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CELLO!

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CELLO!

Postby forumuser775780 » Tue May 12, 2009 1:48 pm

He guys I'm recording cello tomorrow. Any tips on mic choice, placement etc..?

I've got access to 57's, 58's, RE20 and maybe C414 or U87s.

Suuggestions?

Cheers in advance

Martyn
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Re: CELLO!

Postby John Willett » Tue May 12, 2009 3:07 pm

This is how a cello radiates sound at different frequencies:-

Image

Left-hand images are the side view
Right-hand images are the plan view

You will see that there is no single place for a microphone that gets all the frequencies the cello is radiating.

Best thing tp do is to get the cellist to p[lay and listen with your ears - then place the microphone at the point where it sounds best to your ears.

I hope this helps.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Tue May 12, 2009 3:07 pm

My first choice for micing a cello would be a ribbon mic (coles or even one of the cheaper chinese ones like the Golden age etc). Second would be the U87. The dynamic mics mentioned won't sound right I don't think. The ribbon mic will give you a sound that will fit better into a mix and the brighter LDC will give you a more detailed solo sound. Try to keep the mic at least 3 or 4 feet away and parallel to the cello table as a starting point.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby jammy jamz » Tue May 12, 2009 4:11 pm

lucky Mart[y]n !! cello is my favorite instrument of all . i hope for you the player is awesome. thats a treat to sit in a nice room with a great player.

what i would do if i was in your position, with your mic choices is:

1. listen to the piece to be recorded, and figure out where abouts the frequency range of it will be sitting the most. because, as that diagram shows how varied the projection of the instrument is.

2. find the sweet spot, prob not less then 2-3 feet...(i say prob, because of the no rules in music. uh rule.)

and, then,

3. if i was doing the session, i would use the 414 in a figure of 8 pattern with the blind sides pointing at the cello, and the wall directly across from the cello, and then either the 87, or the RE, facing the cello. i think its called the Bluemen theory of something.

anyways, you take the center channel, (87 or RE), and then double the 414 channel, and phase reverse it.

i love doing this method for the weight it gives the instrument....

L = 414
C = 87, or RE
R = 414 copied, and phase reversed.

and pan till it sits right. this will be according to the full mix...but, its fun to play with the cello just soloed.

have fun man. color me jealous. nice mic selection too.

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Re: CELLO!

Postby forumuser775780 » Tue May 12, 2009 4:12 pm

Wow! Two great responses... The diagram John is brilliant, and makes me think about double miking the cello for a more balanced and full sound.

Maybe a RE20 for the low frequencies and a U87 for the mid and high? Placed in areas coinciding with the diagram...

However Rain, you mention that the dynamic microphones probably wont perform. I'm not sure if I can get hold of a Ribbon mic so short notice [on my budget!] so maybe double miking with 2 U87's might be a good shout?
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Re: CELLO!

Postby forumuser775780 » Tue May 12, 2009 4:20 pm

jammy jamz wrote:l
3. if i was doing the session, i would use the 414 in a figure of 8 pattern with the blind sides pointing at the cello, and the wall directly across from the cello, and then either the 87, or the RE, facing the cello. i think its called the Bluemen theory of something.

anyways, you take the center channel, (87 or RE), and then double the 414 channel, and phase reverse it.

i love doing this method for the weight it gives the instrument....

L = 414
C = 87, or RE
R = 414 copied, and phase reversed.

and pan till it sits right. this will be according to the full mix...but, its fun to play with the cello just soloed.

Hey dude cheers for the reply it came exactly as I posted the other! D'OH!

Sounds like a good method, when you say copy the 414 do you mean record it then copy the file to another channel?

To put it in context it will sitting with an acoustic guitar and twin vocals so theres lots of space, I'm sure you remember me talking about it in my vintage bob dylan thread earlier.....

void(0)

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Re: CELLO!

Postby jammy jamz » Tue May 12, 2009 4:36 pm

Mart[y]n wrote:

Hey dude cheers for the reply it came exactly as I posted the other! D'OH!

Sounds like a good method, when you say copy the 414 do you mean record it then copy the file to another channel?

..

void(0)


yep. exactly. you will have two 414 tracks in the mix. the original recorded one, and the one you copy, and paste into another track. plus the center channel. cool technique.

i've tried it, and i love it, but, it is all subjective, or relative, or absolute luck (in my case maybe)

i thought you wanted to go for the off the floor, live thing?
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Re: CELLO!

Postby jammy jamz » Tue May 12, 2009 5:20 pm

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Re: CELLO!

Postby forumuser775780 » Tue May 12, 2009 5:34 pm

Yeah the recordings ended up being recorded multi tracked and the result is becoming more and more commercial. We tested early tracks on the radio and although they sounded vintage they just did not hold up against other tracks.

I'll put up a link or something when its done an dusted so you can see what you think...

Technique sounds good, think I'll try it....
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Setter » Tue May 12, 2009 6:30 pm

jammy jamz wrote: i think its called the Bluemen theory of something.


It's called Mid and Side, MS, or M/S and can be great. There are many threads on this forum to give you a better idea as it can be a bit tricky to get your head round. Basically the 87 or RE gets the basic sound (panned to the middle) and the 414 (panned to extremr left and right but inverted to one side) gives the extra stereo information.

It's great for choirs and orchestras but i've never heard of it being used this close to a solo instrument before. I'm sure some of the experts will be along shortly.

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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Tue May 12, 2009 7:33 pm

I'm not an expert but... Most dynamic mics I've heard don't really seem to suit solo strings. Violins and cellos etc have very strong resonant peaks and they don't seem to flatter them. An M/S stereo mic setup can sound really nice on a solo instrument in a good sounding room but it really has to be a good room and a room you want to hear. As you can see from the above charts (very kindly provided!) you need to get the mic (s) quite a long way from the cello before you will get a balanced sound. The side mic (figure of 8) is really only picking up the sound of the room unless what you are recording has a wide spread i.e. choir, orchestra, drum kit (that's primarily why people use M/S in these situations). I'm not sure it's going to help to record the cello in stereo, especially if it's going to be used in context with a lot of other instruments. If you're recording classical solo cello and piano in a nice hall maybe. Having said that, the advantage of MS is that when you mix you can just get rid of the side mic and use the central mono (U87).

Hope you have fun anyway... I love recording cello. It's like having your own private recital. I use a guy called Matthew Sharp who has 300 year old italian cello and it shakes the house!

Good luck!
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Tue May 12, 2009 7:48 pm

Sorry martyn, missed the bit about 'just a guitar and two voices' - So pretty spacious arrangement. What's the room like where you are recording? Is it the kind of ambience you want for the recording or are you going to keep it dry and add reverb later? If the former try the 414/U87 MS method ('proper' MS needs the mono mic (U87) to be omni), if the latter mono U87 cardioid should do it. As mentioned earlier 'listen with your ears' (what a lovely expression! Only a musician/engineer would understand that!) and place the mics accordingly.

A recent project we did used a string quartet in a fairly busy pop arrangement so that was what was on my mind - lucky enough to get to record the strings at Abbey Road B and the in-house engineers just dangled an old Coles 4038 ribbon mic about four or five feet in front of each player and it sounded perfect....
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Re: CELLO!

Postby jammy jamz » Tue May 12, 2009 8:21 pm

no fair Rain.

you just blew my mind with:

string quartet
Abbey road B
coles 4038 @ five feet

maaaaaaaaan i can only imagine how freakin awesome that was.

did it go to tape? or digital? i ask because, in my imagination, its going to a 16-track 2" machine.

i suggested the M/S micing arrangement Mart[y]n, because, I think it will help give you that sound that you're after. a nice room, tho, always always always helps

man

Abbey road B. for the love of all things perfect.

i am so happy to be able to talk shop with you folks, words will never be able to express my appreciation of the knowledge, and ideas.

and humour
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Tue May 12, 2009 8:58 pm

Hi J J

You obviously haven't read my other posts about tape! (hint - prefers digital) Sorry to dispel the romance but it was all pro tools. Did go through their very nice Neve desk though... and yeah the room sounds ok too But full of the ghosts of Rick Wright and John Lennon and others - seriously. Very tangible atmosphere.

Still, some of the other tracks (with violin and cello) for this album have been recorded in my 7' x 11' back bedroom on a £70 chinese ribbon mic, fireface and PC and the artist's manager said he preferred them to the Abbey Road ones....

BTW It is an amazing forum and I learn things every time I log in here.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Bradley Steenkamp » Tue May 12, 2009 9:49 pm

I think the M/S idea with the U87 in the middle and the 414's is a really good idea. It is completely risk free as long as you make sure you find a good position for the mics. You don't have to use the 414 at all if you prefer the sound of just the u87. You can also use the 414 for the stereo information at a level that is just right when mixing.

I've used this setup on acoustic guitar more than once and it can work really well.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby forumuser775780 » Wed May 13, 2009 12:25 pm

JJ & Rain,

Represent my friends. Not to take away from everyone else's great input though. Thanks for all the feedback. Don't think the room is going to sound amazing, it really is a budget job [as in there is no budget - and not in a good way] but I'm sure with the MS technique and a bit of cheeky mixing it'll sound sweet.

Abbey Road tales are lovely and have filled my spank bank for another week. Not to take sides either JJ but I'm a Pro Tools man too..... but i think thats another conversation for another thread!
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Re: CELLO!

Postby jammy jamz » Wed May 13, 2009 1:17 pm

sorry for the un-intentional hijack.

im a digital fella too, but, one of my first experiences in a recording studio, i was a singer in a RAWK band, and we tracked to 16 2" machine. those rolls going around, were almost hypnotyzing, but, the card for track 8 would sometimes short out, and would have to be pulled out, and reseated. it only affected the tracking once, but, it was delegated to a 15 track, 2" machine, rather quickly.

im looking forward to hearing your mixes Mart[y]n. i will be putting some stuff up on my bands myspace page very soon as well. its also acct. gtr, and cello, but, with an acct bass thrown in as well, and let me tell you, gettin an acct bass, and a cello to sit right with each other without competing for the low frequency energy,...was pretty hard to get right. i think im almost there tho.

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Re: CELLO!

Postby ROLO46 » Wed May 13, 2009 4:15 pm

For proper MS its 2 identical fig 8'S
Thats Blumlein
But any M config mike can be used as long as its the same manufacturer and same size for alignment
Its tweakable from coincident stereo to mono by manipulation of S.
M=S=LH, M-S= RH
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Hi rolo

I've never heard of the middle mic of an MS set up being a figure 8?? I would have thought that would have defeated the phase cancellations that make the MS work. That's why the mid mic should really be an omni. Ideally you'd like the two mics to be identical but it's not at all essential. I've seen SDC mid and LDC side used together in pro situations often too, although often it'll be something like two 414s or two U87s.

Blumlein's is totally different to MS and works in a completely different way. It is a coincident xy technique with the two figure 8s at 90degrees.

"The Blumlein stereo set-up is a coincidence stereo technique, which uses two bi-directional microphones in the same point and angled at 90° to each other. This stereo technique will normally give the best results when used at shorter distances to the sound source, as bi-directional microphones are using the pressure gradient transducer technology and therefore is under influence of the proximity effect. At larger distances these microphones therefore will loose the low frequencies. The Blumlein stereo is purely producing intensity related stereo information. It has a higher channel separation than the XY stereo, but has the disadvantage, that sound sources located behind the stereo pair also will be picked up and even be reproduced with inverted phase." DPA mics info
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 6:36 pm

It's all here!

stereo mic techniques
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Aural Reject » Wed May 13, 2009 6:46 pm

Rain wrote:That's why the mid mic should really be an omni.


It can be anything you want it to be (within reason).

Edit: And the DPA site you've just linked to shows a cardioid mid mic
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 7:00 pm

Yeah what I really mean is that an omni sounds so much better! (You should always do what I think is best )

The DPA site shows a cardioid (fools!) but then says...

"Normally a cardioid microphone capsule is chosen for the Mid channel, but omnis are sometimes preferred to capture low frequency richness at distance."

It will sound better, believe me! Check out Michael Stavrou's great book, 'Mixing With Your Mind', he will agree!
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Re: CELLO!

Postby John Willett » Wed May 13, 2009 7:01 pm

Rain wrote:I've never heard of the middle mic of an MS set up being a figure 8??


This is what Alan Dower Blumlein himself used - two fig.8s in MS at equal level give the same result as an XY Blumlein pair. The advantage of doing this in MS is that the angle is easily narrowed or widened without touching the mics.

With an omni as mid - the result is back-to-back cardioids.

With a cardioid as mid - the result is crossed super-cardioids. This is the most popular for music recording. Though I have used an MKH 800 is super-cardiuoid mode as a mid recording Chloe Hanslip in the Wigmore Hall not too long ago.

But with MS you can use anything you like as the mid - the only fixed point is that you *must* use a fig.8 as the side (+ve to left).

I really don't like using an omni as mid - if you need the bass I would use an MS pair of cardioid + fig.8 and have a pair of omni outriggers to fill in the bottom end. Also look at Alan Blumlein's "shuffling" method.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Aural Reject » Wed May 13, 2009 7:03 pm

Actually I'd rather trust my own ears and use what's best for the job at hand

Books are one thing, reality can sometimes be something else.

Omnis can be disfavoured for various reasons, you might want to use a hypercardioid for other reasons....blanket statements don't work for me I'm afraid
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 7:05 pm

See what I mean about learning something new everyday here?

Thanks John
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Re: CELLO!

Postby John Willett » Wed May 13, 2009 7:06 pm

Aural Reject wrote:....blanket statements don't work for me I'm afraid

Same here.
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Guest » Wed May 13, 2009 7:18 pm

You can use any pattern as the mid mic.

It doesn't have to be omni any more than it has to be fig-8. Omni has the advantage of supplying some of the LF lost in the fig-8 mic (unless you're using a pre-EQ'ed fig-8 mic or or adding some LF to a natural fig-8) but often I find that it can give too much room and the image can be a bit wooly compared to fig-8 or other directional mid mics.

Whilst there are good reasons for choosing mics from the same manufacturer or series, it's not written in stone.

Neither is using only two mics of the same type, e.g. LDC, SDC, Ribbon.

It's perfectly possible to mix and match makes, models and types as long as you can physically mount the mics in the necessary configuration and you choose mics whose frequency responses and polar pattern characteristics don't cause problems. Using two mics from the same range usually/often simplifies mounting and will (hopefully) provide a good match in characteristics.


I've never heard of the middle mic of an MS set up being a figure 8?? I would have thought that would have defeated the phase cancellations that make the MS work.

Yes and no. Two fig-8 mics in MS was Blumlein's idea and is fairly common, e.g. many stereo ribbon mics support this configration. The cute thing about it is that unlike any other MS combination, the resultant patterns (see the articles below for an explanation of that if needed) when the MS signals are matrixed are a crossed pair of fig-8s. Combining the fig-8 Side with any other pattern of mid results in a matrixed pair which is a combination of the two.

That's why the mid mic should really be an omni.

Nope. Even in the DPA link you give, a cardioid is shown with omni mentioned as a possibility. It all depends upon what you want to achieve. The theory stands up for all patterns.

Blumlein's is totally different to MS and works in a completely different way. It is a coincident xy technique with the two figure 8s at 90degrees.


..er... Exactly like two fig-8 mics in MS then

I'd suggest reading some of Hugh's excellent articles on mic techniques - including MS, and/or some of the many posts on this forum, and perhaps the following articles from the AEA Website .

Basic Microphone Perspectives - A Review (Ron Streicher & Wes Dooley)

The Bi-Directional Microphone - A Forgotten Patriarch (Same authors)

MS Stereo - A Brief Tutorial (Ron Streicher)

MS Stereo - A Powerful Technique for Working in Stereo (Same authors)

... and if that got you thinking ...

The Inventor of Stereo : The life and works of Alan Dower Blumlein

and

The Life and Times of Alan Dower Blumlein (IEE History of Technology) (IEE History of Technology)PBHT0240

EDIT: (And whilst I typed out that lot and ate dinner, everyone beat me to it )
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 7:25 pm

Points taken and I'm happy to bow to superior knowledge and experience. We all go by our own experience and my use of MS is relatively limited and mainly to solo classical guitar. I only mentioned it as I had a very interesting conversation with Michael Stavrou about his favouring an omni mid mic in MS when recording John Williams solo guitar. I only asked him as he got one of the nicest guitar sounds I'd ever heard - mainly due to it being John Williams no doubt! I tried the technique myself both with cardioid and omni and preferred the omni but obviously this is a specific circumstance, room, instrument etc. Wouldn't normally go with 'blanket rules' but when something works and sounds great, maybe I get a little carried away!

Martyn - listen to these other guys, not me!
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Re: CELLO!

Postby Rain » Wed May 13, 2009 7:28 pm

Why do I have to come up against all the geniuses?
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Re: CELLO!

Postby ROLO46 » Wed May 13, 2009 10:04 pm

MS looks complicated
But on closer inspection its common sense
Alan Dower Blumlein, a minor deity in my book, all done mid (no side!)1930's.
The anglo saxons went ribbon , the saxons condensor
Along with the Brit inventor of PCM also in the 30's
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