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Microphones for Violin

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by byacey, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. byacey

    byacey Active Member

    I am currently doing a project invovling violin right now and in past projects I was never happy with the violin sound I got. I have tried C451s but they always seem to have a harsh edge to them. The best I have come up with so far is using a 414 about 12" above the scroll angled towards the bridge. I would like to get that fat robust sound without the edge. EQ just seems to dull the overall sound. I realize the player and instrument has a great deal to do with the tone, but I think technically I am overlooking something. Any thoughts? Anybody?
  2. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member


    I think you are a little too close in; personally I would try a 414 B-ULS as it has a better bass response (although not my favorite mic for violin); in my experience the best way to avoid the harsh bow sound on strings is to back off a bit with the mic and try to capture a more overall picture of the instrument: this involves that the room sounds good and that the track will sit well in the rest of the mix, according to the style and production. Try to get a good compromise between room sound and direct sound untill you get a reasonably full tone from the instrument. If you have to stay closer try to angle the mic so that it doesn't point at the bridge area; usually for this task a distance of 2' to 4' is good, with the mic above the soundboard of the instrument (angled) at about 7' to 8'. Good mics for this are Neumann KM184 (or as budget alternative Rode NT5), or mid dia like AT4033 or 3035.

    I hope this helps.

  3. byacey

    byacey Active Member

    Thanks for the reply, I am using a 414 B ULS presently. I have tried the AT 4033 but found that it lacked the fullness of tone and seemed somewhat harsh. In your reply you mentioned a distance of about 7 feet; is this above the violin or out front of the instrument?
    Bill Y.
  4. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    OK, then go with the 414. I usually put the mic about 7' to 8' tall from the ground if the player is standing, and 2' to 4' away from it, then angle it to find the right spot (if the violinist is seated lower the mic stand to maintain a similar distance). Additionally try to move the mic around sideways too, sometimes a good spot is slightly on the right side of the player, not just straight in front of him/her. Also consider the fact that string players tend to move around a bit and so the tone can vary a little if you're too close.

    Hope this helps

  5. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    hey Bill,

    Do you have any ribbon microphones? Or can you borrow one to try?

    What kind of music are you recording? I find both the 414 and the 4033 to be too bright, edgy and harsh for close-miking a violin...

    The old RCA 77 might do it for you here...Or one of the new Royers...

    best of luck,
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Another solution for this in terms of what mic you choose is to try an AKG C460. I have a pair of these and I have found them to be much warmer and robust sounding in comparison to my 451's and Neumann KM84's / 184's. I don't know if these are still available though. Kevin would probably know though.. Kevin??? Kurt
  7. byacey

    byacey Active Member

    Hi, Thanks to all for the advice. I do have some ribbon mics, one old Shure ribbon, and about 5 RCA ribbon mics; I am not sure what the model # is. I bought all 5 of them for a hundred bucks and never used them aside from testing them to see if they worked when I bought them. I guess I should pull them out and give them a try!
  8. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member


    Sure, ribbon mics could be a good alternative: I only tried them on brass so far (and they are just what the doctor ordered), and not on strings, but you know, there's no way to know if a thing will work untill you try it out. Try them out and let us know how they work.

    Good luck

  9. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    I am a fiddler/violin player and have lots of experience in this area. I would go with either a ribbon or a U87. I recently had a discussion about mics with one of Nashville's top players. His favorite was a ribbon. Also to get a smoother sound ask the fiddler to ease up on the rosin a bit.

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