The guitar is simple to play but can bring a lot of versatility to your music. Many times, when you listen to your final output, you feel something missing. The only way to correct is to tape the guitar again, which costs time. Let me tell you you can get a release from the hectic process by using a software called Audacity. But how to make your acoustic guitar sound better in Audacity?
To make your acoustic guitar sound better in audacity, you can choose a room with decent sound damping. Setting your mic correctly and your audacity settings such as EQ compression, normalizing, and reverb should be coherent to the effect you want to produce.
In the article, you will get a better insight into balancing the effects to make your acoustic guitar sound better in Audacity.
Importance of Sound Treated Room
The environment you are recording is a prime factor that will decide 70 to 80 percent of the output quality you will receive.
A decently sound-treated room will not only save the time that you will spend editing the audio but will help you retain the originality of your music.
Sound damping will reduce the effect of echo and the unnecessary noise that mics pick from the surroundings. If you can reduce both these factors, it will ensure better audio quality.
Many options are available in the market to help you soundproof your studio. The use of acoustic panels and moving blankets are among the most effective and popular ways.
You can use moving blankets on your doors and windows and acoustic panels on the floor and the ceilings. Choosing a fusion of both these options is also effective, but if you want to choose one simultaneously, it will also do a great job.
Rugging the floor is another creative option. Adding more to the statement, I will advise my readers to pay equal attention to all the dimensions.
Setting the Microphone:
The position of your microphone is another essential factor that you should not ignore.
Firstly, identifying the directionality of your microphone carries a dire role in the audio output.
For recording an acoustic guitar, I will recommend a cardioid condenser microphone. If you are selecting a multi-direction microphone, it can bring in a lot of noise and cause substandard results.
A condenser microphone would be a good choice for recording a guitar because guitars are high pitch devices, and a condenser microphone can effortlessly handle high pitch and frequencies.
You can further customize the options by adding the mono and stereo recording choices to your microphone. You can choose any of the options based on your setting.
Mono is a recommendable choice for beginners as it takes away the risk of phasing and is quick to set and easy to understand. On the other hand, you can choose stereo to add fullness to your audio.
The second step is, selecting the correct position for your microphone.
For recording an acoustic guitar, your microphone should be at least 7 to 12 inches away from your microphone. Setting the mic too close can cause rumbling of the audio, and keeping it far away can disrupt your output audio notes.
There are various ways to set up a mic for recording. Mono recording, is the easiest and quickest way to record a track, especially if you are a beginner.
Coming to the other mode of recording, which is the stereotype.
This setup is often recommendable if your main recording instrument is your guitar or if you want to add different tones from the same guitar. Here are some of them.
One of the popular setups is to keep the microphone at a distance of 6 to 12 inches. Its head should be pointing at the 12 and 14th fret of your guitar.
There are many other positions to set up the mic. Depending on the arrangement of the mic, it gives off different tones, for example, if you are directing the mic to the body of the guitar, it will give off a bassy tone similarly, if you are pointing it to the far end, the tonality will fade away.
You can also keep one of the mics to the far right end and the other mic to the far left end. Other acknowledged methods include setting two microphones perpendicular to each other so that they are pointing toward the mutual point where the body meets the neck.
The ideal position for both the microphones is directing one of the mics to the body and the other to the neck.
You can play with different positions and choose your ideal one.
Recording Settings of Audacity
You have set up the environment and the mic at their best settings. Now it’s time to update your Audacity settings.
- The first step is installing the Audacity on the laptop or computer you wish to connect to your microphone setting.
- Now, connect the microphone to the computer with the help of XLR or USB cable according to the mic.
- Now it’s time to set up the audio settings in Audacity. The first thing you need to define is the audio input and output. Your audio input would be the microphone. You are using it to record the acoustic guitar. For the output, you have two options either use a laptop or computer built-in speakers. You can also use an outside pair of headphones.
- Now choose the mode of recording mono for a single microphone and stereo for multi microphones.
- Keeping a check on the single level carries fundamental importance. The strength of the single is measured based on how close it is to the monitoring bar. The monitoring bar starts from -57 and goes up to 0. If the signal is close to 0, it indicates a strong signal. If it is close to -57, it means the signal is weak. The point to note here is that if the wave gets too close to 0, it may disrupt the whole output. The ideal range lies between -6 and -12. But if you want to add a touch of softness to the body, you can go up to -20.
- Once you are done with the recording next step is listening back to it and removing the faults.
More Tips And Tricks
Now let me give my readers a scenario. Suppose you are listening to your perfectly recorded audio and discover some flaws. What would you do?
Recording the track would seem like the right option to some individuals. Let me tell you you can edit your audio in Audacity and make it flawless here is how:
- Firstly determine the problem with the audio.
- If you battling with ups and downs of high and low frequency, you can adjust them by using filter curves that in other words is called equalization. This method is also effective for changing the tone of your track. For example, if you want to switch from a warm tone to a bright one, changing the frequencies slightly can prove effective.
- Sometimes you may have noticed that some chunks of your track get unreasonably louder, ruining the entire masterpiece. Environmental factors play a fundamental role. Rarely, it is due to a problem with your microphone. You can get rid of this by using the feature of compression. You can apply it to the parts of the recording which you want to bring down to a lower level in terms of volume.
Some people may question whether it affects the other parts of the audio? The answer remains No. It will bring the entire track to the same level. The parts of the audio that are perfect will not be affected.
4 Getting to the opposite side, what can you do about the quiet sound? Here you can apply the normalization factor. Another approach to the problem is by setting a peak amplitude. It is the absolute value that you set for the output.
Audacity brings all the audio to the same level and retains a factor of equalization among all the parts. The ideal value lies between -6 to -12.
5 Some users also face a problem of artificiality in their recording. When editing the audio, the natural essence of the audio is lost. You can tackle this hurdle by adding a reverberance effect. One more trick is to play with the room size on the app. You can settle when you get the desired output.
Can you EQ with Audacity?
EQ which refers to equalization is named as the filter curve in Audacity. You can add this filter to improve the frequency of your output.
How can I make my acoustic guitar sound better when recording?
Here are a few tips that you can follow to get a better guitar sound recording:
- Use of cardioid condenser microphone.
- Choosing a distortion-free environment.
- Changing the string of your guitar often. As dirt accumulated strings are a hurdle in a decent recording.
- Avoid adding unnecessary bass to the audio.
How can I record my acoustic guitar without picking noise?
Here are some tricks to record your guitar without picking noise:
- Using the right microphone.
- Choosing a quiet environment.
- Using nylon strings. Nylon strings pick fewer background noises.
- Play with angles when plucking the wires of your guitar.
- Polishing the tip of your guitar is another factor that can reduce noise.
The guitar is the fundamental instrument in today’s music. How to record a guitar correctly is a question for every guitarist. Room for improvement is always there. You can make your guitar sound better by abiding by some simple rules and following some tricks.
Using the right microphone. Positioning it correctly, choosing a quiet environment, or giving your studio some isolation treatments can significantly enhance your guitar recording. Audacity is easily available software.
It can help you remove flaws from your audio by using filters of compression, filter curve, and normalization. This is a technique that I think every guitarist should master and would prove much beneficial in your future recordings.