Acoustic fingerpicking volume.

Hello and good day to all,

I was wondering if anybody would be so kind as to help me out please?

I have Cubase 7 essentials and have been having lots of trouble getting the volume high enough when recording acoustic guitar fingerpicking. I am pretty new to recording and any help would be very handy indeed. I have the fader nearly full, I have double tracked and panned Left and Right. I have tried with Pod farm effects and just straight in to Cubase also, none seem to be loud enough? (I might be missing a trick or two?) I keep having to drop the surrounding sound of the bass, vocals and other instruments to be able to hear the main fingerpicking riffs.
I am after a basic clean acoustic sound with little to no reverb which is loud enough to hold its own in the recording.
I would be very grateful indeed for any help on this matter.
Have a nice day folks and thanks again. cheers
Andy :smiley:

Aloha c,

Here is one approach:

Even when the original recorded track level is fine, I will sometimes have a track that is hard to hear/fit in the mix
because it ‘sounds’ low.

In these cases I will sometimes put in a compressor plug, set to ‘no compression’
but use the ‘make-up gain’ feature of the compressor to act as a sort of ‘clean amplifier’.

This helps it sit in the mix without having to lower all the other instruments/vox tracks.

A quick way to do this is to just add a ‘maximizer’ plug to the track but keep in mind that
this type of plug will also add compression and colour to the sound.

Good Luck!

Or increase the Input Gain in the Pre Rack. (if CE has a pre rack…)

I don’t have essentials but if you can control the volume of the audio event (via the Info line) then you can turn this up too. I find this is very useful because the waveform displayed in the event gets bigger too so you can see it on-screen along with the louder events on other tracks as well as hear it better.


Hey curteye, flexion and mike, cant thank you enough folks for taking the time out to help me out here! much obliged. I will try these methods out tonight and hopefully Ill be able to progress with some nice recordings (fingers crossed). Cheers loads and have a nice day. I will let you know how I get on, thanks again. Andy.

You really might include a few important details, like what kind of mics are you using and how are they oriented? What for a mic pre is being used? Interface?

Hello brihar,
apologies for the lack of information about the set up,
I have a line 6 toneport ux1 interface and am using a Fender electric acoustic plugged directly into the ux1 with a jack lead, (using Cubase 7 essentials) with pod farm effects. I have had the same volume problem using my nylon guitar and a behringer c-1 condenser mic, which is why I have been attempting it on electric acoustic to get some extra volume. ive tried searching for sweet spots with the mic and whilst a heavy strum gives a decent enough volume, my finger picking (heavy picking with nails) gets about 1/4 of the way up the fader even with fader on full volume and the amp models on full volume also?
Unfortunately I cannot get to my studio now for a couple of days to try out some of the suggestions but im itching to try them out with hope that I can get my music going forward (been in a picking volume rutt for months), cheers for any help on this. Many thanks, Andy.

Your possibly need to place the mic closer to the guitar and definitely get more gain on the way into Cubase. Unfortunately, this is where many stock preamps on audio interfaces show their true colours—they crap out when you need that extra bit of juice!

That being said, plucked acoustic guitar is quiet—but, as long as it sounds good solo’ed, it doesn’t matter if you have to turn down the other instruments! Go ahead and do just that. That’s “mixing”! :wink:

This is also a perfect time to use compression. It’s what compression was designed to do. Cubase’s stock Compressor plugin has some presets on it that will get you going. Just turn off the “auto-makeup” feature and boost the output as much as you need to.

Yes I would recommend trying a discrete Pre-amp.
I have a guitar running through a POD XT plugged into a Mixer (with pres) and then into my UR28M interface (which also has pres), and have no problems with levels (I have the guitar vol, and POD full up, and leave the pres on the UR at unity).