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Accordion recording: suggestions requested

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by lorenzo gerace, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member


    I'll be involved in my next project in recording a trio (cello, flute and accordion) for some contemporary and Piazzolla style pieces; the room I'll be recording in has yet to be defined, but my main concern is the accordion micing technique: I recorded one in a folk music ensemble a couple of years ago and I used a pair of 414 (TLII maybe) in a stereo XY pattern fairly close; that came out fine; this time though I want to set up a main stereo pair (an ORTF as I almost always do in these music contexts) and spot mic the instruments to be able to mix later in Pro Tools.
    That said do you think that the XY pattern over the accordion could work well (together with the main ORTF) or do you have any other tried and true techniques for this task?

    Thanx for your feedback

    L.G. :)
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Recently we added accordian tracks to our project.I used an AKG 451L on the keyside and an SP B3 in omni above the instrument.It sounded great.I do think that a stereo pair of the 451's would have worked also but the close micing of the grill on the key side brought an incredible realism to the sound.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I left an accordion in the back seat of my car with all the doors locked. ... Sadly, when I retuned from a short errand, the rear window was broken out and the were two accordions in the car!! Bwah-haa-haa-haa! :D
    Nope never used it! Never heard it! I don't know nothin' about it.. It could be the best thing since sliced bacon! (really!) :D
  4. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    I recently did a session where I used a 414 in carioid about 2' x 2' above and away from the keyboard side. The operator (me) had never played the instrument and was going nowhere near all those buttons on the other side.

    It came out very clean and my left arm was sore from pumping the bellows.

    Its a really difficult instrument for a piano player to play.
  5. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Thanx for the replys

    It seems that 414s could be a good solution then, I'll try to mic the two sides instead of stereo micing as an alternative.

    If anybody else has any insight to share on the subject please come in.

    Thanx for the moment

  6. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Now,now Kurt, be nice. :D
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Just kidding!! I'm a big fan of Myron Floren..
    "Tank a you a boyz ... now we a gonna hava Myron a Floren come out and a play the gotta damma squeezea box..! Bobby, getta offa Sissy.. !!! "
  8. Guest

    Whenever I've mic'ed an unfamiliar instrument for the first time, i often ask the musician what they have found to work well in their experience.

    I recently did a recording of original Argentinian music where an accordian and similar type squeeze-boxes were used. The musician suggested putting two large diaphragm condensers, about chest height, one on either side of him, about a foot away from each end of the instrument.

    That technique recorded the instrument fabulously. I'm not implying that other methods wouldn't have worked equally well, but that's what captured the sound we were looking for, so no need to experiment further in that particular case.
  9. byacey

    byacey Active Member

    I Have recorded these varmints quite a bit. 414 is a good choice, nice round, open sound. Small diaphragms tend to sound thin and shrill. For my purposes The right hand is mostly what I am after, so I place the 414 about 18" to 2 feet from the grill. If there is a lot of keyboard noise being picked up increase the distance. If the player plays a strong left hand this is worth micing also, another 414 about 18" from the left hand buttons, slightly to the front of the instrument. This keeps level variations to a minimum as the bellows are opened and closed.
    If you have a good sounding room go stereo, MS about 3 feet in front of the accordian. During mixdown I find boosting 5K and 12 K a little gives it a nice sheen.
    Bill Y.
  10. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Again Thanx

    I think that the mic type should be clear now, I'll try and experiment with the position, and wheter if to go stereo or not.

  11. Linwood

    Linwood Member

    I had a session recording accordion last year and after we were done the producer asked me if we could run it through autotune. True story.
  12. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

  13. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Accordion is one of the instruments I recorded mostly in my engineering career. I have even a few albums released by major labels .
    Try this:

    Keyboard side > At4050 cardioid
    button/bass side > Beta 57 cardioid
    You can also add the line out of the instrument just for a little blending

    (A Neumann 87 can also do a nice job, even fuller than the at4050 for this application. Also ya can check the GT55 for the bass side.)
    Put the microphones so as to not pick to much key/button noise. A nice revised instrument is a must.

    Make a few passages to look for dynamics; do not compress too much.
    If you end up with 4 tracks, let us say, two groups of stereo lead accordion, separate them in the stereo.

    Another technique: Some players prefer to play just the left hand and afterwards the right hand.

    Adding hi-shelf over 5.3k will generally bring too much key noise.

    Key frequencies: 2.9k, 4.7k, 5.3k, 800, 1.3k, 240, 120.

    You can also highpass at 80hz for the AT4050 side ( key side), but do not cut on the bass/button side.

    Add a little reverb room, maybe a vry low hall and a slight stereo chorus.

    Try this. You will not get regretted!
    If ya want you can PM and I send ya some prestes of eq, based on Waves Q4 .

    Hope it helped ya.
  14. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Hey Alecio

    Very nice ! Thanx a lot for your infos. That really helped; I have a pair of AT 3035, and I'll try thoseon the key side, as they really sound good even for a "project studio" mic.

    I'll A/B it with the 414 and see what I like best.

    I'll email you for those Q4 preset when in mixing.

    Thanx a lot

    L.G. :)
  15. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    you´re wellcome. I´ve got some nice entry templates for the 02R as well as for the WAves Q series.

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