I was wandering if anyone had any good advice on how to improve the sound quality of YT videos? I've put a few on but want to improve them because - to be honest - they're a bit ropey!
Currently I'm just using a USB mic straight into a Mac and Quicktime player.
Some people reckon get a decent pickup in the guitar (Lowden F25) - then use the signal in from that. Others say a decent mic is the way forward - just keep playing acoustic and mic it up.
It's hard to know without trying both options - which would be an expensive test. So any ideas would be very welcome.
If you want good acoustic sound you'll definitely want to use a mic, I'd recommend two condenser mics if you can afford it. Good mics will give you a better acoustic sound than a pickup and having two lets you record in stereo which makes a big difference as well.
I'm not sure what you're looking to spend but I used two Blue Bluebird mics and an M-Audio Fast Track Pro USB interface on all of my current youtube videos. The fast track pro is actually on sale right now for $150. The mics are $300 each. There are cheaper options but I was able to borrow those and they're all I've used but I know they're good, and you can always check craigslist or ebay.
I tested going from my pickup straight into my sound card on my computer against using the fast track and the sound quality improved dramatically. Sound quality was very important to me for my videos. Check out my youtube channel and let me know what you think: http://www.youtube.com/user/NicLubbersMusic.
Honestly, i would rather use a mic than a pick up. The reason being that the sound just from plugging it in to a computer can sound... for lack of a better word... fake. You have an acoustic guitar. Your notes and sound swirl and bloom from the instrument so why shortchange your own qualities of your instrument? If your gonna plug it in, might as well use an electric guitar haha. But be sure to get a really good microphone to catch all that sound. Snowball and apoggee units all have great reputation of being great mics that also pick up voclals as well too. haha but after all, this is just my 2 cents.
Thanks for your thoughts guys. much appreciated.
It makes sense to me to go down the mic route.
Nic - I don't understand why stereo would be important. I'm only playing a single acoustic track - it would be the same in each stereo channel?? - Apologies if this sounds dense!!!
Hey Chris, good question. It does seem like it would be the same in each stereo channel, but it won't. Here's why:
The normal way to record with one mic is to point it somewhere around the 12th fret. That will do a nice job of picking up the sound that's coming from the 12th fret, and that's about all. What about the sound coming from the sound hole, or from the bottom end? Some of that will be caught, but a lot of it will be missed which leaves out a lot of the bass.
There are a lot of stereo microphone techniques, you can read about them here: http://prezi.com/62mtdrkgzjuy/microphone-techniques-for-acoustic-gu.... I sat through the workshop that goes with the presentation and it was very helpful, though he doesn't recommend buying mics that are under $500 which is more than most people would want to pay (including me right now). I forgot to mention before that you should get a condenser mic rather than a dynamic one, which you'll see in the presentation as well.
Of course you don't have to believe me on any of that, so last night I did a quick recording so you could actually hear the difference rather than just read about it. The first half is mono using a condenser mic pointed toward the bridge which actually sounds pretty good, until you hear the second half which uses the same mic plus a snare drum mic (it's all I have right now) pointed around the 12th fret. It's not the best sound since the mics aren't great and I didn't edit it but you can definitely hear the difference. Going back to the mono after hearing stereo makes my ears long for the full stereo sound.
Hope that helps,
Nic your help is invaluable. Thanks for taking the time to record the stereo demo. Point very well proven.
I shall see about sorting this out.
Thanks again though - really appreciate it.
You're welcome. Be sure to share the results of whatever you go with!
I agree with the other guys, you only get the real shit from acoustics with a good mic. I don't claim to be the best at any of this. I do it strictly on the cheap. I got a little battery powered Sony stereo mic to plug into my Canon HD camcorder. You can see it in some of my YT vids. I drop the whole thing into Imovie from the camera so I can edit it. I've attached Louise, but there are quite a few others done the same way, either with vocal or just instrumental. Check it out. Just a note, I don't use any electronics in my acoustic guitars, it just makes them sound, well, electric. However, I have a lot of friends who perform regularly and for them it is almost a necessity. So, I guess it depends on your involvement. I do have a Taylor with expression system built in and a Fishman Solo Amp for the rare occasions I play out.
Use a microphone. Your Lowden deserves it (as do you). n A decent small diaphragm condenser mic is a good place to start. Used is fine (usual). You'll need some additional gear to get the mic signal properly to the Mac.
Cheers Stephen. I'm hoping to source a couple of mics as Nic suggested.