Classical guitar anyone?

So I recorded a classical guitar concert last week.

Here’s a couple of tracks.

First time I’ve recorded a classical guitar live.

Two Rode NT5 mics in AB config at the front of the guitar. An Audio Technia ATM33a over the player’s shoulder. Some light compression (lots of dynamic range in the playing).

I used a commercial classical guitar recording to give me an idea of EQ and reverb.

Great job this sounds really really good. Good job on capturing the room as well as the instruments.

The playin is pretty damn good too!


No appartments for rent.
You can crash on the couch in the studio.

Lovely job, all round, Mark.

Thanks guys. The player is one of our guitar tutors and we put on this concert to promote him and his work. We had nearly 300 people attend which is amazing considering the style of music and the size of the country/town.

Recording was a bit of a compromise as I was also doing FOH sound so mics had to be placed accordingly - and of course the aesthetics of a stage with a solo guitar player are also very important.

But I’m pretty pleased.

Thanks for the listens/comments.

Nice work Mark! That’s a nice feather in your cap.
Great guitar player to, who will have much more confidence in you.

Great job!

Thanks Levi, thanks Bill. :D

That’s killer. But…I can hear the compression, and that’s not usually thought to be a good thing in classical recordings. I’d like to hear it with the full dynamic range. No compression. My classical friends would sniff at this for that reason. (Sorry, just thought I should tell you, having spent years in the classical world…)

I’m widjuh, Tom. Do your sniffy experts have international backing on this subject, or is it a colloquial thing?

Thank’s Tom, and Tony,

The dynamic range is so huge that’s it’s difficult to get a decent level without it. It’s only gentle compression so you must have golden ears : -)

The same audio is going on a DVD too so again, I’ll need a decent level (don’t want to get into creating two different mixes… too many other things to do!).

So Tom, do you think the compression is a problem… or are you just saying?

I want to get this right… but the majority of the audience for the DVD/cds won’t be purists

Classical listeners are used to huge-ish dynamic range. Compression really is a no-no. Classical listening is really not about levels - it’s about having a very low noise floor and a totally natural sounding recording. The best recordings are done with just a couple of mics placed properly (an over-the-shoulder mic is really not standard at all). The mics need to capture the room sound and allow the guitar to breathe. I didn’t think the compression was all that slight, actually. I could hear it when the player dug in to the strings on the first link. Really, I may make carp of my own mixes, but I’ve spent years and years listening to and selling classical recordings. ???

I can ask some other trained classical musicians, if that would help, but I know they would confirm what I hear. I suppose if your audience is used to hearing pop sounding guitar, then that’s one thing, but if they are used to hearing classical stuff, well, they may not know what is wrong, but they will hear it. I’m talking about serious listeners.

In any case, the recording context was really far from ideal, lots and lots of noises in there distracting things. Also sounds boxy – what was the stage like?

None of this is to detract from what you did. You did a great job.

BTW, is that a reverb plug-in?

Great job Mark. Sounds like you got the set up just perfect. I tried to record a gig a month ago by plugging my laptop into the mixer, the results were less than impressive :)

Thanks guys…

I’ll check it out again when I get home Tom. It wasn’t my intention for the compression to be that audible.

The recording situation was far less than optimal. The stage was actually very dead sounding although the room has nice acoustics. I was going to use a room mic to capture ambiance but the audience were very noisy… and I mean, very noisy. Setup time was minimal… well actually I had plenty of setup time, but virtually no time with the actual performer on the stage so the mic setup was a guess.

The two front mics were selected using politics rather than audio qualities. The ATM over-the -shoulder was my “banker” mic… and it actually sounds a lit nicer that the front mics. But enough of my complaining. I’ll listen again to the compression. Your comments are very much appreciated.

Oh, and the reverb was mostly from a plugin - I borrowed a classical guitar CD (can you tell this is a genre I know nothing about???) and that was the reverb I heard on that… in fact probably a bit more than I used.


Do you have the verb after the compression, or before it?

I really like those rode nt 5 mics, actually. :agree:

Quote: (TomS @ Jul. 04 2011, 6:31 PM)

Do you have the verb after the compression, or before it?

I really like those rode nt 5 mics, actually.

Verb is after the compression Tom.

I find the NT5's a bit sizzly. They just don't do it for me. Or maybe I'm just not familiar enough with them. The guitar studio owns quite a few Rode mics so I feel a certain amount of pressure to use them (and to like them!).

I still can’t hear the compression like you said Tom. Maybe you have better ears than me :D

What did you listen on? And what software media player did you use? (some players have “enhancement” of the sound).

Just through headphones and the laptop.