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Recording the accordion

I've played classical music on the accordion for 13 years, and have tried both built-in and external condenser/cardioid microphones live. I've never been at all satisfied with the amplified sound in concerts, it seems live technicians don't know how to deal with the instrument... Now that I've started experimenting with using the accordion in electronica, I'm having trouble finding the optimal way to record the instrument, conserning both choice of and placement of microphone. The result is okay using a close-up Røde NT3 pointed towards the bellow and the "treble-side" (pardon my English), but I'm not satisfied with the capturing of the subtle dynamics of the reed-instrument.

Any advice, experience, or thoughts would be greatly appriciated :)


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 03/22/2006 - 20:56
I used to do it with an... AKG c1000!
Having a Sony C48, two At 3528, some sm57 (good results too), the "tissue-covered" that mask the bightness in the c1000s response seems to be a good thing or an accordion.

A ribbon should be the best option. I'm already looking for a ribbon; the shure Model 300 is a posibility for me right now, but I don`t know about this specific mic. Anybody knows about this mic?

moonbaby Sat, 03/11/2006 - 06:28
The Beyer M160 IS a very nice mic on the accordion, especially if the player isn't bouncing around like Lawerence Welk! I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity of using my newly-purchased M130 with it the next time I get to record accordion, which is rare here in Gatorland....plenty of swamp-guitars, but the only "reed instruments" around here are Blues' Harps......
BTW, for live recording of the accordion within a band context, I had very good results with an E-V RE-20, placed about 18" (half a meter) away from it. It was then run through a splitter and did the PA as well as the recording. We were all very surprised at the clarity and lack of feedback (well, I wasn't...I have always loved that mic!). And have you investigated a MIDI-equipped accordion for your electronica moments?

FifthCircle Wed, 03/08/2006 - 21:51
Eegad- Don't ever use the C1000 here for anything besides plugging up drains and stopping doors.

Saracasm aside, I'd look for a mic with a bit less "peak" in the sound. Putting one mic on either side of the instrument is good for recording so you get the keyboard and chord/reed sides... Other times, I've place a single mic over the center of the instrument a couple feet out.

When using accordion in an amplified setting, you'll end up doing things that you'd never dream of for recording. I've worked with a few rock accordion players and they have all placed pickups inside with a lot of foaming to avoid feedback from monitors. I will put them through a good tube di and record/mix the sound as needed. Usually works quite well for what it is, but it won't be the most natural sound out there.

My experiences are in an amplified setting, you'll never get what you expect to have as a recorded sound in the studio. I usually approach them in completely different ways...


Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/23/2006 - 04:37
When I recorded Jackie Daly's accordion a few weeks ago, I used a pair of MC012s (with the Dorsey mods). They were perfect for the job, and the results were excellent.

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.allmusic…"]Jackie Daly bio[/]="http://www.allmusic…"]Jackie Daly bio[/]

Here's a sample:

This is a straight, completely unprocessed, sample - no compression, no EQ, no reverb, and you will hear a bit of bleed from the rest of the members of Patrick Street. Keep in mind that this is done in a live on-stage performance setting, where the mics were also being used for sound reinforcement. I might use the same mics in a studio setting, but I would probably not use the close-placement heard here.

ptr Thu, 03/09/2006 - 00:15

Having my first Accordion recital comming up in a few weeks (Purly acoustical in a small church), would You approach this in any other way then Your average aucoustical set-up?

I'm planing for five channels..

Main Pair (AB Omni / KM130)
Spot (KM140)
Ambience (Second Omni Pair)

(I'm not much of a M/S or Blumlein guy as I really dont have the mikes to do that..)


Pro Audio Guest Mon, 03/06/2006 - 15:11
I generally stero mic with AKG C1000's, about a foot , close by the keys and the right side seems to work for me, You can try right by your ears and a room mic, that might work .

I rarely use the right side, as it can the musican that I record is ussually sloppy with his bass playing,

this technique has worked for me (spaced pair)

FifthCircle Thu, 03/09/2006 - 14:15
Well, 5 channels seems to be a bit of overkill for any solo recital. I usually stick with the standard 2 channel rigs (just a stereo pair). But hey, if you have the mics and the chance to mess around, why not?

As for mics that I've found work well, I've done a few recordings using TLM 103's with relative success (probably one of the only things I've ever really liked them on). M930's sound pretty good, KM140's sound pretty good. I would imagine that a Beyer 160 would probably sound pretty good....