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Flutist Needs Your Help!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Unregistered, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hi,

    I am intermediate-level flutist who is looking for a decent mic setup to record my instrument. I also intend to record duets with an acquiantance who plays the harp, as well as my flute teacher. I play classical music (exclusively, in fact). The music centre I'm attending has an unused floor and I practice there because there is very little noise and the rooms have impeccable acoustics. Sadly, I cannot say the same for my home, but there is no reason I cannot carry the recording equipment there. Also, I intend to start taking piano lessons in the near future and I think it would be cool to connect a digital keyboard directly to the audio interface via MIDI.

    I live in Turkey and I intend to order the system from a German retail store called Thomann. I can spend no more than 300 euros.

    The options I have considered so far:

    Audio interface:

    1. Tascam US-122 (a bit more expensive but has MIDI output)
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/tascam_us122mk2.htm
    2. M-Audio Fasttrack II (minimalistic and cheap)
    M-Audio Fast Track MKII - Thomann UK Cyberstore

    Microphone(s):
    1. Audix ADX51 (Mr. Internet says this is an ideal mic for the flute)
    Audix ADX 51 - Thomann UK Cyberstore
    2. Superlux R102 ('coz it's a ribbon and ribbons are the best for woodwinds, or so I've heard)
    Superlux R102 - Thomann UK Cyberstore
    3. Shure SM10A (I know of at least one person using this mic for the flute so it cannot be too bad)
    Shure SM10A - Thomann UK Cyberstore
    4. Your suggestions!

    Your help will be most appreciated!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You have got a bit of a problem trying to get a reasonable recording of one (or two) flutes plus harp using equipment you can buy for €300, although I assume you already have a PC of some sort to which you could connect an audio interface.

    The US-122/Superlux R102 combination is a possibility, but I would avoid the Fasttrack for quality reasons. The Shure SM10A is essentially a commentator's mic which can also be used in feedback-avoiding applications in live performances, but it's inappropriate for studio recording.

    My feeling is that you would be better off with a Zoom H4N (about €260) plus an additional microphone or two for when you want to add in harp or other instruments. An H4N positioned high on a camera tripod and angled down below horizontal does a good job of recording a flute duet in stereo in the right acoustic environment (avoid hard floors and reflective walls). It has a couple of additional tracks for third and fourth (external) microphones, but no MIDI, though - you would have to pick up a cheap USB MIDI adaptor to cover that. The H4N remote control gets over the need to prod buttons on the unit itself when it's not very accessible.
     
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Well, recording a duet with one mic will be tricky..
    I'd recommand at least 2 mics : you can use both when recording your flute alone to add dimension (pan L + R to the taste)
    Than 2 mics lets you record the duet accuratly. (let you mix them seperatly, EQ, volume, reverb etc..)
    Plus if you record the harp on its own, 2 mics will be better.
    Any condenser mic with a near flat response can be use for flute and either tascam or M-audio are good entry level interface..

    Of course it all depend what your gonna do with the final product. If it's just a reminder for writing music, or just one instrument, the H4N is a good option as Boswell said.
    But 300$ isn't much for quality duet recording (don't forget you need to buy some cables often not included with the mics + boom stand(s)...)
     
  4. NewbieFlute

    NewbieFlute Member

    Yes, I have a laptop. Zoom H4N was recommended on another forum as well, and right now I'm seriously considering buying it. MIDI output is unnecessary at this point. So I guess the question now is which secondary microphone I should pick up (if any).
     
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Of your listed components, I would still choose the afore recommended H4n and supplement that with a pair of Shure SM57 or some pair of inexpensive ribbon microphones. It is often quite difficult for inexpensive condenser microphones to deal with the sound of the flute which can result in harsh and strident recordings.
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I think the Shure SM57 is going to be the best option at the price level. Although a ribbon mic may give a slightly better sound on a flute than a dynamic or certainly than a low-cost condenser mic, from experience I can't really recommend using standard ribbon mics with the H4N - there isn't enough gain for the low output of ribbons without the H4N noise floor giving a problem. Putting a Cloudlifter or similar signal booster between the mic and the H4N may get round the problem, but adds to the cost. The type of ribbon mic that has a built-in pre-amp may be an alternative, as that type has a similar output to a condenser mic, but again there's a cost consideration.
     
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