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Recording Harps

Discussion in 'Recording' started by 11210, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. 11210

    11210 Guest

    I would like to do a recording of three harpists and would like to tap into all of the knowledge out there. I've mainly done sound reinforcement - not much studio work. What kind of mics should I be looking for? Has anyone out there every recorded three harpists? People have suggested the Neumann KM183 but they run around $800 each and that's a little steep for me. Is there something in the $200 range that would be good? Thanks!
  2. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    Every harp is different so you'll have to hunt for the sweet spots but I've had great success just using a pair of MK-012's. One with a cardioid capsule and the other with an omni. 8-12 inches away aimed at the soundboard.

    One aimed to capture the uppper register strings and the other to catch the lower register strings.

    You may have to EQ depending on the harpists technique (or lack thereof).

    A LDC as a room mic is nice if you're in a room that has worthy acoustics.

    Using multi-band compression during mixdown on the harps will help you really add huge dimension especially with harp.

    I have a recent session I did with this configuration but don't think I'll be able to post it until tomorrow or wednesday.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Hey 11210 - Welcome to RO!!

    This question would definitely be better suited in the Acoustic Music forum, but we'll deal with it here.

    3 Harpists - wow - all at the same time? Given that scenario, I would opt for a fantastic room, set them in a semi-circle and use 2 omnis, probably Schoeps, spaced roughly 3 to 4 feet apart and about 6 feet or more back with a good height being 7 to 8 feet above their heads. Then I would probably mix in one more omni dead center above the group roughly 8 to 10 feet (or more)up, but only a bit.

    However, since you're looking for cheap - I would say, try a pair of 30 series ATs (they make two small diaphragm condensers in the 30 range - one omni, one cardioid - both are quite nice for the "less than $200" range.) Another good mic would be the Rode NT 5. Of course, if you go with cardioid, your best be would be either XY or ORTF, but I would think that with a group this small, ORTF would be too much, so XY might work just fine.

    With either of these mics, in XY, I would say go roughly 6 feet off the ground and bring the mics back 5 feet or so. Then, aim the mics down, but not much - maybe 15 degrees or less. Depending upon the size and the quality of the room, these measurements could go right out the window.

    Now, on solo harp, all of the above rules are completely different. For that, get a pair of SDCs and play with angles and spacing until you're happy.

    Hope this helps.

  4. 11210

    11210 Guest

    Thanks for all the help so far. Ok, here's the deal. I've mainly done sound reinforcement not studio recording. Also my main job is in the IT field but audio is sort of a hobby and part job. I have a Mackie 1604 Vlz Pro mixer but no recording mics. (For sound reinforcement I only need lapels so I have all Sennheiser Evolution wireless mics) I don't have a great sounding "studio" to record in so it's not going to be a great sounding room. I was hoping I could do some close proximity miking and make it work. We will be recording some solos, duets, and trios. I was hoping I could record straight to a computer but haven't total worked out that end too so any advice there would be great too. So given all of that do your mic recommendations change at all? As for cost I'm looking to stay in the $1000-1500 range for all of the mics.

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