What is the best way for recording/streaming vocals and electro acoustic guitar using OBS

I know there are topics in the community and on the web site, about recording acoustic guitar but not found any about acoustic guitar and vocals at the same time, so this is perhaps a more specific query about getting the best sound.

I have been trying a few options and wonder what other people’s experiences were

To start with perhaps I best explain what kit I have or don’t have.

  • Windows PC running latest version of OBS and free version of Zoom
  • Obviously, an electro acoustic guitar with onboard EQ controls and
  • Means to connect it to Audio interface
  • Scarlet 2i2 (3rd Gen)
  • Condenser Mic
  • Don’t currently have a dynamic mic but a plastic card would solve that problem
  • Camera is separate from PC and is plugged into USB socket and its internal microphone not selected.

Also, I am not wanting at this stage to complicate things further by introducing a DAW.

As far as I see it the basic options would seem to be together with my comments

Option 1

Input 1 – Condenser mic picking up both Guitar and vocals

Input 2 - Nothing

  • This is simple but the position of the mic is important to get the right balance between guitar and vocals
  • The variables are you can sing or play louder/softer, also playing with a pick or thumb or finger picking

Option 2

Input 1 – Condenser mic picking up both Guitar and vocals

Input 2 – Guitar plugged in

  • Have found it difficult to get the right balance between the vocals and guitar either by volume on guitar, or the mixing in OBS.
  • There is also getting guitar to sound alright using the EQ on the guitar which seems to me to be very deep rabbit hole to disappear down.
  • Also, I think the guitar sounds a bit harsh when played by pick rather than a thumb

Option 3

Input 1 – Condenser mic picking essentially guitar to a lesser extent the vocal.

Input 2 – Dynamic Mic for vocals

  • Not able to test this option at present but perhaps it may be the best one

Supplementary Questions

  • In terms of balance between guitar and vocals and obviously it depends on the song but generally is it vocals/guitar 60/40
  • If you go for option 2 or 3 do you need two virtual cables or would one do to input this into Zoom, read a lot of posts and some on YouTube and still not sure.

Would be interested to hear others think about this.

Michael

You’ve eliminated the right answer by default - a DAW is the best way.

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You also have the option of dynamic mic for vocals as 1 input and the guitar as input 2. That will reduce the amount of guitar bleed to a minimum. If you use condenser for mic and guitar then plug the guitar in as well, you are wrestling with 2 guitar inputs.
:sunglasses:

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Forget option 2, you’ve already found the downside. Option 1 is generally fine once you’ve found the ideal mic position. Option 3 has the advantage that the mic doesn’t pick up as much string noise as a condenser mic does, and also that you can add FX (including volume adjustment) separately to the guitar track and the vocal track. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a mic, in keeping with my habit of buying the cheapest tech that will do the job I use this mic, which when i bought it cost under a tenner

Not necessarily in all circumstances. My electro-acoustic setup for OMs is option 3, any VSTs required (in my case noise reduction) loaded in OBS. I’d add a DAW if I wanted to use a backing track, but I don’t see any reason to over-complicate the setup .

TL;DR Option 3 is best :grinning:

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I’m no expert, but my thoughts are to keep it simple at least initially, especially for streaming. A condenser mic will pick up both guitar and vocals if you are recording both at the same time, so you will get both picked up regardless of whether you are using a dynamic mic for vocals, you will never get complete separation.

Also keep in mind that using a dynamic mic for vocals can bring its own problems if you are playing guitar at the same time, you have to stay pretty close to the mic, so if you look away or move too far from the mic you will get reduction in vocal volume. It’s another skill to practice.

I’d start with just using a condenser assuming you are playing solo and have a quiet room.

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There are many ways to skin a cat but the question was what is the “best” way.

People seem afraid of DAWs. They are easier than OBS. First time I used a DAW, I just plugged in guitar, microphone, hit record - wow, multi-track recording straight away. Sure, they are pretty powerful and complicated. Like Microsoft Word and Excel - super powerful and complicated, but don’t let that stop you firing up Microsoft Word and writing a basic letter.

Use the tool that is supposed to be used for the job. I’ve got a toolbox (a few actually, like most of you would) - screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, saws, spanners, etc. I guess I could turn a screw with the claw of a hammer, but it’s much easier to use a screwdriver.

OBS was made as a video streaming & recording tool primarily - sure it can do a lot more, but that’s what it’s primarily for.

DAWs were made as audio recording, processing and mixing tools.

IMHO you’re going to have a better time using the right tool for the job, even if you’re only using each to a basic level.

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Back to the question - there are many, many ways to record.

A big lead-in to how you are going to record is your guitar, and it’s sound. Do you like the pickup sound of your guitar when recorded or not? If you don’t, you’re going to have to mic it.

The majority of acoustic guitar pickups don’t sound great when recorded through the pickup. There are some that sound fantastic - but they tend to be high end pickups. One of the reasons I chose my acoustics is because they came with AP5 Pro pickups that blend a mic with piezo for a better sound (same as Tommy Emanuel uses).

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For what it’s worth Michael, I too am on this journey of experimentation at the moment.

I take on board what you said about not using a DAW but the two ways I’ve have the best ( and most tweakable) sound have been…………

1 - Acoustic and Vox direct into Dynamic Mic (SM58) via Audio Interface into Reaper and then to OBS (via ReRoute that is part of Reaper)

This just takes a bit of work getting the mic position correct for guitar/vocal balance. And with this you can only tweak or add fx to guitar and Vox together not individually. It was easy though and I was happy with the sound.

2 - acoustic plugged in to AI and Vox via Mic on the other input. Both then same as above.

Benefit here is the ability to adjust or add some fx to Vox or guitar individually.

Using the DAW doesn’t have to be complicated, I barely scratch the surface but it’s handy to do some basic eq or fx work. I usually look up a tutorial on anything else I need to do in there and learn it as I need it.

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Thanks to you all for response and input.

JK @jkahn

I am sure you are right about a DAW but enough things to work on at present, but I guess somewhere down the line I will get to that.

Ok read your second post will give DAW a try.

I must confess I am not very keen on my guitar plugged in it sounds a bit harsh for the sort of songs I do, but perhaps that is just the way I play and lack of knowledge on how to EQ it. I perhaps need to do some work on EQing

Toby @TheMadman_tobyjenner

You are right I did overlook the other option. I think I am coming around to the thought of getting a dynamic mic and at least having that as an option.

Ian @theoldman66

I follow your discussion on the options but was a bit taken aback out what you said for a dynamic mic under tenner, clicked the link and can get it from Amazon for £12.98 a good bit cheaper than the sort of industry standard Shure 58 which is over £100. For that sort of cost got to be worth a try. Will cost more than a stand if I wanted to use both mics at the same time, got to worth a try can always upgrade at a later date.

Craig @CD02

I seem to be getting moved towards including a DAW.
Shows my lack of knowledge had to look up what FX meant.

Michael

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Michael

I don’t want to stoke your GAS but down the line you may consider one of these.

Dynamic mic is the way to go for vox but an “electric” acoustic is always a compromise getting a good tone if you record the direct input. ie its hard to get a tone/sound similar to an acoustic in a room using the onboard pup. Although I’ve been experimenting with the amps and fx in my POD Go, I still uses the above for recording singing and play or at our open mics. The BodyRez feature has a number of acoustic body emulations and can sound pretty close to a mic’ed up amp. @DavidP uses one extensively when singing and playing and gets some exceptional tones. The vox fx also has wide range of vocal fx and can almost turn a pigs ear into a silk purse, well it at least makes me sound better ! Worth a thought ?

:sunglasses:

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Thanks Toby @TheMadman_tobyjenner
Something for a bit further down the line. Have enough variables to worry about at the present time but the “pitch correction” caught my eye, probably need that.
Michael

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Thanks for that, Toby!

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Well I took the plunge and have bought a dynamic mic and it arrived today so had a quick try out and think I am probably going to use that for vocals and condenser for the guitar at least initially, but now have all the options.
I looked at the Shure SM58 which seems to be the industry standard but opted for Stagg SDM60 at only a quarter the price of the Shure and even bigger difference if you count the cost of the cable which comes with the Stagg. Couldn’t justify the extra cost, plenty off other GAS things buy. I did look at some comparisons and the Stagg came out quite well.
Michael

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You may need some careful placement for the condenser when micing up the guitar, as it could pick up your vox as well. Something to bear in mind. :sunglasses:

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Toby @TheMadman_tobyjenner
As you say a bit of experimentation required, actually quite looking forward to the challenge, nothing with a guitar is straightforward is it.
Michael

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