I have several posts on my blog about how I record and as well as several videos on how I post process the sounds. For acoustic, I have a combination of microphones, but always in pairs because I feel that a stereo image is important (but not mandatory), to have.
- I have a pair of Neewer NW-800 that are the ultimate budget condensor mic. Sound isn't bad, but its not great and takes some work to get it acceptable. At $40 Cdn for the pair (delivered), the price is unbeatable. If powered by clean 48-volt phantom power, they can actually sound pretty good. I use them a lot in my educational videos, but more for voice than recording music.
- I have a pair of Neewer NW-410's. These are what I feel are the ultimate budget pencil condenser mics and actually sound very good. For home use for people with a very low budget, likely the best sounding option out there . I used them to record an event where I video-captured violins, violas and piano. Surprisingly good for $120 Cdn.
- When I want to make a serious home recording, I pull out the SE Electronics SE-4400a matched set. Very expensive (but still very affordable for their quality level!), at $1300 Cdn, they are a very serious large diaphragm microphone. The price may sound like a lot until you consider that you can spend over $15,000 on a single mic. When I started the search, I had a budget of $5000US in my pocket and I spent maybe 6 months and went through perhaps 300 mics that I personally tested and then there were the hundreds of hours of online researching. I learned about the SE4400a's early on, loved the look of the mics and the "spider mounts" and I kept coming back to them for three simple reasons:
- they were the most neutral and amazing sounding mics I listened to for the accordion. Everything they record sounds exactly as it sounds in real life to my ears, every nuance.
- they do it all... and have 4 polar patterns integrated (omni, figure-8, carded & hyper-cardioid).
- price... they sound as good as mics costing a LOT more.
I've played most with the A-B method (everything between 3-5 feet far apart), use the factory sound bar (15 inches apart) with the X-Y technique and the Mid-Side recording techniques and they all have interesting results. I've tested the Blumlein technique too, and it was also interesting sounding. I keep coming back to the A-B setting 30 inches off the ground, in front of me and about 2 feet away from the nearest accordion surface. I feel this gives best dynamic range and reduces the mechanical sounds of the keys a bit. The closer you place the mics, the more you hear the mechanicals, and in some cases, I can see why some people want this, it *is* part of the personality of an accordion!
Capturing the sound is important, when max sound quality is wanted, I record to a full-size Mackie 1640i mixing console to my DAW or (close on it's heels) the Zoom F4 if I need to be on location. If I am playing upstairs in my home or performing on location, I record to a QSC TouchMix 8.
All that said, that is how I record on the acoustic side, which in fairness I have been doing a lot less than recording with the digital accordion. Having a digital recording has some serious advantages... zero feedback, zero external sounds (recording acoustic well takes a properly set up room that is sound deadened/controlled and is likely as important or more important than the quality of the mics ... lol). I've spent a good amount of time moving to a wireless setup and enjoying that process.
Sheesh, I could write a book about this stuff... sorry for the long post.