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Mic/Method For Recording Cello?
Old 8th June 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Question Mic/Method For Recording Cello?

Hi All,
First session coming up on Saturday where I'll be engineering for an arrangement including a cello. Though in my early years of engineering, definitely not a newbie, but haven't run into a cello yet...

Any suggestions?

Here's some of my Rig:
-Black Lion "Deluxe" 002 mod
-Mytek 8x96 A/D
-Apogee Mini Me
-Focusrite Red 1(4 channel)
-GT "The Brick"(2)

Here's (some of) my Mics:
-sm57/58/beta 58,
-EV RE-20
-KSM 27/44
-Oktava MK012 pair "Dorsey Mod"
-Oktava MK319(Joly mod in utero) All Oktavas certified Russian BTW..
-SP C4 pair
-V69me

Pre-Thanks...
Old 8th June 2006
  #2
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
First some questions:
What style of music
How does the room sound
Are you recording the cello alone
Are you willing to rent microphones for this

kjetil
Old 8th June 2006
  #3
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I would try the KSM 44 in combination with an X/Y configuration of the MK012. Start with the MK012's and blend in the KSM 44 to taste.
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh, and I would send the MK012's through the Apogee and the KSM through the brick.
Old 8th June 2006
  #5
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

> Here's some of my Rig:
> Here's (some of) my Mics:

Your gear and microphones have a lot less influence on what you'll capture compared to the room you record in. Just as important is how close the cello and microphones are to reflecting surfaces. If you're recording on an auditorum stage during off hours you're 90 percent of the way there. In that case don't get too close - about 3 to 5 feet in front is great. Cellos radiate different frequencies in different directions, so you need to be far enough back to capture them all. And use a good condenser microphone.

If you're in a small room you'll need to get closer to improve the ratio between the direct and reflected sounds. Unless the room is well treated to avoid blatant "early" reflections off nearby surfaces. Since you didn't say what sort of room you'll use, I can offer only general advice.

--Ethan
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Bat Head,
Thanks man, that sounds like it would offer up some nice results...similar to what I was thinking.

I just wasn't sure how to efficiently "treat" a cello...I got kind of spooked for a minute there...
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #7
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commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Room/Rooms using for this:

Main room 10x14' has pretty good treatment and is deadish, but has a tinge of life and character. Wood floors, throw rug, concrete walls with ply then acoustic foam "wallpapered" over 2 walls and ceiling. One wall is old Boston basement stone/concrete with a linen curtain thrown over it, and a pine ledge about halfway up.

Iso booth is about 8x8' and treated to be very dead.

Control room is about 8x8' as well, and separated with 2x bulletproof glass and constructed with concrete, wood, and layered with acoustic foam.

It's all in all a pretty nice sounding space...we've extracted some great sounds from it, and engineer friends from a massive "7 figure" studio across the street seem to think it's treated well, and plenty capable...
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm
First some questions:
1.What style of music
2.How does the room sound
3.Are you recording the cello alone
4.Are you willing to rent microphones for this

kjetil
Hey Klaukholm, thanks...here's some insight:

1. Not sure, haven't heard it. All I know is female vox, ac. guitar, cello. Educated guess; a stripped down Nirvana "Unplugged" doing "All Apologies" sans Dave Grohl, female vox in place of K.C., no Meat Puppets? heh
2. See previous post
3. Yes. I will first lay down acoustic guitar and vocals live, and then dub more solo vocals, and cello alone.
4. No. It doesn't fit into the budget, and would negate any "profit." It's simply a 2-3 hour session for a 2.5 minute single song. Plus for a nice project studio, I think the current collection should well suffice.

Cheers...
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

> It's all in all a pretty nice sounding space <

In that case, just don't put the microphones too close to the cello and you'll be in good shape.

--Ethan
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #10
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nathanvacha's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
> It's all in all a pretty nice sounding space <

In that case, just don't put the microphones too close to the cello and you'll be in good shape.

--Ethan
Yes. Not too close. I'd suggest a mic, but I'm not familiar firsthand with any of your ldc's enough to pick anything from your list.
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Part of it depends on the actual cello that you've got coming in. To play it safe, I would go with either the Shure KSM or possibly the RE20, if there's too much nasal character to the actual instrument. You just really won't be able to tell until it shows up.
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #12
krs
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krs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrebes
Part of it depends on the actual cello that you've got coming in. To play it safe, I would go with either the Shure KSM or possibly the RE20, if there's too much nasal character to the actual instrument. You just really won't be able to tell until it shows up.
Absolutely. It also depends completely the register(s) employed by the player and where the part needs to sit in the arrangement. Agreed with Ethan, too close micing is a common error.

Let's hear a clip when it's over!
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #13
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axisdreamer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
cello

I've had good luck with an MK012 on cello,I find those mic's eq really well. The V69 works on cello and should ad some warmth,you could also try your other oktava ribbon mic. I never tried any others on your list. I had a Lawson tube mic some years back and it got a nice big and fat sound on my cello,also had good luck with an AT4050.and an old RCA paint brush ribbon mic.


Good Luck !

Stace
Old 10th June 2006
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by commaKaze
Hi All,
First session coming up on Saturday where I'll be engineering for an arrangement including a cello. Though in my early years of engineering, definitely not a newbie, but haven't run into a cello yet...

Any suggestions?

Here's some of my Rig:
-Black Lion "Deluxe" 002 mod
-Mytek 8x96 A/D
-Apogee Mini Me
-Focusrite Red 1(4 channel)
-GT "The Brick"(2)

Here's (some of) my Mics:
-sm57/58/beta 58,
-EV RE-20
-KSM 27/44
-Oktava MK012 pair "Dorsey Mod"
-Oktava MK319(Joly mod in utero) All Oktavas certified Russian BTW..
-SP C4 pair
-V69me

Pre-Thanks...
You also my be lucky enough to have a direct mic/line out from the cello. We used a Sony C-800G at Ardent Studios and it was amazing!
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #15
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r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
quick aside here...

Hey!
axisdreamer!

how is that PaintBrush mic
this one here..?


i just wanna shout about ribbon mics on strings/horns

and back...

where will he be sitting in the room..
maybe try puting the cello near the brickwall?

give it a good walk around the room as usual
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Not too close for proximity is definitely good. Sometime micing Cello is pretty tricky because of music stands getting in the way (or in the case of a cellist, the mic getting in the way. If it's a good rooom, you can get the mic above the music stand and over the cello...some purist definitely prefer it this way. if you need the cello to cut through the track, then go below the stand and about 1m out or just under from the bridge area.

As I try to do with all miced instruments, the best results that i have received from close micing stringed instruments, is to ALWAYS get a pair of headphones, turn them up to overpower the direct sound of the instrument, loosen the mic stand and move the mic around (as well as the angle) until it sounds the best for what you are looking for. Sometimes I close my eyes so I am just a hint less biased towards the position of what SHOULD sound best. Also wait until the Cellist is really settled in, because they will move around.
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #17
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not_so_new's Avatar
Hey commaKaze.

Lots of good suggestions in this thread so I think you are well on your way. Let me just take a second to point out that if there is anyone here on GS who knows about recording Cello it would be Ethan W.

If you have ever seen his "Cello Rondo" it is very entertaining and very well played and recorded (check out the link, very very cool).

Anyway as I said there are plenty of great suggestions here just wanted to point out that Ethan is really the man when it comes to Cello recordings specficly I think.

As for me, I don't know a damn thing about them... heh Just a tip for you in that department. If I am working with something new I like to find a good spot to record it close with cranked phones like Doug said above and then I like to take another mic (or two) and move them into the room even if the room is not "great" just because I tend to find many acoustic instruments, especially stringed instruments seem to set up out into the room a ways. If you can spare the tracks and the mics I would get some safety tracks going a bit out from the cello, maybe even a little more away than you might think at first... you never know.

Good luck.
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #18
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r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
nerdy/gross i know butt....
i keep on thinking of that that section of ModernRecordingTechniques by Hubler

where there is a cello in a room and the various freqs are in different areas of the sphere around the cello...600hz is under
1Khz is top

is this wrong?

what about that PaintBrush..?
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

> where there is a cello in a room and the various freqs are in different areas of the sphere around the cello...600hz is under 1Khz is top ... is this wrong? <

No, it's correct. All instruments radiate different frequencies in different directions. I think I made that point earlier in this thread. See THIS article on Sound on Sound magazine's web site. Radiation patterns are explained in the sidebar The Acoustic Properties Of String Instruments about 3/4 of the way down the page.

--Ethan
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #20
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r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thanks ethan...

i just love the way this looks...



the lows are soo interesting to me...for no good reason...
Old 10th June 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
> where there is a cello in a room and the various freqs are in different areas of the sphere around the cello...600hz is under 1Khz is top ... is this wrong? <

No, it's correct. All instruments radiate different frequencies in different directions. I think I made that point earlier in this thread. See THIS article on Sound on Sound magazine's web site. Radiation patterns are explained in the sidebar The Acoustic Properties Of String Instruments about 3/4 of the way down the page.

--Ethan
Thanks for that link, Ethan!

I haven't had a chance to mic more than two violins in a couple decades -- but as a symphony subscriber and an interested consumer of classical recordings, I'm fascinated.

It's always seemed that "classical" orchestral music is one type of music that seems particularly ill-served by the limitations of recording in general and particularly resistant to high-tech attempts to improve on the situation.

Now I'm gonna go devour this article while I listen to some thoroughly trashily recorded but irresistable lo fi trash pop.
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You guys have been so great with all your help. I can't thank everyone individually, but a sincere thanks goes out to all of you...

The session went pretty well. The cello player was very much a novice, having started playing only months ago, but was plently capable and I still treated the session as though she were pro of course. After a number of takes, we got what we felt we were comfortable with as a good one...though I hear a squeak or 2 in there I wasn't so fond of, but they're OK with it. The acoustic was a great old Martin from the 50's that was the singer's dad's guitar. Sounded beautiful. Singer had a great voice as well.

You asked for a clip, so here it is...feel free to let me know how my maiden cello voyage went...let opinions fly!!!

The mp3 was encoded at 246k/VBR so as to fit:

01 Just A Phase.mp3
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Lightbulb

> feel free to let me know how my maiden cello voyage went...let opinions fly!!! <

The cello sounds fine - especially for a beginner player.

I did notice what sounds like side to side wandering, but I couldn't tell if that was due to the player moving around, the miking, or intentional slight panning.

--Ethan
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer
> feel free to let me know how my maiden cello voyage went...let opinions fly!!! <

The cello sounds fine - especially for a beginner player.

I did notice what sounds like side to side wandering, but I couldn't tell if that was due to the player moving around, the miking, or intentional slight panning.

--Ethan
Yeah, she was pretty good for a beginner huh? I'm sure your being quite a skilled cellist you can hear those few squeaks I noticed. On top of her being quite new to the instrument, it was also her first recording session.

About the "side to side wandering"...It is intentionally automated to be louder when the vocals drop, and drop when the vocals come in...though perhaps there was a bit of her moving as well. I think it all plays a role. As I said, her 1st recording session...

I want to reiterate that you all made me feel confident going into the session with your suggestions/advice. Much appreciated again.

The mics used were:
-EV RE-20
-Oktava MK012s "Dorsey" in XY,
-KSM44

All going through the Focusrite Red 1
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #25
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm glad to hear that it went well.
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
commaKaze's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Bat Head,
I appreciate that, and your input really helped. As you suggested, I used the XY for the Oktavas, then blended the RE-20 and KSM44...

Hey, so I notice you're in Boston too? Do you run your own gig or work at a Boston studio I would know? If you don't mind of course...
Old 13th June 2006 | Show parent
  #27
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Bat Head Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by commaKaze
Hey, so I notice you're in Boston too? Do you run your own gig or work at a Boston studio I would know? If you don't mind of course...
I mostly freelance, go back and forth between live and studio settings ya know, but I'm not tied to any one room.
πŸ“ Reply

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