I'm looking for an external microphone to record my classical guitar and also to amplify it if needed for stage performances in some venues. My budget is not a professional one (around a hundred euros), but I'm abviously looking for the best quality at the best price in my range. I'm not an expert, and then I've thought you here may help me out. For the moment, I've found a mic that seems to meet my expectations, the Shure PG81 (about €120). Is it a good choice for me? Are there other mics you're thinking about?
I don't want a pickup, a piezzo sensor or anything to put on the guitar. I prefer an external mic because there's no risk of dammaging my instrument, and to my mind it gives a better amplified sound to a classical guitar. Stage use would be occasionnal, and the main use of this mic would be for recording demos at home. My recorder's already got a pair of built-in omnidirectionnal mics that work fine, but I'd like a better sound though when recording, even it remains demo-recording.
In case you need more information, here is my gear:
My classical guitar isn't a luthier one, but a good quality study guitar. Its sounds is bright (due to spruce top) a bit close to flamenco guitar sound, and its acoustic sound volume/projection is already deep (in part because of my play according to my guitar teacher). On my latest public performance, I was amplified with an ordinary mic for singing/speaking, directly linked to the sound console, and it worked already fine (it was in a café). So I guess I just need a good specific mic to give a finer sound, close to the natural sound of my guitar. I'd really like my natural sound to remain quite intact when amplified or recorded - it's important to me when playing classical.
Well, I hope I gave you all information you would need to advise me. Thank you very much in advance.
Superlux makes some inexpensive mics if you can get them where you are. For the money, they are quite solid and not overly harsh as some inexpensive mics can be. http://www.superlux.us/smalldiaphragm.html scroll down to Superlux SMK-H8K Matched Stereo Pair. I would recommend a pair as I think you will find recording in stereo will provide a fuller sound for what you are trying to do, and it sounds like your recorder has 2 inputs with phantom power. You can just use one of them when you perform live.
The Shure mic is probably OK too, but I have not used it so I don't have firsthand experience. In any case, I still recommend recording in stereo.
Condenser microphones might be a problem in a live situation. A Shure SM57 would be a standard choice.
I guess I would go for a stereo set indeed. I thought of it actually, but didn't know if I could find a correct thing in my price range. Also, for the moment, I would need a mic more for home recording than stage. So Tom I guess you're right there!
Unfortunately, I haven't find any Superlux dealer in my country, neither in the Euro zone - well at least Google didn't find one for me! I'll keep looking. In case I don't find any Superlux retailer, I've come across a set that is sold here, which is the Fostex MC10 ST stereo set. It remains in my range (around € 130) and looks good for my purpose. On Fostex page they mention versatile use, but on dealers pages they say this set is ideal for acoustic instruments.
I suspect you would find that using two identical mics for recording will yield better recordings. Using one of those mics for live playing will work, but it might not be adequate for certain gigs. Adding an internal pickup and blending that output with the external mic can yield a pleasing, convincing and adequate live sound. I would suggest two identical mics (small diaphragm condensers with cardioid or hypercardioid polar patterns) and an internal pickup (probably a SBT).
If I were to either play a classical guitar live, and especially if I were to record it, I would consider a pick-up mounted either inside the hole or attached to the guitar soundboard and use the output to augment what the mic picks up.