As a side hobby many of us solo and instrumental guitarists often get into home recording. It is by no means easy, but with a relatively simple setup and some experimentation one can get a good recorded sound at home. Not having to worry about bass, drums, or screaming marshall stacks means all you need are some high quality mics and a recording source. Some people opt to go the computer based route, others prefer stand alone options like the Zoom H4N.
As one of my favorite strength coach’s Dan John says, “Its simple not easy.” People trying to record at home often invest big bucks in mics, preamps, and software only to make mediocre sounding recordings due to lack of acoustic treatment in the room. Your basic empty bedroom is just not well suited to recording. I don’t know a ton about the science behind it, but I think it involves parallel walls causing sound waves to collide and amplify certain frequencies. Acoustic treatment is designed to cut down on this, and often the first step is to install some broadband diffusers to absorb bass frequencies. The Homebrewed Music Blog has a good tutorial on a DIY version. I am currently reading this book to learn more about the science behind it.
One thing I try to do when recording at home is close micing. I figure the less of my not so great room being picked up by the mic the better. The flip side is if you get to close you can amplify the bass frequencies, otherwise known as proximity effect. I don’t know if its my guitar or my playing but the best position for me seems to be at least 20″ away. Even in Doug Young’s treated studio using his Brauner tube mics we ended up having to be farther away.
So I was interested when a friend told me about these Line Audio CM3’s he picked up. They are from Sweden and go for about $300 US a pair. He ordered them through No Hype Audio and said he got great service. One of the reasons he got them is that you are supposed to be able to place them close to the sound source and not get much proximity effect. We set up in his untreated carpeted living room, the mics arranged in a spaced pair pointing roughly at the 12th fret and the bridge. Distance from the mic was 5 inches and they were plugged straight into a Zoom H4N. I’m sorry that I did not get a picture of the actual mics and setup. Click play below to give it a listen.
Line Audio CM3
This is by far the best close miced sound I have gotten. I am curious to see if it’s the room or the mics, and plan to bring over my pair of ADK A6’s in the near future. Either way the CM6’s seem to deliver good sound at a reasonable price, and are probably worth checking out.