violin mics?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by harold716, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. harold716

    harold716 Guest

    I'm recording classical violin in a neutral room. What mics do you like ?
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Royer SF24.
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Second for the SF-24, also like the AKG 426, Sennheiser MKH40, and sometimes Schoeps CMC6MK21 (or MK4/41 depending on the room).

    All depends on the room and the way the recording needs to be set up.

  4. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Being a Neumann Guy I'd probobly use a pair of KM 140, the only SF 24 xperience I have was on Classical Guitar (duo) and it sounded smashing, I sure that it would work very well on Violin as mentioned before..

    I once had a pair of M49's on loan when I did a Solo Violin Session and those where killers, some of the sweetest-meatiest violin sound (A Stradivarius) I've ever gotten on tape!

    Ultimatly I'm the kind of Guy who brings the full Microphone case to every session and decides what to put up only after having heard the artist play in the room.

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    My usual mic for this would be the Schoeps CMC 6 with the MK2 or 21. However, I just did a concert recording with violin soloist where I spot mic'ed the soloist with a newly acquired AKG C460B and it turned out fantastic. Full and warm sounding with a good bow:body ratio.
  6. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Mid-range mic?

    Those are some pretty sweet mics mentioned above, but what about some mid-range mics for violin? I’m just starting out and want to mainly record violin, some mics that have caught my eye are:

    ADK TL - $500
    AT4051 - $500
    AT4050 - $530
    AKG 391B - $415
    Avenson STO-2 - $500(pair)
    Josephson C42 - $400
    Josephson C550 - $375
    Shure KSM44 -$585
    Shure SM81 - $350
    Peluso CEMC6 - $275
    Rode NT4 - $380
    Rode K2 - $620
    T.H.E. KA-04 - $675
    T.H.E. KP-6M - $315

    I’d be interested in hearing how others would rate these for recording classical violin in a home studio environment. My budget is around $500-600 so for some of the SDC’s I could only get a single. I like some of the LDC’s because of the multiple patterns which I think could be useful for me.
  7. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Of those probably the AT's or the Josephsons. The Rode's while they are Australian, (but clones), which would normally make me recommend them ;), are too scratchy and hard, they are "rock" mics I think.

    For violin, you want the warmest smoothest mic you can find, but still with HF detail. After EQ'd ribbons, which on strings, sound the most natural to me, I would recommend DPA's, but the AT's would be my first choice from that list.

    not_heifetz, you have a great name, made me LOL.
  8. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Thanks David,

    What about that ADK TL? I understand that your experience is with the high-end stuff, but I remember hearing of another violinist on this forum "Christian og Filio" who was using one and that's what turned me on to it. On there website they claim that it "was designed for Critical Audiophile Applications such as Orchestral Recordings" and that it "is ideal for Chamber Music, and for Classical Recordings". I know that it's marketing hype but at least it's hype in my direction!, which is more than I can say for any of the others. The ADK and the AT's where on my short list, and I'm leaning towards the LDC's just because of the multiple patterns.

    Glad you got a giggle from my name :)
  9. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I am afraid I have not heard the ADK but I am familiar with the AT's, which recover wonderful sound for the dollars.
  10. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Ok thanks again Daivd,

    Which AT would you use, 4050 or 4051? These are home recordings for personal use, but I'd like them to be as good as possible for the conditions. Your advice is much appreciated.
  11. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    The best midprize mikes I've heard on violin have been the Oktava MC 012, a matched pair runs about $450 locally. If I started out today these would my choice for a basic starter mike along with an RME Fireface and a powerbook with a fast HD.

  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    The suggested mics you put up are all decent in their respective categories. I would tend to agree with Dave on this and suggest that the Rodes be a bit bright. As well, even though I do have the Oktavas and like them for many things, I would never use them for solo violin. They may also be a bit bright and "scratchy" sounding.

    I would differ on the choice of ribbons though. As much as I've tried to enjoy ribbons, they always come off sounding unnatural and quite colored. I've recently tried about a half-dozen of them, many of which are the "famous" ones and they all left me reaching for EQ and filters.

    I would say, out of your posted recommendations, the following were the best:
    AT - 4051
    AT - 4050
    Josephson C42
    THE - KA-04

    I'm curious about the Peluso - they are rumored to be patterned after the Schoeps CMC6/MK4, but I like the real thing too much to try substitutes.

    As for the ADK -- Made in China, I believe by the same company who manufactures SP mics. I've tried these numerous times - hell I even owned a pair of them (the A51s), which I promptly sold on E-bay for half what I paid for them b/c the dealer wouldn't take them back after only 1 week.

    You might also want to check e-bay for either the AKG C460 or the C480 modular mic. Both are very accurate and quite pleasing to the ear, especially on strings.

  13. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member


    I must say that I see your description of the AKG 460 as warm to be a complete polar opposite of what I would describe them as.

    Compared to 451's, I think they are smoother and I haven't tried the 480 (although I've heard they are much smoother), but I use 460's regularly and I'd never describe them as warm. Rather, I find them rather strident. I've used them on violin sections numerous times (one of the halls I work in has a ton of them) and I always end up grinning and bearing it- but I'm never happy with the sound. I'd rather use an SM-81 than a 460 any day- especially on high strings.

  14. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    I own a pair of ADK Model TL mics, and Christian - that's me. Filo is my girlfriend, she plays the piano! I haven't really been able to seriously test them against other microphones, although I tried a couple of other ADK's and a pair of Røde NT5's, but I decided to keep them anyway because I was able to get decent results, and in addition, the dealer gave me a good price. The TL tag stands for transformerless - but others here can probably tell a lot more about that than I can.

    I am still experimenting with the best setup for violin and piano as well as solo violin. They are slightly hyped in the top - as most cheap microphones are - but I prefer that to the Røde NT5's which I found too dark for my taste. They are very detailed and pick up just about everyting, which is crucial for recording classical music, and I really like that about them. However, my preamps suck big time - my options being between a Behringer mixer and a FireWire 410 audio unit. I need a serious upgrade here, but it is a future project since I'm right now planning to study a few years abroad where my gear improvement will be put on standby for some time.

    The TL also works great on vocals in general, I think, and I've gotten satisfying results on miking guitar amps, acoustic guitars and classical piano.

    When recording solo violin in a neutral home studio environment I prefer using a single microphone and find a good spot on the violin about three feet away from the strings, use the cardioid pattern and aviod as much room ambience as possible. It's no easy task to find a room that sounds good, and most solo Bach, Paganini, Bartok or whatever you play requires a huge concert hall or church to develop fully. So I usually record in mono and smack on reverb on the stereo output and finally mix it down to stereo. That way it's easier to edit and crossfade everything, and with a little bit of patience the result isn't that bad actually.

    I will try to record this string orchestra where I play viola - we usually rehearse in Studio 2 in the Danish Radio, a great wooden hall with a wonderful sound. I will put up examples once I get it done, but I don't think it will be before a month or so.
  15. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Thanks Christian, I copied that name from your recording of the Saint-Saens I downloaded a while back, it didn't even cross my mind that it was 2 names :)
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'm curious - are you using the capsule adapter and then using the capsules from the 451s? Agreed, this would be over the top bright. (I've used them like this a few times and found them to be unworkably bright, much like the 451s of yesteryear).

    A strident mic would be one with either a serious scoop in the critical mids, or a significant boost centered in the 5k region. The original 460 with the ULS/61 cap has neither of these. As a matter of fact, when paired with the older (460 vs 480) body, they exhibit a slight roll-off in the near-ultra-sonic frequencies.

    I recently recorded a fantastic solo violinist in a live concert doing the 4 seasons. I used an overhead 460 as a spot on her and never regretted it. I'll post some samples on my web-page soon. (Though I'll send you the link - I'm not making these "public" yet.)

    It's funny that none of us have mentioned perhaps the best violin mic I've ever heard - the DPA 4061 IMK. This mic won't work too well for live performances, but for studio stuff, it rocks. And it's damned cheap too!!!

  17. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Thanks for mentioning that Cucco. I don't know why but I thought the 4061 was more for live performances. Did you use the attachment for placing it on the violin? It definately falls into my price range.
  18. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    We've used the 4061's for close miking strings on pop records, combined with a stereo pair of B&Ks. There are several ways of attaching it to the violin, but it would typically be placed underneath the strings, just behind the bridge pointing towards the fingerboard. While it works very well for that kind of music (and we've used them live as well), I'm not sure how suitable they are for recording solo classical violin...
  19. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member


    I've used both actually. The hall that I work in (and the studio where I use them) have 460/CK61's but my colleague who's mics I work with sometimes has the 460/CK1 (with the adapter).

    I actually think the CK1 capsule sounds a tad bit better than the newer CK61 cap.

    With the 460, I think the best capsule, though, is the CK3 (hypercardiod) with the omni as a close second.

  20. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    It is strange that we differ so significantly on our opinions of these mics. I agree, the omni cap is the best one for this body, but I really don't find them to be strident at all. Much better than KM184s. True, not as warm as the MKH40, but I would even go as far as to say a similar tonality to the CMC5-MK4. Though, I prefer the Schoeps immensly b/c they have a smoothness that is undefinable where I feel the AKGs are more "granule?."


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