I am going to record a live show (two acoustic guitars and a voice, small appartment, little to no spectators) and was wondering if my setup for recording this would be good for this. I have a zoom H5, an AT2020, a sure beta58, and can borrow a pair of my friend's

  • Beyerdynamics MCE 94 (cardioid condenser i believe) or
  • Sennheiser ME64 (cardioid) or ME62 (omni)

I was thinking of having: Everything plugged in to the Zoom H5, with the xy capsule recording the room so i can adjust room level in mix, Either the beyer or senn mics for each guitar and the at2020 for the vocals

What do you think of this setup and what mic do you reccomend for the guitars ? Thank you all in advance


2 Answers 2


I recommend taking the whole lot down the day before, taking your time, & seeing which works best. You really can't just walk into a room you don't know [sonically] with a whole slew of gear you've never used before & hope to get it right in half an hour. You'll be panicking & accepting half-measures just so you can get on with the gig. Not a good way to start.

'Small apartment' sounds like it's going to be a potentially horrible acoustic, so cardioids might be best bet.
You may not want any 'room' in it at all.
Also consider what rugs, curtains, towels etc your location has to try damp out the worst of the acoustics.


You're on the right track. The MCE 94 mics will do a fine job on the acoustic guitars. Start with each mic positioned about six inches from the guitar, pointing at an area between the soundhole and where then neck joins the body. Moving the mic closer to the soundhole will warm up the sound (often boomy), and moving down the neck will thin out the sound. Try moving closer (i.e. 2-3" off the strings) for better separation and room rejection.

The AT2020 is your best bet for vocals. Try setting it just beneath chin level and pointing it up slightly. If the vocalist sings over the mic, you shouldn't need a visually-distracting pop filter. This positioning will also give you better separation if the vocalist is also playing guitar. Keep the mic within a few inches of the mouth for better room rejection.

I mentioned "room rejection" twice now because, frankly, you don't want the room to be a part of this recording. No small apartment has good acoustics, so your best bet is to try to suppress as much room sound as possible. You can then add some ambience back at the mix stage (i.e. a small chamber) to sweeten the sound in a subtle, realistic way.

If the Zoom can record five channels, use it in stereo for the room sound and audience reactions. Point it at the musicians from a few feet away if you want that perspective to add to your mix. You'll get lots of room ambience and early reflections, which may not sound great because of the small room. If you want audience reactions only, point it away from the musicians and back toward the audience. Mix that back in between songs.

If you can get set up 30 minutes before the show, run some test recordings and refine your mic placement. You could show up and record this without any prep, but your results will be better if you have some time to dial things in.

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