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Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:33 pm

Thank you both. Are you referring to a battery powered box? I found the "Saramonic Smartrig" 2-channel box for example that has two XLR inputs and a 3.5mm output.

Or are you referring to boxes powered by the camera itself, or in some other way?


No, the camera can't power anything unless the something attaches to the hot shoe on its top.. like most shotgun mikes do. But these are more oriented to interviews, sound capturing, filmaking etc - as opposite to studio recording.

With a (non battery-powered) condenser studio mic, you will have something like:

Mic -> XLR cable -> phantom power box input -> phantom power box output -> XLR/Jack cable -> 2.5mm adapter -> camera mic input

As of powering the box itself, there are various types. The electricity can come from a battery, or AC power, or both - for example the ART Phantom PRO is only battery powered, the ART Phantom PRO mk II can be operated both ways, while the cheap Subzero single-mic supply uses AC only (if I understand well).

Do not discount microphones with a built-in battery (I already mentioned the Røde NT3 or mic compatible with the Sennheiser K6 system for example.. but you could get a uber-expensive vintage U87 with battery power! :D). It's not so common so it's hard to find specs (when I bought my NT3 I didn't even know it had battery) but may worth a little search, as the less clutter you have when recording video, the easiest it is. If it's for once in a while, tough, a phantom power box works fine.

Keep in mind you could also try with a good dynamic or a ribbon - no power required in that case. A ribbon especially would probably suit a violin very well, and there are more than decent offering at a good price, for example SE Electronics had one I think. I've used myself a Shinybox in many occasions with fantastic results.

Another problem is where do I attach the box, to the mic stand? To the tripod?

Sorry for the naive questions.

Nothing to be sorry about!

It really depends on how you shoot video - if you hand hold the camera, if you use a tripod or a shoulder mount..

In general if you use a phantom supply, you will have a XLR to jack cable (terminated into the 2.5mm adaptor) coming out of the box, so with a long-ish cable you can just leave the box on the ground. The cable can be a little heavy tough (especially since the MFT cameras are so light!), so if you hold the camera directly in your hand, it will get a little getting used to (but you can simply strap the cable on your shoulder so that only a small amount of weight is on the camera).

When I'm using a tripod, and I intend to move the tripod for different sequences, just use velcro to strap stuff directly on the tripod itself.

For example I use bulky Sony NP F-970 external batteries to keep shooting all day using a "fake battery" cable to power the camera., and attaching it to the tripod via velcro straps makes sure it doesn't suddenly disconnect mid-take. :D

A cheap chinese grip (I've used one like this quite a bit at the beginning) will give you someplace else where you can velcro stuff - and if you plan not to use a tripod - it's almost a must with the G6, which doesn't have any form of body stabilization.

But really your fantasy's the limit - you can generally go full monthy as here for example :D

Note - all the links I've placed here are just for illustration, I didn't make any effort to find the cheapest/better products, but it's just to give you an idea of the options.. ART stuff is generally good tough.
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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:59 pm

Thanks a lot CS70, this was very instructional and you've given me a lot to think about. I'll go ahead and buy the camera, which I can put to good use anyway, and meanwhile I'll do some research on microphones, using your input. I just listened to some sample violin recordings from the SE electronics website, their VR2 ribbon sounds very nice (it's not exactly cheap from my viewpoint...).
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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:14 pm

Cool! The G6 is a great little camera that allows fantastic HD video.

As of mic, I was thinking of the X1R which should be under 200 eur and had good reviews on SOS (and since it’s been around a while you can probably find used,), but by all means others are available .

Just be aware that with a ribbon, due to the figure 8 pattern, your room is even more important. The same trick that helps vocals (see my post [url=https://www.theaudioblog.org/post/how-do-i-record-a-great-vocal-take-in-an-untreated-room]here[/url) would help with a violin, but the video would look decidedly odd that way!! :-D
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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:38 pm

CS70 wrote:Cool! The G6 is a great little camera that allows fantastic HD video.

As of mic, I was thinking of the X1R which should be under 200 eur and had good reviews on SOS (and since it’s been around a while you can probably find used,), but by all means others are available .

Just be aware that with a ribbon, due to the figure 8 pattern, your room is even more important. The same trick that helps vocals (see my post [url=https://www.theaudioblog.org/post/how-do-i-record-a-great-vocal-take-in-an-untreated-room]here[/url) would help with a violin, but the video would look decidedly odd that way!! :-D

I read your blog post, cool trick. Unfortunately in video the duvet would look weird. What about putting one *behind* the mic (and camera, in my case)? Relative to the player the back wall is about 1.5m, the mic 0.6m, the camera 1.5m, the front wall 3m. This would still cut reflections from the front wall but not direct reflections from the back wall, but these should be more attenuated as the violin projects mostly forward. I guess I'd have to hang the duvet higher than a standard boom stand.

I'll look into the X1R. I guess I would need quite a lot of gain recording a violin in this way, do you think the G6 will give a lot of noise? For proper recordings I can use either the Zoom or a Scarlett 2i2.
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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:24 pm

notuno wrote:I read your blog post, cool trick. Unfortunately in video the duvet would look weird.

Ahah yes it would!! :D... though - an idea.. remember - movies are all smoke and mirrors. You can get a cheap 3mt background stand (chinese again), buy some nice textile to use as a background (that's probably gonna be the most expensive purchase, for stuff that doesn't wrinkle much) and hide the duvet behind the background. Would look cool and be effective. Something like this.

What about putting one *behind* the mic (and camera, in my case)?

Well with a ribbon you might want to do that as well - but what creates most filtering are the early reflections behind the singer. So no joy.

I'll look into the X1R. I guess I would need quite a lot of gain recording a violin in this way, do you think the G6 will give a lot of noise? For proper recordings I can use either the Zoom or a Scarlett 2i2.

A good question. I've never used the X1R, but it's a passive ribbon and the SOS review confirms it's a low output mic, as expected. When I used the G6 preamp I found it reasonable, but it was with more sensitive mics.

If there is a shop who sells the X1R, perhaps you could ask to try it? You'd still need the 2.5mm converter but it's not a big expense and you're gonna need it anyways unless you use the panasonic shoutgun.
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Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:40 pm

Funny, at some point I did consider getting a rig like that for shooting green screen videos. (my wife was not so keen considering it was our bedroom, but I may give it another go...)
I located a couple of stores that sell the X1R, I'll go and ask to try it when I get the G6.
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