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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:27 AM   #1
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Micing a violin(ist)

Not so much a question of how to mic the instrument as it is a question of how to route the cable from the violin mic so it doesn't interfere with the violinist. And of course between pieces he'll lower the violin so what I'm thinking would be to just let the cable hang down and loop up to the belt clip XLR adapter. We're not concerned about trying to hide the mic or cable.

My wife will be on piano and they'll be doing the Beethoven "Spring" sonata and the Mozart e minor K 304 as well as a few lighter pieces.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:55 AM   #2
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Why do you need to attach the mic onto violin? For live PA?
For this lovely piece, if played in an acceptable acoustic venue, any stereo technique will be better than close up miking from my preference.
My 2 cents.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 05:09 AM   #3
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Jim, nice program .. sounds like it's going to be live 'lowering the violin between pieces'

If so I'd instruct him to watch the mic cable doesn't interfere with his playing by putting it back over his shoulder as he assumes the position each time. What mic is it? A stereo rig won't work?

Cheers.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:17 AM   #4
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A violin recorded with a close mic technique needs careful eq and treatment to make it sound 'correct' - I'm 100% with Antony - a recital needs ambient recording techiques, with x/y or m/s to suit your taste. Not an on camera mic - a static, correctly set up pair (or one-piece)
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #5
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When filming a recital,I place a stereo digital audio recorder, the Zoom H4N, on a mic stand only a few feet from the performers. When I'm done with editing the muticam footage from the cameras, which are usually up in a balcony, I sync up the audio tracks from the H4N on the timeline with the waveforms from shotgun mics on the cameras. Once I'm satisfied that the audio tracks are actually in sync, I delete all the other tracks except for the track from the H4N. (Except for sometimes keeping the applause the camera mics have picked up.)

The Zoom H4N has made doing recitals much simpler for me. I'm not a sound engineer. It gives a quality recording at a budget price.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #6
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I agree...close miking, especially a good violin will not yield good results unless you know what you're doing. And even then, for classical, it's not going to sound right. Rock & roll...perfect with delay and reverb. Much better to have a good stereo pair and position it so it gets the proper balance of piano to violin. As if it's the ultimate audience seat in the house.
I've been a recording engineer for close to 21 years now and I have worked with Decca Records and Dorian recordings which are two of the best in the biz. Can't tell you how many live concerts I've done. If you have to get a mic close to the violin for PA, put it on a large boom stand about 2-3 feet above the violin and mark a spot on the floor. you'll be much happier with the sound and it won't hinder the artist.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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What mic(s) do you plan on using?


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Old January 11th, 2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Well, I normally prefer an ambient M/S arrangement, (Allan and I have had this discussion several times!) but in this case I'm planning to do both - an ambient M/S (or MAYBE X-Y) setup as well as close mic on both piano and violin. I'm really suspicious of the acoustic environment so am thinking of a belt and supenders approach.

In fact I know the environment is sub-optimal and there are some known resonance issues around the F at the top of the treble cleff. It's a boxy room with a tile floor (carpeted in the vicinity of the piano, but still tile underneath) and I'm hoping that when we get a bunch of people in the room it will help and all will be well with the ambient recording BUT just in case...

And I am also thinking about using a boom mic on the violinist
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #9
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not a bad idea to have both close and stereo pair. Have you tried the ORTF method for the stereo pair? I liked it better than XY or M/S. Here's how to do it...
ORTF stereo technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And if you can keep all the mics on their own tracks to mix later, even better. When I did stuff with Decca, we used almost 40 mics throughout an orchestra BUT the main stereo pair was the primary thing heard. The close mics were used only if necessary to enhance dynamics.

Another trick from my days of classical recording...get a bunch of movers blankets to place around the room to simulate an audience. We literally just covered all the seats in a theater which provided enough damping to help tune the room.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #10
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Hey Robert - I think we're on the same wavelength - I was just debating going over to the moving store and getting a bunch of blankets to toss around to simulate the audience (although hopefully the real audience will applaud more than the blankets.)

For one rehearsal they're going to invite some of their students and use the rehearsal as a teaching exercise as well, so we'll have a few mobile sound absorbers/people plus a few blankets and we should be in good shape.

Yes, of course I will put the close mics and main stereo pair all on separate tracks and hopefully just use the close mics as "emphasis" when and where necessary.Hopefully not necessary at all!

I know about ORTF and it's first cousin NOS but haven't actually used them. I was sort of thinking that they might give a "larger" stereo image, rather more suited to a bigger group, but since I have a couple of rehearsals to try things I might as well give ORTF a shot as well.

If I wind up putting a mic on the violin itself I was thinking of using a DPA 4061 - any thoughts pro/con? Main pair (and close mic on violin if we use a stand mic) will be Schoeps but I haven't 100% settled on the capsules yet. Again - I'll try several.

I'm thinking to record the main pair to a Sound Devices 702 and everything to a MacBook through a Mackie firewire interface.

My biggest concern is room acoustics. If things work out well, the close mics won't be necessary, but if the room is messing things up too much I may be glad I have them.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #11
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I used a DPA 4061 for micing a violin with excellent results.
I have a DPA kit which includes fixing brackets to attach the mic to the violin.
The wire to the mic wasn't a problem.
The mic is designed for recording musical instruments.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #12
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can't go wrong with the Schoeps. The DPA will probably work fine but as I mentioned, you'll end up with more of a "pickup" type sound rather than the natural tone. The advantage to it will be no change in the sound when the player moves. The last album I recorded with violin, I used a U87 about 5 feet away. There's so much projection and thus presence, you'd swear he's playing right in front of your face. This was in a studio environment and was multitracked which is quite different from a live show.
Sounds like you have a good plan though...let us know how it goes!
Ah..one last tip...if you do deaden the room down too much, whether by accident or on purpose, you can always add the ambience back in post. We had to use this trick on a Dorian records small ensemble. There's plenty of good reverb/room simulator plugins for DAWs these days!
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Old January 11th, 2010, 04:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Van Duyn View Post
When filming a recital,I place a stereo digital audio recorder, the Zoom H4N, on a mic stand only a few feet from the performers. When I'm done with editing the muticam footage from the cameras, which are usually up in a balcony, I sync up the audio tracks from the H4N on the timeline with the waveforms from shotgun mics on the cameras. Once I'm satisfied that the audio tracks are actually in sync, I delete all the other tracks except for the track from the H4N. (Except for sometimes keeping the applause the camera mics have picked up.)

The Zoom H4N has made doing recitals much simpler for me. I'm not a sound engineer. It gives a quality recording at a budget price.
Hi Roger,

At what angle (90-120) do you adjust the Zoom H4n's stereo microphones when you place it a few feet away from the performers?

Thanks.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #14
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Hi Richard

Yeah, the DPA attachment is quite clever in that the little triangular clip attaches to the strings below the bridge and you can flip it over so the mic is really close to the violin body or a few inches away (above the strings) I think because it's relatively soft and not directly attached to the soundboard a lot of resonant coupling between mic and soundboard is eliminated.

Which way did you orient it?

Robert

Thanks much for the comments. I know exactly what you mean - I always think, particularly for classical pieces, that a reasonable amount of air between the instrument and the mic is your friend. It lets the sound from different points on the instrument blend into a a single sound. I've done a few demo discs for a classical guitarist and I think you need to be a few feet away from the instrument if you want the recording to resemble what you really hear.

I play tuba and the instrument is so large that the player at least can hear different notes emitting form different locations on the horn. Getting in too close would be deadly IMHO. Less of a problem with the smaller instruments, though.

On the other hand air space lets the room and other instruments exert more influence - and sometimes it's a bad influence. Balance, balance, balance - listen, listen, listen I guess.

I had a cousin who was a cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and I listened up close to a lot of practice and without air between you and the cello a lot of the sweetness disappeared.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 03:36 AM   #15
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Jim
I think it was on top. But it was 18 months ago now and I honestly can't say for sure.
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