Using Figure-8 Mics to Record Vocals & Acoustic Guitar

If you’re looking to record someone singing and playing and an acoustic guitar at the same time while getting good separation between the vocal & guitar tracks and you’ve got a couple microphones that can be put in a figure 8 recording pattern then try this technique out:

1. Set two mics in a figure 8 recording pattern. Not all mics have this feature; my Shure KSM44 and my CAD M179 are two examples of mics that can be put in this “figure of eight” polar pattern (aka “bidirectional.”)

2. Point one mic at the voice and one at the guitar (obvious enough, right?) Of course you will want to fiddle about with exactly how you position the mics. If you are recording yourself you’ll probably have to do some trial & error, if you are recording someone else put your headphones on and listen (trying to hear what you hear through the headphones rather than what you hear in the space.)

3. The key to this technique (that allows you to get nice separation between the tracks) is to turn the mics sideways (rather than up and down) so that each mic is picking up as little as possible of the other source. Why does this work? It’s hard to explain without drawing a picture and drawing isn’t my strong suit. But if you think about how a figure-8 pattern works a bit I think it becomes clear.

If you experiment by trying it first with the mics standing up straight and then try it the way that I’m suggesting (with the mics sideways) I think you will notice quite a difference.

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