Best way to record an acoustic guitar on a DP-03SD?

Discussion in 'Digital Pocketstudios and Compact Portastudios' started by ButchA, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. ButchA

    ButchA New Member

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    From:
    Richmond, VA
    Gear:
    Tascam DP-03SD
    Happy July 4th everyone....

    I have a curiosity question regarding the smaller Portastudios (such as the DP-03SD) when wanting to record a basic acoustic guitar track. Nothing fancy, just strumming a rhythm pattern...

    My old Alvarez 6 string acoustic doesn't have a piezo pickup or any type of built-in electronics. It's a common, older model acoustic. So it has to be mic'd or use a Dean Markley soundhole mounted pickup.

    Would an acoustic guitar sound better recorded with the onboard twin condenser mics on the Tascam DP-03SD, live with the full ambience of the room, or would it be better to use a Shure SM-57 and close mic the acoustic, capturing the rhythm strumming?

    What do you think works best?
  2. -mjk-

    -mjk- Moderator Staff Member

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    No one knows how your room or guitar sounds, except you. Experiment a lot. Record a bunch of tracks doing all those things and find out what sounds best. You can do all those things at the same time too and make a mix of them.
  3. Arjan P

    Arjan P Veteran

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    I think in general you can expect better results with condenser mics than with an SM-57 for acoustic guitar, but also with the onboard condensers I would put them quite close near the guitar.

    But the best advice is already there from @-mjk-: Experiment, experiment! Try stuff out, erase what you don't like and keep what you do like.
    Mark Richards, ButchA and -mjk- like this.
  4. ButchA

    ButchA New Member

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    From:
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    Thank you...

    See, I originally recorded a Mandolin intro in "D", using Reaper on my laptop. Just a simple alternate picking pattern playing short little arpeggios going from D to G to A, and back to D. I raised the bass up a hair and added a tiny bit of compression in Reaper and saved it.

    I used the USB cable and imported the Mandolin track into my Tascam DP-03SD, as I did NOT want to re-record it. So anyway, right when the Mandolin is done, I do a gentle strum as it fades out in D. I want to record my Alvarez acoustic guitar, picking up in D right as the Mandolin fades out and the guitar takes over for the rest of the song.

    I will try using the onboard condenser mics, try the SM-57, and try the Dean Markley soundhole pickup, and record all 3 on different tracks. You all gave me a great idea...

    Thank you!
    dctdct, -mjk- and Arjan P like this.
  5. ButchA

    ButchA New Member

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    From:
    Richmond, VA
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    Tascam DP-03SD
    Good morning everyone,

    I wanted to return back to my thread with an update. I made 3 new tracks on my Tascam DP-03SD, strumming along in the key of "D". Gentle 4/4 tempo, etc.. etc...

    (1) Use the onboard condenser mics built in to the Tascam DP-03SD. Raise the input level (gain) up just enough so it won't clip.

    (2) Use my Shure SM-57 mic in a stand, but yet aimed at around the 14th fret, and not directly at the acoustic guitar's sound hole.

    (3) Use the old Dean Markley pickup mounted in the sound hole.

    Record each one. Same thing. Same chords. Same pattern.

    Finally, while carefully listening to the playback, use the faders and fade in each guitar back and forth, this one, that one, this one, that one, etc...

    SUMMARY:

    (1) Tascam DP-03SD:
    Sounded beautiful, captured the ambience of the room, the overall tone of my Alvarez acoustic guitar, but I made some boneheaded mistakes like shuffling my feet or whatever, and the condenser mics picked that up too. Excellent, but I just need to remember to keep quiet!

    (2) Shure SM-57:
    Sounded incredible like the SM-57's are known for. No background noise. Excellent!

    (3) Dean Markley pickup in sound hole:
    Sounded very strange. The pickup in the sound hole made my Alvarez acoustic sound like a big hollow body Gretsch or a Gibson ES-335 for some reason! Maybe some EQ could have helped but I doubt it. Oh well, lesson learned.

    Winner: Shure SM-57 aimed slightly angled at the 14th fret.
    Runner-up (almost a tie): The onboard condenser mics on the Tascam DP-03SD.


    There you have it! :D
    spantini, dctdct and Arjan P like this.
  6. spantini

    spantini New Member

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    US-2x2 DP-03SD
    I have recorded a single rythm track with one acoustic 6-string using the built-in mics. The guitar sounds very good, but two things :

    1) I had to position the guitar about 12-inches away, which put one mic at the soundhole and the other at the neck. It was uncomfortable holding that position without moving around and possibly making noises, and ..

    2) Due to setting the input gain high, I picked up noticeable room noise (A/C blowing from vents, mostly). The room noise(s) disappeared in the mix later on.
    ButchA likes this.