Recording Classical Guitar - Camcorder internal vs external microphone.

Posted by JM Dapena - Summer 2012
(Updated Summer 2014)

If you want to record high-quality audio for your videos, you shouldn’t rely on the built in camcorder microphone.

1/3 External mic for camcorder
You will not need to sync the audio to the video when editing and that will save you time. My camera doesn't have a manual audio control and at high volumes the sound will peak.
To avoid this, try using an extension cable for better sound.

4/5 Audio Recorder
The first applause of the audience can be used to sync the audio to the video, using a video editor of your choice. Any external audio recording system will enhance the quality of the recording and yield a nice sound.

I have been recording with set up 4 or 5 all the time. It is worth the effort …"

José Manuel Dapena.
Santiago de Compostela, July 2012

Sevilla camcorder microphone (1) vs Sevilla Audio Technica AT4040 (5)


Das Wandern camcorder microphone vs Das Wandern AKG C3000 & Audio Technica AT4040(5)


Recording Classical Guitar - Studio, church and concert hall.

Posted by JM Dapena - Autumn 2011

In 2005 I was experiment with different locations to start recording my classical guitar CDs.
During the journey through various churches in Galicia, in northern Spain, I found three types of reverbs that work very well with the guitar.

The diffuse early reflections add a nice presence to the guitar without overpowering the direct sound. The dry studio version needs artificial reverb to inject some life back into the tone but the source often still sounds colored.

Try to make an agreement with your local church or concert hall, experiment with positioning. It is worth the effort ..."

José Manuel Dapena.
Santiago de Compostela, December 2011.


Microphones: Neumann TLM 103
Focusrite Preamplifier
Apple Powerbook - M-Audio Audio Interface
Guitar by George Lowden
Strings by D ́Addario
Positions: Neumann microphones are 2 meters from the guitar turned right 1.10 meters.

For best sound, please use headphones or good monitors.

J.S.Bach (1685-1750)
Partita BWV 1013 - Allemande, phrase one.
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
Asturias Op. 47 No 5, one chord.

1 2 3 4 & 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 & 5 6 7

Click for larger image

1 - Studio recording - Dry (Mic 2m)
2 - Studio recording - Digital reverb (Mic 2m)
3 - Medium church - Folgoso (Mic 2m)
4 - Large church - Pardesoa (Mic 2m.)
5 - Large church - Pardesoa (Mic 1,5 m)
6 - Small church - Ventoxo  (Mic 2m)
7 - Bright Medium Concert Hall - Santiago CMUS  (Mic 2m)

Early reflections. David Russell recordings.

Posted by JM Dapena - Summer 2011

The fantastic acoustics of the Peggy and Yale Gordon Center for the Performing Arts plus six RPG diffusors on-stage behind David Russell provide a better focus to the microphones and a natural acoustical environment for Telarc recordings.

The sound can be controlled by absorption, reflection, and diffusion. David Russell recordings are full of scattered sound by diffusing surfaces with a reverberation time ranging from 1.8 to 2.2 seconds in the mid-frequencies.

Recording session.
Aire Latino, April 18 2003

Microphones position.
Sketch by David Russell.

The Sennheiser microphones are 6 meters from the guitarist on a 2.50m height stand with 4m between them. In addition they have two Coles 4038 microphones at 2.50 m turned right so as not to capture some of the sound of his left hand.

All this environment wraps the spectacular Russell tone with a new sound with greatly reduced finger noise and nail clicking. He used to say: "I like to be dressed in a tuxedo but the audience can not see the underwear".

The principal sound of the audio mix comes from the Sennheiser mics, but to fill the central part of the note and get more presence they ad a little gain from the Coles.

Listen to the beautiful tail of the last note reverb's from Aire Latino CD, Rebolico. He won a Grammy and they had to rent a van to carry all that audio gear. It is worth the effort ..."

José Manuel Dapena.
Santiago de Compostela, June 2011.
Special thanks to Zak Weil from Concord Music Group. Photo used with permission.