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Old February 9th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #1
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Recording a Cello

I'm beginning to play around with recording a cello. For now I'll be using an inexpensive Rode M3 mic. Any suggestions on placement of the mic to get a good recording? I'll also be recording a piano and the piano player singing at the same time. I'll have the piano and singer separately mic'd.

And, for the future, what affordable mic's (say up to around $300, and I'm not apposed to buying used) would you suggest for recording a cello.

Thanks
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Old February 9th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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Re: Recording a Cello

Garrett, what style of music is it? With acoustic instruments the room acoustics will play a big part and dictate where you place your mics.
An upright piano in the lounge room usually means you should get your mics closer to the source.

But in a good acoustic, with piano/voice the cello mic usually sits about 1-2' away aimed at the bridge, depending on how close the cello is to the piano.
Experiment with the high pass filter on the M3.

Here's a piano/cello recorded with a Rode NT4, notice the wonderful live acoustic, where the mic is positioned and that they have to be able to easily see each other ...

Watch Rode TV M3 videos RDE Microphones - M3 to get some tips.

And what are you recording it to, eg: 4 tracks will let you track each mic separately to mix later.

Cheers.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 06:43 PM   #3
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Re: Recording a Cello

I will give probably a very generic answer..... use your ears!!!! Learn to listen ...not just hear.

Get to know what you equipment does and which is best for what situation, knowing that you can record almost anything.
Forums are great but often give you an answer but not a long term solution, many years ago (pre internet) i was looking for books of how to record things but soon learnt there was no perfect way it's more an artistic approach of recording of sound.

Here is a link that might explain more for music... The Frequencies of Music - PSB Speakers
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Old February 9th, 2013, 07:09 PM   #4
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Re: Recording a Cello

OK I'm just going to copy something I posted on a similar topic on a music equipment forum here:
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"I would start by placing a mic like the 414 between 18" and 3 feet back from the instrument aimed about where the bridge is, and parallel to the instrument. If the room doesn't negatively affect the sound then the further towards 3 feet rather than 18" you can get the better it will likely sound. Experiment with the polar patterns of this mic. The room will again largely dictate what will work best here. It might have to be cardioid...but figure of 8 or omni can work well if the room sounds ok. Once you have this mic sounding good, then try setting up one or two room mics and see how they sound. Hard to know how it will be without seeing/hearing the room. Experiment with the placement, but this (or these) room mics are likely to be just additional filler used in combo with the closer mic in the final mix. "
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You don't have a 414................but that position is where I would start with trying your Rode mic as a first point of call.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:39 AM   #5
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Re: Recording a Cello

Thanks for the replies. The music genre is modern/pop. I'll be using an NT2-A for the vocal and either another pair of LDC for the piano or another pair of M3's. It is an upright piano (Yamaha P22) which I've successfully recorded before along with vocals using a pair of M3's and the NT2-A. I will be taking all 4 mics into separate tracks and will be mixing after but because the musicians are only in middle school it will be very hard to have them play separately. They just jell a lot better if they are both playing at the same time.

The room is a fairly dead normal living space but if I need to I'll treat it with some sound blankets. It is not a studio but I can get it balanced and knock down any hot spots so that I can get good clean sound. I'll be taking the mics into a Tascam DR-680 either directly or I may take them into an SD 442 first then take the direct outs to the Tascam. Not sure if the upgraded pre's will make that much of difference but I may do that to have the limiters just in case.

Thanks again for your suggestions and help.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 02:19 AM   #6
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Re: Recording a Cello

but but but we're not finished yet :) Yes all up, ie: all in together. Avoid limiting the recording, maybeee the vocal in the mix.

Not knowing your musicians recording experience, be careful you don't miss their 'best take'.

Cello players are classically orientated and put it all into the first take, as in a concert.

The biggest problem will be to get the sound of the room right and the mics in the best spot, without blowing the players out.
Good experiences coming up, good luck.

Cheers.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 12:30 PM   #7
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Re: Recording a Cello

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
I will give probably a very generic answer..... use your ears!!!! Learn to listen ...not just hear.

Get to know what you equipment does and which is best for what situation, knowing that you can record almost anything.
Forums are great but often give you an answer but not a long term solution, many years ago (pre internet) i was looking for books of how to record things but soon learnt there was no perfect way it's more an artistic approach of recording of sound.
+1

This is what to do.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 04:00 AM   #8
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Re: Recording a Cello

Learning to 'listen' is VERY important because one day you will be asked to record some strange things and there just wont be an answer on a forum to get you out of the problem..... You will need need to listen, the performers will be enthusiastic to show you what they can do.
Let me show some examples...
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Old April 29th, 2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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Re: Recording a Cello

A recent cello recording of mine:


Main pair of omnis, omni pair of spots on the cello, spots on the winds.

Not the same as a living room recording, but some of the same principals applies. Try to get a good stereo picture of both instruments, as well as a stereo picture of the pair. Mix to taste. I would use at least six microphones.
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