Academy Dashboard Forum Production Recording Techniques Recording Violin


  • This topic has 7 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Michael Witte.
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    Jesse Davis

      Hi there everybody,

      I'm curious if anyone in the PLAPaverse has any experience with recording the violin. I play in a trio that features violin somewhat heavily and I find that the sound I get is typically very nasal or very screechy. I like to record it stereo (a few Rode small condensers) panning hard left and right, and I am conscious of phase issues but I don't typically have a problem with it (I think). I'm looking for and luscious, warm, sweet sound that plays well with bluegrass instruments (acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass, banjo, vocals). Anyone have any tips/recommendations?

      Guido tum Suden

        First, get the mic away from the violin. OTOH if your room doesn't sound good, you may not be able to.
        If it's too screechy, get the mic away from the bow. In other words, think about which part of the violin makes that sound and don't point the mic that way.
        Make a test if it's okay with the player: Use one mic and let the player move around saying things like: "Mic's pointing at the string holder, distance 1 foot."
        I find that you generally have to take out a lot of highs. If you want that silky sound leave some hi highs.

        Jesse Davis

          Hey Guido,

          Thanks for the advice. I gotta find that sweetspot between miking too close and too far away it sounds like.

          Thinus Mathee

            Hi Jesse, I am new to the PLAP

            I am experimenting with violin recording and would like to know how your recording has progressed since you posted. I record my son for some streaming purposes. I am experimenting with different mics and found a ribbon option to be the smoothest, for now. I had to deaden the room to eliminate the bad acoustics, which I then add again in post. As Guido said, get the mic away from the violin to get more of the timbre of the instrument and less of the contact sounds. In my case, this was not possible because of the room. My mics are about 1.3 m away. I found that I have to take out/ tweak a lot of the highs.

            Jesse Davis

              Hey Thinus,

              Welcome to the Academy! And thanks for replying. I would LOVE to have a ribbon mic to record with but unfortunately, I don't. Likewise, I don't have the resources (yet) to tame the room so I just use what I've got. Lately our favorite recording method has been a large condenser as a sort of "close mic" maybe a foot and a half away from the violin and a pair of small condensers that function as a sort of pair of overheads that sit a few feet above the violinist. The dry sound coming in seems the best we've managed so far, and I typically blend the three mics in a way that favors the overheads with just a little bit of the close mic sneaking in.

              This method can get a little dicey with phase issues however. Nothing detrimental, but if the performer is very animated things can start to sound a little..."phasy" (if that's a word), especially if I need to do extra takes or make a playlist. The room sound is also quite present but I find I don't mind that for the things I have been recording. The highs/high-mids are always something I keep an ear out for, but this method has definitely helped tame the offensive piercing frequencies.

              Thinus Mathee

                Thanks for the feedback, Jesse.

                I read about the ideal conditions for recording the violin somewhere. It starts with the player. The better the technique, the better the sound. Secondly, the quality of the violin, then the environment that contributes to how the sound is heard, then the microphone. I suppose knowing this helps one to know where your problems lie, which could lead to an intervention - if possible.

                Todd Greenwood

                  Hey!  Hello Jesse.

                  I just joined PLAP today.   And I'm trying to figure the forum out.   This is my first reply to someone with a question.  I'm so freaking excited I could crap myself.  Anyway on recording violin.   I just broke out my old fiddle after a 15 year hiatus from it due to frozen shoulder.   But I'm giving it another go.   I posted a youtube of one of my experiments where I did the George Martin string quartet arrangement for Yesterday.  Years ago I used to play fiddle in a bar band, just a few songs a night as my main bag is guitar.   In the early days I used to ram a mic up to my left f hole as close as I could get it.   It was a great sound for a stage set up but not loud enough.   Later I switched to a pick up due to stage volume but it was never as sweet as the mic'd instrument.   So getting back into it I did the George Martin arrangement as an experiment and got really into micing my instrument.   What I found was the best that day, (it was three days actually of recording fiddles and a cello) was to sit at my desk with the mic in front of me a few inches away from the fiddle head.  So my neck is pointing at the base of the mic with the condenser pointing generally at the whole bowing area of the mic (the mic was an NT1 so the condenser element was about five-sixish inches above my hand) .   If you'd like to hear what it sounds like mic'd like that it's at .   Sorry that there isn't a decent shot of the mic'd position.   After I got a decent audio track down, I would do a video of the part before I completely forgot the part so the fiddle and cello parts a mimed after I recorded it.   If you do take the time to watch the vid, I'd really like to know what you think of it.  I'm open to any and all critic.

                  Good luck with your fiddle recording man.




                  Michael Witte

                    Hello, everyone,

                    I too came across this question while browsing and although it was asked a long time ago, I share my humble experience:

                    If I want the violin to sound very smooth, I use a tube condenser about 1 meter away, about 30cm higher than the violinist's head and pointed towards the bridge of the violin.
                    If I want it to have a bit more bite (e.g. for a jagged solo in a rock-oriented song), I take a small-diaphragm condenser (Line Audio CM3) and place it directly over the bridge at a distance of about 40cm (vertically from above).

                    In my room, which has not been professionally acoustically optimized, I get the best results this way but room situations will have a huge impact on this.

                    Maybe someone can do something with this info.

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