Recording duo cello and piano/classical music

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Yar, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Yar

    Yar Guest


    I´m completely new to the audio recording and I am asking for some advice.
    I´m planning to record classical piano with cello (Schubert Arpeggione Sonata).
    I have tree mics: Rode NT55 matched pair and Audio Technica AT2050.
    Everything goes to my laptop via Fast Track Ultra.

    I thought about using NT55 on piano with omni capsules in A/B technique
    (with couple meters distance from the piano and above the lid - it gave me good results previously)
    For the cellist i could use AT2050 (it has 3 different patterns: cardoid, omni and 8)with some distance too - I´ve heard about unwanted bow noise with the close miking. But where to place the cellist and the AT microphone to get a good balance between the instruments and - the most improtant - avoid phase difference problems or multi path distortion(because of the different microphones used)

    The room is a medium-large size concert hall with Steinway D Grand.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You are best advised to use teh pair of NT55's in an ORTF array at a spot somewhere in front of the stage apron where your actual ears say it sound good. Try them about six to seven feet above the stage height and point them down towards the duo-more towards the cello. Don't rule out moving the stereo pair onto the stage itself. Again the best method of finding the sweet spot is simply to walk around the stage and room WHILE the duo are playing.

    The AT2050 while not ideal would be better served as a spot mic for the cello. I'd use a figure-8 pattern to start with and perhaps try omni as well if I had multiple opportunities for trials. Point the AT2050 down at the f holes at a 30-45 degree angle from about 3' high or so and about 18-24" away from the body of the cello.

    These are just my initial thoughts with the microphones you listed and not knowing either the room or the performers.
    1 person likes this.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    you rock John.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    TheJackAttack has given you an excellent starting point. You also need to be conscious of the acoustics of the hall and the possible reflections off the floor at the front of the stage.

    When it comes to adding the spot mic into the stereo mix, you could consider delaying the signal from the spot mic so that it arrives not before the same sound picked up by the main stereo pair. The ear is quite sensitive to "first arrivals", and you will hear a different character of sound via the AT2050 than through the NT55s. The spot mic should add clarity, but this has to be done with care. You should try all the available patterns on the AT2050 and select the one that gives you the best reinforcement rather than best sound on its own. Omni and fig-8 will add rear echoes, which may or may not inject a degree of mud.
  5. Yar

    Yar Guest

    Thanks guys! You rock!

    Thanks guys for all the suggestion. Great forum. I will try all the techniques you listed.

    I am just not sure about how to ´delay´ a microphone? I use Mixcraft 5 and Audacity with M Audio Fast Track Ultra. It is all I have. Do I need any more advanced application for doing that?Or I just shift the track a bit forward:)...
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Audacity will utilize VST plugins so you could use that. I do not know Mixcraft at all. A bevy of useful plugins are available from GVST. These are free but very good VST's. Consider donating to the programmer when you like them.


    For the delay, you would be shifting the spot mic wave file to the right by adjusting the plugin delay time (for instance GDelay). How much depends on how far the spot is physically from the stereo array. Every 10 meters is roughly about 2-3 miliseconds of delay.

    Boswell brings up excellent points about the blend and character of the different microphones. All tracks should peak no higher than -12dB. Your spot mic-no matter how hot you record the track-will only be used for added presence and so it's fader will be likely quite low. I have used the omni and figure8 patterns to aid the blending of the two mic positions before but the big huge caveat is that all the mic's were very close to the same sonic quality. Definitely cardioid might be the one for you. Try them all. Patterns are like potato chips. You can't have just one.

    Also, my mic position recommendations are just starting points. Use your ears to determine the best and cleanest position for each mic stand. When you walk around don't rule out standing on a chair or crouching down. If it doesn't sound good to your ears it will not sound good to your microphones.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You need to move the track backwards in time (shift it to the right relative to the main stereo pair). The amount of movement required is going to be in the region of 10 - 20 milliseconds, as the velocity of sound in air is roughly 1ms per foot or 3ms per metre. I would do the time-shifting by using native Audacity facilities rather than needing plug-ins.
  8. Yar

    Yar Guest

    Thanks a lot for your help guys.
  9. Laszlo Mezo

    Laszlo Mezo Guest

    HI, I'm a professional cellist and a recording engineer.
    What I recommend: Use the NT55 pair for the whole group, in front of the cellos as ORTF or AB. XY if the room is not so good and you have to get closer.
    I would use the 2050 for the piano to get some more detail but I would use mainly the 55-s.

    The AT-s Large condensers don't sound good on cello...
    i agree to record ideally 6-8feet away from the cellos and about the same height for the NT55 pair.


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