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Micing Mandolin

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by jazzbass12, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. jazzbass12

    jazzbass12 Active Member

    I am tracking a mandolin. All I have is a Rode NT1A condensor with my Presonus Eureka. Any advice as to best micing practices? Any suggested eq sweet spots? I am thinking of using the conventional "neck meets the body" technique used with a acoustic guitar.
    The song is a folk rock type sound.
    Rich O
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You'll have to experiment here, as it depends a lot on the player, the instrument and the acoustic (room) you are recording in. A few mandolin players manage to produce a good sound without excessive plectrum noise, but a lot of players produce pings and clatter of comparable amplitude with the musical noise at a typical mic distance of 12 - 18 inches.

    The NT1-A has only a cardioid pick-up pattern, but you can use that to advantage by positioning the mic so that the mandolin bridge is at least 60 degrees off axis. If your acoustic space will allow it, pull back a bit so you don't get too close. You could also try putting the mic a little higher than the bridge level so that it has to point slightly downward towards the instrument.
  3. jazzbass12

    jazzbass12 Active Member

    I would imagine the mandolin would have a higher plectrum response due the small size of the instrument. I might need some creative use of compression to keep the pick noise down. Maybe Multiband
  4. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    I am still a n00b, but I am learning quick.

    You don't want to Multiband AKA "Maul the band."

    Explore all of your micing techniques (choice and placement) before you use a solution that is flawed. Multiband compression is not a panacea.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I, too, doubt that multiband compression will serve well here. For starters, the "pick click" is kind of in the same frequency domain as a lot of the mandolins' notes range, so there is that issue. More importantly, a decent mandolinist will want control over his/her dynamics with "tremoloing" the strings, and compression will kill that. When I'ver recorded bluegrass players, I have found that a LDC is not the first choice for the delicate sound of the mandolin. I get better results from a Shure SM81 or an AT4041 SDC. Like the others have stated, mic choice/placement, the player's ability, and the room have a LOT more to do with capturing the instrument than spinning knobs...
  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I've had good results pointing the mic at the body below the bridge. Less pick noise away from the strings.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If all you have is the LDC with a cardioid pattern, then you are going to want some space between your mic and the instrument. This is if you are wanting the musical sound of the instrument. Mandolins require some room for the notes to develop. On the other hand, dont discount the percussive abilities of these instruments when adding them to a track filled with lots of other plectrum type stuff. If there are lots of guitars and drums, the only way to get the mandolin to 'stick' is via its percussive nature.

    I agree 100% that a SDC (and more than one) is the way to get mandolin sounds. I use a combo of LDC set to omni and an SDC in tight. Mandolins dont sound all that good with any sort of compression. Also....gobos and creating a space for it helps a lot.
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