A guitar professional will teach you how to record an acoustic guitar beautifully!

I want someone to listen! Have you ever thought?
hello. I’m Shohei Takamura, a guitarist. This time, I would like to explain how to record an acoustic guitar with a good sound. I think that many people have started playing the acoustic guitar as a hobby to enjoy at home due to the prolonged corona disaster. At first, it was fun just to play the guitar, but as you progressed, many of you may have started to think, “I want to let someone hear it!”
However, how can we record an acoustic instrument such as an acoustic guitar faithfully to its original sound? There must be a lot of people who don’t understand this place. Even if you record simply with a smartphone, you can not capture the original sound of the instrument well. It requires specialized equipment and some know-how.

So, this time, I would like to introduce “how to record the sound of your acoustic guitar as faithfully as possible”. As for equipment, we will pick up and introduce recommended equipment in the second half, so please enjoy it until the end!

[Recording method-1]
Easy recording with “smartphone + α” equipment
First, we will introduce the perfect method for those who want to start recording as easily as possible. The central equipment is right … “smartphone”. At the beginning, I wrote that you can’t record beautifully with a smartphone, but smartphones are now available (laughs).

After all, it’s “handy” and everyone has it, so there’s no way not to use it in this day and age. However, you can’t suddenly click the recording app on your smartphone (laughs). With this, you can’t record the vividness of an acoustic guitar!

All you need is a microphone that can be connected to your smartphone. Each company sells a simple design that just plugs into the charging port of the smartphone. This makes it simple and doesn’t take up much space. Moreover, it costs less than other recording equipment, so it is recommended for those who are hesitant to purchase full-fledged equipment. In addition, it is very useful in scenes such as “I want to record a little on the go!“។

By the way, what you want to be careful about when purchasing is whether it is compatible with your smartphone. If you make a mistake here, you will not be able to install it, so be careful.

These microphones are lined up by various companies, but if you are wondering which one to choose, you can definitely choose one made by a famous audio / musical instrument maker for the time being.
[Recording method-2]
Record with a portable recorder
This is also a simple recording method using a “handy recorder”. Since it is a recorder that specializes in recording, there is no need to prepare a separate microphone. Recent models have pretty good performance and are highly expandable, so a single unit can handle a large part of your music production.
ZOOM is the largest manufacturer of portable recorders. The company’s products have most of the functions required for recording equipment, so if you are unsure about which one to buy, you should definitely buy a ZOOM product.
Tascam is also a long-established manufacturer of mobile recording equipment. I used to be very indebted to Tascam’s MTR (multi-track recorder). This one also covers most of what you need for recording, so you won’t have any trouble with most recording scenes with just one unit. By the way, I also have a Tascam “DR-05” handy recorder.
[Recording method-3]
Combining an audio interface and a microphone

The following method is the gold standard for modern recording. And that’s what I personally recommend. The core of the system is a PC or tablet (or smartphone in some cases). There is a recording method that combines equipment called an “audio interface” and a microphone.

The good thing about this method is that you can choose items such as PC, audio interface, and microphone as you like, and you can create a recording environment with a high degree of freedom. Therefore, the system is a little more complicated than other methods and requires some study. However, in the long run, it will be worth remembering the mechanism around here, so I would like you to take on the challenge.

Let me explain how it works. An audio interface is the key piece of equipment for sound in this recording method.  The same thing is done internally with the above-mentioned “smartphone + microphone” combination and recording with a handy recorder. See this article for details.
Music production these days is centered on the style of editing sound data imported to a PC using dedicated DAW software. At the capture stage, it’s important not to lose the original sound, and the audio interface is responsible for that part. In other words, depending on the quality of the audio interface, there will be a big change in the sound that is captured.

Acquisition of the sound of acoustic instruments is performed by connecting a microphone to the microphone preamp installed in the audio interface. Since the quality of the mic preamp greatly affects the quality of the sound that can be recorded, recording studios and other establishments use multiple expensive stand-alone mic preamps. However, if you want high-performance equipment, your budget will expand, so it’s a good idea to start with an audio interface that has a good reputation for mic preamps. The details of the mic preamp will be described later.

Of course, recording microphones are also important. Depending on whether it is a dynamic mic or a condenser mic, the recorded sound will differ, and the sound will also differ considerably depending on the manufacturer.

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