Anyone have any EQ setting recommendations for reducing under saddle piezo quack and warming up the tone? Trying to record my 000-28EC Martin directly through a M-Audio Fast Track Pro but sound is harsh and quacky. Mics not an option with children about. :) Acoustically, the guitar sounds wonderful. Just not coming down the line that way. Wasn't expecting miracles, but honestly, it's bad. On my cheap Martin/Goya student guitar, I installed a passive K&K Pure Western Mini pickup. Simply dropping the mid-range a pinch warms it right up. Sonar X1 and Audacity yielded same result. Before spending money on another pickup (especially one requiring permanent super-glued installation), I'm looking for simple options. Not reaching for miracles, just hoping to soften the sound a little. I recently upgraded form Sonar 3 to Sonar X1 so just learning the built-in EQ capabilities.
Yeah, the old quack sound, I know it well, I have it (well, had it) on my Martin OMC15E but free of it now - unfortunately not a simple option though - I bought a Fishman Aura Acoustic Imaging unit - extremely glorified active EQ - and always feed it through that.
Only advice I can give is what you know already - ie. reduce mid range. And experiment with the boundaries and Q of that mid range band for optimum result.
Must admit I was quite surprised at how naff the Fishman piezo pickup is in my Martin. I was expecting it to be much better.
I'm not familiar with Sonar - does it have Guitar modelling presets? If it does, then trying out different profiles might help.
The Aura is amazing. Considered that option but hoped for cheaper solution.
I'll look into the modelling presets. Haven't seen any so far, at least in terms of the channel strip.
You noted in your response to Adriaan that you have a Marshall amp. Which model? I get the same harsh tone going direct into my little Marshall AS50R. The transducer pre-amp output seems too hot for the amp's input channel. I can get better acoustic sound from my strat! The Marshall seems to do better with passive pickups like the K&K or an old Fishman Neo-D I once had. The Marshall seems to "hear" the same as my DAW. The luthier that installed the pickup had an old amp under the workbench. Don't recall what brand but he said everything sounds good through it... he wasn't kidding! He ripped through some killer licks using my guitar that just sounded amazing. He was impressed with the sound himself. Somehow, that amp could handle the signal.
I have only recently gotten involved in "pickup" audio recording for acoustic guitars so my experience is a bit limited. I have a Zoom A2.1u effects box that I am using with an L.R. Baggs passive on a Seagull Artist Mosaic and a Fishman piezo (model?) on my D12-20 Martin. I have other processing hardware that I used with microphone recording previously with Audio-Technica and Shure condensor mics. Anyway, I am learning that as has already been stated, by a member more knowledgeable than myself, that apparently with the pickup it will no longer simply be the "tonal quality' of the instrument alone that determines the depth, range, and tonal quality, eben with the mic and other production equipment. There are other acoustic pickup preamps by Rane and Fishman that I have read about. They all talk about the mid-range tone balance. May be cheaper to move into a "child-proof closet". However, in the larger performance venues the "production equipment" is almost mandated. The Zoom A2.1u does have quite a few tonal and effect adjustments along with guitar imaging so that I am becoming able to take the besst qualities of several "types of guitars" and effects and adjust the tonal qualities of the music I play. Then I can "save" the new patches to use later on. Other than the money, the time to "tweek" is the most difficult. I have only started using computer software to edit and manipulate sound. I am more of a dial and headphone guy.
I started with a large closet, isolation box with acoustic foam and mics originally. I may go back. But it is easier to be able to sit by the mixing console and effects box...even with the push-buttons and dials of the box on my console desk.
Sure was easier back in the music world before Stereo, RIAA, EQ, DBM, and semi-conductors. The roar and ring of the PA told everyone the show was going to start and the scratch on the recording told you there was electricity and the table was turning.
Sorry to bother, if I did. "Keep on pickin', time is tickin'"
You mentioned Zoom and presets and saving...
I tried a Zoom effects unit out when I first got my Martin, before I had a recording set up, and I found it to be very 'Anti acoustic user' - even though the particualr effects unit was designed for acoustic guitar. I couldn't be doing with pressing the buttons and turning the dial and saving presets just to get a sound :)
I took the unit back to the shop and got individual pedals in the end, an Ibanez flange/chorus and a Marshall Echo/delay.
I now use effects unit in my recording Application - Logic Express - only subtle use though, never overdo it.
When I get out to play open acoustic - in a few months time probably - I'll be using the pedals and a little Marshall Amp.
The Aura Unit is first in the chain, always :)
Gotta do what you gotta do Chris. I am retired so I have all the time in the world and the movement keeps me in condition. However, dialing, tweaking, and saving only has to be done as you go. The possible combinations are almost infinite. I suspect that the computer program reqires just as much "Digital dialing" though. Good Luck and "Keep on pickin,' time is tickin."
Adriaan, thanks for the reply. Fiddling with my computer typically wastes much of what little practice time i have. However, in theory, once a clean/direct channnel is recorded, it can be looped over and over while searching for and dialing in the secret sauce configuration. Unfortunately, it's eluded me so far. No beginners luck. I'm sure the mix masters can make anything sound good but i'm shooting for something that sounds good with as few effects as possible. Each effect adds overhead to the CPU processing and delay time. I've listened to different folks on websites say "I just plugged it into my computer's mic jack and hit the record button..." - never been my luck but still my goal. ;)
I have never successfully recorded an acoustic through the piezo pickup direct, no matter what EQ or effects I have tried...all you get is quack and rubber bandy sounding strings. An acoustic is an acoustic because it needs to be heard that way and recording is just another way to "hear" the guitar. Now on stage I use pickups because there is no way around it in my trio and the size venues we play. Even the internal mics feedback on stage and just sound so boomy when recorded direct. My kids are 2/3rds gone and the youngest (18 and on his way to college next year) can sleep through anything! I say wait til the kids are alseep and capture with a good mic!
I've had a similar problem. One of the guitars I record with has a Fishman Ellipse Blend pickup, and the internal microphone is better than the under saddle piezo, but it picks up everything...buttons, stomach rumbles and probably your kids. I have a number of guitars outfitted with Gold Plus under saddle pickups which sound okay onstage, but not for recording. There is a box used in conjunction that is supposed to work well, but I haven't tried it. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct10/articles/fishman-aura-spectru...
Basically, it's similar to the Performance Artist Aura pickups which I have successfully recorded with a friend's guitar.
However, like you, I use a passive K&K Pure Western Mini pickup. Although it's attached with crazy glue, I'm told it's easy to remove. I have one in my D15M, my D18 and my HD28. I like it much more than the Gold Plus.
Micing is the easiest way to get rid of quack. It's a good way to practice mic technique. Tried and true. They've been doing it this way for over 50 years.
If you have Sonar, load Perfect Space as an insert, search the impulses for acoustic guitar. There is an up close impulse and a distant one. Either one will help but it won't totally get rid of the quack. Not the way a mic absolutely will.