Recording a violin and drum duo

Discussion in 'Strings' started by oak, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. oak

    oak Guest

    Hello all,
    I would like to do next month a recording of "folk music"in a valley at the northwest of my province, Tucumán, Argentina.
    This recording is very important for me because the musicians are now 80 years old and perhaps soon they will be no more playing.
    I will do the recording in the same place where the music is made for dance: a "patio" in spanish (I have found these translations in the dictionary : patio, open court, countyard )

    The patio in this case is a semi-open place, 3 or 4 rooms surrounding an open place, 7 x 5 meters more or less.

    The instruments are violin and a drum , both seated , violin at the left and drum at the right, separated by 1,5 meters more or less(the mics should be in front of them)
    In a real situation, the musicians play at a side of the patio, looking to people dancing in it.

    My "philosophy" subyacent in this proyected recording is the same of classical music : capturing the sound of instruments in the most natural way and in their natural place.

    My questions are:
    First, do you think there could be phase problems with the sound bouncing back from the walls surrounding the patio ? Principally with the drum, wich is hit in the ring and the skin, alternately, at a volume "mezzo forte".
    Some of you have experienced a similar situation, percusive instruments in a semi-open place like this ?

    Second, what microphone configuration would you use ?

    I have available 2 Schoeps MK4 cardioids, 2 Studio Proyects omnis, a Sennheiser MKH 50 hypercardioid, only 4 pres from a Mackie 1202 VLZ mixer, and a dat recorder Sony TCD-D7 (no multitrack available)

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!. Hugo Daniel.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA

    It sounds like you have an interesting situation here.

    As for the echo/reverberation - yes phasing will play a part in this recording, but there really isn't any way to counter it when you have such prominant early reflections. Perhaps it's best to let that work to your advantage.

    Summning this down to a two channel on the fly could be quite interesting. I see two very obvious solutions.

    Use only a stereo pair. It's simple and would help minimize the effects. I would suggest the Schoeps in an ORTF setup. They will capture the initial sounds as well as the early reflections. It should sound an awful lot like a stereo recording being passed through a delay then reverb, which can be quite a pleasing and interesting sound.

    You could close mic (relatively close - don't bury the mics on top of the instruments, maybe .5 meters away from each player) again using the schoeps and then place one central omni. Pan each instrument left and right and then place the omni centrally and pan it towards the center. Keep the level a little down on the center mic - just enough that the image is there, but doesn't create a strong "mono feel." This can be quite tough to do "in the field" using only headphones as your source of monitoring.

    When in doubt, keep it as simple as possible.

  3. oak

    oak Guest

    Thanks Cucco, I think too that keeping it simple, with the rig available, is the best.
    Really, it seems very strange to me your second solution, because this is not a main pair with spots mics (you suggested only one omni mic in the middle), and it is not a Decca tree, it seems like a Decca tree inverted, with the middle mic far away from the musicians ?
    In any case, I will take a day to rehearsal in the place all the possibilities.

    I was thinking, the violin in this music is the principal instrument. The drum is a type of rythmic background.
    How to obtain the most detail possible in the violin sound -perhaps a stereo pair aimed to it , an another mic in the drum ?
    Any suggestions ?
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