of phase issues, and the placement of your microphones. You don’t want thin, lifeless recordings! Observing the simple microphone placement rules will give much better sounds for your project.

A nice choice when it comes to a room microphone, or microphones, is the ribbon microphone. These used to be considered a delicate microphone, but they are now better at handling higher sound pressure levels. At any rate, they are perfect foe adding room ambiance into a guitars track. These microphones offer a flat sound that adds little to no unwanted character, or voice to the recorded information. A great choice would be the Royer R121 ribbon microphone.

I’d like to type a word or two about finding and using the right acoustic guitar pickups.

There are so many different ways of getting the acoustic string energy converted to an electrical signal that it may be hard to choose. The simplest way that it is done is to install an acoustic pickup. These can range in design from a “slip in” model to one that attaches to the inside of your guitar permanently and may require a hole be drilled in the side of your guitar to allow for the ¼ inch cable jack. Pick ups can be like electric guitar pickups right down to little microphones that attach under the bridge. They can be as easy or as hard to install as you wish to make them. Choose wisely. Installing a pickup permanently can devalue an instrument, and we all know about miss-drilling holes in our guitars.
When it comes to a small home recording studio, the most bang for the buck would be a pick up that you can insert into a sound hole in order to use, and then remove it and store it away till the next time that you might need it. If you are a recording artist that specializes in acoustic guitar, then you might want to have a specialist install a more expensive model in your prized guitar.

Acoustic pickups have certainly come a long way in my lifetime. For me it all started with the Dean Markley Pro Mag acoustic guitar pickup. This pickup is still one of the better pickups out there and it is best suited for any live acoustic gigs that you might have. These pickups are simple and classic in design and operate very much like an electric guitar pickup. They do not require any drilling or gluing in order to install. A more precise microphone system for acoustic guitars would be a pickup/pre-amp/ and EQ combination like the Fishman transducer “thinline” series.

Fishman Thinline system

Some acoustics are actually acoustic/electric guitars. This is a great option for recording, and live performances. The trouble with these types of guitars is that they are neither a great sounding acoustic only, nor a great sounding electric acoustic only, but a meeting somewhere in the middle. This is not to say they are not nice sounding, easy to play guitars though, no not at all. Most require batteries to supply power to an on board pre-amp in order to amplify the pickups signal.

Recording and mixing down the different recorded guitar signals.

Once you have used this way of recording so many different signals into a take, you will never wish to go back. With each mix you can add room feel or ambiance by turning up the room microphones. You can get a close up sound with the increase of the close microphones. And lastly, if you want a basic recording to send all around the mix, try effecting the direct in signal that came from the acoustic pickups. So many different sounding environments are now made possible by employing these techniques, that when compared to the old way, you will probably never be happy with one microphone set up ever again.