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The Strings

Microphone Choice Most bowed instruments produce a limited volume of sound, but are capable of a large playing dynamic and they produce complex harmonics to the limit of the human hearing therefore a high quality capacitor microphone is always used. The pattern is largely determined by the room acoustics and the need to minimise spill. An omni directional microphone will produce a natural sound but if room acoustics are poor or minimising spill is important use a cardioid set-up. Single instrument Place the microphone 3-5 ft away from the soundboard pointing at the instrument. For violins and violas a high stand is needed to hold the microphone above the soundboard. Cellos and basses can be miked using a short floor stand or boom stand bent back on itself. For the bass use a microphone with frequency response down to 40kHz or below for the low notes to be recorded faithfully.

For Jazz bass a contact transducer pick up is often used if one is not available wrap a dynamic microphone with a cloth and place inside the instrument through the f hole and obtain a good sound using EQ. Groups For a string quartet the a microphone 6 ft off the floor aiming down between the violins and a microphone each for the cello and viola placed at about 2 ft aim at the body of the instrument. Each instrument can be closed miked if room acoustics are poor. A stereo pair can be used if the room acoustic are good. For sections in an orchestra one or two microphones for every section: first violins, second violins, viola, cello, basses. A microphone in front and to the centre of each group, above

The Strings
head height in the case of violins and violas. A second microphone can be placed at the centre of the section angled towards the back row


If you have enough microphones use 1 microphone for every 4 violins and violas, 1 microphone for every two cellos and 1 each for the basses. A stereo pair technique can be used for large ensembles if the room acoustics are good. Balance between sections can be obtained by moving the sections nearer or farther from the microphones.