Jump to content

Recording acoustic


Recommended Posts



I have encountered an interesting issue.


Today I recorded some acoustic guitar parts via the Zoom H2 recorder into the Saffire Focusrite SCARD. The intro part was this finger picked piece.... very quiet sounding. Followed by a verse part wich has quite a change in dynamics.


I wanted to record the track in one piece but soon as the verse part set in the input sound of the guitar would just overload the signal of the sound card. Logically... So i kept getting the intro part too quiet and the chorus part too loud.


My sound card has on board dsp effects, one of them being a compressor and i have used it extensively on vocals. With good results. But now I keep getting this unbalanced recording.


Would a limiter help in this situation, or is there another way to remedy this problem?


Also is there a way to use Logic's effects prior to the recorded track but without that latency thing taking place?


Maybe someone could post compressor settings when they record acoustic guitars?


Or am I destined to record this song part by part?




a. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most straightforward way to handle this is to record it without effects, at a low level that will not clip on the loud parts, and then put a compressor on afterward - or better yet, judicious volume automation. Use 24-bit recording if you can.


Unless you have noise problems in the quiet sections, I don't see any compelling reason to do it any differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of things you can do to make a better recording here. I'll toss out a few:


1) Look to the environment you are recording in, first of all. The reason a professional studio is set up the way it is, among other things, is to make the environment quiet to lower the noise floor. Do what you can to get this out of the way, so the quiet parts don't have to compete so much with the inherent noise of the room.

2) It seems like you are using some modest gear, but you still should be able to do a simple things as what you want to do. Are you using a condenser microphone, is my first question, which are known for being much more sensitive than dynamics. For a quiet fingerpicked acoustic guitar, they are an absolute necessity, if you aren't using one.

3) Using multiple mics will definitely help, but there is no reason why one mic should be giving you this trouble. Find out what is sounding so bad in your signal chain and address that first- remember, with audio, a good sound is absolutely only as good as the weakest link in the chain.


I know what the Zoom is, and I'm assuming the SCard is a soundcard. How is the audio getting to the soundcard? There is a lot of potential for error there. Is the Zoom device really designed to do this thing you're asking of it? You may find it better to simply get a better audio interface if you want to do this sort of thing in the future.


Can you specify how you are doing this, what is the mic, what is the computer, and how are you getting the sound to it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


i forgot to say I was recording one of my students. He makes original tunes so every now an then we record his stuff. The thing is.


I picked up my really beat, open tuned, no name acoustic yesterday evening and recorded everything just fine

with great dynamics.


This little example is just a reminder that its not the guitar but the player. Its a whole new category, recording something.


I use the ZOOM H2 in record ready mode so the signal of the conden. mics just passes through. Nothing goes to the internal card.


Zoom has many options, auto gain control, limiters and compressors, but i leave em off. It is a wonderful piece of gear. It takes a bit of time to figure out how to set it up. It has 3 presets for mic sensitivity HI-MID-LO. plus you can tune the mic gain from 0-125.


If you make sure nothing is clipping than you can have a nice recording. But I think that a simple budget condenser mic would work just fine. At least I wouldn't have to waste time tuning it in like the ZOOM. Too many options here. But for home recording.....lovely.

As far as H2 is concerned I was a little surprised to find out that it doesnt take high SPL that well. Actually if you have a loud band and u wanna record, forget about it. At least I havent foound a decent way to record very high SPL without harsh clipping!


I have a MacBoo Pro2.2


laptop with 2 external HDs

a saffire focusrite sound card

alesis M1 active monitrs


I am really satisfied with the setup, everything works lovely. I am really starting to dig Logic, and its been a year since I had it all set up.

The Saffire has great preamps and onboard DSP effects.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...