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Thread: Flute and fiddle in the kitchen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    42

    Default Flute and fiddle in the kitchen

    I play traditional Irish music (on the wooden flute), and plan to record a CD next year with a fiddler friend of mine. This kind of music is mostly played at home or in pubs, and to me it has always sounded out of place in a studio. Most of the recordings I listen to were made in the field, with all the sounds of the living space present (babies crying, teakettles boiling, chat in the background, etc.), and while those noises would be distracting and even gimmicky in a commercial CD the idea of recording in a kitchen or living room with good acoustics intrigues me.

    I have a Korg MR1000 for recording, but all my mics are live-sound cardioid models that I use for gigs (Shure SM and Beta mics, plus an Earthworks SR71), and I'm learning that they are not up for this job. So here's what I'm thinking; please let me know if you think this is a good solution:

    1. Room: I'm aiming for something that sounds good to us when we play in it; not flat but not too much natural reverb either.

    2. Mics: I'd like to get a decent pair of omnis (e.g., Neumann KM 183) and run them directly into the Korg MR 1000. I've heard mixed reviews about the Korg's built-in preamps but will try this minimalist setup first to see if it's good enough for our purposes. I can experiment with placement, but my goal is to reproduce what a person would hear if they were sitting in the room with us at a normal listening distance (i.e., across the kitchen table).

    Does this sound reasonable? Any advice would be appreciated; I have lots of experience with doing my own live sound but not much with recording. I've appeared as a guest musician on four CDs, two of which were recorded in studios, and I find I prefer the sound of the flute when it's not miked too close. Same goes for the fiddle.
    Last edited by brad; 11-12-2008 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN, USA
    Posts
    27,246

    Default

    A large, high-ceilinged living room with hardwood floors would be fine for recording. Depending on how live it is, omnis might or might not be appropriate. And if you don't mind it sounding "real world" with traffic noise, HVAC noise, etc. then you could be fine.

    There's nothing magic about studios, at least most. They're just spaces where all the distractions from getting the recording job done quickly and efficiently have been dealt with. Noises, power, isolation, HVAC and acoustics have all been dealt with ahead of time. If those are not concerns for you, then you can record anywhere.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    42

    Default

    Just to complete the story here, I ended up putting together a nice little minimalist (and very portable) system for this: I got a matched stereo pair of Earthworks QTC-40s, put them AB style on a stereo bar, and hooked them directly to my Korg MR-1000. All told, the system cost me about $4,000 Canadian, including taxes.

    I'm using this setup to record a duo of two traditional unaccompanied singers, and also have been recording myself playing traditional Irish music on the flute; the flute and fiddle duets will be recorded next year.

    My goal was to capture as closely as possible what a listener in the same room would hear, and so far I am very satisfied.

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