Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TOMS.

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
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Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TOMS.

Post by blameshifter » Tue Aug 12, 2003 11:42 am

it looks like in the very near future i will be doing string recordings. i have a general idea about how to record them, and there are a few things i want to try with them. im think about using three mics per instrument: one at the bow/f-hole area, one at the neck and one a couple feet away. i have yet to try this, but i think it will get a good overall sound. im wondering what you seasoned pros have to say about it. any ideas that sound good enough, ill try and post when theyre completed.

also, slightly off topic: im looking to create a fuller tom sound. what does fuller mean? think about Andy Hong's work on the last Karate record. i like those toms. i was considering micing from the bottom, to get a bigger and deeper sound. i dont want as much resonance and ring as i want size. any help there? i realize i may be explaining this very subjectively, but to avoid a million subjective questions, just tell me how you are getting nice tom tones. i have the higher end audix drum mics (D1,D2,D4). i use the D2 and D4 mostly.
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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by guitar4lyfe » Tue Aug 12, 2003 11:50 am

are you doing just one instrument at a time (like a cello backing track for a ballad) or are you doing whole sections? The setup you discribed would work better with just one mic on the instrument, and one a few feet away. The neck mic would probably pick up the same higer overtones as the mic a few feet away and adding a 3rd mic might introduce phasing problems depending on its placment.

As for toms, closer to the center=more attack, closer to the rim=mellower sound. Try maybe micing near the rim without the plastic muffle rings alot of drummers use so u get a lil more attack. Thats what I do

Edit: Also if you're doing a section try one mic overhead and one in front of the section about 10 feet back or so

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by blameshifter » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:12 pm

it will be one instrument at a time. 2 mics probably will be better. dont want to introduce too much phase that ill have to deal with later.

as for toms, i always remove the rings, and i do mic at the rim. its still not big enough. any other tips?
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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by d franko » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:14 pm

I think room mics help with tom sound enormously, that's what I'm hearing on those karate recordings also.

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by guitar4lyfe » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:15 pm

where are you recording? I totally dead room might also contribute to the fact that the drums dont sound as full as you'd like

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by blameshifter » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:23 pm

generally, i record in very live rooms. also, i put a mic in the shower stall near the drum room, and it really thickens the drums up. im looking for a closer solution, one that begins with mic'ing the actual toms. i dont want all the resonance that goes with room mics. im sure this is possible some how, ill keep trying to figure it out, and im getting closer all the time. thanks for the tips, keep em coming.
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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by guitar4lyfe » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:35 pm

It could just be that the drumset doesnt have good resonance. Try replacing the heads if they are worn, new heads vibrate and carry tone better.

Ive never tried this but try micing the drum shell (put a mic against/close to the side of the drum) this might add a little more fullness because you get the vibrations of the head, not just the attack. If you mic the bottom head with the top head, you just end up getting more attack.

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by blameshifter » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:46 pm

something else i was thinking about trying was taking the bottom heads off entirely, then shoving the mic up near the top head, about center. anyone ever tried that?
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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by guitar4lyfe » Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:50 pm

I would think it would make the tom sound really hollow, but Ive never tried it, experiment

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by Professor » Tue Aug 12, 2003 2:55 pm

For the strings, I would suggest one mic, or two tops, and you almost definitely don't want to be up by the fingerboard on the violin. Cello and Bass are large enough that you might get some tone from the fingerboard, but on violin you will get fret noise and the fingers tapping on the strings as the player checks pitch, neither of which are generally wanted in a string sound. With Cello and bass you might consider placing a mic behind the instrument since a good portion of their frequencies actually radiate off the back side of the instrument. On the other hand, if these are supposed to lay in the back behind a pop tune, you would probably just want to mic about 18-24 inches off the front of the instrument and keep it simple. Keep in mind that as you get closer to where the bow and string meet, you will start to hear the scraping sound of the rosined horse hair dragging across the string.

For the toms, placing a mic on the bottom head will pick up the sound of the bottom head. If that head is thinner or tuned higher, it will distort the sound of the drum. Removing the bottom head could work, but if you get right up on the top head, you will only hear the thuddy plastic sound of the head. Think of it as a small bass drum - if you take off the bottom head, you could place the mic right at the threshold of the drum (where the bottom head would be) and get the sound of the whole drum coming together while still sounding somewhat isolated. That combined with a good set of overheads could yeild a nice sound.

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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by Brent » Tue Aug 12, 2003 3:06 pm

Also if you happen to have one of those sweet Neumann Contest CDs there is a question about mic placement on a cello. You could listen to each one and decide which you like better...

Just a thought. :?
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Re: Recording Strings (Cello, Violin, Contrabass). Also, TO

Post by PatrickBrown » Tue Aug 12, 2003 3:55 pm

Some of the best sound I've gotten miking my fiddles have been with a LD Tube Cond.(SE5000) 14-18 inches from the fiddle top. A little off axis. My sales engineer has a degree in violin performance and keeps telling me to get an Earthworks TC30K, but I've yet to spring for it.
I've gotten good results with an NT3 too(NT1 too, though someone on Fiddle-L was surprised to hear that). Don't think I'd try a C1 for fiddle. Never used more than one mike. It was fiddle, not violin, music, and I use(d) Prim steel core light gauge(might change to just American made strings with the Euro situation, when I do change strings) and Liebenzeller Gold I Rosin. It's the grabbiest rosin I've ever used, so there's not much bow on string noise with it.

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