Recording with my sm57

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by lavaxtris, Nov 9, 2012.


  1. lavaxtris

    lavaxtris

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    I'm trying to do a bit of recording with my sm57 microphone and my Yamaha Audiogram 3. I'm currently trying to record acoustic guitar.

    so here lies the problem:

    To get any volume on the db level reader, I have to crank my audiogram's input volume to max. this brings in a lot of unwanted sound (like breathing, my computer's fans, the chair creaking, clocks, etc)

    so I have a few questions:
    1. does my audiogram really have a mic pre like the manual says it does?
    2. will getting a mic pre get rid of that extra noise and bring up the volume?
    3. why does my behringer mixer (also says it has a mic pre) pretty much do the same thing (low volume, but lots of noise)?
     
  2. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

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    The 57 isn't really designed for lower output sources like acoustic instruments. Its strong suit (besides the fact that you can pound nails with it) is that it can handle insanely-high decibel levels like being two inches from a 100-watt Marshall 412 cab or a snare drum being beaten to within an inch of it's life.

    You want a condenser mic for acoustic instruments. That of course ain't the only answer, but it's probably the most commonly used type of mic for acoustics. I recently picked up this tube-driven condenser mic and it's surprisingly good for the price.
     
  3. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

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    +1 to getting a condenser mic. I went through the same thing you did and thought the acoustic track sounded horrible. Then I got an AKG Perception 120 ($99) and the acoustic track sounded great. Also worked very well on the vocal tracks.

    If you mean by mic pre that your interface has phantom power, then you'll need that for a condenser mic.
     
  4. lavaxtris

    lavaxtris

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    thank you for the input. I will look into condensers now, but I would also like to point out that my pg48 has the same low volume issue as my sm57. is it the same thing going on here? is that mic also better for high volumes?
     
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  6. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

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    Like the 57, the pg48 is another dynamic microphone, so much the same thing going on there, yes. And don't try pounding nails with the ph48 either!

    Do some reading on the different types of microphones and what they're typically used for, check out ribbon mics as well. If you're going to be doing any regular recording, you're going to need a few different types. What's cool is brands like MXL make quite decent, but very inexpensive mics so you can really get a feel for what each is good for (and not good for) without having to sell your children to fund them.

    But I really think if you drop 100-200 bucks on a decent condenser (make sure your interface or mixer has phantom power available, you'll need it) you'll be amazed at how much better your acoustic will sound.

    You're still gonna have to do something about the ambient noise like your computer fans and creaky chair. Cardioid mics will reject a lot of the sound that comes from the sides as opposed to directly in front of them, but they won't reject 100% of it by any means.
     
  7. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

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    I used to work live sound and run a small studio and I never had the issues you are describing. Yes dynamic mics are better with louder sources, but that's why you put them close to the source. I used to track vocals with a 57 sometimes.

    I think you either need to move the mic closer to the guitar or maybe you have a bad cable.
     
  8. lavaxtris

    lavaxtris

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    not only does that not help much, but makes the guitar sound way too bass-heavy. cable is fine- works well with my sansamp.
     
  9. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

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    proximity effect

    I believe most condensers and ribbon mics suffer from this effect as well. Of course, depending on what you're recording it's not always a bad thing.
     
  10. winegamd

    winegamd

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    This is what eq is for.
     
  11. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

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    Just curious...where on the guitar are you pointing the mic?
     
  12. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

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    I can't agree with that. I've found that getting the sound right at the time of recording makes mixing a hell of a lot easier.
     
  13. Bassbubble11

    Bassbubble11 Supporting Member

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  14. paganjack

    paganjack

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    Testify brother!
     
  15. bkbirge

    bkbirge Supporting Member

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    Put the mic in close as has been suggested. Since it was too bassy when you tried it before then move it around until it sounds good. A good first try would be pointed at the 12th fret. Don't point at the sound hole directly. The SM57 should be just fine for doing bedroom demos of acoustic guitar, you don't need to go spend more $$ on a crappy condensor mic. What you need to do is quiet your environment. Turn off the AC/heat when tracking. Anything with a fan (computer, gear) put behind a barrier or in a box. Use new strings and good technique in playing. 90% of a good recording starts with the player, 9% is the room acoustics, and 1% is the gear. I don't know anything about the Audiogram 3, could be it's a low quality mic pre, but even so you should be able to get much better results than you describe.
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny

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    This might be a dumb question, but is the input set at mic level? Dynamic mics don't come in as hot as condensers, but they still should be audible!

    But it seems like you are getting usable sound from the mic, since when you crank it higher, the problem is extra noises picked up *by* the mic. So it's more about the balance of instrument sound wrt background noise, as seen by the mic, than about the level coming out of the mic, right?

    If you really isolate the instrument and mic---run a long cable to the quietest room in the house if nothing else---does the problem get better?

    Edit: One more vote for the adequacy of the SM57 for this kind of use. It's not *as* good for acoustic and vox as a condenser, but it should work and it should be able to work well with some care.

    -NT
     
  17. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

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    That 9% also includes proper mic placement.

    As suggested above, pointing the mic at the 12th fret is a good starting point. There is plenty of info on the intarwebz about miking techniques. Self-eduation is a powerful thing.
     
  18. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

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    Just looked up the Yamaha Audiogram 3 - it has phantom power. So your new condenser microphone will work just fine.

    ;)
     
  19. lavaxtris

    lavaxtris

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    Hey guys thanks for all of the replies.

    to try and answer most of your questions:
    I try and place the sm57 around the bottom of my neck (sounds the best). Moving it closer to the guitar makes little difference- but not enough to make an effect. It seems that the source is just not loud enough for the sm57, and the mic doesnt pick up my acoustic as far away as a condenser would (it drastically gets quieter after 2-3 inches) despite this, it seems to pick up noise around the room just fine. the sm57 just makes my guitar sound quiet and weak.

    Like I said, I have to turn the input level to MAX when I record with microphones. I dont know if this has something to do with it, but it doesn't seem like my yahama has an effective preamp. I believe someone asked about mic level. the toggle switch on the yamaha does not effect volume, only bypasses a circuit that cuts bass.
     
  20. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

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    You probably are doing all these things, but I'm going to ask anyway...

    1. Are you connected to the XLR input on Channel 1 (not the 1/4" input on channel 2)?
    2. Is the switch on the front of the Audiogram selected for "mic"?
     
  21. lavaxtris

    lavaxtris

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    yes. Please read what I had to say about the mic/inst selector switch.
     

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