recording solo cello. mics / techniques?

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wheat_heart
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recording solo cello. mics / techniques?

Post by wheat_heart » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:53 pm

Hey folks. I've been a basement hack for years, but I'm going to be doing some tracking for a cellist friend in a couple weeks, and figured I'd better buy a real mic.

I'm looking at a Rode K2 and a U47 clone from Advanced Audio. Anyone used either of these mics for similar applications? I'm looking for something that's fairly versatile for future use.

My old version of ProTools won't run on my new OS, so I'm limited to my Zoom H4 and Cubase. Should I be looking at mic pres also? It's a lo-fi operation, but I'd like to do the best I can.

I'd appreciate any thoughts...
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jaguarsg
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Post by jaguarsg » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:10 pm

u47 clone and cubase. beg, borrow or steal the best pres you can get.

good luck.

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Post by cgarges » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:20 pm

Welcome to the board!

I love me some ribbon mics on cello. To me, the placement of the cello in the room is more important than the mic selection or anything that follows it.

There are a bunch of good threads on recording cello. If you use the search function at the top left-hand side of the page, you can type in "cello" and get a bunch of useful information.

Chris Garges
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Post by wheat_heart » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:41 pm

cgarges wrote: I love me some ribbon mics on cello. To me, the placement of the cello in the room is more important than the mic selection or anything that follows it.
Yeah, I've been lusting after ribbons, but a good one might be out of my price range. Ditto on room placement, though; working with shitty mics for years, that's all I've had to work with.

I was leaning toward the AA U47, so I think I'll spring for it and maybe see if I can borrow/rent some pres and a ribbon mic.

Thanks for the welcome and the advice, guys.
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Post by joel hamilton » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:05 am

cgarges wrote:Welcome to the board!

I love me some ribbon mics on cello. To me, the placement of the cello in the room is more important than the mic selection or anything that follows it.

There are a bunch of good threads on recording cello. If you use the search function at the top left-hand side of the page, you can type in "cello" and get a bunch of useful information.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:07 am

The Apex 205 or 210 are both decent, budget ribbons. I've had good results with both on cello. I don't think either one is over $300 new and you can find them used for much, much less.
They also sound great on guitars, kick, overheads, vocals, etc, etc.

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Post by capnreverb » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:37 am

I have recorded cello quite a bit for a friend of mine that is a cellist. We have done some mic shootouts with what I have including a u87ai, 4033, a groove tube ldc tube mic, beyer m500 ribbon, shure 300 ribbbon, a rode nt1, sm7, re20, and a Cad m179. The one we end up going back to all the time is the CAD m179 and sometimes the Groove Tube mic. The m179 is a great mic in that for a cheap ldc, it is not overly bright.

Also, placement is also a big deal. You need to ask the cellist what they want to hear (more of - the bow, the fingers, the room, detail etc.)

Also, be sure to take note that plucking volume and bowing volume are not the same, and have much differant frequencies to manage.

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mixedupsteve
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Post by mixedupsteve » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:08 am

Placement is the key so be ready to move the mics around. I would recommend a stereo pair especially if the room sounds nice. SDCs are good for this too.

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lapsteel
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Post by lapsteel » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:36 am

A room mic might also be a nice addition, either for mixing with close mics or the main recording. It depends on what the cellist wants or what the song calls for.

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Post by losthighway » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:59 am

I've found mic'ing classical instruments to be shockingly easy. Maybe because I seldom get to do it, so everything sounds good to me.

You could probably use a lot of different mics but it's hard to go wrong with a Large Diaphragm Condenser. I would start with one a foot or two away, out of the way of the bowing action, pointed towards the F holes. A second one a dozen feet away at waist level. Cardioid if your rooms not sounding hot, omni if it is. That would be my first guess, but once you start you never know where you wind up.

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Post by wheat_heart » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:47 pm

junkshop wrote:The Apex 205 or 210 are both decent, budget ribbons. I've had good results with both on cello.
I'm looking at the AA CM47 SE tomorrow, and also thinking about the Apex 205 as an additional mic to play with... but the ShinyBox 46MX is starting to sound good too {TapeOp #53}.
jaguarsg wrote:beg, borrow or steal the best pres you can get.
Yeah, the consensus seems to be that the built-in preamps on the Zoom H4 are pretty shitty. Any thoughts on the Presonus Blue Tube (or the ShinyBox Si 500 {#69})? I'm worried about noise-floor issues with tube pres in general, since I deal mostly with acoustic instruments.
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Jeff White
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Post by Jeff White » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:30 pm

Don't use the Zoom... Download and try out Reaper and use your laptop or whatever and Pro Tools hardware with it. It's totally easy and intuitive to use. I'd take a computer out.

Mic preamps... on a budget, grab a Presonus MP20 (two channel) and throw some Burr-Brown op-amps into it. Like $200 used for the preamp and another $80 for the op-amps. Also, the Symetrix SX-202 is a killer preamp (two channel) for small money on the used market. I would avoid the Blue Tube. I used to have two of the old version of those and they were noisy as hell. If you want tube on a budget go for the EH 12AY7.

I recorded cello back in 2006 for my friends' last release. Fun, and the first time I ever recorded cello. Eve Miller (Matt Pond PA, Rachels) played on the record, and she's totally great. He cello was from 1725 or something like that, and the room that we recorded it in was from 1740. I used an AT4047 into either my Presonus MP20 (Burr-Brown mod) or a Sytek. Can't remember. We immediately liked the results. I had to shave some lows to fit it into dense mixes.

Here is a snippet...

http://www.ipressrecord.com/hereOutOfRe ... o-edit.wav (24-bit 44.1kHz)

This was before the 828mk2 had the black lion mods.. also, I pulled off any EQ, this is the dry signal, mic in a room, 4047 like 2' to 3' from the bridge of the cello. It is stereo because I bounced it down from the session for editing, however it is center panned so mono.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

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Marc Alan Goodman
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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:01 pm

I'm with Chris on the ribbons, but it's going to require a lot of gain so if you don't have a nice mic preamp you might just be asking for a ton of unwanted noise on what's going to end up being a solo track.

Just walk around the instrument until you find a good spot in the room. I often just end up with a ribbon or LDC of some sort out in front of the cello, a few inches to the side (away from the bow) and slightly below the bridge pointed up towards where the bow hits the strings. But experiment with your rig!!

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