You are here

Beginner recording classical solo violin

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

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:39 am

marco.swe wrote:- appropriate perspective of direct sound to reverb: I guess this has to do with "critical distance" right?

Yes... but do you actually understand what the Critical Distance is, or is it just a phrase you've heard?

-appropriate stereo image: I guess this has to do with distance between the mics, setup and angles?

These -- along with the mic polar patterns -- all determine affect the stereo image. But you need to know what you want the image to sound like -- how much of the space between the speakers is filled by the sound sources -- before you can choose and optimise all those parameters.

-violin tonality: I know high frequencies tends to move upwards so I thought the "vertical" direction will affect the tonality for the most. You write that all direction affect tonality. Is there some sort of "general rule" regarding tonality?

Every instrument is slightly different, so the only 'general rule' is to move the mic around while listening carefully until you find the location that sounds best for your requirements. Up, down, in, out, left, right.... moving the mic just a few inches can often make a significant difference! And beware the swaying violinist -- a performer who sways and rotates their body and instrument as they play. That can produce changes to the recorded tone which, on a sound-only recording, go unexplained and very distracting. This problem is obviously much worse with close miking!

Here's a rough guide to the way a violin (left) and cello (right) typically emits different frequencies in different directions:

Image

This is derived from Jürgen Meyer's book, Acoustics and the Performance of Music
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Acoustics-Performance-Music-Acousticians-Architects/dp/0387095160 It's a fascinating read if you're interesting in the science of acoustic instrumental recording, but it is quite deep...

Image

Thanks for the 3:1 rule clarification. Is this just relevant for spilling problem then?

Yes. It's a guide to help minimise spill -- unwanted sound from other nearby sources -- and thus maintain control of the mix. It's pointless trying to balance two mics if they both contain much the same sound, so the 3:1 is a way of ensuring that each mic has a useful amount of it's own wanted sound, and sufficiently little of the unwanted sound.

I thought two mics aiming at the same source, but placed at different distance from it, could also generate phase cancellation. is this not relevant?

Yes they can... although when we're talking about stereo arrays the spacing is relatively small and it rarely results in true phase cancellation. Instead we get what we call comb-filtering colours the sound a bit like when you talk with your hands cupped in front of your mouth.

And this comb-filtering effect only occurs when the outputs of the two mics are combined together -- so for a stereo array that typically means when summed to mono. That's why you have to be careful when choosing a spaced microphone array configuration.

how do you practically do the delay between the spot and the room mics in the DAW during the mixing?

The mathematical way is to measure the distance from the source to the close mic and then to the distant mic. Subtract one from the other to give the distance between the two. Sound travels around 1 foot per millisecond or 1 metre in 3.4ms. So you delay the close mic by the distance times one o those values (depending on whether your measurements are imperial or metric). The other way is to listen and dial up the delay until is sounds right... In practice I do both, calculating the nominal figure and then adjusting it by ear. When delaying close (accent) mics to blend with a main stereo pair I usually end up with a slightly longer (by a few milliseconds) delay than the maths would suggest.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27977
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:00 am

marco.swe wrote:Tim, "For whatever reason the sound here is in mono.". I agree with you and I actually cannot figure out why. The mics were in A-B setup 20 cm from each other on a stereo bar

I downloaded the Raw files and they can be panned out to give normal stereo without any problems, so I imagine you just haven't panned the mic signals appropriately when making your previous mix, either for the Zoom's stereo monitor mix track or in your DAW.

It depends what kind of presentation you're after, but I agree with Tim, that your mic array is too far back. The violin is tending to get lost in the (very nice) reverberation and lacks clarity and detail. Since you like using the term, I'd say your array was definitely beyond the Critical Distance for that room... ;-)

Nice playing though!

I'd strongly suggest you sit yourself down with the Zoom and the manual and spend a few hours really learning how to use the machine properly. I get the impression you're trying to fly when you haven't yet mastered crawling....
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27977
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:18 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
marco.swe wrote:Tim, "For whatever reason the sound here is in mono.". I agree with you and I actually cannot figure out why. The mics were in A-B setup 20 cm from each other on a stereo bar

I downloaded the Raw files and they can be panned out to give normal stereo without any problems, so I imagine you just haven't panned the mic signals appropriately when making your previous mix, either for the Zoom's stereo monitor mix track or in your DAW.

It depends what kind of presentation you're after, but I agree with Tim, that your mic array is too far back. The violin is tending to get lost in the (very nice) reverberation and lacks clarity and detail. Since you like using the term, I'd say your array was definitely beyond the Critical Distance for that room... ;-)

Nice playing though!

I'd strongly suggest you sit yourself down with the Zoom and the manual and spend a few hours really learning how to use the machine properly. I get the impression you're trying to fly when you haven't yet mastered crawling....

Hugh.....true :D
I will definitely do that.

Would you mind to pan and mix the tracks and send them back to me so that I could hear which should be the stereo result? I will also try to do it myself afterward and see if there will be differences.

Thank you!
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:38 am

marco.swe wrote:Would you mind to pan and mix the tracks and send them back to me so that I could hear which should be the stereo result?

I've sent an MP3 of the track panned to stereo via We Transfer to your SOS-registered email address.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27977
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:39 am

Thanks a lot! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:11 pm

I have now re-rendered the audio after hard panning the channels L and R (and raising a bit the volume as well).

Looking forward to record next time! I have plenty to read and to learn in meanwhile.
Thanks a lot for amazing top support :-)
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:17 pm

:thumbup:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27977
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:37 pm

Hello again,

I have done a new recording in the church, both technique: AB spaced pair setup (omni) and XY (cardioid).
I like more the AB setup. XY sounds a bit boring and less "natural" in my opinion.

Here the recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/16zVbFX ... sp=sharing
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:50 pm

I can only access the AB recording. There's a tiny fragment ( of the XY? ) at the end.

For my taste there's still too much reverb. It's drenched in it, but not surprising from what can be seen of the building with what looks like granite flooring.

Again, once we have too much room sound we cant remove it, and if there's not enough we cant add more if it's not there to add.

Last night we filmed a different performance (live quartet in a cabaret style venue) but the principle is the same. All four performers were close miced and we recorded that mix direct. (We would have preferred a multitrack but our gear wasnt compatible with the venue's.) But on a separate track we recorded a stereo room track which included venue reverb, audience noise, applause etc - which got even noisier as the drinks took effect. Now at our leisure and in a good monitoring space we can balance the two, and do it 20 times if necessary.

Think ahead. Keep open the options. Capture it well but unless you have no choice, dont try and guess the final balance especially if you cant even hear it well onsite. It can be a gamble with sometimes the only fix being a complete reperformance.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2175
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby allebaug » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:52 pm

It appears that the mic(s), and possibly a recorder, are mounted below the violin, as well as a mic on top. In the closing few seconds, and glimpses during playing, whatever devices are visible.
allebaug
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:21 am

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:18 pm

marco.swe wrote:I have done a new recording in the church, both technique: AB spaced pair setup (omni) and XY (cardioid).

Unless I'm missing something there seems to only be the one AB spaced recording (St.PetryKyrka_day2_ABsetup_1.mp4).

The performer is great and I can see why you/she wanted to record in there... And I don't know what your production goals were... but for me -- like Tim -- the recording is still too distant. It's all reverb and no body tone...

It would be difficult to move the mics in much closer (although I would be inclined to move them higher), so I'd probably experiment with taming the reverb a bit with carpets and drapes to increase the critical distance.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27977
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:41 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
marco.swe wrote:- appropriate perspective of direct sound to reverb: I guess this has to do with "critical distance" right?

Yes... but do you actually understand what the Critical Distance is, or is it just a phrase you've heard?
More or less like that :-) I will soon read more about it! So far what I know is that it is the distance where the direct sound and the "reflected" one are equal.

-appropriate stereo image: I guess this has to do with distance between the mics, setup and angles?

These -- along with the mic polar patterns -- all determine affect the stereo image. But you need to know what you want the image to sound like -- how much of the space between the speakers is filled by the sound sources -- before you can choose and optimise all those parameters.

-violin tonality: I know high frequencies tends to move upwards so I thought the "vertical" direction will affect the tonality for the most. You write that all direction affect tonality. Is there some sort of "general rule" regarding tonality?

Every instrument is slightly different, so the only 'general rule' is to move the mic around while listening carefully until you find the location that sounds best for your requirements. Up, down, in, out, left, right.... moving the mic just a few inches can often make a significant difference! And beware the swaying violinist -- a performer who sways and rotates their body and instrument as they play. That can produce changes to the recorded tone which, on a sound-only recording, go unexplained and very distracting. This problem is obviously much worse with close miking!

Here's a rough guide to the way a violin (left) and cello (right) typically emits different frequencies in different directions:
Amazing, thanks!

Image

This is derived from Jürgen Meyer's book, Acoustics and the Performance of Music
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Acoustics-Performance-Music-Acousticians-Architects/dp/0387095160 It's a fascinating read if you're interesting in the science of acoustic instrumental recording, but it is quite deep...

Image

Thanks for the 3:1 rule clarification. Is this just relevant for spilling problem then?

Yes. It's a guide to help minimise spill -- unwanted sound from other nearby sources -- and thus maintain control of the mix. It's pointless trying to balance two mics if they both contain much the same sound, so the 3:1 is a way of ensuring that each mic has a useful amount of it's own wanted sound, and sufficiently little of the unwanted sound.

I thought two mics aiming at the same source, but placed at different distance from it, could also generate phase cancellation. is this not relevant?

Yes they can... although when we're talking about stereo arrays the spacing is relatively small and it rarely results in true phase cancellation. Instead we get what we call comb-filtering colours the sound a bit like when you talk with your hands cupped in front of your mouth.

And this comb-filtering effect only occurs when the outputs of the two mics are combined together -- so for a stereo array that typically means when summed to mono. That's why you have to be careful when choosing a spaced microphone array configuration.

how do you practically do the delay between the spot and the room mics in the DAW during the mixing?

The mathematical way is to measure the distance from the source to the close mic and then to the distant mic. Subtract one from the other to give the distance between the two. Sound travels around 1 foot per millisecond or 1 metre in 3.4ms. So you delay the close mic by the distance times one o those values (depending on whether your measurements are imperial or metric). The other way is to listen and dial up the delay until is sounds right... In practice I do both, calculating the nominal figure and then adjusting it by ear. When delaying close (accent) mics to blend with a main stereo pair I usually end up with a slightly longer (by a few milliseconds) delay than the maths would suggest.
interesting! thanks for clarifying.
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: Beginner recording classical solo violin

Postby marco.swe » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:01 pm

Here is "Adagio e Fuga" with AB setup(omni):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0b0bGY1tK4

Here is "Ciaccona" with XY setup(cardioid):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w3C1lY ... sp=sharing
marco.swe
Poster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Previous