Home Studio on a Budget

     

    If you are reading this then you are either planning on building a home studio or you already have started building one. Hopefully, this guide will give you an idea as to some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to buying, building, and using your studio and the hardware/software within it.

    It is important to understand what you want to achieve before you start. Knowing what kind of music it is that you want to record before you start gives you a better understanding of what kind of space you’re going to need and also the hardware and software that you may have to buy.

    If you’re wanting to record drums for example you will need quite a large room or outhouse. This will ideally be soundproofed (unless you have don’t have any neighbors in which case it doesn’t matter so much) which could cost quite a bit of money.

    If you’re just recording guitar and vocals or you just want to write some electronic music then no soundproofing will be required although you can buy products to improve the acoustics of your chosen room should you feel that the acoustics are not good enough. A couple of bass traps in the corner of your room can significantly reduce the natural reverb of the room and make it easier to record things. Bass traps will also make mixing and mastering a more enjoyable experience because you will be able to hear your speakers with more clarity.

    Once you have chosen what room to use for your home studio and have established what kind of music that you will be writing and recording it’s time to think about what kind of software and hardware you will need to purchase.

    If you are using a microphone/ keyboard or guitar you will need to buy a recording interface. This is the piece of hardware that bridges the gap between you and your instrument and the software on the computer. You can buy many different recording interfaces each with different strengths and weaknesses so it’s good to understand exactly what you want before you make this purchase. For example, if you are only going to be recording vocals and guitar then you won’t need a recording interface with 4-8 inputs because the max you will ever be using will be 2. Another important parameter to look at when choosing a recording interface is exactly what kind of latency it has. Some recording interfaces have firewire which offers virtually zero latency. Usually the more money you spend the better latency you’re going to get.

    Once you have bought your recording interface it’s time to think about what software you’re going to use. There are many products on the market with a wide variety of prices. Most musicians either use Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Fruity loops, or Ableton Live. They all offer different things and some are better for certain styles of music than others. Fruity loops and Ableton are better suited to electronic-based music production and Cubase and Protools are better suited to live music recording.

    Source by John Rimmer

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    Beyerdynamic MC 950 Condenser Studio Microphone Review

    The Beyerdynamic MC 950 Condenser Studio Microphone is a small condenser microphone from Beyerdynamic. Similar to the other microphones from the MC 900 product line like the 910 and 930, the MC 950 is intended where sounds from pianos, guitars, and choirs are required. The 900 series microphones come with a 15-decibel pad with a 6-decibel octave LF roll-off at 250 megahertz. These features cannot be swapped or transferred.

    The design of the 900 series so is that the cap can be adjusted to the end of the body, reducing reflections that occur in other microphones; a windscreen option is available for outdoor use and convenience.

    The features of the microphones outdoors are so well-tuned and designed that it reduces the amount of noise distortion sources heard from outside, especially during loud conversations or medium-level construction noises. In particular, the MC 950’s rear rejection is pretty good, although some content can be heard from a low-end instrument with tremendous bass. The pad provided in the package allows high sound pressure level sources such as a guitar cabinet or Leslie.

    Each microphone comes with:

    a clip,

    a carriage bag,

    a frequency chart with 2dB to 2dB dip in the 4kHz to 8kHz range flattering without unnatural sound

    In hindsight, the best results for the condenser microphone were from 6 to 12 inches away. In effect, the MC 950 is better as a spot microphone or during a live setting with wider acoustic settings and greater space. The microphone is not the best for close vocal range as the quality appears more nasally and thinner than the former. Also, the latter resulted in a quicker fall of both the treble and bass ends of the microphone’s features. However, one the optimal range of 6 to 12 inches has been reached, the sound quality is expansive and grand. The vocal quality sounds natural and dynamic, and the sound of acoustic instruments is maximized to their full musical potential.

    However, the dip and boost characteristics of the MC 950 are not for everyone as it can become too complex for the beginner and novice users. If you have the time, patience, and sound acumen for reaching the optimum microphone range, then the Beyerdynamic MC 950 may be the right microphone for you.

    Source by Boris Palik

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    Home Photography Studio Kit For The Keen Amateur Photographer

     

    Before I get into the equipment I purchased for my “home photography studio”, I need to make it clear that I’m not approaching this article as a professional photographer – I don’t photograph people or charge a fee for taking photos of people or products. I’m very much an amateur photographer, doing this as more of a hobby, than as a professional career.

    The reason why I chose to invest in this sort of photographic studio equipment is that I did want to see if I could make my hobby pay for itself, by creating a website using my photographs as content, which would be monetized by Google adverts; and, potentially, by selling stuff on either eBay or Amazon, using my camera to take photos of products I might happen to sell. Due to my living situation at the time, there weren’t any rooms in the house where I could take photographs WITHOUT any of the background clutter getting in the way of the shot. I needed a way of being able to quickly set up my camera and have a nice, clean background without anything else in the house creeping into the photographs, and so this is how I ended up with the following array of studio equipment.

    My home photography studio setup is divided into:

    • Stuff for taking photos of small to medium-ish sized products (no larger than a typical desk lamp, for instance);
    • Stuff for taking photos of larger products (while I wasn’t necessarily thinking of photographing people, I made sure that I would be able to photograph things human-sized, just to keep my options open).

    Okay, so here’s what my “amateur” home photography studio kit includes:

    Home Studio Kit… For Larger Stuff

    1. Professional Photography Background Kit… I toyed for some time as to which background kit to get. Prices varied from under £30 (US$43 approx.) to £200 (US$288 approx.). In the end, I opted for the best quality – something that will be reliable and not start falling to pieces after a few uses. I felt that this is one of those purchases you only want to make ONCE. I ended up buying a kit from Creativity Papers (based in the UK), who also sell on Amazon (UK). The kit came with two tripod uprights; a multi-piece crossbar (allowing you to have different widths, depending on the size of your room – I only use two of the four bars, so it fits nicely in my 3-meter wide room); and one roll of arctic white paper. I also purchased a roll of ultra-black paper and a cherry red color (this last one I’ve NEVER ONCE USED; I thought I was going to be all creative with using different backgrounds, but when it comes to taking the photos, I find I just want to get it done with the minimum of fuss, either using a white background for darker colored objects, or a black background for lighter colored stuff).

    2. “A Clamps”… The backdrop kit that I purchased came with a couple of metal A Clamps, which are used to secure the backdrop paper to tables, as the rolls of backdrop paper have a natural tendency to try and roll themselves back up. If your backdrop kit doesn’t come with them, you may need about four of them (at minimum). If I’m just hanging the backdrop straight down and not flowing it over a table, I will use a couple of metal A Clamps to weight-down the paper, so it can’t unravel. However, the weight of the metal A Clamps tends to continue unrolling more paper; so, to fix this, I clamp two additional A Clamps into the roll of backdrop paper, where it hangs on the crossbar. I purchased a pack of about 8-10 of these A Clamps, “just in case” I need to use more. But, for the most part, I tend to only need a maximum of four clamps.

    3. External Flash / Speed Light… When using a DSLR camera for product photography (especially if you have access to a tripod), there is a temptation to try and get away without using an external flash, by just using a longer exposure time – just enough until the image isn’t either too dark, or too bright, but somewhere in between. However, the problem you’ll soon find is that some detail, in most non-flat objects, will be lost in the shadows. If you’re taking photos of products for eBay or Amazon, for instance, you want to show off as much detail as possible, for your prospective buyers. Using flash DOES make a positive difference. There may be a temptation to try using the pop-up flash (if your camera has one), but things do look better if you can take the flash away from the central position and over to about a 45 degrees angle to your subject. Being able to move the flash about your subject helps to maximize the results.

    4. One OR Two Tripods… If you’re going to be using an external flash to illuminate your subject(s), you may need two tripods – one for the flash unit and the other for your camera (some of the time I find myself happy to take photos just handholding the camera; other times, I like to give my shoulders, arms, and backrest, and set the camera on its tripod). You don’t necessarily need a lightweight carbon fiber tripod for indoor photography work, as you’re not hiking about with the thing. Carbon fiber tripods cost more than the comparably heavier aluminum tripods. I have an aluminum tripod (MeFoto Roadtrip) for my external flash and, because I do take my camera outdoors, I have a carbon fiber 3LT “Brian”, which is very versatile.

    5. Portable Photography Reflector Kit & Tripod Stand… While having multiple external flash units is probably ideal, it IS an expensive route to go (if you can afford it, or believe you’ll be able to justify the cost, then it’s a great option). However, a more economical option would be to set up your single external flash unit (pointing at your subject from the front, albeit off at a 45-degree angle) and then, directly opposite the flash, have a reflector angled so that it will throw otherwise lost flashlight, directly back into your subject, illuminating some of the detail on the side that the flashlight can’t directly reach. For this task, I purchased a portable photography reflector kit that came with its tripod stand (so I didn’t need someone else to hold the reflector – meaning I could get on with my photography projects, without having to nag a relative to do the job… I certainly didn’t have the funds or inclination to pay someone to do the job. This kit solved the matter).

    Home Studio Kit… For Small to Medium-size Stuff

    1. Tiamat Photography Light Box (26″)… I purchased this “lightbox” after getting a bit narked about having to set-up the large photography backdrop kit for even relatively small products – which formed the majority of the stuff I needed/wanted to photograph. I hunted around on Amazon for something more compact and, like buying the larger backdrop kit, I stayed clear of some of the cheap and flimsy lightboxes (and avoided those fiddly collapsible photo “cubes”) and plumped for one of the more premium lightboxes. I must admit, when the 26″ Otamat LightBox arrived, I was expecting something that looked more robust – it’s made of some sort of plastic-like material, which you fold together like some sort of cheap Christmas nativity set. However, don’t let this put you off; the materials are chosen, plus the way it has been engineered to fold and slot together, results in a super-lightweight lightbox, which is a doddle to take down from my shelf to put on a table, and then put it back when the photography is complete. What’s more, you don’t even need to use a flash to illuminate your subject, because this particular model has 4x bulbs incorporated into the front of the unit, which provides a nice, even light both directly onto the front of the product(s) and, indirectly, as the light is reflected off the walls and ceiling. This is one of the best photography purchases I’ve ever made.

    2. Epson Matte Paper (Backdrop replacements for the Otamat LightBox)… The Tiamat LightBox came with a single sheet of paper to use as a backdrop – it’s large enough that it covers the entire back wall and the floor of the lightbox, with the paper curving up so that there is no hard line where the wall joins the base of the lightbox. When you photograph stuff with this backdrop paper, you just see a nice, seamless and uncluttered background (just what you want, so that your products take the starring role, with no background distractions). Unfortunately, the manufacturer of the Otamat LightBox didn’t create the box so that it would take ordinary-sized A3 or A2 paper (it’s some other dimension). The best alternative, which works perfectly well for me with this 26″ Otamat Light Box, is a roll of 61cm x 40cm Epson Matte Paper (single weight). I just used the original Otamat paper as a template, rolled out the length that I needed, and cut it off.

    3. Velcro Pads (To hang the replacement backdrop paper)… In case you were wondering how the backdrop paper is attached to the Otamat Light Box, it’s done via two sets of Velco pads – in with the kit, you get two large Velcro pads that have a sticky adhesive underside. These stick onto the rear wall of the LightBox. Then, you take the two smaller Velcro pads and stick them onto the backdrop paper at the corresponding height, so that you can press them onto their Velcro counterparts. Because of this, you will need to invest in extra Velcro adhesive pads, as I found out the original Otamat pieces aren’t reusable. It’s only a relatively small extra cost and it’s worth it to keep using the Otamat LightBox, for the simple reason of how speedy it is to set up and get on with the task of photographing stuff for eBay or Amazon (or wherever you intend to sell your wares).

    Home Studio Kit… Universal Equipment For Stuff Both Large & Small

    1. Height Adjustable, Portable Folding Table… Now, you might not need this. However, it wasn’t exactly convenient to lug my kitchen table all the way upstairs to my bedroom (where I store my photography equipment), and I didn’t fancy having to take all my photography equipment down to the kitchen every time I wanted to photograph something. So, I purchased a split-folding, compact, height adjustable table, which I’m able to store neatly out of the way in my room when not in use, and which is a doddle to set up quickly, so I can either plonk down the Otamat LightBox or use it with the larger backdrop kit, by letting the backdrop paper flow down over it, before securing it to the table with a couple of A Clamps.

    And that’s pretty much it – I have a kit to photograph all sorts of products, whether something small like rings or watches, and I have a kit that enables me to photograph larger, people-sized things, if need be.

    Source by Graham Wadden

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    Social Dancing Crash Course – Ballroom dancing for absolute beginners

     

     

    Click here to get Social Dancing Crash Course – Ballroom dancing for absolute beginners at a discounted price while it’s still available…

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    How to use audacity Get 750 SFX

    Product Name: How to use audacity Get 750 SFX

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    Backing Tracks for Singers – Virtual Band For Song Demos, Karaoke or Auditions

    With the popularity of American Idol and America’s Got Talent, there are many budding songbirds out there. Plenty of folks with hidden talents are coming out of the woodwork. So to optimize your chances, you should jump at the opportunity to create your professional sound recordings. For all your fantastic future artistes who are blessed with a singing talent but no instrumental prowess, there is a solution.

    To begin with, you will need this simple equipment:

    A Multi-Track Recording Software Program with MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) capability and ideally a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

    Some popular and reputable programs include Adobe Audition, Garage Band(for Apple), Reaper, and Sonar. Any of these systems will allow you to record your vocals on top of a pre-bought or downloaded MIDI track, not to mention allow you to record your backing tracks if you play an instrument.

    A MIDI Keyboard

    A MIDI keyboard is essential for adding the virtual instruments you will need to complete your recordings. There are many models out there from many well-known brands including Korg, Akai, and M-Audio. I use one similar to the Korg microKEY for this. It’s small and sits right on my computer desk.

    A Decent Microphone

    Your computer’s built-in microphone is probably not up to the task of creating professional audio. However, despite what most experts and music store employees will tell you, it is not necessary to buy an expensive microphone. These days you can enter the zone of professional quality audio for the cost of a good USB microphone, such as the Samson Q1U for $49. This was not possible just a few years ago, but the quality of these USB mics in 2011 is very good.

    When you have all your equipment the next thing you’ll need is the audio tracks you want to sing along to. If you don’t already have a recording set-up on your computer and if you don’t play any instruments, fear not. Across the web, you will find downloadable MIDI versions of many popular hits. Some of these sites also have audio tracks of these songs with the vocals removed. Some of the best sites include Midi-Hits, Cybermidi, and Hittrax. MIDI tracks are available on these sites for a few bucks and will allow you to have you’re your band.

    Once you have downloaded your track, you will need to import your MIDI backing track into your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). In the majority of programs, you will find a basic IMPORT/INSERT button and by using this you can import your track. As soon as your track is imported all you need to do is plug your mic into the computer, press the record button, and sing along. You have the opportunity to mix the perfect track for your next live performance, karaoke party, or demo recording for that audition.

    As you’re in control of the mixing board as well as the vocals, you can edit your track post-production. If you notice a slight wobble in your voice, you can erase it. If you need to up the tempo you can. If you notice the track is in the wrong pitch for your vocal range, you can change it. Using this innovative software you can edit your track until its note-perfect. Maximize the value of your natural talents and maximize your chances of commercial success.

    Get Your Band Now

    The opportunity to work from your home studio on your computer screen is fantastic. You can work in the comfort of your own home and test out as many different tracks and samples as you desire, without the worry of the cost of studio time. If you’re serious about a career in music, investing in some decent software, a range of MIDI tracks and a decent quality microphone could seriously boost your chances. Who knows, you could be the next big star!

    Source by Jake Weston

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    10 Reasons Why You Should Start Your Own Home Music Studio Now!

     

    Tired of traveling to and from the music studio every time someone calls for band practice? Fret no more. Why not build your home music studio instead? Having a home recording studio has numerous advantages, most especially for musicians and audiophiles.

    Here are the top 10 reasons why you should start your home music studio now:

    1. Convenience – Gone are the days when artists and band members need to pack their electric guitars and other musical instruments to rent a professional recording studio and rehearse. Nowadays, music enthusiasts can simply practice anytime, right in the comforts of home.

    2. Budget-friendly – Instead of paying studio fees, which are usually by the hour, you can save more if you have your home music studio. You don’t need to worry each time the clock ticks, that you’re losing money. With a home recording studio, you can spend as much time as you wish and as many takes as you want without costing an arm and a leg. All you get is a professional quality recording minus studio fees!

    3. Time Flexibility – Schedule anytime you wish-no need to have an advanced appointment as you would if you choose a professional recording studio. A short trip to a spare bedroom, garage, down the hall, or any favorable space, and you’re ready to rock and roll with your bandmates.

    4. Easy to set up – Back in the day, putting together a home music studio involved lots of physical paraphernalia at an exorbitant cost. These days, most of the features from audio recording equipment can be achieved via a computer and the appropriate software, along with some quality accessories.

    5. Smart investment – Aside from the obvious benefits above, when you have your home recording studio, you can have it rented to music buffs to earn extra income. It’s a win-win situation; your potential clients can produce and record music at a minimal cost, while you earn a few bucks along the way.

    6. Innovative – Home music studios are true, groundbreaking. Much of the pop music you hear lately has been recorded, mixed, and mastered in a home recording studio. It’s the wave of the future-start your future today!

    7. Better Quality – Because of the convenience factor and the more relaxed ambiance a home music studio offers, you can expect higher quality recording, without the rush and pressure.

    8. Be your boss – If you want a home recording studio to become your source of livelihood, you can easily have the luxury of being your boss. Be the one in charge to collect fees from aspiring musicians for your recording services.

    9. Fun – Aside from playing and recording music with friends, your home music studio is an ideal place to bond with family members and loved ones. Organize a music night and have everyone share his or her piece. Besides, it’s always exciting to listen to your music being played back.

    10. Skills Enhancing – For more serious music fanatics, a home recording studio offers an outstanding means to further master their skills and talents by listening for errors or areas that need some improvement. This way, musicians of all levels can step up and take his or her gift of music to the next stage.

    With these priceless benefits, there’s no doubt that creating a home music studio is a must for any music lover.

    Source by Mark P Sloan

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    A Music Studio Software That Will Uncover Talent You Never Knew You Had

     

    Could you imagine having a music studio software program that has the same, if not better, creation and recording options that a professional recording studio would have but for a price of under $30 bucks?

    If your thinking that finding such a beatmaker is crazy and unrealistic, since the majority of music creator software is priced for hundreds of dollars, you would be mistaken.

    Of course, you have many options one of which is to buy top of the line software, but I would not recommend it if you are a beginner or new to beat making software. These programs will run hundreds of dollars and require extensive knowledge of music production to make any beats what so ever.

    For starters, Any good quality music studio software program will have a Key editor that produces Instruments, quality banks, special effects, stabs, and more.

    If you are searching for a beatmaker and come across one that does not have this kind of key editor, simply scratch it off your list. You need to have these kinds of options if you want to have any creative control of the beats you want to create.

    This would stand true to online beat makers. Paying for a membership so that you can log on to make your music beats is a waste of your money.

    When I started to remix music, 10 years ago, I did not have the dollars to drop on programs such as Fruity Loops or sound forge.

    I wanted a music studio software that had top-notch pre-recorded beats that I could add to or use as an overlay, already pre-loaded. I wanted something affordable but not cheap.

    My Dj beats software that I have is good for mixing but not as savvy on creating music beats. Since my dream list was getting longer and harder to find, I would just buy music beats until a friend of mine told me about a new music studio software that was released. It really is something you need to see for yourself to believe.

    Let’s just say that I have been finally making those killer beats I kept hearing in my head but was unable to create them until now.

    Consider your search over so that you too can start making the music beats you have always wanted to create. Warning…this music studio software program is addicting.

    Source by Manny Fernandez

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    To Record or Not To Record – At Home, That Is

    I will be honest. I am addicted to music recording. I love moving faders, adjusting levels, panning, reverberating, sequencing, you name it. I especially love all that software and the colorful ways that they show the music as a waveform. It is just cool.

    And I’m not the only one. My cousin has just become hooked as well, and all around the globe many many songwriters are falling prey to the “Call of the Cubase.” After all, what once upon a time could break the bank, is now easily accessible on our desktops. Every songwriter can record his/her songs for a pittance. So is this a good thing? And should we all be doing it?

    On the surface, it’s a no-brainer. Well, why not record? It stimulates creativity. It liberates more music from the brains of its creators. It puts more pleasure into the world. And yet, there is a downside or two to consider when you plan to record your stuff, at least at home.

    Natural selection was Darwin’s theory, and it applies equally to music as well. I’ll be honest, I’m not the greatest songwriter. I tend to write stuff that is too long, overly cliched, and requiring the vocal range of Luciano Pavarotti mixed with Paul Robeson. Every so often, though, almost despite my best efforts, I’ll crank out a beaut. When that happens, it deserves immediate posterizing (recording for posterity), but, alas, there is a long line of “I-really-shouldn’t-record-this-but-why-not-it’s-cheap-to-do-it” material in front of it. Each of those will take a good week of work to arrange, record, overdub, mix, master, remix, remaster, and burn. Add to that two days of regret after I’ve listened to the atrocious thing, you have 9 days. If I had to pay for a studio, I’d only have gone with the winner, and those other songs would have thankfully remained mere twinkles in my eye.

    That’s the first thing to consider. It’s not for the betterment of the world to record everything just because you can. With the advent of the home studio, the natural selection process disappeared, and people don’t have the same pressure to let their material grow, become refined, and be sure that they are going for the gold before they start laying down tracks. Always ask yourself if you can do better before you start. Don’t let the technology cripple creativity with its instant allure.

    Now let’s say you have an ace song on your hands. No reason not to record this, you’re saying, and you’re right. But. Is doing it at home the way to go? The answer is a resounding… depends. Depends on what gear you have, sure. But even more, it depends on what you are capable of doing with that gear. If the ease with which one can record at home has limited creative quality, it may do the same to sonic quality when the creativity has been truly remarkable. I love those gadgets, but I will admit that I can never seem to get the sound I hear in my head when I write those songs. If I were properly trained, I’m sure I’d have a different take, but I’m not, and how many of us are?

    So my compromise has been to have all the fun in the world with the songs I’m not staking my future on, while the keepers get a professional to make sure that I’ll get that record deal. I would highly recommend, however, to record your songs at home as a prequel, if you will, to the studio. The benefits are knowing how your song will take to tape on a basic level, as well as seeing any weaknesses in your arrangements. It is a great scratchpad, and then, when you get into the studio, you’ll have a great head start.

    I hope everyone thrills to this wonderful world of songwriting, and whether your goal is simply to give CDs to your friends and family or to be a megastar (hope we make it), you’ll use home studio technology to stimulate creativity, improve your craft and career and have a blast. Happy Tunes!

    Source by Seth Lutnick

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    Shure S7 Dynamic Microphone Review

    Many professional recording engineers choose the Shure SM7 dynamic microphone for recording vocals even though it’s about 10 times less expensive than a Neumann condenser microphone, (which most professional studios also have in their “mic locker”). The Shure SM7 is an interesting mic possibility for those recording music at home.

    A condenser microphone is a usual choice for those recording vocals and as of late ribbon, microphones have become a popular choice as well (for those looking for that classic “smooth” sound).

    But it’s a mistake to think that you cannot also record vocals with a dynamic microphone. Many who are looking for a “hard rock” sort of sound choose a Shure SM57 or SM58 and the Shure SM7 has been used on many famous recordings because it’s the ability to sound like a condenser without some of the problems that a condenser mic can bring.

    The SM7 sounds fantastic on vocals and it also cuts out much of the room noise and the vocal noises that can sometimes make a vocal track a difficult thing to work with. This is especially true for people working in a home studio that doesn’t have much (or anything) done as far as acoustic design. This mic is perfect for getting that full vocal sound without getting the sound of the room that it was recorded in.

    While this mic is usually used for recording vocals, it can also be used to record other instruments such as an acoustic guitar. Big-name brands have used this mic to record acoustic guitar. If you have a really good preamp and you are not happy with your room sound then it may be something you want to try. To pick up a strong acoustic guitar sound with this mic you must have a preamp with a lot of clean gains to get the signal loud enough (without noise).

    Source by Johnny Moon

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