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Beginner recording classical solo violin

Discussion in 'Strings' started by MarcoSWE, Jun 28, 2020.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2020
    Location:
    SWEDEN
    Hello everyone,
    I am totally new to audio recording and I am try to get into the subject. I will try to summarize all my struggles in a very simple way and hopefully get good advice on how to continue.

    -What I need is to record classical violin solo pieces, both in recording sessions as in live performances (audio/video).
    -Gears I have to use:
    RECORDER: ZOOM F8n
    MICs: RODE NT55 matched pair on a stereo bar (cardioid and omni capsules available)
    DAW: Studio One 3 Artist

    -The violinist is very skilled and the violin has a beautiful sound
    -We also have the possibility to record in church
    -I was thinking to try both X/Y (cardioid) and A-B (omni) mic techniques in order to learn

    Now the question list :)

    1) I find the Rode NT55 a little too bright mic for the violin. Do you have any opinion and advice on that?
    2) The violin has a frequency range of 196 Hz to 10 kHz (approximately). Are there advantages to use the three position High-Pass Filter (flat, 75Hz and 150Hz) directly on the mics or is better to do it in post?
    3) Are there any general rules to adjust the Trim and the Fader levels before recording? How manipulating the Trim or/and the fader affect the levels and the recording?
    4) Considering mic placement, how would you adjust the mic position practically? Upper and lower to change the violin tone and closer or more far away to analyze the critical distance for reverb?
    5) How can I notice phase cancellation issue on A-B setup? Is it important to always keep 3-1 rule? I have seen several time 2 parallel mics 20cm apart on A-B setup more than 1m from sound source. Is this wrong?
    6) Is "invert phase" something useful and when?
    7) I set up the recorder so that I have: Track 1-8 + L/R (Poly WAV). This will generate a single WAV file with separate channel for each inputs (2 in my case) and a L+R mixed channel. How can I create a wide stereo image? Panning L and R? How does it works? Should I PAN the channels on pre or post? Which are the differences in working with the single channel files or with the L+R channel? Shall I also use the delay? How?
    8) As I still need to learn my DAW properly, do you find is OK for me to start learning Studio One 3 Artist? Does it fits good for classical music? Are there nice plug-in for violin?
    9) Is there a book or trainig material you recommend in order to start?

    This is a sample of the recording I have done: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10ko...ew?usp=sharing

    I normally find my recordings with a lack of fullness and warmth. Do you have any comment?

    Thanks a lot for the time you will take to read and answer my doubts and give me a feedback!

    /Marco
     

    Attached Files:

  2. cyrano

    cyrano Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Location:
    Brussels
    You might want to split your questions into different threads, or this is gonna get messy...

    As for questions

    - 1
    Yes, that's a bright mic. Rode didn't tame the usual HF bump any condenser mic has. The reasoning probably is that it's easy to EQ in the DAW, if needed. If you like completely neutral, look at DPA. Expensive, though.

    - 2
    I'd leave the HPF at 75 Hz. Some may want to religiously capture "everything", I like to avoid clipping the mic/preamp by falling objects or other mayhem while recording. But that's usually live, so your YMMV...

    - 3
    The usual way is to set faders at zero and adjust gain to peak at -20 dB.

    - 4
    I listen to the instrument (on headphones) while moving the mic, if I have the time to do it.

    I'll listen later. No speakers atm...
     
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  3. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2020
    Location:
    SWEDEN
    Thanks a lot Cyrano.
    -1 DPA is really great, but expensive as you said.
    -2 sounds good!
    -3 ok
    -4 do you have some strategies when moving? I guess different direction can generate different results. I was just guessing, but maybe something like I wrote: closer or more far away from the source to find the good mix between source and ambient sound (critical distance) and up and down to emphasize the sound of the violin (high frequency tend to be more present on top, etc...).

    PS: I have now fixed the link so you can see (and hear) the recording I have made
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    UK
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    Welcome, Marco!

    That's a nice test recording you did. I assume that it was done using the NT55 with omni capsules. I listened to your sample after compensating for the known HF bump in the NT55s, as Cyrano mentioned.

    The church where it was recorded has a long but rather harsh reverberation, which does not really do justice to the instrument or the player. It's likely that the cardioid capsules could be used to reduce the harshness in the reverberation by being directional, but only if you did some more experiments in position of both the performer and the microphones in that acoustic space.

    The recording of the actual violin is well balanced, and does bring out the qualities of the instrument's tone. If you want to stick with omni capsules, then 150 - 200 mm apart is a good starting spacing for recording a solo instrument. However, under these conditions, I would normally reach for directional microphones.

    Simply record the two microphone channels without any processing or addition. You don't need to alter the image width by additional processing, as it is set by the position of the microphones relative to the instrument. Similarly, leave the phase exactly as recorded. Time difference (HF) and phase (LF) form the principal method by which A-B omni configuration conveys sound source position, as opposed to amplitude difference when you use directional capsules such as cardioid.

    I have owned an NT55 pair with the two different capsule types for very many years, and these days am fairly choosy about what type of instruments I use them on. I would normally say that a solo violin is not one of them, but then I don't that often get to record an instrument and player of the quality you have there. By working out what I don't use them on, they did indicate to me what I had to look for when it came to investing in higher-quality small-diaphragm microphones. The DPAs that Cyrano mentioned were one of them, along with MBHO and Schoeps.
     
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  5. cyrano

    cyrano Active Member

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    Feb 4, 2018
    Location:
    Brussels
    As usual, Paul's nailed it.

    Have you tried moving the mics closer? Or even use them in XY very close up?
     
  6. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2020
    Location:
    SWEDEN
    Thank you very much Boswell for the time you took to read and analyze my message and recording.
    You got it right: we were in a medium size chapel (maybe 25 squared meters) with floor and walls covered with marble, therefore with pretty harsh reverberation.
    You write about directional microphones: do you mean changing the capsules with cardioid and use X/Y setup then? I will definitely try this out.

    DPA mics are really great, agree, but way more expensive. The violin here was recorded in mono with DPA 4011 (one for the violin and 2 for the piano) together with ambient stereo pair (I don't remember the brand of these) more far away and higher up:
    Here the differences are not only superior gears but a very skilled sound engineer that knew how to nicely place the mics and setup the equipment. According to him the church acoustic was great therefore he did almost nothing in post.
    I am only now try to learn the basics as I am really a novice in this.

    Thanks a lot for your help and suggestion!
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Listened to your recording, I find that the image and sound aren't matching and it doesn't help.
    The recording feels like you are at the other side of the room, catching a lot of the reverb and the image is right upfront.
    Also it sounds mono, compared to what the other engineer did.
    I guess the piano was recorded more upfront and stereo. it did mask a bit of the large reverb of the violin mics (which is a missing a bit of presence or volume compared to the piano)
    Live venues are very hard to capture with perfect sound.
     
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  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    The Duo Auškelytė - Pezzi YT video is very well recorded, demonstrating that the DPA 4006/4011 really excel for this type of work. As a performance comment, in my view, the pianist is not playing with the same level of sensitivity as the violinist, particularly in Spiegel im Spiegel, where his touch is way off what is needed for that piece.

    In terms of recording items like this in that type of environment, you have to make an early decision on whether your stereo pair is going to be carrying the main information with the closer microphones as "spots" filling in some detail, or whether the main sound is to come from the closer microphones and the stereo pair is to supply room ambience. The venue acoustic is a major factor in making this decision. If the former choice, you have to delay the spot microphones at mixdown so that the sound is not heard from the spots before it's heard from the stereo pair.

    If anything, the recording/mix engineer in the duo performance you linked to has not made a firm enough choice as to whether the main sound is from the stereo pair or the close mics.

    You did well with the Rode NT55s feeding into a Zoom F8n, but I think you will find that as you improve your technique and maybe can extend your choice of microphones, you will need a higher-quality pre-amplifier to bring out the best in the microphones. That's a separate topic!
     
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  9. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

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    Jun 28, 2020
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    SWEDEN
    I agree with you pcrecord! Thanks for constructive critics regarding audio-video synch! Will think about that in next productions :)
    How would you act in order to wide up the violin stereo image? Pan? Delay? Space the mics a bit more? (they were on A-B setup 20 cm from each other as you can see from the pic)
     
  10. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2020
    Location:
    SWEDEN
    Thanks for your analisys Boswell! DPA does for sure a great job.
    Very interesting what you write regarding the choice of the "mic leader" depending on venue acoustic. So you mean that a delay in the "secondary" mic is necessary at mixdown in order to give a sort of hierarchy? As I have zero experience with delay, how would you practically do that?

    I guess I have plenty to learn and to try before considering gear upgrade at this stage.

    Thank you very much for your time and nice advice!
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    We are often limited by the venue, that's for sure.. In this instance, I would try to space the mics a bit from each other and possibly put them a bit closer to the artist. (to grab a bit less room reverb)
    But of course it's only my taste, your recording is nice. It depends the purpose of the recording too.. . ;)
     
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  12. MarcoSWE

    MarcoSWE Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2020
    Location:
    SWEDEN
    I have now re-rendered the audio after hard panning the channels L and R (and raising a bit the volume as well).

    Looking forward to record next time! I have plenty to read and to learn in meanwhile.
    Thanks a lot for amazing top support :)
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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