Pre amp pedal or mic it up

Kinda following on from another thread about plugging in my electro acoustic into a mixer, most of us (me included) will prefer a mic'd guitar sound as I find the DI sound a bit too boxy and un natural.

It's a Takamine EG321c with a T4 something pre amp inside, its not bad but due to the reasons above I'd like to sound a bit more like a mic'd guitar for use for recording, live streams and my Zoom guitar lessons even.

Should I get a pre-amp pedal or actually mic it up with something like an SM57? I've seen pedals like the Behringer ADi21 and Boss AD-2 which both do a good job of bringing back that unplugged acoustic tone. Using a mic would mean more stands and positioning plus its going in to a mixer where I only have 1 free xlr port so if I was using it with a vocal mic for example I've only got line ins and I read xlr (female) to 1/4" isn't the best for sound quality.

Also I'm experiencing humming issues when I plug it into my mixer so can only put this down to the guitar and maybe battery a powered pre-amp? Would using a pre-amp pedal stop this at all as it will act as a buffer between my instrument and mixer if its got a line out?
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  • In my limited experience, I'd mic it up. I use an AT2020. Reasonably priced and gives very acceptable sound quality to my ear aimed at the guitar belly behind the bridge. But it depends what floats your boat!
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  • That's a USB mic isn't it? My mixer won't take USB unfortunately as I mix 3 audio sources before the interface.

    I also plugged the guitar into the mixer and listened through headphones, the humming is there so its not cables or anything its the pre-amp. So I think I need a hum eliminator or something to go between guitar and mixer?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    If it's for recording I would mic it.

    If you're getting noise issues, are you plugging into a small portable mixer and then into a sound interface and a computer? If so it's likely that no part of the system is earthed. Takamines are usually pretty good for noise, so I doubt it's the guitar preamp - although sometimes you can get problems with the shielding in the pickup.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • ICBM said:
    If it's for recording I would mic it.

    If you're getting noise issues, are you plugging into a small portable mixer and then into a sound interface and a computer? If so it's likely that no part of the system is earthed. Takamines are usually pretty good for noise, so I doubt it's the guitar preamp - although sometimes you can get problems with the shielding in the pickup.
    Yeah its going into a Focusrite then into my laptop. As mentioned above I did a quick DI test into mixer and out to headphones which seems to show its the guitar.

    Would a hum eliminator stop this til I think about it maybe mic'ing it (would need a 2nd xlr input on the mixer and an SM57 or something)
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 4943
    edited November 21
    I assume recording, not live? Dont put it into the mixer, straight into the focusrite. Get an Audix i5 if you want a dynamic, it's more natural than a 57. And yes the mic will sound 500% better than the pickup tone.
    And if the mixer is adding hum cut it down two two audio chains. 
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  • Dont put it into the mixer, straight into the focusrite. Get an Audix i5 if you want a dynamic, it's more natural than a 57.
    I have to do for live streams/Zoom lessons for playing along to backing tracks.

    Recording is different as I can do that separately.
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  • I assume recording, not live? Dont put it into the mixer, straight into the focusrite. Get an Audix i5 if you want a dynamic, it's more natural than a 57. And yes the mic will sound 500% better than the pickup tone.
    And if the mixer is adding hum cut it down two two audio chains. 
    For recording its easier to mic up yes. I plugged in one of my electric guitars to the mixer and its quiet (probably helps its shielded too) so its definitely the guitar. My Kemper plugged into the mixer doesn't create humming.

    My problem when using it live is that I don't have another available xlr port in my mixer free for the mic'd guitar.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    edited November 21
    Lestratcaster said:

    Yeah its going into a Focusrite then into my laptop. As mentioned above I did a quick DI test into mixer and out to headphones which seems to show its the guitar.
    It could be just that it's not earthed. What kind of power supply does the mixer use - direct mains supply with a 3-pin socket, 2-pin socket, or offboard low-voltage?  This is a common problem with modern recording set-ups since a lot of laptop power supplies aren't earthed either.

    Lestratcaster said:

    My Kemper plugged into the mixer doesn't create humming.
    Because the Kemper is earthed...

    There's an easy way to test it - connect the Kemper, both to the mains and the mixer via any spare input. It doesn't need to be in the signal path or even turned on. Does the acoustic still hum?

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • ICBM said:
    Lestratcaster said:

    Yeah its going into a Focusrite then into my laptop. As mentioned above I did a quick DI test into mixer and out to headphones which seems to show its the guitar.
    It could be just that it's not earthed. What kind of power supply does the mixer use - direct mains supply with a 3-pin socket, 2-pin socket, or offboard low-voltage?  This is a common problem with modern recording set-ups since a lot of laptop power supplies aren't earthed either.

    Lestratcaster said:

    My Kemper plugged into the mixer doesn't create humming.
    Because the Kemper is earthed...
    3 pin socket is the one that came with the mixer. I tested them in different rooms in the house. 

    I remember once when I connected the Takamine to the interface my laptop was charging, when I unplugged the cable it started humming which attributes to your comment on the earthing.
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  • I think a short-term fix may be to get one of those virtual pickup soundhole things you clip in. This will bypass the onboard preamp and allow me to plug into a mixer. I can easily take it off and I also have another Tanglewood non-electro-acoustic guitar I could use it with too.

    Something like this perhaps:

    https://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/acoustic/virtual-acoustic
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5706
    I tried to recreate the hum your getting with my Alto mixer into an audio interface with an acoustic in the line socket. I had no issue though. It's an earthing issue but I'm not sure where 
    If you have the same little Alto mixer I have then it's not earthed. The earth pin is plastic on the AC adapter. Inside the adapter is just a 250AC to 16V (ish) transformer. Inside the mixer that 16V AC is used to obtain a dual 15V rail from 2 half wave rectifiers. Simple design but good headroom and sounds good. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Yeah its the same one you've got I think. I'm pretty sure its the guitar (pre amp grounding maybe) that's causing the hum, I've even had the hum when plugged into the interface too. 

    If I was to get one of those soundhole pickups and it still hums then we will know its not my pre amp that's the issue. 
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  • To answer the query on AT2020 - it can be USB or balanced. Your choice.

    I had an annoying hum on my Behringer mixer and got rid of it by tidying up the mains lead and the output lead from the power supply. Cable routing is a black art. If you want to cross signal cables, cross them at right angles.

    Finally, a classic source of hum on single ended cables is a lifted or broken earth in the jack cables. Either change or open up and re-solder the earth connection(s).

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  • I've found a temporary fix to the hum, I used my Kemper as DI box in between my acoustic and mixer by turning off the amp and cab sims. Its quiet as I know the electric guitar signal doesn't hum. I don't like the DI sound much but its better than the other route.

    I heard a few acoustic profiles so for a few quid I could get one to use.
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  • ICBM said:
    Because the Kemper is earthed...

    There's an easy way to test it - connect the Kemper, both to the mains and the mixer via any spare input. It doesn't need to be in the signal path or even turned on. Does the acoustic still hum?
    Sorry missed this edit. I sorta did this as outlined in my post above and it did hum. I also plugged it into my interface and turned up the gain on the pre amp dial. More hum. So its definitely the guitar.
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  • camfcamf Frets: 1036
    Dodgy lead? For me, that’s often the culprit. 
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  • camf said:
    Dodgy lead? For me, that’s often the culprit. 
    I don't think so as half of them are Mogami ones. I've swapped them to test though.
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  • Lestratcaster, - I had the exact same grounding issue with my old Washburn ea36 acoustic (even from when I bought it) with a constant hum in the background. In this case it  was the guitar & the only solution was to run a little bit of wire from the guitable to something metal (radiator in my case) to quieten everything. Re in the interface, mic etc etc. I'm running an M-Audio interface & the Martin that I'm using has some kind of pickup under the bridge/ambient set up (not sure what it is) - cut to the chase - I run it through a Thorpy Fat General, then into the interface direct into Pro-Tools. It 'honestly' sounds pretty darn great, to the point where I'm not fussed about the mic'd route. 
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  • Lestratcaster, - I had the exact same grounding issue with my old Washburn ea36 acoustic (even from when I bought it) with a constant hum in the background. In this case it  was the guitar & the only solution was to run a little bit of wire from the guitable to something metal (radiator in my case) to quieten everything. Re in the interface, mic etc etc. I'm running an M-Audio interface & the Martin that I'm using has some kind of pickup under the bridge/ambient set up (not sure what it is) - cut to the chase - I run it through a Thorpy Fat General, then into the interface direct into Pro-Tools. It 'honestly' sounds pretty darn great, to the point where I'm not fussed about the mic'd route. 
    For live streaming/online lessons I can just use the Kemper as a DI box as it will suppress the humming. Also there's some rather nice profiles on there (yes for acoustic guitar) that do sound natural and like it has been mic'd up. Enough for Zoom.

    For recording I can take the mixer out the signal chain but as I said above it even hums when plugged into my interface so its obviously a grounding/earthing issue with the guitar electronics I reckon. Til I can get it looked at (which may not be for a while) I can use the Kemper or get one of those soundhole pickup things you can screw in and use the pre-amp off that, so if it doesn't hum I'll know its the on-board pre-amp.
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