You are here

Mic for violin

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Mic for violin

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:58 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
crigenjazz wrote:... I had thought about was instead of the ribbon mic, getting a condenser mic like the RØDE NT1-A package and use this for both violin and the occasional vocals.

While I can appreciate the desire for a multifunctional mic, I doubt the NT1a would work well with the violin. It has a slightly pronounced upper-mid and high-end. It's not as strong as many LDCs, but it is there, and that emphasis and the HF diaphragm resonances might tend to make the violin sound scratchy and even piercing, rather than mellow and sonorous.

I have an nt1a and an nt2. The nt1a is quieter and seems more polished but that makes it quite boring to listen to. It is nicely transparent if you can utilise or tame the top end so I find sounds ok on something that will be in the background but doesn't really sound great on anything. The nt2 is a bit rougher sounding which suits some sources so is more useful but less of the time (for me).

The m260n is great on vocals, particularly details which are often stuffed into the higher end with condensers, often beautiful but congested. The ribbon does a similar thing in the mids which makes it more prominent but less fatiguing (for me).
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4454
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dancing Queen - feel the heat from the tangerine, ooh yeah!"

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:46 am

Tim Gillett wrote:This may be stating the obvious but have you considered a condenser mic? Probably most people would be using a condenser rather than a ribbon. Ribbons have not been superior to condensers - in more than one respect - since the 1920's...

Just to be clear, and not getting into the superiority question, most people would probably NOT use a condenser rather than a ribbon on solo violin given a choice unless they were using a very neutral condenser and even then a ribbon would often be a preferred choice.

At the cheaper end of the market you'd definitely be better off with a ribbon.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4038
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
http://www.bickerton.co.nz

Re: Mic for violin

Postby JonSSH » Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:21 pm

Sorry joining this a bit late but wanted to throw a different mic into the conversation. I love ribbon mics and that would be a great choice. My experience with violins tends to be from a live standpoint. Here one microphone stands way above the crowd and that is the DPA https://www.dpamicrophones.com/instrument-microphones. This is particularly due to excellent mounts for a violin. I would not use the mount for the studio but I have used these in a studio situation and they sound really great on... well anything! They are very adaptable, put up with high SPL, are very high quality. You would be getting a high-quality studio mic that will also knock the socks off anything else in a gig situation. They are not cheap but they are rugged and will last a lifetime.
JonSSH
Poster
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:04 pm

Yes great little mics. A muso friend of mine has one for his violin, mandolin and guitar.

I love DPA's list some of the instruments that the little 4099 excels in capturing: Violin, viola, banjo and mandolin, drums and percussion, piano, guitar, ukulele and dobro, saxophone (the entire family), all types of brass instruments, cello, accordian, upright bass, oboe, clarinet bassoon, recorder and flute...

Apart from the practicality of easy mounting on all sorts of instruments it even has an adaptor for mounting to a floor mic stand and, might in the right circumstances, even be pressed into capturing, God help us, a vocal or six...

And made by a legendary maker of condenser mics, the original Bruel and Kjaer.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1985
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:21 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:And made by a legendary maker of condenser mics, the original Bruel and Kjaer.

A small but important point of pedantry: The DPA 4000 series small-diaphragm (back electret) capacitor mics were originally designed and manufactured by B&K as test mics. That much is true.

DPA was formed by a couple of ex-B&K employees to take over the marketing -- and much later, the manufacturing -- of that specific range of mics exclusively for the pro-audio industry.

DPA subsequently developed the 4060 miniature electret mics being discussed here, and all the variations that followed, but B&K had no input at all into their design or manufacture. In fact, much of the expertise involved (particularly in the manufacturing side) actually came from a partnering hearing aid manufacturer, Muphone, which later fully merged with DPA.

I share your amusement with DPAs enthusiasm for the 4099 (and their other miniature mic variations) and how it can be used successfully on pretty much everything... but actually, with a little care in positioning/mounting, it's true! You really can achieve a very usable sound from almost everything with them.

I've sat in on sessions using them on everything from grand piano, to strings and woodwinds, to vocals and even a drum kit... and they deliver remarkably good results, although placement and mounting are often quite critical. Capturing a great sounding jazz drum kit with just three lavalier mics was a real ear-opener!

I have a pair of 4060Core mics, and it's surprising just how often I use them for things that I might ordinarily have reached for the C414 or whatever...

Great company!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 26331
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Mic for violin

Postby CSpencer » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:43 pm

Someones clock is out, check your computer.
CSpencer
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:30 pm

Re: Mic for violin

Postby JonSSH » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:08 pm

Sorry just to confirm it was the 4099 I was referring to. https://www.dpamicrophones.com/instrume ... microphone.

Just to note this is not a cheap microphone it will set you back about £400 plus something for the violin mounting kit. However, this is one of best-built mics I have ever used. It is incredibly versatile. I have used on cello, viola, violin, guitar, drums it is my go to mic for all of these live.
JonSSH
Poster
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Ariosto » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:18 pm

Although I really like and have some DPA mics I still just prefer the ribbon mics for violin. (And a lot else as well). I usually use the DPA omni's for the pianoforte but yes, they are good on violin, viola, cello and most other instruments. I think personally the largest difference in recording quality is made by the placement of mics and the ears of the person doing the recording. And a really great musician will sound great whatever mic you use.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 858
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Mic for violin

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:54 pm

JonSSH wrote:...this is one of best-built mics I have ever used. It is incredibly versatile. I have used on cello, viola, violin, guitar, drums it is my go to mic for all of these live.

Coincidentally, translates really well into the Tonedexter, I had a friend train her fiddle with it which was the best result I had at the time but managed to overwrite the slot with another one and haven't seen her since.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4454
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dancing Queen - feel the heat from the tangerine, ooh yeah!"

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Mic for violin

Postby crigenjazz » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:58 am

Thanks everyone for your replies! :thumbup:

Although I liked the idea of a 'covers all bases' mic (if there ever was such a thing!) in the NT1 for example, I realise I should focus on my core skill which is violin (not the occasional vocals recording of me or other musicians) and look at ribbon mics.
However a lot of you say that the room setup is very important...

Although I am in a quiet residential area (not underground affected or nearby industry), it's a normal carpeted room. My only extra insulation is a door seal, pulling down the blinds and curtains and asking politely my housemates not to use their TV for half an hour! :D It's not a studio setup! In this case is it enough to rule out a ribbon mic?

I'm also attracted to the idea of the Gold Age R1 mkII as this sounds like a good enough mic (and I could do vocals on it, right?!)

I'm aware of the DPA products and have used them I believe in a live recording or two. I have a live violin mic (Accusound) which I might even use as a secondary mic source in recordings.

I am also on the lookout for a new pair of good value for money studio HEADPHONES (up to say £100) to do some basic recording and mixing with and potentially tracking. At the moment I have a very basic pair of Samson CH70s but was thinking of getting a pair of over-ear Heaphones (not sure about open or closed back).

I have a few options I've looked at:
Audio Technica ATH-M series (eg M40)
AKG K series (eg 271, 240 mkII)

Any advice on these? Are they just a bit too basic for professional use?

Many thanks again!
User avatar
crigenjazz
New here
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:00 am
Location: London, Herts
Chris J

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:37 pm

K701's can be had for well under £100 from Scan and are an excellent mixing headphone (open back are usually better for mixing). If your Samsons are closed back keep them for tracking as open back headphones will allow bleed from your tracks into the mic. IMHO it's nice to have great sounding cans for tracking but more important for mixing if you can only have one pair, cheap closed back headphones work fine for tracking.

WRT room treatment, a couple of duvets on mic stands when tracking will make a useful difference. Assuming you buy a ribbon try to work out a mic placement where they reduce reflections getting into the back of the mic.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11573
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Mic for violin

Postby blinddrew » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:42 pm

In terms of the room, it's less about the sound coming into and out of the room (though that is important), and more about controlling the sound in the room.
A ribbon mic has a figure-8 response, meaning it captures as much from behind as from the front. This will include all the unwanted reflections from the untreated room, making it all sound a bit boxy and unpleasant.
So if you're in a standard domestic room it might be better to look at something with a different pattern - or micing very closely. This will reduce the room contribution but might make the instrument sound a bit unnatural.

Headphones come in 3 types, open-backed, closed-backed, and semi-open-backed. Closed are better for recording because there's less bleed from the headphones to the microphone. Open are better for mixing as they give you a more natural and spacious presentation. Semi open fall, unsurprisingly, in between.
In your situation i'd probably start with a set of closed back to focus on the recording side, add some open ones further down the line. A good set of headphones, of either type, will never be a wasted investment.
Personally speaking, for closed back headphones, in that price range, i'd be looking for some beyerdynamic DT770 pros. The list price is a bit higher but googling will generally through up something on sale somewhere.
Others may disagree with some, most or all of the above; in which case listen to them instead. :)

P.s. it might be worth looking at the DT880s as well, they're the semi-opens from the same range but i don't know what the spill is like. They do have admirers on this forum though so i'm sure someone will chip in in due course.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9517
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Mic for violin

Postby blinddrew » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:42 pm

And there we go, Sam's beaten me to it with better advice. :)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9517
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Ariosto » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:57 pm

blinddrew wrote:A ribbon mic has a figure-8 response, meaning it captures as much from behind as from the front. This will include all the unwanted reflections from the untreated room, making it all sound a bit boxy and unpleasant.
So if you're in a standard domestic room it might be better to look at something with a different pattern - or micing very closely. This will reduce the room contribution but might make the instrument sound a bit unnatural.
I would just slightly and respectfully disagree here as violinists like a bit of reverb/room sound if it's of a reasonable quality, and I've found ribbons can give the string sound some bloom as long as the closest rear wall is far enough away, or has a blanket hanging on the wall, or duvet. I experimented a lot with various mics and a lot work quite well, but the ribbon mic's seemed to give the sound an overall depth, even though my fiddle is somewhat on the bright side, (a modern Italian).
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 858
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Mic for violin

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:01 pm

I was working in the assumption that the OP had decided on the Golden Age Ribbon. You make a very valid point about close miking and if the budget was available then a DPA 4099 would be well worth trying. Avoiding reflections into the back of the ribbon may prove difficult if miking the violin from above. The DPA is, however around 3 x the price of the GA.

The OP's room is a domestic living room so unlikely to provide a nice ambience (though I could be wrong).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11573
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

PreviousNext