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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Recording Classical Violin
      #1048893 - 18/05/13 07:18 PM
I'm a fairly good violinist with a great violin. I've tried recording some violin but I always get a really harsh sound. I'd like to get the sound that you'd hear on a Joshua Bell album. It usually ends up sound like a fiddle on a country or pop album. I've tried multiple mic positions with multiple mics. I have 2 AT2050 and a C3000b. I use the preamps on my Impact Twin. The room that I record in is about 40 square meters. I'd like to know what is the biggest culprit in making my sound not like a beautiful classical recording so that I can make changes or an investment in new gear. I'm not sure if its the position, room, mics, preamps, or effects. Any advice would be appreciated but preferably from someone who has professionally recorded classical violin.

Gerhard


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tacitus



Joined: 04/02/08
Posts: 923
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1048894 - 18/05/13 07:29 PM
Probably all the things you've listed have some effect on the result, but I suspect the biggest is yourself - for two reasons:

1) I don't imagine you sound like Joshua Bell - no offence but however good you are you're bound to be different.
2) When you hear yourself you'll be so amazed at the difference from what you perceive as you play that you'll be the hardest person to sell your 'sound' to.

It's really hard, in my experience, to record yourself in this way as the internal expectations are so hard to meet.


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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: tacitus]
      #1048902 - 18/05/13 08:25 PM
Thanks for the reply. Joshua Bell is just an example. I'm comparing to any modern classical violin recording. I don't think its the quality of my playing. I am playing standard concert pieces like the Mendelssohn concerto.
I have also recorded other professional violinists. As an ensemble it sounds fine but if I try to do solo it sounds harsh and doesn't have clarity.


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Gone To Lunch
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Joined: 11/06/04
Posts: 1004
Loc: London
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: tacitus]
      #1048903 - 18/05/13 08:34 PM
Quote tacitus:

Probably all the things you've listed have some effect on the result, but I suspect the biggest is yourself - for two reasons:

1) I don't imagine you sound like Joshua Bell - no offence but however good you are you're bound to be different.
2) When you hear yourself you'll be so amazed at the difference from what you perceive as you play that you'll be the hardest person to sell your 'sound' to.

It's really hard, in my experience, to record yourself in this way as the internal expectations are so hard to meet.




It is the same for singers. It is fundamentally to do with how we hear. When we listen to sounds from outside of ourselves, the sound is mostly air-conducted. But when we hear ourselves speak or sing, the sound is partly bone-conducted and thus different. I guess the same is true for a violin, especially if it is pressed against the shoulder bones. I am not a violinist or a singer, by the way..


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Bob Bickerton
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Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3062
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1048932 - 19/05/13 07:07 AM
You say you've recorded other violinists. Did you record them in the same space with the same microphones, and if so did you reproduce their sound accurately?

If the answer is yes, and you can't achieve the sound of your own violin that you think you hear, then it could be a perception issue.

I had a similar problem some years ago with a violinist. I could not satisfy him, until I placed the mic close to his left ear - that was the sound he was hearing but not what everyone else was hearing!

If your recordings of other violinists was in a different room and/ or with different mics, then it could well be issues with the room/mics.

Both the mics you're using have high frequency lifts, which would not help the 'harsh' sound you're hearing. I'd be looking to use a neutral microphone for violin. If you're stuck with using those mics, try working them off-axis, which can attenuate the higher frequencies.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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Tim Gillett



Joined: 30/01/13
Posts: 508
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1048948 - 19/05/13 09:58 AM
Could you upload a sample of your recording so we can hear it? Also a reference to a particular commercial recording of Joshua Bell's which you would like to sound like. Ideally the same piece.

Cheers Tim


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caveman82



Joined: 30/01/06
Posts: 1290
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Tim Gillett]
      #1048951 - 19/05/13 10:08 AM
I had a quick google and it seems DPA microphones have been used for Joshua Bell at sometime, I reckon the DPA 4011a might be a contender.

The microphones mentioned by the OP are budget microphones, and I imagine for high end classical violin engineers probably use the high end microphones, which from my experience do make a massive difference.


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Tim Gillett



Joined: 30/01/13
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Loc: Perth, Western Australia
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: caveman82]
      #1048955 - 19/05/13 10:33 AM
Quote caveman82:

I had a quick google and it seems DPA microphones have been used for Joshua Bell at sometime, I reckon the DPA 4011a might be a contender.

The microphones mentioned by the OP are budget microphones, and I imagine for high end classical violin engineers probably use the high end microphones, which from my experience do make a massive difference.






Compared to which "not so high end" mic or mics do high end mics make a massive difference? We need to be specific for this to have an objective meaning. Better to say high end mics can make a massive difference.

Tim

Edited by Tim Gillett (19/05/13 10:46 AM)


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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1048964 - 19/05/13 01:12 PM
My wife and I are a violin and piano duo, and I have gotten some pretty good results recording the violin with my Rode NT1A. I have also used a reflection filter recently, which also helps. Another thing to consider, if you are wanting to record the Mendelssohn concerto - are you recording with piano? That will raise more issues to consider as well.

Would be very interested to hear a sample of what you have so far!


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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049047 - 20/05/13 12:40 AM
When I recorded a quartet in my studio the quartet sounded good in a pop mix but if I just listen to the quartet it had the same problems as when I try to record myself.
I know that the pros use high end mics like the AEA ribbons. Would getting a better mic make the biggest improvement towards a pro sound?

Tomorrow I can make a recording of Mendelssohn and also post a recording or Joshua Bell playing it.

I'm not interested in recording the Mendelssohn, its just the piece that I am currently working on. One of the main reasons that I'd like to get these recordings better are so that I can record others (many people ask me to record their university audition tapes), to start doing remote sessions for composers, and play on my own compositions.


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Bob Bickerton
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Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3062
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049053 - 20/05/13 03:33 AM
Well the good news is that it wasn't your perception of your playing that was causing the issue! The bad news is the it may cost money to fix.

Most certainly a better microphone will help, but also in tandem with this is the room, which will have a huge impact on the recorded sound. Generally speaking, a flat response microphone with good off axis response is best for accurate recording of classical acoustic instruments, and yes a good ribbon like the AEA would be good (some ribbons may attenuate the higher frequencies more than you would wish). My favourite microphone for these duties would be the Neumann TLM193, but it's possible that a mic such as the MKH8050, which is flat but more directional may help tame the room if that is a problem. I have used ribbons on students who have not yet developed a good tone, but that doesn't seem to be the case with yourself.

This site is a good reference for checking out mic specs and comparing them.

In terms of room, do you have the option to use a hall at the University?

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Bob Bickerton]
      #1049057 - 20/05/13 06:23 AM
I have recorded an ensemble at a church. The recording sounded fine. I didn't have any solo violin recording there to compare with mine.
I do have access to small halls and can rent churches but I don't always have time to do that so it must be done out of my studio.
I am designing a new studio which will have a fairly live live room which I'm guessing will help.

I have been looking at getting a nicer microphone (C414 or Royer) but I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make and if I'll still have a problem.

Once my new studio is done I could rent some high end mics for a week and test to see the difference.

Tomorrow I'll post some samples.

Does anybody know if I'd get the classical sound that I'm looking for with a dpa 4099? I've seen professionals use it in live applications. It would practically take the room out of the equation and it is way cheaper than any pro mic.


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Bob Bickerton
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Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3062
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049058 - 20/05/13 06:44 AM
Renting mics would be a good idea to try before you buy, or even looking on the second hand market as TLM193s do come up now and then.

The DPA4099, would help eliminate room, but it is really designed for live amplification, rather than critical recording. Main issue being that being mounted so close to the violin, it's really 'hearing' only part of the full violin sound.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049247 - 21/05/13 01:26 AM
I don't know when I'll be able to record so I just got a sample of a quartet which I recorded. It sounds decent for a pop recording but it wouldn't work in a classical situation. Try to hear the tone of the individual violins. I just have a pair of AT2050 about 2 meters infront and about 2 meters off the ground. If I moved any closer it became harsh but if I moved farther away it sounded farther away and not so up close and personal.

When I saw Joshua Bell playing he only had a pair or microphones at about the distance that I described. I couldn't tell what mics they were (I was midway down the Hollywood bowl) but they were the type that have an integrated boom stand. He sounded similar to how he does on his records. Quartet Recording
Joshua Bell


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Nolum



Joined: 24/02/10
Posts: 48
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049393 - 22/05/13 12:24 AM
Are you using any processing on the quartet sample? Obviously nothing beats a great player in a great room with a great mic, but a bit of EQ and a hint of reverb would go a long way on that sample. The AT2050 has a considerable bump from about 3k to 10k, which can definitely cause harshness on a high violin part. Counteracting that with some EQ could make a big difference.

Still, if you have the means to try out better, flatter microphones, I would highly recommend it. Better to get it right from the source than use a bandaid to fix a problem.


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Mike PL



Joined: 05/05/13
Posts: 4
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049399 - 22/05/13 04:27 AM
I would try using a good ribbon mic like a Coles or AEA. Thats what we use in the recording studio. They are much less harsh and will give you a more mellow sound.

Edited by Mike PL (22/05/13 04:28 AM)


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Rain
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Joined: 05/12/02
Posts: 192
Loc: Guildford UK
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049537 - 23/05/13 02:00 AM
I'd definitely second the above advice to use a ribbon mic to get that smooth 'non-scratchy', non-peaky sound. A modest one can still give a good result on violin. In the ribbon mic shootout that SOS ran a while back some of the lower cost mics came out very well. I've recently used an SE X1R and that sounded surprisingly good considering it cost under £100.

Also keep the mic a good two or three metres away minimum and not too elevated - i.e. violin height . Hugh put out a 'frequency radiation pattern' illustration in a SOS edition for violin etc. that was very useful HERE

--------------------
https://soundcloud.com/dominic-shaw-2/02-parsifal


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Gerhard Westphalen



Joined: 21/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Calgary, Canada
Re: Recording Classical Violin new [Re: Gerhard Westphalen]
      #1049539 - 23/05/13 04:31 AM
That recording was EQed.

Thank you for everyone's advice. Judging by the responses I guess that my best bet is to try out different mics.


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