The first ‘contact microphones’ as they were called in the 1970s came in a small plastic boxes and were disk-shaped. With them came this strange putty-like material that was a bit like a cross between silly putty and blu-tac.
The idea was you put the mic near the 6 o’clock position on the wood beneath the sound hole of your acoustic guitar and connected the other end to your amp. Of course being a microphone, it would invariably feedback at the soonest opportunity. It worked, but only just.
The best amplified acoustic guitars have long since has their own mikes built into them, with the electronics virtually embedded into the bodywork and a phono jack near where the guitar strap goes.
Now has come a removable acoustic condenser mike that works like a charm, is built very well and comes, crucially with some dedicated software that enables the player to sound as good as the best in the business.
According to IK Multimedia’s website, the device’s inception was inspired in part by the a well known feature length documentary on flamenco master Paco de Lucia. Made specifically for the acoustic player, the mic is designed to work in conjunction with dedicated apps that then take the nylon or steel string acoustic sound and ‘sculpt’ it and further process it for an optimized sound.
(MicroElectrical-Mechanical System) microphone technology replicates the positioning of a high quality microphone with an omnidirectional polar pattern, placement of the microphone just inside the sound hole where the output is optimal. This is combined with a “calibration” process that optimizes the guitar sound as if it were being miked externally. The result is a complete ‘tone picture’ of the guitar rather than simply a recording of the physical vibrations of the wood and strings.
iRig Acoustic is packaged with AmpliTube Acoustic FREE (download on the App Store), the new acoustic-specific AmpliTube app designed for processing and recording acoustic guitar and ukuleles.
First, when used with iRig Acoustic, the AmpliTube Acoustic app features a calibration and setup process that measures and optimizes the frequency response of your acoustic instrument and provides the “sweet spot” sonic clarity, tonal characteristics and projection that you normally get in the studio with an expensive high-end studio condenser microphone positioned in just the right spot. iRig Acoustic and AmpliTube Acoustic deliver that ultimate level of acoustic realness and character as an optimized system for a fraction of the cost.
The tone studio offers emulations of popular acoustic amplifiers; two solid state amps and one tube amp, complete with integrated effects sections as well as guitar pedal effects, including a live performance “Feed Kill” feedback eliminator, an acoustic compressor, graphic EQ and Parametric EQ; a 12-String emulator, a “Bass Maker” octave pedal, plus a “Body Modeler” that alters the sound of your guitar into another style of guitar. That’s pretty amazing, really.
One thing is for sure. It is more than the simple contact microphones of the ’70s.
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