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Thread: micing technique for solo violin and vocal

  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
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    Default micing technique for solo violin and vocal

    Hi all,

    The title says it all. Later this month, I will be recording a duet consisting of keyboard, violin, and vocals. How can I mic the violin player, using a large condenser cardioid, so as not to have his instrument too hot in the mix?

    Hope everything is going well,

    Jeff
    Jeff Johnson
    Live@Lunch Volunteer Tech
    www.krfcfm.org

  2. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Do you already have the LD condenser picked out? Can you borrow or rent a ribbon instead? If you are for sure using a cardioid use the null (180 or back end) to help control bleed - I would suggest you use some acoustic baffles to create further separation. If it's a live sounding room, bleed will determine most of your placement strategy.

    You don't specify here, but if the violin player is also the vocalist (pretty unusual?) you might want to rent a compressor to cope with the dynamics between singing and playing.

    I would think a ribbon mic would solve 2 problems for you - you can get closer to a violin and it still sounds like a violin (not nails on a blackboard) and you can use the null of the figure 8 to keep other instruments out of the channel, giving you more control in the mix. Or go the other way and use the null to reduce the violin in the vocalist's ch.

    More info on who is doing what, type of music, venue would help - I'm just throwing out ideas here.

    I would think one of the more er...modern sounding ribbons (Royer or Crowley & Tripp for example) might keep things sounding...well modern. To clarify, I find some ribbons smooth transients like a steamroller and have bass like Saturn rockets - some ribbons with light ribbon material are a bit faster and have more balanced top end at the same proximity.

    As an aside, I always wondered how John Williams' string compositions sounded so good, and after a bit of research discovered it had a lot to do with using the same engineer who used the same Royer ribbon mics (an SF-1 or an earlier version).

    When hearing the same composition under a different baton (and with different recording setup) the strings lost some of their rich complexity that I had initially attributed to composer alone.
    Last edited by DC Patterson; 01-31-2009 at 07:24 AM.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2008
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    Icon6

    Hi DC,

    Sorry for the delay in replying -- it's been busy. Here is some more information for you:

    Quote Originally Posted by DC Patterson View Post
    Do you already have the LD condenser picked out? Can you borrow or rent a ribbon instead? If you are for sure using a cardioid use the null (180 or back end) to help control bleed - I would suggest you use some acoustic baffles to create further separation. If it's a live sounding room, bleed will determine most of your placement strategy.

    I have a variable-pattern, large tube condenser that I was hoping to use -- a Peluso 2247 LE. The problem is that I will be recording in a 12x15 foot room with bad accoustics for our FM broadcast.

    You don't specify here, but if the violin player is also the vocalist (pretty unusual?)

    Yes, the violinist is also the vocalist. He will be accompanying a singer-songwriter playing an electronic keyboard. I will DI the keyboard and she will have variable-pattern (sE Electronics z5600A) on her voice in cardioid mode.

    you might want to rent a compressor to cope with the dynamics between singing and playing.

    Our studio uses an FMR Really Nice Compressor looped into our Mackie board. I tend to compress lightly because there is, of course, additional compression at the transmitter. However, I do have access to 3 additional RNCs that I can use on the vocals, etc.

    I would think a ribbon mic would solve 2 problems for you - you can get closer to a violin and it still sounds like a violin (not nails on a blackboard) and you can use the null of the figure 8 to keep other instruments out of the channel, giving you more control in the mix. Or go the other way and use the null to reduce the violin in the vocalist's ch.

    I see what you're saying. That is a good idea to try.

    More info on who is doing what, type of music, venue would help - I'm just throwing out ideas here.

    I like the ideas that you're throwing out. They're inspiring.

    I would think one of the more er...modern sounding ribbons (Royer or Crowley & Tripp for example) might keep things sounding...well modern. To clarify, I find some ribbons smooth transients like a steamroller and have bass like Saturn rockets - some ribbons with light ribbon material are a bit faster and have more balanced top end at the same proximity.

    As an aside, I always wondered how John Williams' string compositions sounded so good, and after a bit of research discovered it had a lot to do with using the same engineer who used the same Royer ribbon mics (an SF-1 or an earlier version).

    When hearing the same composition under a different baton (and with different recording setup) the strings lost some of their rich complexity that I had initially attributed to composer alone.
    Thank you for your thoughts and I hope that the additional information helps. While I don't have access to ribbons, I do have access to compressors and tube LDCs. Normally, I would just close-mic with an SM-81 aimed a few inches from the bridge and then have the violinist "eat" a Beta 58 turned slightly opposite of the violin shoulder. He could then just turn his head slightly when singing and that would help. However, I just really dislike the sound of a 58 in our room. The unholy alliance of the room mode (250 -- 300Hz build up) coupled with the mic's signature causes a coffee can effect due to phase cancellation. Coupled with my own ears, it really grates on me.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jeff
    Jeff Johnson
    Live@Lunch Volunteer Tech
    www.krfcfm.org

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Indiana
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    There are a lot of dynamics besides the SM58. Frankly, I don't care for the 58 for anything anymore. There are a lot of dynamics in the same price range that have a lot better sound.

    Try a Sennheiser, EV ndyns or Audix..

  5. #5
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    Jul 2008
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    Hi Sloop,

    The 58s belong to our community radio station, while the tubes are mine. I bought the tubes for a different project I plan to work on in the near future and thought that I would "get acquainted" with them on our show.

    Oh, what I'd do for an MD 421. But we go with what we got.

    Jeff
    Jeff Johnson
    Live@Lunch Volunteer Tech
    www.krfcfm.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Savannah GA
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    This is in the classical forum, but exactly what genre is this? The answer will help you get the most appropriate advice.

    Rich
    Rich Mays
    309 Gloucester Rd
    Savannah GA 31410
    912-484-8451
    www.sonarerecordings.com

  7. #7
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    Sep 2002
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    1,854

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloop View Post
    There are a lot of dynamics besides the SM58. Frankly, I don't care for the 58 for anything anymore. There are a lot of dynamics in the same price range that have a lot better sound.

    Try a Sennheiser, EV ndyns or Audix..

    This thought occured to me--

    Do you have multiple 58's or just a lone 'standard' that you use?

    (edit, I just read that this is a 'community mic' and obviously in need of service)

    Reason I ask--

    I had a vocalist bring in a 58 that she uses for reference and it was horrible. I unscrewed the windscreen (ball) to find the foam was caked up in the ball and the foam covering the diaphram was also in crumbles. I connected one of mine and there was no comparison at all. A 58 should typically sound "pretty nice" when used at very near proximity. They offer quite good rejection as well when used as a close vox mic for an instrumental/vox soloist live. (touching the lips)

    It is not my mic of choice. The SM7B (Shure) with a single 4006 (DPA/B&K) would be the starting point. The vox mic would pic up the violin in any case, simply by the nature of how the violin is cradled.

    For me, this would be a performance that would best be served by cutting the violin first and the vox next take.
    Last edited by Bill Roberts -Mastering-; 02-13-2009 at 02:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Roberts -Mastering- View Post
    This thought occured to me--

    Do you have multiple 58's or just a lone 'standard' that you use?

    (edit, I just read that this is a 'community mic' and obviously in need of service)

    Reason I ask--

    I had a vocalist bring in a 58 that she uses for reference and it was horrible. I unscrewed the windscreen (ball) to find the foam was caked up in the ball and the foam covering the diaphram was also in crumbles. I connected one of mine and there was no comparison at all. A 58 should typically sound "pretty nice" when used at very near proximity. They offer quite good rejection as well when used as a close vox mic for an instrumental/vox soloist live. (touching the lips)

    It is not my mic of choice. The SM7B (Shure) with a single 4006 (DPA/B&K) would be the starting point. The vox mic would pic up the violin in any case, simply by the nature of how the violin is cradled.

    For me, this would be a performance that would best be served by cutting the violin first and the vox next take.
    I have multiples. I just don't care for the sound of the 58 anymore. The other mics just plain sound better regardless of who or what I am mic'ing. I am not saying they can't sound good, I just find other mics sound better to me when I am tracking.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2002
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    Default

    Confirmed, especially the next words that were previously posted.

    How about this part of my post?


    It is not my mic of choice.
    The SM7B (Shure) with a single 4006 (DPA/B&K) would be the starting point. The vox mic would pic up the violin in any case, simply by the nature of how the violin is cradled.
    Have you considered an SM7B?

    Here is a video with Massenburg using one---(the lead vx)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWZPThWahcI


    I've been using them for years, with very good results...

  10. #10
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    Fort Wayne, IN, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Roberts -Mastering- View Post
    Have you considered an SM7B?

    Here is a video with Massenburg using one---(the lead vx)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWZPThWahcI


    I've been using them for years, with very good results...
    Of course, it may only sound like that through a GML preamp. But it does sound very sweet.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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