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Which mic setup for solo violin
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Which mic setup for solo violin

I will record some solo violin (period instrument with gut strings) next month and am wondering about the best mic setup.

The recording will probably be done in a good sounding church.

I have a pair of Schoeps mk4 and a pair of Rode NT5+omni capsules.
I would invest into another pair of mics if this will improve my options. Hiring mics is also an option.

Would a pair of ribbons be of use? How about the SE VR2, which Studer used so successfully?

Or should I invest into a pair of Schoeps omnis instead?

Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The extra bass extension of an omni is not required for violin because an open g is 196 Hz. Your MK4's should be fine for this recording; it's simply a matter of placing them well.

A ribbon mic can be sonically useful in close placement on modern strings, but I think it would be a very dull sound on gut. You should have adequate control of brightness with your Schoeps mics simply by raising or lowering the stand.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Thanks, Rick. I sort of suspected that ribbons are more useful for modern strings but less for gut.

How would you set them up? 30cm AB? NOS? I find ORTF too directional for a solo violin (and this performer moves a lot...), and I prefer AB for some depth.

I could use the Rodes for some room sound, placed further back. Either as spaced omnis or as cardioids in ORTF?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGebauer ➡️
Thanks, Rick. I sort of suspected that ribbons are more useful for modern strings but less for gut.

How would you set them up? 30cm AB? NOS? I find ORTF too directional for a solo violin (and this performer moves a lot...), and I prefer AB for some depth.

I could use the Rodes for some room sound, placed further back. Either as spaced omnis or as cardioids in ORTF?
I wouldn’t write off ORTF, one of the best solo violin recorded sounds I’ve heard was aVillalta using ORTF with wide Omni flanks providing some decorrelation .

I also think with the mk4 that a slightly off-axis approach can yield a more flattering result than AB pointed straight at the performer, and helps integrate the room a bit easier into the sound.

If you pull the mics back a little bit, thinking more “mains” than “spot” placement, player movement shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Last edited by king2070lplaya; 4 weeks ago at 06:35 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
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I record solo violin all the time (not easy For me (whatever I tried) the very best is Schoeps MK2 AB setup (about 50-60 cm apart) in the about 180 cm height and cca 2 meters from the player.

MK4 sounds a bit tight and not so 3D, so does ORTF etc. for me

Often I see mics for violin being place high from up, I tried many times but does not sound very good to me and also not very natural - usually the listeners are not sitting above the player
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
To Kevin's point, string instruments radiate in very complex patterns which vary with frequency. The only way to record a "whole" violin is to let the room do most of the work for you by integrating the sound. The choice of which type of stereo array to use depends much more on the room than on the violin.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
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Maybe for me, a Schoeps Mk2 (Mk21) in A-B main pair, not too close and one of the Mk4 as a spot if you find that you need a little more detail because of how the space sounds?

If it is a "session" as opposed to a "performance", I think I would take a few mics, start out with the above but let the artist know that I might change out some mics during his warm up.

Can you rent or borrow mics as opposed to buying a new pair? Unless you WANT to buy a pair. The Schoeps Mk2 (or 2S or 21) pair will find a lot of use if you are going to continue to record acoustic music.

Good luck. I'm jealous of your session

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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🎧 5 years
Concert or session?

With piano, or literally violin only?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Session, no piano, just violin solo.

And yes, I am considering to buy another Schoeps pair, although the Rode might work with the omni capsule, too.
(I am still undecided as to which of the mk2 variants would be the best and most versatile for me.)

Since I am a violinist myself this session is a great opportunity to try a good violin setup while someone else is playing, which might work for my own playing, too.

But I could rent a pair, too.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Soloist's movements with ORTF wouldn't be an issue because of the mics' directionality, but because the accurate imaging of ORTF would realistically reproduce the movement, which at soloist micing distances would be distracting.

Soloist's movements would be minimized by the Decca book's standard recommendation for solo violin of a narrow AB pair of parallel cards at 10-12" apart, 5' back, and 8-10' up. They even recommend panning the mics in to 70-90% L/R. Then adding a rearward-facing ORTF pair for ambiance, if needed.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Soloist's movements with ORTF wouldn't be an issue because of the mics' directionality, but because the accurate imaging of ORTF would realistically reproduce the movement, which at soloist micing distances would be distracting.
Yup, that's why I wouldn't want to do it that way. It sort of works but tends to give the impression of a very restless performer dancing around.

Quote:
Soloist's movements would be minimized by the Decca book's standard recommendation for solo violin of a narrow AB pair of parallel cards at 10-12" apart, 5' back, and 8-10' up. They even recommend panning the mics in to 70-90% L/R. Then adding a rearward-facing ORTF pair for ambiance, if needed.
Another Yup, I have the book, and was considering their recommendations. I don't think I would pan in though. I like the width of 30cm AB for violin.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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cjogo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
We use a NT3 Rode ~~ over the shoulder and a Cascade ribbon out front ,,,
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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🎧 10 years
It's worth watching this video by Hudson Fair (who frequently posts here as 'Plush'). There's a GS thread devoted to these methods which I'll add also. The violin approach is one advocated by Tony Faulkner (with input from Decca also)...

https://youtu.be/CkbkoP8tCMk

Plush will present at The Sound Summit

Bear in mind that these demonstrations feature piano in the balance too...but you can adjust for the absence of it (indeed it will afford you more placement freedoms, and absence of piano spill)

Ribbons are certainly worth considering....some designs may take off more HF sheen than others, and with gut vs modern strings you'll have to arrive at a balance that suits you. The Coles 4038's shown here, for example, might go a little too far in the 'detail-burnishing process'....but you won't know until you try !

Used at that distance the passive sE VR1 ribbons would give sufficient output into any mic preamp, with a touch more HF extension included, if that's what you seek for the gut strings. Alternatively, checking out the range of currently available No Hype ribbons will get you a pair which have a more traditional, Coles-like HF-subdued nature...along with great build quality and very reasonable pricing !

Bear in mind that the Coles mics are in the near field of the instrument, which is precisely where you don't want obvious brightness being accentuated....and a more distant pair of Schoeps (ORTF or AB), used to anchor the instrument within the room/hall's establishing acoustic fingerprint, will likely give you enough HF extension anyway...

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 04:20 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
It's worth watching this video by Hudson Fair (who frequently posts here as 'Plush'). There's a GS thread devoted to these methods which I'll add also. The violin approach is one advocated by Tony Faulkner (with input from Decca also)...

https://youtu.be/CkbkoP8tCMk

Plush will present at The Sound Summit

Bear in mind that these demonstrations feature piano in the balance too...but you can adjust for the absence of it (indeed it will afford you more placement freedoms, and absence of piano spill)

Ribbons are certainly worth considering....some designs may take off more HF sheen than others, and with gut vs modern strings you'll have to arrive at a balance that suits you. The Coles 4038's shown here, for example, might go a little too far in the 'detail-burnishing process'....but you won't know until you try !

Used at that distance the passive sE VR1 ribbons would give sufficient output into any mic preamp, with a touch more HF extension included, if that's what you seek for the gut strings. Alternatively, checking out the range of currently available No Hype ribbons will get you a pair which have a more traditional, Coles-like HF-subdued nature...along with great build quality and very reasonable pricing !

Bear in mind that the Coles mics are in the near field of the instrument, which is precisely where you don't want obvious brightness being accentuated....and a more distant pair of Schoeps (ORTF or AB), used to anchor the instrument within the room/hall's establishing acoustic fingerprint, will likely give you enough HF extension anyway...
Thanks Studer, and of course Plush, a great video!

I have to say that the solo piano sound in that video is not my favourite, but I am not such a great fan of modern pianos and the way they are recorded these days. Too "perfect"...

Unfortunately there is no actual example of the violin recorded with the ribbons. In this particular setup I do suspect that it is more suited to the sound ideals of modern violins than to gut strings, where a certain amount of rosin noise is actually desired, at least from my perspective.

Studer, is there any reason you would prefer the VR1 over the VR2 (enough pre-amplification assumed)?

If you have more links to videos like this one (I have the ones to the Tony Faulkner interviews), regardless of which specific instruments are being recorded, I would really appreciate them.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo ➡️
We use a NT3 Rode ~~ over the shoulder and a Cascade ribbon out front ,,,
Which Cascade ribbon?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
as always, things depend on mixing skills but in a reverberant or highly reflective room, most likely i'd use a single mk4 on the violin and the omnis as a widely spaced ambient pair.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGebauer ➡️
Unfortunately there is no actual example of the violin recorded with the ribbons. In this particular setup I do suspect that it is more suited to the sound ideals of modern violins than to gut strings, where a certain amount of rosin noise is actually desired, at least from my perspective.

Studer, is there any reason you would prefer the VR1 over the VR2 (enough pre-amplification assumed)?

If you have more links to videos like this one (I have the ones to the Tony Faulkner interviews), regardless of which specific instruments are being recorded, I would really appreciate them.
As described by Plush, the Coles ribbons would be getting a very muted piano sound due to the mics' null zones facing it...so the lost clarity and coherence of the piano would be largely replaced/provided by the tail pair (and perhaps an LD condensor somewhat under the rear end of the lid, for a little more bass weight).

The VR1 would simply save you a little money over the VR2...and in that particular use scenario the VR1 would give you sufficient gain without needing to go to the active VR2's. However the VR2's may be the more generally applicable pair for a wider range of uses...as output level is never likely to be a problem for them !

https://youtu.be/v8qkjoWJwSI

https://vimeo.com/183269103

https://vimeo.com/153463906

It would appear that the hi-res download of the entire performance (Beethoven Symphony No.9/Anima Eterna Brugge & The Australian Brandenburg Choir) is now downloadable free from the appropriate Rode webpage:

https://store.rode.com/506202/checko...true&locale=en
https://en.rode.com/animaeterna
https://vimeo.com/173713805

"Recorded, engineered and mixed by multiple Grammy-winning producer Tony Faulkner using experimental RØDE microphones.
Assisted by Jason Blackwell.
Mixed at Green Room Productions by Tony Faulkner.
Performance Film Directed by Peter Butler"

https://www.amazon.com/vdp/11e9b17ba...96444f4a4f2897 Several of these mics used as spots in the video above ….

Last edited by studer58; 3 weeks ago at 01:31 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Went back and found some old recordings I made of solo violin, and violin and piano in the same session. I remembered this as one of my favorite violin sessions in terms of technique, though I hear some things now I probably would try and mitigate.

This was all done for a video session, with no mics in the shot, and the violinist standing in concert position roughly next to the pianist. Violin mics were a pair of KM131 spaced 1' and boomed in front of and over the violinist, probably 4'-ish from the instrument, out of the wide camera shot, and the piano I believe were a pair of MK21 schoeps in the Decca tail position, and obviously there was a good bit of piano bleed into the violin mics as well. For the solo violin piece, the piano mics were turned off, but the same relatively close violin mic placement was kept.

I figure this might be instructive on the sound one gets with a placement like this when recording solo violin.

EDIT sorry, is upload broken? I can't get any files to stick to this post, within the size limit or not. Maybe it's a Firefox thing but I can't be bothered with browser wars rn. I'll just post the WAV's to Dropbox:

Solo Violin: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xr5nh6hn2n...anini.wav?dl=0

Violin and Piano: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xlz0vsjefl...t%201.wav?dl=0

Last edited by king2070lplaya; 3 weeks ago at 05:23 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
After hearing the example of king2070lplaya, I got curious if I could find something in my sound archive too. Solo violin isn't really something I record every day. I found something from 2001. I can remember my Weiss converter had problems so I brought something else, and I was quite worried if that box could meet the quality level of a Weiss ADC1. I took a very short part from the middle of the piece. This is an A-B of two B&K's (now DPA) 4006 and a STUDER D19 Valve. (Valve setting not used).
Attached Files

Bach _ Partita.wav (15.33 MB, 875 views)

Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
After hearing the example of king2070lplaya, I got curious if I could find something in my sound archive too. Solo violin isn't really something I record every day. I found something from 2001. I can remember my Weiss converter had problems so I brought something else, and I was quite worried if that box could meet the quality level of a Weiss ADC1. I took a very short part from the middle of the piece. This is an A-B of two B&K's (now DPA) 4006 and a STUDER D19 Valve. (Valve setting not used).
So good! I love the sound of the room around the violin, just wonderful to listen to.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
After hearing the example of king2070lplaya, I got curious if I could find something in my sound archive too. Solo violin isn't really something I record every day. I found something from 2001. I can remember my Weiss converter had problems so I brought something else, and I was quite worried if that box could meet the quality level of a Weiss ADC1. I took a very short part from the middle of the piece. This is an A-B of two B&K's (now DPA) 4006 and a STUDER D19 Valve. (Valve setting not used).
A-B how far apart?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
A-B how far apart?
60-65cm wide. The Bach Partita was just a small part of the performance. Several combinations of ensembles performed, including string-quartet and violin/piano. Unfortunately the sound moves a bit, they never can stand still.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Looking at the DPA4006 it seems to come with different grids/grills to change the HF response, did you use the standard one?

Do you remember the app. distance from the player?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGebauer ➡️
Looking at the DPA4006 it seems to come with different grids/grills to change the HF response, did you use the standard one?

Do you remember the app. distance from the player?
Although I was experimenting with the so called trapezium grid, this probably has been recorded with the standard grid.

It is long ago, 2001, distance appr. 1.5 - (max) 2 meters.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Which would be the closest Schoeps equivalent, the MK2h?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
1 Review written
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGebauer ➡️
Which would be the closest Schoeps equivalent, the MK2h?
MK2H is too sharp sounding ... I returned it immediately some time ago ... Much better to use some EQ if needed for MK2 ... (for me). But violin usually needs to reduce the highs rather than to add
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
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Interesting to hear those two samples above - Paganini and Bach. Both very nice. Paganini brings a bit more rich and intimate sound of the violin, Bach (probably due to reverberant acoustics and slightly more distance from the microphones) a bit more spherical but slightly thinner sound of the instrument ?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGebauer ➡️
Which Cascade ribbon?
FAT HEAD II ACTIVE
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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ISedlacek's Avatar
 
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I could share on thing: when I use AB stereo set (like MK2), I found that if I put one mic higher and the other lower (like 10 cm difference) the resulting sound is a bit more interesting (space, colour) than if they are in the same height.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➡️
MK2H is too sharp sounding ... I returned it immediately some time ago ... Much better to use some EQ if needed for MK2 ... (for me). But violin usually needs to reduce the highs rather than to add
My question was more whether the DPA4006 standard grid compares to the mk2h or the mk2.
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