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One of the by-products of using a built-in pickup with an acoustic instrument is that it allows the player to record with the headphones. That means that the player can record near the monitor speakers or in the control room, since the transfer feedback will be diminished. (music playing) After you've plugged the instrument into the direct box in the output of the box into a console, like preamp or DAW, flip the ground switch to find the quietest setting.
(music playing) The real secret to getting a great sounding direct recording is compression and plenty of it. Depending upon the type of pick up that's being used, the output can be less than that of a microphone and not as tonally balanced. That's why it's important to always use some compression to keep the sound at relatively same level. Plug a hardware compressor either into the output of the mic preamp or an insert on the console. If you use the compressor plug-in, it might cause a delay in the sound to make it difficult for the player to play to.
Start with the compressor set to a 4:1 compression ratio with the attack sets to its lowest and the release set to its fastest. (music playing) Set the threshold so there's about 5 or 6 dB of compression happening. Depending upon the type of rhythm that the musician is playing, you may want to decrease the attack time so the compressor reacts faster. Be aware that the sound will begin to dull if the attack is too fast. Increase your release time so it agrees with the pulse of the track.
Set the output control so that the level stays around -10 dB. (music playing) That's how you record an instrument with a pickup. Plug into a direct box and select the ground switch position that has the least amount of noise, add a hardware compressor to the signal chain with the settings outline in this movie, then lower the threshold control until there's about 5 dB or 6 dB of compression indicating on the meter.
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