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Is the NT55 a good idea for micing a violin ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Carnyx, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Carnyx

    Carnyx Active Member

    Hi guys,

    I need a mic to record my violin. Does anybody have any experience with the Rode NT55 ?
     
  2. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I have Rode NT5 - not the 55, but I think they are quite similar. The NT5 is a pretty bright mic, and a bright mic can bring out the worst in a violin (screeeech). It would probably be about the last mic I'd reach for in my kit.

    As far as alternatives ... that would totally depend on the space, the recording conditions (Live? Studio? Performance hall? Solo?) and the type of music, and the sound of the particular instrument and musician.

    If you are recording in a nice space, some nice condensers at a good distance might work well. If it's a fiddle in a bluegrass band, I'd probably use a dynamic.
     
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of them, and like them a lot. I've used them for recording wind ensembles and did a clarinet recital with them recently. I also use them as drum overheads and for acoustic guitars. I have not recorded strings with them. There are not many competitors for multicapsule small diaphragm condensers (SDC) at that price point. (I think Octiva has been mentioned around here, but I've never tried them.)

    Hopefully someone with more experience with strings can chime in on the question of whether an SDC is the right kind of mic for violin. If so, I think the NT55 is a good mic at the price.
     
  4. Carnyx

    Carnyx Active Member

    Thank you

    Yes the NT5 and the NT55 seem to be similar. The NT55 would just be flatter.

    The aim is to record fiddle on my own at home, it is for a home studio use. There will be no other instrument.
     
  5. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    My safe choice would be an SM57.
    I also have a budget ribbon that I might try (Oktava ML52) or an AKG C391B isn't as bright as the Rodes - smooth and accurate, not bright.
     
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    It is my understanding that the capsule of the NT5 is identical to the cardioid capsule of the NT55. Except for mic-to-mic variation they would be identical in this configuration. (I have both and can't hear any difference.) The NT55 has a pad and a second omni capsule.

    It is a bright mic. Whether that is a bug or a feature is for you to decide.

    If I wanted to tame the top end of a violin performance with one of the mics in my locker, I'd try a Cascade Fat Head ribbon mic. It's inexpensive, though I don't think it's as versatile as the NT55. Zemlin's suggestion of an SM57 is always a good choice, and if you don't have one, you should.
     
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Violin or fiddle is difficult if your room isnt a bit on the flat side. Since you play one I assume you know how loud one of these can be. Its a very complex sound and one that closemicing or spotmicing isnt going to do justice to the overall sound. A ribbon mic just might do the trick. A KSM32 Shure is also a good bet. You're going to want to get the mic up above the instrument and you want to stay as still as you can since movement with a fiddle tends to cause a bit of slurring or modulation of the room sound.

    Stay away from the bridge position with your mic as it will enhance any wolfing that might be present.
     
  8. Carnyx

    Carnyx Active Member

    Thank you very much for the advices

    Do you think that a Shure KSM109 could be fine on the violin?
     
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There's something about the cardioid capsules that Rode fit to the NT4 and NT5 and supply with the NT55 that make them on the harsh side for certain sound sources such as female vocals and also violin.

    This slight harshness does not seem to be present with the omni capsules in the NT55 set. I have done lots of violin/fiddle recordings using the NT55 omnis in A-B configuration with generally very good results. You need a really good pre-amp (such as APIs, DAVs or Grace) to get the best out of them.

    You would have to spend a lot more money to get a better sounding or more flexible SDC than the NT55. That said, a KSM109 would do a job for you, or consider an LDC such as the KSM44.

    As with all these mics, room acoustics and mic positioning are all important. Get either of these wrong and the best mics and pre-amps can sound terrible.
     
  10. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Try an active ribbon mic

    I would personally try a decent ribbon mic because I find they tend to be a bit more forgiving on violins.
     
  11. Carnyx

    Carnyx Active Member

    Yes, a ribbon would be very nice but they are too expensive for me
     
  12. thesteelydane

    thesteelydane Active Member

    you should look into these

    I am professional classical violinist, dabbling in some amateur recording. I recently invested in 2 Golden Age Project R2 active ribbon mics, and have been extremely pleased with their performance. They sound amazing on violin. I've also recorded violin/piano with these set up in a Blumlein pair, and the result was gorgeous! They are somewhat noisy, but then again, I have been spoiled with a couple of Røde nt2000 that are dead quiet, before getting these.

    I bought mine in Sweden where the company is based, but I think these guys ship worldwide: http://www.recording-microphones.co.uk/Golden-Age-ribbon--microphone.shtml

    Hope that helps! I will be posting audio clips to my website http://www.thesteelydane.com soon, if you wanna hear for yourself.

    Nicolaj
     

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