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Recording a (rock) cello quartet

Discussion in 'Strings' started by JGAN, Mar 14, 2011.

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  1. JGAN

    JGAN Active Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Hopefully this is the right place to put this,
    Newbie here. I searched around quite a bit, but I honestly have not found any situations close to mine. I am part of a quartet who does some pretty hard core rock cello, like Apocalyptica and Break of Reality. We are looking to record some songs with the following equipment:
    2x AKG 414
    2x Rode NT-5
    2x AT4040
    3x AT4033
    4x Shure SM58
    2x Shure SM57

    The room can be kind of dull and dry, but we are planning to run the output of the mixer into Lexicon PCM-70 system to add some "juice."

    I have tried the AT4040 and AT4033 mics direct onto the f-holes of my cello, and the sound it picked up seemed very rough/dry sounding and colorless, so most likely those will be limited to either overheads (necessary? good choice??) or just unused.

    If I wanted to pickup sounds from each cello that were equal in tone, would I want to use SM58 mics on each cello? I heard that those are not good at all for string insturments. What else should I use?

    As for arrangement, should I use 1 mic/cello+2 overheads or what? How should they be placed and aimed?

    Thanks for answering all my n00b questions
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    4 cellos? 414's and the NT5's. If you want the close mic'd sound then you're going to have to hire some sound gear. I have no idea what kind of budget you have so there really needs to be more information to accurately give a starting point for this. I'm also not quite sure you're pointed in the right direction when you say you're going to "run the output of the into Lexicon PCM-70 system for some juice"

    So more info please. Is this in a studio? Home? Storage space? etc etc...Are you looking for tight close micing? etc etc.

    Also are you wanting to record everything all at once? Are there drums? etc etc
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Where exactly did you put the mics? How far from the cello? This is really your first job. Finding out the best placement and mic options for recording an individual cello. It will take a lot of experimentation. I have not recorded a cello, but from recording bass my first guess is about at f-hole level about 18 inches from the instrument. But that's just a starting spot. You want to move around in three dimensions and try lots of positions. Try every mic you have. They are all decent mics. I'm guessing the NT5s or 414s, but why not try them all.

    You also probably want to use some of stereo pair techniques to pick up the ensemble as a group. But maybe we can discuss that when we know more about your overall setup as Dave suggested.
  4. JGAN

    JGAN Active Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the replies,
    @Davedog This is all through my school, so I can't really buy anything. They do have those aforementioned mics, Mackie & Soundcraft mixers, Lexicon PCM-70 reverb, and Mac with Cubase. I am planning on going from Mics->Mixer->PCM-70->Cubase.

    The room is now a dedicated studio, though it was converted from an old classroom so the sound quality isn't too great :/

    As for the 414's and NT5's, which mics should be on the bassier parts, etc?

    @BobRogers I had them on about 12" away from f-holes with the side facing it.
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