Chartwell Guitar came into existence about this time last year, as I transitioned from being an impassioned collector to a dealer of concert classical guitars. But it wasn’t until the site was under serious construction in January that recording sound videos was in the forefront of my activity. The good people at Jacksonville Guitar Center put the Apogee M/C in my hands, an easy way to record directly into my Mac computer. My take was it captured the essential sound quality of my instruments. I had a good room with high ceilings and hardwood floors and it has been a little workhorse.

But in this first year, evaluating other sites’ sound offerings, I knew it wasn’t just my modest playing abilities that was making the results less than they should have been.  Yes, the Apogee was a good mic for the money, but it wasn’t in the class that gives a listener a sound experience that can inspire.

So it is a pleasure to re-record my guitars with a pair of new mics, which are the AEA R84 ribbon and a Shure condenser, paired through an Apogee Duet preamp. I hope you think the new videos work, which is to say giving you something close to the sound you’d be getting if that very guitar were in your hands, in that room.

The room. Yes, a key component of sound. Guitarists can likely remember stairwell sessions in the freshman dorm at college, when the sound was so full it made every other playing environment tame. There are the great YouTube videos of famous guitarists performing in vast cathedrals and the like, which I think we all take with a pleasurable grain of salt: were we sitting on a couch in a carpeted living room, this same guitar’s output would be unrecognizable. So the balance in making recordings for my purposes is finding that great room, where natural reverb proliferates, but to not let it be untrue to the natural sound of that instrument.  So I think I have done that when I hear the playback. I have a large open area in my St. Simons Island home where the acoustics are wonderful and this is where all these recordings have occurred. Well worth the energy.


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