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Help me pick a mic for accordion
Old 25th September 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
corworld's Avatar
 

Help me pick a mic for accordion

I have a session coming up with a 12-piece band doing acoustic folk dance music. I have most of my mics picked out but need some advice on the accordion. The player is using a student-model hohner and I only have one channel to spare so I'm not doing stereo or micing the bass side.

Here is what is available:
RE10
Beyer 201
421
57
Senn 906

Any favorites? I'm leaning toward the re10 but need some reassurance.

Thanks
Old 25th September 2013
  #2
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 

Easy...57, I love them for reed organs too.
Old 25th September 2013
  #3
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I'd use the re10 or 421.
Old 25th September 2013
  #4
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Wyllys's Avatar
 

I've played accordion for nearly 40 years. I'd be happy with any standard production mic. I suggest you set up several and choose which ones gives you the most of what you need.

That said, using a student model Hohner likely means one of two things:

It's all they have OR they like the cliche accordion sound...cheap and approaching a natural distortion.

This choice of instrument does not require much of a microphone, let alone worrying about how "high end" to go.
Old 25th September 2013
  #5
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omnialinx's Avatar
I had become via word of mouth a sort of go-to guy for tracking and mixing accordions several years ago that lead me down some pretty amazing avenues. Personally I believe the accordion needs at the very least two mics, but I prefer 3 and sometimes 4.
Mic placement is by far the most important factor. Especially with an accordion.
The set up I used with very good results was: a shure 57 on the keys side. An LDC as an over hear to capture the entire instrument and room ambiance. Another LDC near the buttons (414 like mics are awesome in this application) to handle the bellows.
It is an extraordinary and interesting instrument to record and I have almost always enjoyed tracking and mixing them. Matter of fact if tracked well its psychologically hard not to have the instrument be the key feature in the mix, and if this is what's not intended you might want to watch out for that. I've used a large variety of mics and honestly more importantly is their placement. Try to keep them 12 inches at the sides and between 20 to 30 inches above. It's pretty subjective to the accordions size, age, and type with these distances so also keep that in mind.
Old 25th September 2013
  #6
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Wyllys's Avatar
 

When I record myself on solo accordion, it is with 3 U87's, one L, one R and one in the middle 12 feet out. The L/R mics are about 3 feet out and a tad in front.

For a band, the LH may be superfluous and in this case with a "toy" accordion, I'd bet that zero LH is the way to go. A 57 on the grill should do it. It's not a fancy accordion, likely used for "flavoring", so no need to try to capture anything pristine.
Old 25th September 2013
  #7
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omnialinx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
When I record myself on solo accordion, it is with 3 U87's, one L, one R and one in the middle 12 feet out. The L/R mics are about 3 feet out and a tad in front.

For a band, the LH may be superfluous and in this case with a "toy" accordion, I'd bet that zero LH is the way to go. A 57 on the grill should do it. It's not a fancy accordion, likely used for "flavoring", so no need to try to capture anything pristine.
Three u87's? That's pretty ideal. Maybe a tad overkill but I imagine you really can't go wrong with them. Thinking about it I should half-agree and split the difference placing the key and button mics at 24 inches. I had literally raised my arm in front of me holding my phone in the other as I tried to gauge how far.
Once again I can't stress how important Mic placement is regarding the accordion (well every instrument really but this guy can get really great results if done right). I once tracked a gypsy jazz quintet and threw an at-4047 and a shure 57 on either side of the accordion with excellent results. We used office dividers I had for isolation between musicians but the session sounded great. Those 57s really do come in handy sometimes and as I get older I find myself using them more and more. Never used three u87s at once though. That's gotta be nice to have on hand. An u87 above and six feet out would probably be pretty awesome.
Also once again your gonna have a lot of fun mixing that accordion later. Landscapes of aural complexity. Good stuff.
Old 25th September 2013
  #8
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corworld's Avatar
 

Thanks for the replies. As some have said, this is just to add some flavor to the ensemble. There will be violins and a horn section doubling the melody. While four mics would be ok for a solo recording, the key here is to track the ensemble live. No need to get fancy. There will be a LDC as a room mic as well. I think I'll set up a 57 and RE10 and see if I can live with the 57's presence honk. If not, the RE10 has a much smoother high end and will sound great.
Old 25th September 2013
  #9
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omnialinx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by corworld View Post
Thanks for the replies. As some have said, this is just to add some flavor to the ensemble. There will be violins and a horn section doubling the melody. While four mics would be ok for a solo recording, the key here is to track the ensemble live. No need to get fancy. There will be a LDC as a room mic as well. I think I'll set up a 57 and RE10 and see if I can live with the 57's presence honk. If not, the RE10 has a much smoother high end and will sound great.
Good idea. It's what I would do in such a situation. Yeah we got carried away. Love doing ensembles like that. Makes me appreciate my outboard and better mics far more.

Sent from my HTCEVOV4G
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Bringing this thread back from the dead, just in time for Halloween....

Recording accordion for the first time next week. It's a main instrument, played by the singer, but we are going to multitrack it so I don't have to worry about vocal bleed. The plan is to do preproduction and put together rhythm/click tracks for the rest of the band to play to and prepare.

The accordion has a 1/4" out of some kind which I plan to take and see if it can be of any use. After reading some posts in this thread, my inclination is to use a spaced pair along with a center mic as well. The music is a bit more uptempo and energetic overall (band has a drummer), and the accordion will play a large role in the final mix.

Based on what I have - I think I'm going to use a pair of CAD M179 for the pair and a JJ Audio Pitbull (87 style) for the center. Here is my mic list for the session, any other suggestions are appreciated:

CAD M179 pair
JJ Audio Pitbull (87 style)
Aston Origin
Chameleon Labs TS-1 (all capsules)
Baby Bottle
Cascade M39 pair (SDC)
Cascade Fathead pair (Lundahl)
Cascade Vinjet (Lundahl)
All kinds of dynamics

Preamps - Sytek or Cranborne Audio Camden - also have CAPI, Chameleon Labs, etc.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
FWIW the best mic I ever used on an accordion was a Beyer M500. Warm and detailed.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
standup's Avatar
Ribbon or baby bottle would be my guess, of the ones I know.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Accordions are very forgiving -- they sound pretty good on a range of mics. Only issues you might want to take into account are movement of the player and key-clack, but those are really more about placement than the choice of mic.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Most performers I see for accordion and bandoneon are using clip-ons:

Shure Beta98 vs. PGA98


You will get vocal bleed (if doing both at the same time) unless the mics stay real close.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Plush's Avatar
Any good mic will do.
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