I am still pretty new to the world of recording
but I know enough to know I have SOOOO much more to learn. I heard someone say a great line, "It's not like electric guitar where you can have a crappy guitar and an awesome amp and still sound great, in recording, everything matters."
Having said that, I'm trying to record some solo classical guitar
music meaning nylon strings, plucking with the right hand, no overdubs, no mixing (unless it's some form of stereo like Mid/Side), etc. I have been using an AKG C430 (mono) through the mic preamp in my Eleven Rack and I have to say it sounds terrible.
So my first instinct was to blame the gear. Then I wised up and realized I need to work on proper mic placement, off axis/on axis experimentation, etc. Well after about two weeks of this it sounds better but its not what I'm going for at all. So on a whim I recorded something on my with my iPhone and, while it sounds bad because its just a phone, the sound had more depth, bass, a quasi stereo image, all the things I want in a recording just at the quality level of a telephone mic. So now my instinct is back to blaming the gear!
I have read what the pros use: Ribbons and spaced omni's through Earthworks, Grace, or Millennia preamps in concert halls, churchs, or studios that are great for solo guitar.
I have read what the average joe uses too: a small diaphragm condenser into a cheap audio interface. Pretty much like what I am doing.
Is there a middle ground people effectively use? If so I would love to hear from people who have done it.
By the way, I have used many of the tricks you can do in a DAW to create a stereo image from a mono signal such as using a short delay or stereo width plugin. But I wouldn't be able to submit something like that with applications or auditions.
To summarize, my main questions are:
Why would an iPhone have better sound characteristics than my small diaphragm condenser?
What gear should I be looking at?
Thank you for your help! I don't want to hate recording but at the moment, I kinda do!