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Thread: Acoustic Comparison

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  1. #1
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Acoustic Comparison

    I did some recording with my SE Custom this past week (inspired by and using my Spider capos - if you're still around Darren!). I also recorded the same song with my Larrivee, so I figured it would make a nice comparison track.

    So, here's the details...both guitars were recorded with the same mics in the same configuration (I also recorded the pickup from the SE, but that is NOT used here). Same setup and positioning, same signal path. No processing to the tracks save for a bit of volume adjustment so they'd be more or less equal.

    I pulled essentially the same sections from two different takes - one w/each guitar. The pattern follows throughout this track - guitar one/guitar two, etc. I did add the sound of an 8-track changing programs to show where the changes occur - it was more interesting than silence!

    Have a listen - I think the SE holds its own pretty well. And at some point, I will mix the full song.

    https://soundcloud.com/alantig/acousticcompare
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  2. #2
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    Nice playing. Through my iPad speakers #1 seemed noticeably brighter or #2 seemed noticeably warmer. I don't play acoustic and therefor have no idea which was which, but I liked both sounds.
    2013 LP R9 VOS
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    #1 is so shimmery!

  4. #4
    Nice! So which is what?
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  5. #5
    Sounds like the first is the SE to me.

  6. #6
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    I'm going to let this fester for another day...just to allow a few more listens.

    Sit tight!
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  7. #7
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Okay, some details before the reveal...


    - The Larrivee is a D-09. The PRS is the SE Custom.
    - The Larrivee's strings are from December, although there's not a ton of playing time on them.
    - The SE strings are the factory strings, and I picked it up March 1.
    - Signal path was two Audio-Technica AT-3031 small condensers into the pres in an MBox Pro into Pro Tools.
    - Tuning was E-G-D-G-B-E, low to high, with two Spider capos at 3-0-0-4-3-3 for an effective tuning of G-G-D-B-D-G.


    The Larrivee was first, the PRS second. I didn't really notice it at recording time, but I was kind of stunned at how much brighter the Larrivee was when I put the two side-by-side. The Larrivee is a dreadnought, the PRS a bit smaller, which I wanted for contrast and playing fingerstyle, so I expected the PRS to be a bit brighter than it was. (I tried the SE Standard the same day, but it was much thinner sounding - bright, but thin.) The PRS was a bit louder, so I had to boost the volume on the Larrivee to make them a tad more equal.


    I recorded the PRS w/the mics and with the pickup, so I'm curious to see how it all mixes together and whether it brightens things up a bit (I think the pickup was mildly EQ'd on the guitar). I think I'm going to mix (and post) both versions, just for comparison.


    All in all, I was very impressed with how the PRS compared, especially given that the Larrivee costs about 2.5x as much at today's prices. It all makes me wish I could justify getting the US Angelus, especially w/the ebony board.

    (Thanks for the comment, Sergio - I always walk away from recording and mixing frustrated w/my acoustic sound because it's never quite as airy as I want. With the recently posted Sofa mix - which needs redone as well - I almost PM'd Les for advice where I went wrong. After a couple days, I listened to the acoustic opening and thought it didn't sound half bad. I think I'm finally getting there!)
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  8. #8
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention - the Larrivee strings are Elixirs. I've heard people complain that they're not bright enough.

    I ain't complaining!
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  9. #9
    I STAND CORRECTED

  10. #10
    Member Rosewoodsteel's Avatar
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    I liked the PRS better, but for comparing, they should have been strung with the same strings, imo.
    From the People's Republic of Maryland (One beer away from the West Street Shop)

    GO NATS!

  11. #11
    Nice playing, Alan.

    I'd really like to hear the compare again with both having the same strings. I get that much of a tonal difference on the same guitar when my Phosphor Bronze strings gets old.
    One Life

  12. #12
    Also, note that every acoustic records differently depending on how it's miked up. An inch one way or the other can make a big difference. And every instrument needs different mic placement. They all project sound differently enough to require it.

    Sometimes even two of the same model guitar need different placement; I've even had to record a single guitar differently on different days depending on humidity!

    I'm not hearing the "woody" quality of either instrument, and the Larrivee sounds louder despite the adjustments.

    And even a slight difference in volume -- less than a db -- will render a true comparison invalid. The louder always sounds a little brighter, better.

    Because it's really not possible to hold the guitar in the exact same place once you switch instruments, etc., you might as well mic each one up to maximize its sonic potential. I'd suggest moving the mics to find the "sweet spot" where the guitar comes most clearly into focus. With a decent mic it's like a camera lens snapping into focus. You might try doing that in mono because it's a little easier to accomplish. I rarely mic an acoustic guitar in stereo unless I really want to hear a ton of "room" sound.

    A mic doesn't hear like your ears do, because it's not able to filter out different aspects of room reflection, noise, etc., the way your brain does. With recording, there's not only art involved, but some degree of artifice as well!
    Last edited by LSchefman; 04-28-2013 at 12:22 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  13. #13
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments, guys. Les has pointed out something that I hadn't considered - with the body size difference, I should have adjusted the mics a bit. I just adjusted my position until I got a satisfactory sound. It's somewhat ironic that Les mentioned the Larrivee being "louder despite the adjustments". If it is indeed louder, it's because of the adjustments - to my surprise, it recorded a fair bit quieter than the PRS. I'd have to look to see how far I brought it up, but I did it visually - once the waveform amplitude looked to be about the same, I left it alone.

    The strings are a good point - I'm kicking myself because I meant to change the PRS strings before I recorded, and only remembered after a couple takes.

    To be added to the to do list...
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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