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Hi! I'm in need for some helpful information here about Micing violin. I'm going to record it tomorrow so I need it ASAP. The main question is, how should I place the mic? Distance, angle etc. It's a single violin but I'm going to record something like 10-16 overdubs. This will be used on top of sampled strings, so I want it to sound like a part of an orchestra not like a solo. I'd be very grateful for some tips here.
The mic I'm using is ADK A51s.


Violin Dan Sun, 03/09/2003 - 18:11

I'd rather gerax answered this because he's got tons more experience than I, but due to the emergency situation and lack of replies, here goes.

I like to place the mike at about 45 degrees up from the face of the violin and a distance of about 18-30 inches. This places it above the level of the player's head, directly in front of him (Her?). If you get too far away, it actually seems to get too harsh and tinny. A lot depends upon the violin and the studio environment, and in one live room I actually had to place the mic near the floor, but it was pretty distant sounding.

Gerax likes the small dia. condenser for this, like the Rode NT5. I've tried the AT4041 and the Superlux large dia. tube condenser, which I suspect is like your ADK, with good results with both.

Don't be afraid to roll off the top end going in to save you some'll probably have to do it sooner or later, so sooner better than later.

I hope gerax pops in ;>}

Good luck,

anonymous Mon, 03/10/2003 - 01:34

I do a lot of violin recording myself in the Celtic Jazz group I am in and I have found the best sound I have gotten ( in a vocal booth)is with a mid-dia (AT-4033) or large-dia(Studio Projects T-3) mic 12"in front of headstock 18" below 45 degree angled up. It gets a fuller body sound without so much of the bow or nasal string sound. I really like it! Try it out.

anonymous Mon, 03/10/2003 - 13:16

Thank you guys for all the feedback.
Now I've recorded it... and it went quite ok.
I tried to place the mic 1-4 feet away from the violin, the best result was 2.5 feet and pointing the mic to the down to the face of the musician (45 degrees). I made 14 overdubbs, and now comes the tricky part:
1. How would you do to reduce the dynamics ?( limiter,comp settings etc.) I just want to "pull down" some notes that are too loud.
2. The idea of soo many overdubbs is that it should be like a string section, but a string section is played by many musicians on many different violins ( making a "rich" sound).
To get the illusion of a real string section I thought I'd EQ each violin a little bit different and panning them different. Any other ideas?
Maybe use autotune on a few of them? I thought Antares autotune could get rid of the vibrato on some violins and add a different vibrato to others. Does this sound like a good idea?
I sounds a little bit strange when you have 14 violins playing with the same kind of vibrato.
I couldn't really complain about this since it was my brother who played the violin... and even when I tried, he'd only reply: "Well ABBA liked my vibrato when I played on their records".
It can be hard to work with relatives :s:

lorenzo gerace Mon, 03/10/2003 - 23:01


Glad it went OK.

You know, it's quite hard to simulate a real string section, anyway I'd go with different EQs on each track, and a combination of light compression and volume automation (if you're working in a DAW) for the dynamic control: don't be too radical with the EQ and comp or you'll ruin the violin's natural dynamics and timbre (again, unless that's what you're going for).
I'd stay away from Autotune in this case, I think it could lead you toward too much unreal artifacts, since the vibrato it imparts isn't natural. I'd rather go with a healty wash of reverb (if the track allows for it) and pan the tracks accross the spectrum, and if you want to exagerrate a little a very light chorus or doubler to fatten the section up: it doesn't work in classical contexts, but for more "pop" or modern productions it can be interesting.

Good luck