Get a better guitar sound by using FlashTrack’s “My EQ“ and “Aux in“ - Practical tips for versatile styles

Feb 26, 2024

Get a better guitar sound by using FlashTrack’s “My EQ“ and “Aux in“ - Practical tips for versatile styles

Being a guitarist in today’s world requires versatility, it is means one has to adapt and flex to cater to different tastes and audiences. It is not uncommon, therefore, to see guitarists using multiple instruments such as classical/flamenco guitars, folk guitars, and jazz guitars. Each one of these instruments has its own set of unique features and thus requires different recording techniques to tweak and enhance the sound. Here are the ways that Ramzi leverages the myriad features of the FlashTrack USB microphone, namely the "My EQ" and "Aux In" features, to enhance the instrument's sound and application.

Here are the bands you with the FlashTrack's "My EQ" function:

  • Low-shelf 100 Hz
  • Bass 250 to 500 Hz (represented by 375 Hz)
  • Low-mid 600 to 900 Hz (represented by 750 Hz)
  • High-mid 1K to 2.5K (represented by 1750 Hz)
  • Treble 3K to 5K (represented by 4 KHz)
  • High-shelf 8 KHz

The amplitude ranges from -6 dB to +6 dB.

For guitars with nylon strings, Ramzi usually applies a low-shelf cut (-6 dB), especially with reverb plugins, to remove some of the rumble. He also uses a bass cut (-6 dB) to remove some undesirable room resonances and low-end boominess or muddiness. He applies a low-mid cut (-6 dB) where most nasty artifacts lie such as honkiness or boxiness. He applies a high-mid cut (-6 dB) to get rid of any whistling frequencies or harshness. And finally, he engages a high-shelf cut (-3 dB) to get rid of finger squeaking noises.

For guitars with steel strings, Ramzi usually applies a low-shelf cut (-6 dB) to remove undesirable low-frequencies in the environment or from the instrument. He uses a bass cut (-6 dB) to remove undesirable frequencies generated from the percussive nature of the right hand attacking the strings, especially when using a pick/plectrum. He uses a low-mid cut (-6 dB) to highlight the low-end and the high-end of the guitar. Finally, he utilizes a high-shelf boost (+6 dB) to help accentuate the clarity of the guitar and help it cut through the mix especially if other instruments are present.

For modern guitars with an offset sound hole, this is a little more complex. Sound hole placement is used to create a kind of an EQ. Thus, the offset placement leaves the soundboard longest on the bass side, and shortest on the treble side. It also leaves the medium length section of the soundboard uninterrupted, allowing for a stronger mid range response. One of the most common mic placement techniques for recording guitar is to point the mic roughly at the junction between the instrument's neck and body, where one can usually achieve a fairly good balance of the resonances while simultaneously factoring in the liveliness from the strings themselves. This mic placement in the case of a guitar with an offset sound hole may result in capturing an over‑prominent air‑resonance "boom", in which case angling the mic off-axis or placing it near the bridge may yield a better recording. Once the mic is at the sweet spot, one can then use EQ to taste with one's ear as a guide and the highlights above.

And lastly, the FlashTrack has a very unique "Aux In" feature that allows guitars with electronics (preferably with a passive, healthy output or an active system, especially with a volume control) to be plugged directly into the microphone as a sound source. This has a wide number of applications such as for singer-songwriters who want to use only the FlashTrack as their recording source but want to have great nuance in setting their levels separately on the guitar versus their vocals. With proper placement of the mic, and leveraging its cardioid polar pattern, it can be positioned to highlight the vocals and reject the guitar, so the instrument can be mostly receiving through the electronics.

Another application is when there is a noisy environment and the guitarist wants to record while avoiding the ambient sounds from being picked up. In that case, the microphone level can be turned all the way down, and the guitar can be plugged into the microphone and picked up directly, thereby avoiding all surrounding noise and generating a clean recording.

Yet another application is to enrich the sound of a single guitar that is being recorded. With two sources, the capsule of the microphone, as well as the electronics of the instrument, the sound of the guitar can be enhanced and thickened to make the signal more robust and allow it to cut through the mix. The levels will then be adjusted through the microphone's capsule volume via the dial, coupled with the guitar's preamp/electronics volume to bring in either just a bit of the piezo (for example), a 50-50 mix, or any degree of blend.

Here is an example of a cable that can be used to connect a typical guitar mono output jack to the stereo "Aux In" port on the back of the FlashTrack microphone, thereby allowing the mono signal to be duplicatd and reproduced on the left and right channels of the audio interface in the FlashTrack DSP.

The possibilities are limitless!

About Ramzi El Rumbero
Born in Beirut, Ramzi started guitar at the age of 16 and continued his studies until his graduation at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Coming from a classical music background, he embraced during his studies and after, other genres like flamenco and Arabic pop. After years of concerts and recitals around Lebanon, Ramzi moved to the United States, where he continues to play and teach in New York City. Ramzi likes using technology and doing cool, new things with recording equipment to yield interesting YouTube videos of multiple musical genres. He was the first person in the world to create a flamenco guitar course in Arabic with online educational videos. He was also the first person in the Middle East/North Africa region to start covering Arabic pop songs and making guitar tutorials about them.

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