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Tips on accordion micing

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by Brice, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Brice

    Brice Guest

    Hello i have a folk band that i am recording which has an accordion in it and i am not sure on how to properly get the sound reproducion of that instrument. i was sugested to use a omni mic placed about 3-5feet away but i was wondering what else i could do.

    (i go to a recording school and have an extensive araingement of microphones to use so if you have any personal tastes on specific mics as opposed to others please tell me.. im a student and im willing to experiment)

  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    A couple of questions. Is this a "squeeze box" or a "real" accordion?
    I have had good results with a Beyer M160 (unidirectional ribbon mic) on the squeezebox types. The ribbon tended to "smooth out" the upper registers of that relatively shrill instrument. If the player swings it around a lot, you have to keep your distance (say, 3 feet or so) to avoid "swooshing" phase problems.
    If this is a real, full-range baby, better pull out a LDC like a U87 or an AT4047 to handle the low end that thing can generate. An alternative to those would be a dynamic like an E-V RE20, which is good at "brassy-sounding" instruments, and its large diaphragm will handle the lows, too.
    If you have a U87, you might try it in omni mode, but I think cardioid is going to serve you better due to the longer working distance you can achieve. Too close and you'll have bellows noise, keys clicking, and every time the player moves..so try to keep the distance 3-6 feet (1-2 meters).
    Now if you are doing this "live" with a folk band in real time, you may not have these mic/distance options available to you. If that is the case, grab a good old SM58 and stick it where you hear the most music/least wind noise! Good luck!
  3. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    I recently did some accordion tracks on a western project with a great player with tons of studio chops under his belt. I used an AT4050 in cardiod about 18-24" away, directly in front. He stood relatively still, and we got great sounds.
  4. road_weary

    road_weary Guest

    My advice is to get the mic as far away as possible from the accordian, then record it with very low level, then lose it in the mix! :)

    Sorry... just couldn't resist!

  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    Depends on how closely you want to mic it and what kind of sound you're looking for. I've used a single mic in front pretty successfully (using something like a TLM 103).

    If you want to get a different, closer sound, place a mic on either side. Each side of an accordion has a different kind of "noisemaker." The keyboard versus the buttons. Use two mics and either pan a bit to open it up or just sum them to a single track at equal levels.

  6. road_weary

    road_weary Guest

    A friend of mine has recorded what I consider to be a very fine accordian album called "Accordian Crimes".

    This is how the instrument should be treated! Notice the knife, blood and guts! Have a look at Mark Lalama's site for more inspiration!

    Of course, I'm only kidding, but Mark is deadly serious! :wink:

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