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mic positioning for violin and for flute Ribbon Microphones
Old 15th August 2007
  #1
Question mic positioning for violin and for flute

Hello, all. I'm doing some Klezmer style recording and need to record both violin and flute, separately. Following on from the group's very helpful suggestions on trumpet, I'd be curious as to the collective wisdom of mic positioning for recording a violin and a flute. Once again, the mic choices are Royer SF-1 or AKG C414B. Thanks for any advice and experience you can share.
Old 15th August 2007
  #2
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
Hello, all. I'm doing some Klezmer style recording and need to record both violin and flute, separately. Following on from the group's very helpful suggestions on trumpet, I'd be curious as to the collective wisdom of mic positioning for recording a violin and a flute. Once again, the mic choices are Royer SF-1 or AKG C414B. Thanks for any advice and experience you can share.
I'd definately go for the royer on violin. I like SDC's on flute to give a little more presence in the mix. I'm not a fan of the 414, but it may contrast the violin nicely. Maybe one of your buddies has a Schoeps they can lend you?
Old 15th August 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

I've recorded lots of fiddles. For a good present fiddle sound, I like a ribbon mic at the height of the top of the players head pointed at their chin, usually over the headstock. Move in or out distance wise based on the sound wanted.

For more of a classical violin sound, I move the mic about 5 to 10 feet away and higher in elevation. Need a good room for this.
Old 15th August 2007
  #4
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Another $0.02...

Sf12 on both. The violin needs the smoothness of the ribbon; and on the two flute albums I have done nothing touched the Coles 4038s for me... of course, this was before my R84s heh.

Short story is, why not put up both? I expect you'll use the Royer, but you lose nothing by listening to both mics.
Old 15th August 2007
  #5
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Quote:
The violin needs the smoothness of the ribbon
Not necessarily. I work extensively with a viola/violinist and love the sound of a carefully positioned Schoeps.

I recorded him with a Coles 4040 ribbon a while back and, while it had a vintage charm, the Schoeps has that clarity and air that I personally require.

I can totally understand the recommendation for a ribbon from Jim though. A badly recorded violin can sound harsh in the higher Hz and ,as a ribbon rolls off these frequencies, it can lend itself to a more pleasant sound. BUT not all SDC's are made equal right? And I have never had a problem with a Schoeps in the upper registers
Old 16th August 2007
  #6
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

I totally agree with your position, and respect your opinion, Mosrite.

I turn to a Schoeps first as well personally, but the post offered a 414 or a Royer, so I go Royer, especially for Klezmer music that is more fiddle than violin IMO, and close-miked.

If it were my recording, I'd AB the Schoeps against my vintage Neumann U57 and a Schoeps 221 and see what sounded best. But none of those were options... and I have to admit, for a couple of mixes I have used a fiddle DI straight to the track. YMMV... whatever gets the job done, right?

JvB
Old 16th August 2007
  #7
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Royer SF-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
I'd be curious as to the collective wisdom of mic positioning for recording a violin and a flute. Once again, the mic choices are Royer SF-1 or AKG C414B. Thanks for any advice and experience you can share.
Some of my best recordings of Flute have been with the Royer SF-1 to the side of the flautist and positioned about three-four feet away (good room with low reverb a must), mic parallel to the flute rather than the mic in front position preferred by most people I work with. I find that this cuts down the blowing noise to just the right level and keeps the volume of notes fairly uniform. Anything closer and the proximity effect of the ribbon will begin to show.

I am not a fan of the 414 on Violin and if that is the only choice, I would again go the SF-1 route. You will not get much "rasp" or bite but at least it won't be harsh. One option that I have not tried is the 414 in omni mode so I am not sure if that is worth trying or not ...

Good luck,
Baithak
Old 16th August 2007
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baithak View Post
Some of my best recordings of Flute have been with the Royer SF-1 to the side of the flautist and positioned about three-four feet away (good room with low reverb a must), mic parallel to the flute rather than the mic in front position preferred by most people I work with. I find that this cuts down the blowing noise to just the right level and keeps the volume of notes fairly uniform. Anything closer and the proximity effect of the ribbon will begin to show.
Point of clarity -- do you mean 3-4 feet from the flute end, with the mic pointed towards the flute end? Or by "to the side" do you mean off-axis? Or none of the above?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baithak View Post
I am not a fan of the 414 on Violin and if that is the only choice, I would again go the SF-1 route. You will not get much "rasp" or bite but at least it won't be harsh. One option that I have not tried is the 414 in omni mode so I am not sure if that is worth trying or not ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen View Post
Sf12 on both. The violin needs the smoothness of the ribbon; and on the two flute albums I have done nothing touched the Coles 4038s for me... of course, this was before my R84s heh.

Short story is, why not put up both? I expect you'll use the Royer, but you lose nothing by listening to both mics.
So the consensus of the group is that ribbon = good, AKG414 = bad, and if I come into possession of a good SDC I should consider that on flute. I must admit that even in omni the 414 was so disappointing compared with the Royer on trumpet (and piano). I'll try both anyway.

Thanks, group for all the help so far.
Old 16th August 2007
  #9
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Quote:
I totally agree with your position, and respect your opinion, Mosrite.

I turn to a Schoeps first as well personally, but the post offered a 414 or a Royer, so I go Royer, especially for Klezmer music that is more fiddle than violin IMO, and close-miked.

If it were my recording, I'd AB the Schoeps against my vintage Neumann U57 and a Schoeps 221 and see what sounded best. But none of those were options... and I have to admit, for a couple of mixes I have used a fiddle DI straight to the track. YMMV... whatever gets the job done, right?
Apologies Jim, kind of forgot that it's all the poster had, that's what I get for posting too late at night!

So yes I would agree. Out of those 2, the ribbon for sure.
Old 16th August 2007
  #10
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Mic from the side

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
Point of clarity -- do you mean 3-4 feet from the flute end, with the mic pointed towards the flute end? Or by "to the side" do you mean off-axis? Or none of the above?
I meant along the axis of the flute i.e. put the mic parallel to the flute and on top about 3-4 feet. In India, the flute players tend to have the (bamboo) flutes off to one side - either left or right - depending on the player, hence the "side" comment.

I am sure this is even more confusing but I don't have high speed internet where I am so it is difficult to post a reasonable picture.

Baithak
Old 16th August 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baithak View Post
I meant along the axis of the flute i.e. put the mic parallel to the flute and on top about 3-4 feet. In India, the flute players tend to have the (bamboo) flutes off to one side - either left or right - depending on the player, hence the "side" comment.

I am sure this is even more confusing but I don't have high speed internet where I am so it is difficult to post a reasonable picture.

Baithak
Whoops -- I'm confused again. In my situation, the flautist blows across one end of the flute. The open end of the flute would be "to the side" because the flute is held horizontally. So picture someone holding a flute whose end is 18" or so to the right of the performer, parallel to the ground. My ribbon mic has a figure-8 pattern. If I put the flute along the axis of the flute, I could put the ribbon above the flautist 3-4 feet, horizontally, or in front of the flautist at face level, also 3-4 feet in front. In either case, the ribbon will pick up the side of the flute. Is this what you meant? Thanks for going through this a few times -- if you've had success, I want to completely understand your process .
Old 16th August 2007
  #12
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Now I know why

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
Whoops -- I'm confused again. In my situation, the flautist blows across one end of the flute. The open end of the flute would be "to the side" because the flute is held horizontally. So picture someone holding a flute whose end is 18" or so to the right of the performer, parallel to the ground. My ribbon mic has a figure-8 pattern. If I put the flute along the axis of the flute, I could put the ribbon above the flautist 3-4 feet, horizontally, or in front of the flautist at face level, also 3-4 feet in front. In either case, the ribbon will pick up the side of the flute. Is this what you meant? Thanks for going through this a few times -- if you've had success, I want to completely understand your process .
a picture is worth a thousand words. Anyway, one more try.

Since your player has the flute parallel to the floor on to one side, you put the mic directly above it in such a way that the positive side of the ribbon is directly over the tuning holes of the flute. The tuning holes may not be directly facing up, they may be slightly angled forward; In that case, the mic will have to be rotated by the same amount so that it is generally parallel to the line connecting the openings in the flute. Like I said, I wish I could post you a picture.

Good luck,
Baithak
Old 20th August 2007
  #13
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sunflute's Avatar
 

Stereo

I recommend recording the flute in stereo. So far the sound I like the best is from M/S stereo with the center mic facing the middle of the instrument (a few feet away and a little above the player) and thus the side mic gets some of the air from the mouthpiece but not directly. This gives a very realistic and full sound of the instrument.

I just came from doing a latin session where the engineer was very pleased at how big and clear the flute sounded in this setup. He was also nice enough to let me bring my own mics and preamp. I used a pair of Crowley & Tripp Prosceniums (Ribbons) through a John Hardy M2.

I believe there are some violinists in this forum that also record the violin in stereo.
Good Luck,
Peace
Marco
Old 20th August 2007
  #14
Quote:
I recommend recording the flute in stereo. So far the sound I like the best is from M/S stereo with the center mic facing the middle of the instrument (a few feet away and a little above the player) and thus the side mic gets some of the air from the mouthpiece but not directly. This gives a very realistic and full sound of the instrument.
Good advice. I shall be trying that.
Thankyou.
Old 27th August 2007
  #15
I followed a process close to the combination of Baithak's and sunflute's suggestions, bearing in mind Jim's comment about trying both. Here is a sample of the results. This is one flute recorded at one time into three microphones: two SF-1s and one AKG.

Signal chain: mic --> DAV --> Presonus Firepod --> Logic Pro

Four files:
mid -- Royer SF-1 -- one mic only
mid-side sum -- two Royer SF-1s, as if in m-s configuration, but just summing the two signals, no panning
mid-side stereo -- two Royer SF-1s, m+s L, m-s R (i.e. s is panned)
akg omni -- might as well hear the AKG, right?

The m-s stereo comes really close to what the flute really sounded like live. The AKG, which I liked back when I first got it in Nov, sounds dull and doesn't really sound like what the flute sounded like. Thanks for the great suggestions once again.
Attached Files
File Type: aif flute m-s stereo.aif (1.18 MB, 320 views) File Type: aif flute mid.aif (1.18 MB, 303 views) File Type: aif flute akg.aif (1.18 MB, 325 views) File Type: aif flute m+s sum.aif (1.18 MB, 313 views)

Last edited by pianoman; 27th August 2007 at 05:59 AM.. Reason: clarifying
Old 27th August 2007
  #16
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflute View Post
I believe there are some violinists in this forum that also record the violin in stereo.
For me, this is the only way how to nicely record a violin (and basically any other instrument - we have two ears ...). Mono recording of violin sounds quite bad to my ears (flat, 1D, unnatural )
Old 28th August 2007
  #17
hrn
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hrn's Avatar
 

When I record a violin I put one mic, normally a Lomo 19A19 about a little more than one meter (120-150 cm..) over the violin pointing at the sound holes. Then I put a stereo pair of AKG C480b omnis A/B in front of the player at about the same distance as the Lomo. The omnis are about 50 cm from each other and as high as the violin.

A violin, (and most acoustic instruments) are dependent on the room to come out fully in tone. Without the room acoustics, no violin sound. They were built to fill a concert room with hundreds of people.

And, remember to record violins when the air is full of moisture for the best acoustics. Well, for all kinds of acoustics actually.....

With a fluit and a violin I would just put a mic on the fluit and do it as I've described.

I have no experience in putting single mics on fluits though, but a ribbon mic would do the job I guess. Why not a bit above the instrument pointing to the sound hole. Try to get it at the same distance from the room mics as with the violin to prevent phase issues. If the "close" mics leak somesound to each other, it's only nice I think.

Edit: You can do very nice recordings with just a stereo pair in front of the musicians if the room is nice....and the moisture

Hans

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