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Mic for Cello and Violin

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Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby dylan6994 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:05 pm

Hello everyone! I am quite new to mics in fact I have just recently started to look for a mic to purchase.
Me and my brother are classical musicians and because of covid we need to do a lot more recordings at home, mostly cello solo or violin solo. We have a Zoom H5 and I must say I was pretty happy, now that we have to record so much and the recordings are fundamental for us I wanted to improve. My issue with using only the H5 mainly is that it sounds a bit dry and doesn't really pickup the lower end of my cello, it might as well be a problem of my mic positioning so I will be trying something new BUT I was looking to upgrade nevertheless.

I read and watched A LOT of things but from my personal exp I have been miced with both sdc and ldc condenser mic, I know the theory behind those but my question is: do people NORMALLY over youtube hear that much difference without a side by side comparison?

I was considering Lewitt mics cause they seemed to be a nice budget/performance brand. I was not sure if I should have gone for a stereo or mono mic either.

The mics I was considering were LCT 040 match, 140 air (mono or stereo?), 340 (mono for sure), 240pro (mono) and 440pure (mono for sure).

TL;DR sdc or ldc? is there that much of difference when "common people listen to them"? mono or stereo? best price/performance?

Thanks A LOT to anyone who will be helping me!
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:09 pm

The space you record in and the way you position the mic (or mics) will max a much greater contribution to the sound you capture than the actual mics you use (assuming they reach a reasonable minimum quality standard). SDC mics are generally more accurate, LDCs colour the sound more (this is a sweeping generalisation BTW but is broadly true).

Does your recording room have any form of acoustic treatment? If it is a large hall or Church* it may sound good without but a typical domestic room definitely won't. The 'duvet trick**' could be sufficient and will certainly clean up your recordings significantly.

HTH and welcome to the forum.

* In which case you position in the room will also make a big difference, experiment to find the best sounding spot.

** Two or more duvets hung over mic stands to cloths horses or WHY placed around (and, if possible over) the recording position to reduce reflections from nearby flat surfaces.
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby jimjazzdad » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:12 pm

Perhaps you should mention your budget for microphones? Also, the kind of spaces (rooms) you record in...I'm sure advice will be on the way shorthly ;)
And yes, you can tell the difference on YouTube between a Zoom H5 using its onboard mics and some good discreet mics that are well placed.
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby dylan6994 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:23 pm

Thanks a lot for the quick answers!
so I record in my living room and it is fairly populated, I have a big 5ish m^2 thick carpet, some wood furniture on the side and a couple of sofas. The sound is ok not the kind you would expect from a studio or concert hall for sure. I don't have any other particular sound treatment though.
About the budget I was not sure to be honest! For sure not more than 300€. I feel like spending more would be a total waste of money for the setup I have.

I put a link to a recording I recently made. The zoom is at about 2m away from the cello because I was asked to do so for this particular one. I tried to do some eq but I was going at it kind of blind so I tried to do as little as possible.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvma75eIpgE&ab_channel=DylanBaraldi
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:57 pm

I can't listen 'till later but a couple of things to consider (and bear in mind I'm a retired live sound guy and guitar player not a studio boffin), Close mics always sound unnatural in some way, where you place them will change the unnaturalness of the recorded sound. More distant mics almost always sound better in a great space but, as I said above, a living room is never going to be a great sounding space. The trick is to find the best compromise.

WRT the room, our ears are very good at filtering out room sound, we do it all day every day with everything we listen to, a microphone captures what is there, warts and all. Try listening critically to your recordings and compare them to what you hear when in the room. A short spoken word recording by someone who's voice you know well is the best source, listen to them live then again to the recording (ideally on headphones) and you should hear the room reverb/sound clearly in the recording. That is what you need to minimise to get recordings that sound good to other listeners in other rooms.

It's definitely worth getting a better mic than the built in mics on the Zoom* (others will differ but the solo cello and violin are intrinsically mono instruments until the room sound is added and, as we've discussed, we are trying to minimise that). If possible some acoustic treatment is undoubtedly going to deliver the best VFM as far as he sound of your recordings is concerned so buy a modestly priced mic and leave some over to either do some acoustic treatment or hire a good sounding room.

* Neat Worker Bee maybe, has anybody tried one on classical cello or violin?
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby jimjazzdad » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:36 am

Small diaphragm condenser microphones are often preferred for classical music for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is off-axis response. For the budget you have, Line Audio OM1 (omni) or CM4 (cardioid) are a great deal. You might also look at sE7 or sE8 mics. An omni will bring in more of the room sound (which sounds small in your youtube video) but will also be more true to low frequencies. A cardioid mic will keep some of the room out but you need to get close if you want to accentuate the bass (proximity effect). Any of these mics will, if you experiment with them, give you better sound than you are getting with just the Zoom H5. Very nice playing BTW.
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:01 pm

it is increasingly common to record solo string instruments (solo anything, really) with a pair of close-spaced mics as this gives more of a sense of scale of the instrument and some dimension to the sound, even though it is a single (mono) source. So the matched pair of LCT040 could be helpful in that respect.

However, the aspect that would make be stop and think is that the LCT040 have a pretty hefty presence peak and that kind of character rarely plays nicely with close-miked strings.

The Line Audio mics mentioned above have a much flatter response and would, I think give you a more acceptable sound. Near spaced omni OM1s would work particularly well if your room has good acoustics, but so too would the CM4s in less ideal conditions.

The other option worth considering is a ribbon mic of some sort, as they are always flattering to strings...
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:16 pm

My approach for double bass (bowed and plucked) is a ribbon pointing towards the soundhole and an SDC in omni higher up near the fingers. Because my omnis are still fairly directional at higher frequencies I can angle it to reduce how much breathing it picks up.
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Re: Mic for Cello and Violin

Postby dylan6994 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:55 pm

Thanks to everyone who replied, really!!

I will try have a look at both ribbon and Line audio mics!(and of course to the sE)
Thanks also to the people who spared time to listen to the audio of the video! indeed my room is not very big! Around 15-17m^2 I would say

If you have any other input maybe about eq or whatever else, just feel free to share, I am always happy to learn new things
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