Flute Recording Experiences?

Discussion in 'Woodwinds' started by stephentedsmith, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Flute Recording Experiences?

    Recording Flute

    I am about to record a flute and am interested to hear other peoples
    experiences. Have done this once before using a pair of Studio Projects C4
    mics. Theory was was have a very good room acoustically and a pair of
    omni’s can provide a vibey and live feel to the recording.

    Have thought about perhaps trying an omni condenser valve mic such as an

    ALT Recording Studios Brighton
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey stephentedsmith -
    Welcome to RO!

    Am I assuming right if I were to assume this is for classical (vice jazz or rock) flute?

    If it's truly for a soloist (no accompaniment), the spaced omni technique would work fine, but a mic up a little closer would help with localization as well as to bring out the potentially troublesome lower register of the flute.

    I've had pretty good success just using a single pair of mics in ORTF but the space was very live. In this particular case, I had the mics back only about 6 feet or so and about 1.5' above head level and "looking" down.

    I know some may say that the flute is a single point-source instrument and that a stereo pair would be superfluous, but the ORTF gives that strong(ish) center image with a decent enough reverberant field to give you the impression of space around the instrument.

    Do you know the venue you'll be working in? Is it live? Dead? How about the genre of the music? What mics, pres and so on do you have to work with?

    BTW -
    I like your website.

  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the tricky part is finding a balance between what the instrument sounds like in the room versus what it sounds like to the ear of the person playing it. Violin and flute are good examples of instruments that have a distinct sound from the point-of-view of the musician, just inches from their ear. Sometimes the artist wants the recording to sound more like their ear perceives it rather than how everyone else hears it. When that's the case you may need to get something in there close. An AKG C1000 is an excellent mic for the more intimate flute sound. And there are lots of sweet violin mics.

    Using your omni set-up for the ambient sound with some of the more direct sound judiciously mixed and panned can be very satisfying to everybody if you find a distance that avoids phasing problems.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I would agree on almost everything you said dvdhawk...except one thing...
    The C1000 is probably the last mic I'd reach for on flute. If I were to reach for any mic in the AKG line, it would either be the 414TLII or *maybe* the C2000. That horrible bump in the high frequency of the C1000 would be enough, combined with the natural sound of a mic up close to a flute, to make me want to plunge off of a tall building.

    A simply amazing mic for flute is the Neumann TLM193. Also, the Bock U195 works well too. Neither mic is too hyped across the top and both reveal a great deal of "tone" beyond just articulation and HF info.

    Just a thought.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I would certainly respectfully defer to Cucco's expertise in ALL aspects of the recording of classical music.

    I should clarify, our flute was not a solo flute. It was in the context of acoustic guitar/folk music with light percussion. In our case, we tried a TLM193 and preferred the C1000 on both the flute and the bass flute. Different strokes I guess. Although the TLM193 would be among the first condenser mics I would try from our meager collection for the violin. (We are grievously unequipped when it comes to exotic ribbon mics) But again, we do more rock than classical, which is Cucco's specialty.

    Like anything else, half the fun is trying what you've got and finding the best combination that fits the instrument, the song, and the client's sensibilities.

    I would hope you're both recording a much higher quality flute than we had to work with as well. There are no symphonies out here in the sticks, and very few wind instruments out here very far above student-grade. (with the exceptions being owned by a few music professors from the local University)

    I'd hate to see you fling yourself off a building Jeremy, but nearly everything in the AKG line is hyped somewhere above 2kHz. including the venerable C414 TLII. And too much of what they consider 'presence' can make anyone cringe- or even consider the cement-swandive. The C2000 is ruler flat out to a certain point, much like the C535, but AKG emphasizes the highs on everything they make. We don't always like it, but we always have to deal with it. Whereas the Neumann dips between 2k-8kHz and has a bump up around 11k.

    On paper the highs of a C414-TLII and C1000 in cardioid aren't that different. But as we know data like this is highly subjective, and luckily how a mic translates to the recording is more challenging and more interesting than how it translates to graph paper.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah...that's why I don't like those graphs... ;-)
    The graphs would have you believe that those mics sound largely similar, but they couldn't be farther apart sounding. While all AKGs do generally have a hyped top end, some do it much better than others.

    I am surprised that you chose the C1000 over the 193; however, I've never tried both of them on flute. I should say, I wouldn't ever really use ribbons on flute. Not so much for the obvious reason that an errant breath could blow out the element, but I've not found ribbons to be very flattering to flutes.

  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I was thinking the ribbon might be violin-friendly.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    the trouble with the graph is not the graph, its the level of detail on the graph. The graphs we typically see are from a "1000 foot view". You could see the sound of a mic, if you could zoom in on particular frequency ranges and see the ultra small 0.1 dB changes.

Share This Page