Posts Tagged ‘Recording’

EQ settings for Jazz guitar

In réglages, Recording, Sonorisation on May 28, 2016 at 8:20 am

A Few Tricks You Might Need to Try First

Before I get to the EQ settings for recording great jazz guitar, let’s clarify a few things: We are dealing with two basic musical styles known as “jazz,” straight-ahead jazz and smooth jazz. In general, the straight-ahead jazz guitarist uses an archtop, hollow-body, “F” hole guitar. But, so do many smooth jazz players. OK, as usual, there are no rules. On my CD Bebop, I used a solid-body guitar to eliminate frequency build ups and suckouts. More on that as things unfold.

In most cases the guitar will be a wide archtop, hollow-body, “F” hole guitar. This style of guitar typically creates frequency build-ups on certain notes. The amp can cause this as well but typically not as much as the guitar. When EQ’ing, keep this in mind. If you hear a low note “jump out” in volume, try to find this frequency by using the “sweep frequency technique” explained in part 3. If your mixer has parametric EQ or you have a parametric equalizer that’s great since the odds are good we will use the “notch out” concept using a very small “Q” (meaning frequency width) to eliminate the problem frequency or frequency range.

If the guitar player will be playing fairly loud, causing accidental feedback from the guitar to the amp, try putting a piece of scotch tape over both “F” holes. That is what George Benson has done on some of his guitars.

Here is another trick, best for a small body “F hole” guitars and not for big archtops: For years I played a Gibson 335 for many styles. When playing loud, I’d get a squealing feedback if I was too close to the amp. My guitar tech, John Carruthers, ended up stuffing the inside of the guitar “F” holes with a synthetic cotton type material and put a piece of slightly flexible plastic inside the “F” holes over the fake cotton to keep the cotton from coming out of the guitar. This fixed the problem. The tone of the guitar changed slightly, but not too much, and this internal “baffling” actually evened up the note balance of the guitar.

While on the subject of squealing guitar feedback (similar to microphone feedback), the Gibson 335, 345, and 355 “thin line” models have a block of wood that runs under the pickups through the length of the body. This helps note evenness and helps cut down on the feedback, compared to the Gibson 330 and most wide hollow-body guitars. If a guitar has no such block, the guitar is more susceptible to feedback and frequency build-ups

As with all styles of guitar playing, each jazz guitarist has a distinct sound. A player’s tone usually falls into one of three basic categories: dark, mid-rangy, or bright. Jazz guitarists are no exception to this rule. Probably 90 percent of the time, a jazz guitar player will use their guitar’s neck pickup (if more than one pickup is available on the guitar) to get a thick tone. Also, many jazz guitarists roll back the tone control on the guitar to get rid of high frequency information. If the guitarist is rolling off the highs on his guitar, adding EQ past 3 kHz is basically useless.

The EQ Settings that Work for Jazz Guitar

EQ-tutorial-fig4Otherwise, without further delay, here are the EQ settings that will help you record great jazz guitar:

Low frequency filter: Typically a very steep filter that eliminates low frequency information. If the guitar amp is being recorded in a room with other instruments (such as bass and drums) and there is low frequency leakage from other instruments into the guitar mic, it’s best to use the low frequency filter. Another use: If the guitar amp has a ground hum problem that can’t be gotten rid of, this filter should help. The filter may be frequency adjustable or a fixed frequency. If it’s adjustable, experiment with the frequency settings to find which works best in this application, but watch out that the roll-off does not hurt the guitar tone. Most likely the low freq filter will adjust sounds in the 100 to 150 cycle area. It’s best to use the 100 cycle or lower area if available. If the filter is a fixed frequency, the odds are good it is around 100 cycles.

30 to 80 cycles: Basically useless for this application. Note if you have no low frequency filter, you could use this area for roll off help.

From here on, I’m going to break up the information separately for archtop guitars and solid-body guitars.

80 to 200 cycles

80 to 200 cycles (archtop guitar): The odds are very good the jazz guitar tone is thick, so unless you think adding in the low end is needed, it’s best to pass on this frequency range. But, I mentioned that jazz guitars may have frequency build ups and suck outs so, to find a note build up area, ask the guitarist to play chromatically from the open low string on up, and look (listen) for frequency build-ups and or suck outs. If you find a loud low note, you will need a parametric or graphic equalizer to pull back that frequency. If you’re using a parametric equalizer set the “Q” to as small a range as possible. Use the EQ sweep technique to find the offending frequency and roll out to taste to make the guitar sound as “even” as possible. Find the suck outs in the same fashion you would look for a build up and then add in the frequency, but be sure that the addition is very tight, using a parametric or graphic equalizer.

80 to 200 cycles (solid body guitar): Again, the odds are very good the jazz guitar tone is thick so unless you think adding in the low end is needed, best to pass. The odds are good the solid body guitar will not have frequency build-ups or suck outs of a hollow-body guitar, but the amp may have some. For other playing styles so far, I’ve mentioned that the compressor will help smooth this stuff out. For straight-ahead jazz guitar, compression hurts dynamics, and dynamics are key to this style of playing – so I rarely use compression on a jazz guitar. With that in mind, you may want to use the concept in the paragraph above to smooth out frequency bumps and suck outs. Note that when I recorded my Bebop jazz CD, I recorded “direct” using a direct box (no amp or microphones) to avoid the problem. More on this in the “Direct Box” articles to come.

200 to 300 cycles

200 to 300 cycles (archtop guitar): Same as the 80 to 200 cycles: Look for build-ups and suck outs.

200 to 300 cycles (solid body guitar): The odds are good you will not need any help here since the tone will be thick. However, you may have some amp frequency bumps and suck outs. Check and deal with those as described above if need be.

300 to 600 cycles

300 to 600 cycles (archtop guitar): As you know, jazz guitar players use medium to heavy gauge strings, which produce a thick upper bottom/low midrange tone, with the help of the guitar tone control roll-off many jazz players prefer. At these lower frequencies, then, we’re primarily still on the frequency bump and suck out issue, trying to “even up” the notes. One thing to consider: If you are having trouble with some of the lower frequencies (particularly in the 80 to 200 cycle range) building up in an undesirable fashion and you need to roll out in a wide fashion, you might try to add here to make up for some of the “meat.” Start around 300 to hear what happens.

300 to 600 cycles (solid body guitar): Again, the odds are good this area is thick on its own, but take a look for amp build ups and suck outs. Again, if you are having trouble with some of the lower frequencies (particularly in the 80 to 200 cycle range) building up in an undesirable fashion and needed to roll out in a wide fashion, you might try to add here as to make up for some of the “meat.” Start around 300 to hear what happens.

600 to 800 cycles

600 to 800 cycles (archtop guitar): Mid-range city as usual and the guitar will most likely be thick here! We are now out of the woods with frequency build ups and suck outs that can be controlled without hurting the overall sound. The odds are huge no help is needed in this area. Hey, again, no rules – so if you need to add or pull back a few dB, do so. If the sound is lacking in this area, try adding. In most cases, this area will not need help.

600 to 800 cycles (solid body guitar): Same as the archtop settings. Probably no help needed here.

800 to 1 kHz

800 to 1 kHz (archtop guitar): If the tone is too dark and needs a slight mid-range bump for note definition, try adding a dB or so.

800 to 1 kHz (solid body guitar): Again, if the tone is too dark and needs a slight mid-range bump for note definition, try adding a dB or so.

1K to 2 kHz

1K to 2 kHz (archtop guitar): 1K is the center of the mid-range. The bandwidth of a telephone comes to mind. The odds are good nothing needs to happen here.

1K to 2 kHz (solid body guitar): Same as above. The odds are good nothing needs to happen here.

2 kHz to 3.5 kHz

2 kHz to 3.5 kHz (archtop guitar): If the sound is dark and you want to make it brighter, try adding here. A pro jazz guitar player that uses a dark tone may dislike the frequency addition as well as any other upper frequencies. You will find out how the guitar player feels about this on the first playback. Always remember to make the player happy.

2 kHz to 3.5 kHz (solid body guitar): If the sound is dark and you want it brighter, try adding here. For smooth jazz playing, the addition might be needed, but a pro jazz guitar player that uses a dark tone may dislike the frequency addition as well as any other upper frequencies. You will find out how the guitar player feels about this on the first playback. Always remember to make the player happy.

As I’ve mentioned in other EQ set-ups for other guitar styles, a dB or so goes a long way with this EQ area in the audio spectrum! If the guitarist is using a bright sound, of all the EQ areas, this can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When adding, listen loud to hear if you are adding too much. This area can get painful! No rules friends, just guidelines.

3.5 kHz to 5K

3.5 kHz to 5K (archtop guitar): This area starts bringing up the “sparkle.” In most cases, the jazz guitar sound will not like this area or any of the following upper-end EQ areas. OK, after saying that, since there are no rules, try adding as long as it does not thin out the sound. If the amp sound is not overly bright and the tone is not thin, this area may sound good to get a slight bit of “air” in the sound. Most jazz guitar players like a big sweet sound, but if you make it too bright, the guitarist will tell you for sure!

3.5 kHz to 5K (solid body guitar): Same as for archtops.

5 kHz to 8 kHz

5 kHz to 8 kHz (archtop guitar): More sparkle. If adding, watch out not to make to thin. If the guitar sound is dark, adding here will only bring up noise.

5 kHz to 8 kHz (solid body guitar): Same as for archtops.

8 kHz to 12 kHz

8 kHz to 12 kHz (archtop guitar): The pristine, sheen area. If a dark tone is preferred, this will not add anything but noise in most cases. If a bright tone is being used, this may make the sound thin. This may be a spot to roll out if the amp is noisy. If you’re recording to analog tape, you may want to do the roll out later when mixing to also take down the tape hiss at the same time.

8 kHz to 12 kHz (solid body guitar): Same as for archtops.

For smooth jazz playing, if the guitar player is going back and forth from playing rhythm to lead, you most likely will not have an EQ problem. If this is a problem, when in doubt, my school of thought is to always EQ on the bright side, especially if using analog tape. It is better to roll off a little top end when doing the final mix since you will also be taking down noise recorded (especially if analog tape) and recorder return/module path noise as well.

For straight-ahead jazz playing, if the guitar player is going back and forth from playing rhythm to lead, don’t worry about finding an average EQ. The key it so get the single line – the soloing – to sound as good as possible.

Many others excellent articles written by Jay Graydon, can be found at, Jay Graydon


Zoom Handy recorder H1 & H2

In Accessories, Gears, Public Address, Recording, Sonorisation on January 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

Zoom H1

Zoom H2









Caractéristiques de l’Enregistreur Zoom H1 :

– 2 pistes simultanées en enregistrement stéréo
– 2 micros à condensateur unidirectionnels en configuration X/Y
– Format d’enregistrement et lecture MP3 (jusqu’à 320kbps) et Wav (16/24bit – 44.1/48/96kHz)
– Enregistrement sur carte microSD card (16MB – 2GB) et microSDHC card (4GB – 32GB)
– Ecran LCD rétro-éclairé
– Entrée Mic / Line Input: 1/8″ stéréo mini jack
– Sortie casque stéréo 1/8″ stéréo mini jack
– Haut parleur intégré 400mW 8Ω
– Port USB 2.0
– Fonctionne avec 1pile LR6 ou alimentation AD-17 non fournie
– Autonomie d’environ 10h pour une pile LR6
– Poids 60g (sans pile), dimensions 44 x 136 x 31mm
– Livré avec 1x carte micro SD 2GB et 1x pile LR06
– En option : kit accessoires APH-1

Caractéristiques de l’Enregistreur Zoom H2

L’enregistreur numérique Zoom H2 est un enregistreur de poche HD 2 pistes en format poche!

Cet enregistreur ” Handy recorder ” est génial !
De la taille d´un téléphone portable, il ne pèse que 120 grammes.

L’enregitreur H2 de Zoom se glisse dans n´importe quelle poche de veste. Les piles permettent uneautonomie de 5 heures selon les dires du fabricant, et la carte SD 4 Gb permet l´enregistrement de jusqu´à 100 heures en format MP-3 ou jusqu´à 5 heures en qualité CD. Un vrai petit studio ambulant.

Pour quel usage? Pour qui?
L´enregistreur Zoom H2 peut être utilisé (entre autres) pour tout enregistrement vocal.
Que ce soit un cours de fac en amphi, une conférence, meeting ou autre.

Il est aussi idéal pour l´enregistrement d´interviews ou de podcasts. On peut même, au besoin, “marquer” les passages importants!!

On peut encore utiliser le Zoom H2 comme micro USB en le branchant sur son ordinateur… ou aller enregistrer les cris des singes du zoo de Vincennes.

L´essentiel pour le musicien: Le H2 enregistre un concert en qualité CD, et même, en mode 96 kHz, en qualité DVD. C´est super aussi pour enregistrer une répétition de votre groupe, afin de procéder ensuite à une écoute critique.

La technique: On le met en marche, on le place où on veut, et on appuie sur la touche “enregistrer”.
C´est tout !

Même la modulation est automatique, pas de câble, pas de LED clipping, pas de VUs, on peut commencer en 10 secondes.

Le Zoom H2 dispose de 4 modes d´enregistrement: DVD, DAT, CD et format MP-3.
Le mode d´enregistrement choisi influe bien sûr sur la durée de l´enregistrement, puisque la mémoire est limitée. Avec la mémoire de 4 Gb, on peut enregistrer 2 heures en mode DVD et jusqu´à 100 heures en format MP-3.

L’enregistreur numérique Zoom H2 a une entrée directe (Line in) pour keyboards et guitares électriques, et une entrée micro au format mini Jack. En sortie, une connection casque(jack 3.5 mm)comme sur un lecteur MP-3 habituel. Une sortie USB permet la connection directe sur un ordinateur.

C´est excellent pour traiter l´enregistrement avec un logiciel.

  • Enregistreurs de poche : oui
  • Série : Autres
  • Nb de pistes : 2 Pistes
  • Nb d’entrées Jack Instrument : 1
  • Nb d’entrées ligne Jack : 1
  • Temps Maxi d’enregistrement / Qualité : 4 Go Mbit / Khz
  • Format d’enregistrement : WAV et MP3
  • Type de carte : SD
  • Taille de la carte : 512 Mo
  • Nb de pistes enregistrables simultané : 2 Pistes
  • Prise USB : oui

How to record your Guitar

In Gears, Recording on December 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm

It’s well worth it to learn the techniques for recording guitar. For a modest investment of time and money, you can:

  • Hear yourself and your instrument with new clarity.
  • Enhance practice time by playing along with backing tracks or your favorite band.
  • Share your music with others.
  • Experiment with numerous simulated amplifiers and effects.
  • Collaborate with others, even if they’re miles from your home.
  • Best of all… add fun to your learning!

There are a number of methods for recording guitar and storing or processing the sounds. At some point you’ll probably want to get them onto your computer. I’ll cover four methods that are affordable and popular. I’ll also describe some of the most popular products used for recording guitar at a reasonable price.

The Basic Concepts

Any guitar can be recorded. A guitar that is connected directly to your computer, or other recording device, will provide the cleanest sound, but with a microphone you can record any guitar that produces audible sound.

The key to recording, and later processing, your guitar playing is capturing a full, clean sound.

A ‘full’ sound is one where the vast majority of the original sound is captured. A ‘clean’ recording is one that has eliminated most noise. Here are a few tips to help you capture the best possible sound:

  • Capture sound with as much volume as possible, but avoid clipping (clipping occurs when the input level is too high, shown by recording level indicators turning red).
  • Capture sound at a fast rate, to collect as much sound, and as many subtleties, as possible. CD WAV files, for example, record 16-bits at a time, at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
  • If using a microphone, eliminate as much background noise as possible. Once you’ve recorded background noise, it can be difficult to eliminate.
  • Leave some silence at the beginning and end of the recording, it can easily be removed later, but if you cut it too close, you might actually cut off part of your performance.

Method One: The Direct Audio-In Connection

The easiest and least expensive method for recording guitar is to connect your instrument directly to the Audio-In port of your computer. The Audio-In port is sometimes called Line-In or Mic-In.

Audio-In ports are typically on the side or rear of your computer, often near the Headphones-Out or other sound ports. The Audio-In port is usually identified with an icon such as a microphone or a circle with two triangles on either side (Macintosh). If you have trouble locating the Audio-In port, consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s web-site.

Example Audio-In Ports on Mac (left image, with circle & triangles icon) and PC (with microphone icon)

To connect your guitar to the Audio-In port you need a special cable or an adapter for your existing guitar cable. Why? A standard guitar cable has a 1/4″ phone plug on each end. A standard computer Audio-In port takes a 1/8″ stereo plug.

You should also check to see if your computer’s audio input jack uses a TS (Tip/Sleeve) connection or a TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) connection. Unfortunately, when you look at the little hole, they both look the same. Read you documentation. If you can’t find the answer there, try the manufacturer’s web site. If you strike out there, you can still try one cable, then switch if that doesn’t work (these cables are inexpensive).

Two other caveats are worth mentioning here. First, any cable that combines stereo into mono is going to either blend the signals or simply drop one. That’s not going to give you anything approaching great sound. Second, even if you get the exactly right cable, since this solution lacks an amplifier, what you’ll probably get is weak signal and poor recording. Of course, it’s still a low-cost way to try out recording!

Radio Shack sells a six-foot shielded cable with a phone plug on one end and a 1/8″ stereo plug on the other for about $5. It’s a great way to test-drive this type of connection. If this method works for you, you might want to invest in a high-quality cable, such as the Monster iStudioLink Instrument Cable, made specifically for connecting and recording guitar.

1/8″ (computer end, top) to 1/4″ (guitar end) Cable

Once you have a cable, or adapter, here’s how to connect your guitar:

Direct Connection From Guitar To Computer Audio In Port


  • Low-cost

For the connection, all you need is a new cable or adapter. For basic recording, you can use Apple’s Quicktime Pro (Mac or Windows) or the Sound Recorder application (included with the Windows operating system).

  • Easy

There are few components involved, so it’s easy to get started.


  • Weak signal

Most guitars produce weak output signals. Standard Audio-In ports are not properly equipped to boost this signal, so it may be hard to hear and produce weak recordings.

  • Undesired noise

This method is most likely to cause hum (a buzzing sound) or pass along other undesirable noises.

  • Delay

The analog signal from your guitar must be converted to a digital form at some point: either in an external processor, like a digital amp, or inside your computer. That conversion takes time. How much time depends on what else your computer is doing, and how fast the processor and components are.

  • Only two input channels

An audio-in port has (at most) two channels. The best you can hope for is one stereo input, or two mono inputs. This is not a problem if all you wish to record is your guitar or two mono devices. If you want to add other instruments, or voice, you may need more.

If you’re unhappy with the sound quality from this method, try Method Two for recording guitar, the Powered Audio-In Connection.

Method Two: The Powered Audio-In Connection

A direct Audio-In connection may work for you, but most guitars provide a signal that is too weak, and turning up the volume simply produces hum or other undesirable noises when recording guitar.

To solve this problem you need to boost the signal from your guitar. Any audio device that contains a pre-amp (the first stage of amplification) can boost the signal for you.

Many accessories for guitar include pre-amps, so you might be able to try this improved solution for recording guitar without further expense. Look for any guitar accessory (amp-modeler, pedal, drum machine, direct box) with an output labeled “PA Out” or “Line Out”.

Dedicated pre-amps for microphone and guitar are a great alternative. They’ll provide all the power you’ll ever need to drive the Audio-In port. Price, features, and power vary widely. In general, the best tone comes from pre-amps that use tubes. You’ll find great units for as little as $50, or you can pay much more for professional rack-mounted units. Want to see a sample of what’s available? Take a look here, or see myrecommendations below.

Here’s what a typical Powered Audio-In Connection looks like:

Guitar To Audio-In, Powered By The ART Tube MP Project Series Tube Microphone/Instrument Preamp

This method provides some important advantages, but does not solve all of your problems.


  • Better signal

Sufficient input signal for quality recording.

  • Added capability (varies by component)

Choosing the right accessory can give you additional flexibility and capabilities when playing, including: amp simulators, drum machines, tuners, multiple inputs.

  • Modest Investment

A setup like the one shown (not including guitar, cables, and computer) can cost as little as $30.


  • You’re still limited to two input channels

Since the Audio-In port is the bottleneck in the connection, you still have only two input channels for recording guitar and other instruments (the left and right stereo-in channels).

  • Delay

The signal is improved by your pre-amp device, but latency (delay) probably is not.

Methods three and four solve both of these problems.

Method Three: An External Digital Recorder

Products such as the Zoom H4 Handy Recorder and the Boss Micro BR Digital Recorder make recording guitar (or any other sound) very easy.

Carry one of these (or similar portable recorders) with you. When you’re ready to record, pull it out and switch it on. Record your band, your professor, your practice session, and more. When you get home, connect to your computer and transfer the files. It’s that easy.

In addition, these recorders offer many additional features, such as:

  • Multi-track recording: Record up to four separate tracks of sound.
  • Direct-connect Recording: Guitar or Microphone
  • Expandable Memory: up to 1GB for the Boss unit, 2GB for the Zoom
  • Amplifier Modeling and Built-In effects
  • Portable Drum Machine (Boss only)
  • Sound File Playback and Slow-Down: Practice to favorite songs or playback your practice session (Slow-down on Boss only)
  • Pre-Amp: USB Direct Connect Audio Pre-Amp & Interface (Zoom only)
  • Built-In Tuner: Chromatic tuner for guitar or bass
  • Built-In Metronome (Zoom only)

The Remarkable Boss MICRO BR (left) and Zoom H4Portable Recorders


  • Simple!

No special cables needed for recording guitar. Plug, play, record, then download at your leasure.

  • Portable

Small enough to fit in your gig bag, your guitar case, maybe even your pocket.

  • Tuner Replacement

Put one of these in your gear bag, and take your old tuner out.

  • Effects On The Go

Use the built-in guitar effects, microphone effects (Zoom only) or drum machine (Boss only) to enhance your recording, or just have fun.

  • Recording & Post Processing Software (Zoom only)

Zoom includes the limited edition of CUBase software (Windows or Mac) to edit your sound files.

  • Multi-track recording

At least four tracks, with more possible through ‘virtual tracks’ (Boss only) or editing on your computer (both).

  • Stereo Microphones For Recording (Zoom only)

Studio quality X/Y pattern condenser mics.


  • First Generation Products

Many reviewers report great results, but first generation products may create more problems then established versions.

  • Memory Cards Add Cost

Prices for memory cards are falling all the time, but adding more memory will drive up your cost.

Method Four: The Powered Digital-In Connection

The best method for recording guitar with your computer is to eliminate the analog components and connect digitally. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Pre-Amp’d device with USB or Firewire output.
  • A USB, Firewire, or Digital I/O (S/PDIF) cable.
  • A USB, Firewire, or Digital I/O port on your computer.

The connection looks nearly the same as for Method Two, above. You’ll connect your guitar to the pre-amp’d device, then connect that to your computer. The difference is found in the cable that connects to your computer. Instead of using an 1/8″ stereo in cable, you will use a USB, Firewire, or Optical cable. The specific cable depends on the pre-amp you purchase and the ports available on your computer (make certain they match).

These devices are quite affordable. Most provide multiple inputs, many can power dedicated speakers for monitoring, and they frequently include numerous sound effects and/or sound-processing software.

Products range from all-in-one cable devices to powerful systems that produce crisp, clean sound when recording guitar. You can see samples of popular interfaces here.


  • Digital Input

A digitized copy of your guitar can be stored, copied, modified in numerous ways, and easily shared with others.

  • Reduced Latency

Latency is the amount of time required to convert your guitar’s analog signal to a digital signal. When recording guitar to a computer, you want as little latency as possible. Because the external device is designed to convert your guitar’s analog signal to digital very quickly, the signal is available to your computer almost instantly.

  • Powered speaker outputs

Many of the devices for digitizing your guitar signal have outputs for monitoring sound with external speakers.

  • Headphone Output

Another common feature is a headphone output, for when you wish to work without disturbing others.

  • Multiple Input Channels

You can connect many inputs, including MIDI instruments, with some of these devices.

  • Other Specialty Features

These devices not only make it easier to record guitar on your computer, they offer a wide variety of special features, including: amplifier modeling; balanced output (for direct connection to PA systems); MIDI input; looping; built-in metronome and/or tuner; modeled pedals, special knobs and controls for working with sound-processing software; and, most are compact for travel.

  • Digital Sound Parameter Control

It’s true that you’ll need to play with the various digital sound parameters (such as bit-rate and sampling rate) to determine the best sound for you, but with an external box you control these parameters, not your PC’s sound card.


  • Less Portable

Your setup is only as portable as your computer. If you have a laptop, you might be able to take this on the road, if not, it’s a home-based solution.

Finally, The Software For Recording Guitar At Home

Once you have chosen your connection method, you need software to capture your sound.

I have to be honest here, you can probably find a better list of solutions by using your favorite Internet Search Engine to look for “guitar record software” or some similar phrase. However, I will briefly cover a few popular options.

Mac Solutions

Here are a few software recording packages for those who use a Mac:

Garageband: As I write this Garageband ’09 is the latest version. Garageband is one of those oddities of software… you can not go out and purchase Garageband by itself. Instead, it is part of a package of products called the iLife suite.

The iLife suite includes four ‘life-style’ products in one package: iPhoto (organize digital images, automatic facial recognition, organize albums, share with Facebook or Flickr, and much more); iMovie (import, edit, organize, and share video); iWeb (simplified website design) and; Garageband.

Logic Express or Logic Studio: These programs, also from Apple Computer, offer increasing levels of capabilities as your needs grow.

Logic Express streamlines the technical side of things, so you can record, edit, and mix it, too. Easily put the the most advanced audio tools to work while integrating with Garageband. You get over 70 studio-quality effect plug-ins, including vintage and modern compressors, delays, reverbs; 25 legendary amps and 25 speaker cabinets emulators; 30 virtual pedals; templates to quickly begin your project. Logic express is an affordable, yet powerful sound editor.

If you find Logic Express limiting, then step up to Logic Studio. Logic Studio is a complete set of professional applications to help you write, record, edit, mix, and perform. It includes 20,000 royalty-free sound loops to get you started; Amp-Designer to create 25 legendary amplifier sounds and 25 classic speaker cabinets; 30 virtual pedals; and the Mainstage module for live performances.

Mac Or Windows

If you want to move away from Apple products, or if you use the Windows operating system, Steinberg’s CuBase has a solid reputation with its users. You can choose the package you prefer based on your budget and the capabilities you seek.

Cubase Essential 5 is hardly a limited, beginner package, but it is the entry level version of Cubase for those who wish to dip their toe in the water before jumping in with both feet. You get an easy, intuitive approach to composing, recording, editing, and mixing. Cubase Essential 5 uses the same user interface and award-winning audio engine as the more expensive Steinberg Cubase products.

Cubase Studio 5 is the next step for studio or creative musicians. Based on the same core technologies as Steinberg’s Cubase 5 Advanced Music Production System, Studio 5 gives you many of the same features, such as the new Groove Agent ONE drum machine and Beat Designer step sequencer as well as the new PitchCorrect intonation effect for perfect vocal pitch every time, plus much, much more.

If you yearn for all the state-of-the-art features you can get, take a look at Cubase 5. This award-winning Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software package. You get everything included in Essential 5 and Studio 5 plus the revolutionary LoopMash seamlessly blends loops, creating unimaginable variations; enhanced playback editing; much, much, more.

Recording Guitar Summary

The least expensive way of recording guitar to computer is to connect it directly. You need only a cable with a 1/4″ male plug at one end and a 1/8″ male plug at the other. You can also use a standard guitar cable with a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter. However, unless your guitar puts out enough power for your sound card the signal will be too weak for practical use. For more information, see Method One, above.

To effectively use an Audio-In port, place a pre-amp between your guitar and the Audio-In port. You’ll still need a 1/4″ to 1/8″ cable, or an adapter. You’ll be rewarded with great signal strength, but may still encounter problems with latency and you can use only two input channels at a time. For details, see the write-up of Method Two.

By using an external digital recorder for recording guitar, all of the timing and connection problems are solved, but at the expense of introducing a dedicated device that may, or may not, live up to your expectations. Still, these new devices deserve strong consideration, thanks to their versatility (especially the Zoom H4), and their presence in guitar cases around the world will almost surely increase. For more information see the details under Method Three.

The best method for recording guitar to computer is to use a pre-amplified device with a digital output. You can find devices with USB, Firewire, and Optical outputs. You’ll need to ensure that your computer has an input port that is compatible (nearly all computers now have USB, many have Firewire, and the latest multi-media systems include Optical I/O ports. Search for products with “Digital S/PDIF”). You’ll benefit from near zero latency, great sound, multiple channels, lots of control over the quality of signal. Plus, many of these products ship with software for recording, effects processing, and amplifier simulation. Read more about Method Fourabove.


If you want a portable solution, I recommend the Zoom H4. It’s packed with features at an affordable price. You can direct-connect up to two devices (such as one guitar and one microphone), record using the built-in X-Y microphones, or a combination of each.
Line 6 has a line of affordable Pocket POD’s featuring effects, I/O ports, software for sound processing, and more. Pocket-sized but packed with value.
The Lambda USB Desktop Studio from Lexicon packs loads of inputs with the key outputs you need: USB, audio-out, MIDI out. Phantom power, Mix, Monitor, Level controls, Balanced Inputs, Headphone monitoring, and more, for about $150.
For fast sound transfer, firewire is the way to go, and the PreSonus Firebox packs a lot of punch for the money. Six inputs, ten outputs, including firewire, that fits in the palm of your hand! Crystal clear preamps, ultra-wide 10Hz-50kHz frequency response, Windows XP and Mac OS X compatible, plus Steinberg’s Cubase LE 48-track, 24-bit/96K recording software.
iLife from Apple includes the music generation and recording program Garageband. As a bonus you also get iWeb (web page development), iPhoto (image management), and iMovie (video editing and sharing). For Mac OS-X.
Use Apple’s Logic Express to record, edit, and mix your music on a Mac. Open your GarageBand files and get right to work, or start from scratch with a new composition. For Mac OS-X.
Steinberg Cubase 5 is an award-winning complete recording and editing package loaded with amplifier, cabinet, and pedal emulators, plus voice correction (pitch correction), unlimited tracks, MIDI support, custom library of drum kits for fast beat generation include. Much more. For Mac or Windows.

Source: Start Playing

Tips on Recording Acoustic Guitars (Microphones)

In Accessories, Gears, Recording on March 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

I’m trying to record my band and need some advice on recording an acoustic guitar.

What’s a good mic for acoustic guitar?
Where exactly do you place the mic?
Do you use compression or EQ?


AKG 451

It depends upon the sound your going for. I find that using a single AKG 451 mounted between the sound hole and the upper part of the neck (higher frets) works really well. This is really for recording mono which is easier to mix back into the band.

You can also record in stereo by placing another mic between the bridge and the sound hole. I put one finger in my ear and listen while the guitarist is playing to find the starting point. You’ll usually find a spot that doesn’t sound too boomy. The 451 is fairly flat when it comes to frequency response and has a 75hz high pass filter that removes most of the low rumble. On some guitars it may take out too many lows so you may want to just EQ some of them out.

I also like using the using two audio technica AT3032 omnidirectional mics placed in the same position. They have a really big sound but you need to make sure that the room isn’t to lively and that the early reflections are not too much. If

AT 3032

AT 3032

this is for radio or tv make sure to check what it sounds like in mono before committing to disk. You may need to take out some of the 500 to 2k frequencies but it will really depend on the guitar, and guitarist.

I’ve used two small lavalier condensers mounted on the sound hole itself. It’s the only way to go. You have to make sure the guitarist doesn’t hit the soundboard because they’re fairly sensitive. As far as checking for mono do you mean turn off one of the mics? I’m recording an ovation that has a pickup and preamp already in the guitar. You can convert to mono by turn the pan pots (panners) on your mixing board to the center position. This will place everything in the center so you can hear what happens to the sound.

Lavalier condenser

Lavalier condenser

If you’ve already have a preamp then record it along with the microphones onto a different track. Then mix it to what you think sounds the best. I usually have it about -6 to -9dB below the microphones. The pickups don’t sound as natural to me as a microphone but they do add some definition to the sound.

You can also mount a roland gk-2ah guitar pickup on a acoustic guitar. that way you can play a gr33 or gr20 guitar synth. I used the double sided tape and mounted about 1/4″ or so from the bridge. It really adds depth to the sound. try putting a choir, bell like sound, or even another guitar sound but about -15dB or so below the real instrument. I’ve only tried it on my yamaha acoustic that has metal strings. I haven’t tried it on a nylon string guitar. Sounds really cool.

I usually use two condenser mics in the XY configuration. I use one of those atlas two microphone mounts where you have two mic mounts that can be repositioned. I align the mics at a 90° difference/angle to one another on the atlas mic mount. Depending on the mic you’ll have to get the 90° angle as close as possible. I use a protractor. Check both the vertical and horizontal angles, look at it from the side as well as the top.

I then place the mic about 12″ in front of and towards the bottom part of the guitar’s sound hole. Using the XY mic pair gives the guitar a depth of soundfield that a single mic just can’t do. You can change the density of the stereo field by panning the pan pots on the mics at mix down. Instead of having them and hard right and hard left you can pan them more towards the center. The stereo image completely collapses when both the left and right pan pots are centered.

As far as using an EQ I try to avoid it but there are times that the low frequency cut found on many of the condenser mics just doesn’t remove all or the problematic low frequencies. Then I use a low cut filter.

My favorite Mics to use for miking an acoustic guitar are: the AKG C-414, AKG C-1000, and the Neumann KM 184. I’ve even used the Behringer B-5 and Nady CM-90 condenser mics got pretty good results. They are not really in the same league as the Neumann or AKG mic though. But if you can afford the more costly mics you can try the cheap condensers. As far as preamps I like, but don’t own, a universal audio M610 mic preamp. The dbx 376 and 786 mic preamps and even their mini pre works pretty well.

Most importantly is to use your ears and search to find the best spot to place the mic. I run the stereo pair of mic into the headphones and then have the guitarist play and then position the mics. This is the best way to get things started. You should then record to tape (hard disk) and then check the mix. Also pan both mics to the center and hear how it sounds If it becomes really thin sounding then the XY placement is not aligned properly or there is some other problem.