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Tips on Recording Violin and Cello
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laoded
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1st January 2006
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Tips on Recording Violin and Cello

hi all, i'm supposed to be recording a session for a violinist and cellist. bion, i've only recorded amped strings, so this will be a first doing acoustic classical strings.

was looking for tips on what mics to use...any suggestions? these are my options:

schoeps cmc6 (pair)
royer 121 (pair)
neumann tl-103 (pair)
earthworks M50 (pair)
sennheiser md-421 (pair)
sennheiser 441 (single)
shure sm-57 (4)
shure ksm-32 (pair)
EV RE-20 (pair)

each will be in an iso booth (no live room option for this particular session unfortunately). i'm thinking a semi-close mic and a distant mic for this, unless there's a better way to do this (both have gage pickups which are pretty nice sounding).
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1st January 2006
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Give the R121 a try on violin and the Schoeps on Cello.
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The RE20 might be nice on the cello, too. It would produce an unconventional sound, though.
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1st January 2006
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Schoeps will be great on violin. A decent LDC for the cello (I would use U47, U87, U89...) and/or try the Schoeps as a stereo technique if the room is great (or at least good).

Good luck,
Stefan
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don't rule out the earthworks, which is very fast and will capture all the string and bow sounds. depends on the sound you're looking for.

placement is very important, especially with cello. i try to get a balance of the sound from the bridge (bright, strident) and the f-hole (dark, boomy). i usually like to keep the mic low, at or below the height of the bridge, as this avoids getting too much bow sound, which can be airy and thin. different instruments will require different treatment too, so make sure to spend some time finding the sweet spot.
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i used a ksm32 on a cello not too long ago and I was really happy with it but I didn;t have a schoeps at my disposal, I would probably try that first.
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I am unsure what application/style you are recording for, but I will give some advice on the presumtion that it is a standard classical duet in line with pre-1900 reportoire.

You listed a schoeps cmc6, but did not indicate which capsules you have.
If you can get a MK2H or MK2S (both omni with for diffuse and far field), I would try for a spaced pair or a Jecklin disk.
Distance depends on the room, but I would try to locate the diffuse field and start there (9-12 feet is a good place to start).

Otherwise I would go for any pair of omni's with a certain high lift.

kjetil
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How big are the booths? What do the booths sound like? What role do the parts play in the music? What type of music? I'm guessing it's not a "classical" duet because of the iso booth restriction. If that is the case, pretty much anything could be the best choice. Tight and scratchy? Full and mellow? Plastic like, dimensionless direct sound? I imagine the players, their instruments, and their acoustic spaces will pretty much provide the info you need to make the appropriate choices. Try not to decide fully before you hear what's going on.

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Yes, BUT-

Schoeps are ideal and completely accurate, and Earthworks are the next best choice- also completely accurate- either is going to be every bit as full and warm on the cello as the Neumann 103 will be. But in an iso booth, depending on capsule, I have experienced some scratchiness from time to time, if you are too close to the bow! This is where I'd have the Royers handy, as the ribbon will smooth the top end for you and provide a nice color. Remember a large part of every string recording is the room, so I'd send each channel to one side of a nice verb to get the two strings in the "same space" and try to get the right glassy sheen across the top end. If you are going for a dry, intimate sound you can always go for a room instead of a hall.
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1st January 2006
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the room is a problem. as usual, the band has run out of budget, and as usual, the strings get the raw end of the deal, so we're going to a studio that i have free access to.

the iso booths are relatively small and the room sounds are not anything to write home about. we wanted to record a quartet live (with me playing viola), but i think it would be too hard to me to deal with tracking and playing at the same time, not to mention the live room issue.

this is for a ensemble rock band (elements include bari sax, flugel horn, trombone, saw, stroh violin, melodica, viola, violin, cello, and the standard piano-based lineup). the string parts are mostly pads with lots of thirds and octaves, but one track will have phil spector style string parts. so the violinist will probably overdub a few takes using different violins and i'll be doing the same with violas later on. the cellist has a very nice instrument, a little dark sounding. the violinist's main instrument is ok...a little harsh on the e (but what violin isn't ).

initally i was leaning to the royers, but maybe the earthworks and schoeps might work.

all the band cares about is intonation, but since i'm engineering this, i want it to sound good too!
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the room is a problem. as usual, the band has run out of budget, and as usual, the strings get the raw end of the deal, so we're going to a studio that i have free access to.

the iso booths are relatively small and the room sounds are not anything to write home about. we wanted to record a quartet live (with me playing viola), but i think it would be too hard to me to deal with tracking and playing at the same time, not to mention the live room issue.

this is for a ensemble rock band (elements include bari sax, flugel horn, trombone, saw, stroh violin, melodica, viola, violin, cello, and the standard piano-based lineup). the string parts are mostly pads with lots of thirds and octaves, but one track will have phil spector style string parts. so the violinist will probably overdub a few takes using different violins and i'll be doing the same with violas later on. the cellist has a very nice instrument, a little dark sounding. the violinist's main instrument is ok...a little harsh on the e (but what violin isn't ).

initally i was leaning to the royers, but maybe the earthworks and schoeps might work.

all the band cares about is intonation, but since i'm engineering this, i want it to sound good too!
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I'm enjoying this thread because for me, strings are still a challenge for sure.

You have a pretty fantastic selection of mics at your disposal, and an open mind to get it sounding right.

good luck with this and let us know how it goes down.

p.s last year I had to record a stacked cello for textural parts in a classroom midi suite with hardly any treatments....so I stuck the mic pretty close and once the parts were all in DP and panned and verbed it sounded really nice. And I was using an AT4033.

With your mics, and if the players are good I bet it will sound lovely.
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4th January 2006
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hi, looks like we're going to have to put two violinists in a booth.

i was going to start with the royers on the violins (and perhaps the schoeps for the cellist in the other room)...with the the figure 8 patterns on the royers, might this be an issue?

there won't be anyway around bleed, but was wondering how this might change things.

should i just forget about close-miking the violins, and instead use a more distant setup to get both?
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Is there a definitive reason why you have to have the players in seperate rooms? String ensembles like to have visual contact with one another. Also if you have them re-arrange any parts for a better sound, it is essential that they are togehter.

2. Mic the violins as close as what sounds good. The ribbons should lend a smoother sound to begin with on violins(that is good). I think you have to listen to the parts the violins are playing and decide which part you want more support on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laoded
hi, looks like we're going to have to put two violinists in a booth.

i was going to start with the royers on the violins (and perhaps the schoeps for the cellist in the other room)...with the the figure 8 patterns on the royers, might this be an issue?

there won't be anyway around bleed, but was wondering how this might change things.

should i just forget about close-miking the violins, and instead use a more distant setup to get both?
laoded
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4th January 2006
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i know, the situation isn't great.

i play viola and violin, and don't like being separate when i'm playing, but this studio is very small, one control room, and two iso booths.

we're playing with the idea of having everyone in the control room and not using any monitors, but then noise floor starts becoming an worry. do you think we're better off tracking in the control room rather than isolating the instruments?

and if we do the control room thing, should i still close mic everything and maybe use a couple room mics as well?

the session is tomorrow, so i'm going to get there early and mess around with stuff as well.
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I would use the royer or the Schoeps, the earthworks might be too much in the upper mids, I would stay away from the TLM 103
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5th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laoded
hi all, i'm supposed to be recording a session for a violinist and cellist. bion, i've only recorded amped strings, so this will be a first doing acoustic classical strings.

was looking for tips on what mics to use...any suggestions? these are my options:

schoeps cmc6 (pair)
royer 121 (pair)
neumann tl-103 (pair)
earthworks M50 (pair)
sennheiser md-421 (pair)
sennheiser 441 (single)
shure sm-57 (4)
shure ksm-32 (pair)
EV RE-20 (pair)

each will be in an iso booth (no live room option for this particular session unfortunately). i'm thinking a semi-close mic and a distant mic for this, unless there's a better way to do this (both have gage pickups which are pretty nice sounding).

Lots of advice but...Schoeps...first of all, what capsule are you using? CMC6 is only the preamp. Omins? Card? Wide cards? This is important in order to see if you can use them close or far away due to proximity effect and bla bla bla (cello)...
You should be focusing also on the preamps, as important as the microphones when recording acoustic music...lets say 50%-50%.

I was wondering why are you gonna split the musicians in iso booths, is it really neccesary?

Regards,
Pupo
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i believe they are cardiods, but not sure of the exact model number.

they have 2 millenia preamps (4 ins total), 1 ampex tube mixer (4 ins/two outs), one altec pre (one in), something else but can't remember what it was.

compressors are just an art pro vla and 2 rncs.
eq are two of those old blue pultec eqs.
eventide h3000

hope this helps.

the more i think about it, the more i think it will be nice to record in the control room, and just live with the noise floor. plus, then i can put the non-playing band members in the iso booths.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
Give the R121 a try on violin and the Schoeps on Cello.
Sorry for being rude, but R121 on violin is worthless. No sparkle, dull, dead sound. You can call it "warm" if you like, but it just lacks everything the violin needs.

And still catches the violinist's breathing.

I got very good results with Manley Reference into API A2D and two Mojave MA-100's into Millennia Media HV-3D.

Absolutely no ribbon for beautifully bright sources, unless you want to kill the presence.

Peace.
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recording the violin

hi guys...I appreciate all the comments on mics for the violin etc...
may I suggest that for the best recording you concentrate on hiring a really good player...he/she will be worth much more than any mic, and will be able to adjust the sound according to your needs...
point of contact of the bow on the string, speed of bow, weight of bow, all dependent on which string and style....
hire a good fiddler....



Bill Stewart billfiddle
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10th November 2010
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try this

i'm recording a cello right now- using a neumann m149 3 feet out in front of the f hole going through an LA-610- no compression no eq...I also have a Peluso cemc6 about 3 inches off the wood right below the bridge- sounds great!
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Four years, eleven months and ten days... 22 posts... my quick calculations reveal that's an average of a post every 82 days.

Sure, perhaps a trivial metric... but it's got to be some kind of record? Any way to search and see if there's a thread that lands higher on this scale? No cheating!
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Hey Joel,
What's the average now?

~smiley face~
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My guess is that considering the ISO booth thing-- it sounded so bad that the booths still smell.

Rich
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Quote:
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Hey Joel,
What's the average now?

~smiley face~
Rounding things, for the sake of laziness, we're approaching 102.
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Need your help.
I'll have to overdub violin.
It's the same guy playing all the violins.
How would you process? (miking(stereo?), mixing(panning?))
I thought to blend it with vsti strings.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpix74 View Post
Need your help.
I'll have to overdub violin.
It's the same guy playing all the violins.
How would you process? (miking(stereo?), mixing(panning?))
I thought to blend it with vsti strings.
Try to use different violins.
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12th August 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polytope View Post
Try to use different violins.
This is not possible.
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