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Microphone recommendation please?


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This year, my student recital is going to be a little bit different. Each kid will videotape at my studio, after which all videos will be uploaded onto a YouTube channel created for the purpose.

”Musica Tempore Virum.”

(everything’s better in Latin!)

I’m using my iPad on a tripod, and I would like a recommendation for a simple microphone(s) That could be used to improve the recording quality.

There is a vast quantity of microphones available, both cordless and otherwise, and I have no idea where to even begin to look. So I come to the experts, which is you guys!(and gals)

the room is wood floored and high ceilinged, so acoustics are pretty good, and I have a competent old 1953 Steinway 1098 for piano duties.

any suggestions?

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Thanks for the invite. For the application you are discussing (recital in a good sounding room) I recommend using a stereo mike or even better a stereo pair - whatever the make and quality, it will give vastly more realistic sound than even the best mono mike.

The Audio Technica Pro 24 is super cheap ...

Next up would be something like a matched pair of Oktavas but then you'd need a USB pre-amp and soundcard.

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Oh that's a cool microphone for an Ipad or something similar, good to know.

I have a few mics for recording vocals and then recording guitar and other instruments. I have never tried recording violin before though.

I have a Rode NT1a, Shure SM57 and Audio Technica AT2035.



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We got my kids' group's violinist a Zoom H1n for this during the lockdown - I tested with Mac OS but the instructions say it works with IOS as well (you would need to verify that).  Good $100 solution for stereo mics with built-in USB audio interface that records as well, although it's pretty flimsy.  Although like I say YMMV with IOS since I haven't tested that.  Example recording: https://youtu.be/Ny0diwb-EkA, the violin with the H1n.

Edit - I remember seeing the separate part of the factory where the 1098s were built, cool piano.

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I think many of us have been trying to get decent microphones, I dove deep into looking for a good setup, here's what I found. By the way, there was a thread about 2 months ago with a lot of good advice, and Martin had a lot of good advice in it.

I ended up getting a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. It can be made to work with an ipad, which was its main draw, so I can quickly record video with the ipad, audio from the scarlett, and watch immediately afterwards, without having to mess with a computer, but if I want a computer DAW, I can go that route just as easily.

For the mic, I have ordered a pair of Alctron MC410 condenser microphones. From reading a lot about mics, they do a great job of giving a realistic representation of sound in a space, on a budget. Unfortunately, I ordered them from aliexpress, more than a month ago... Still not here. But many violinists recommend large diaphragm condenser microphones.

It's sort of an expensive setup (150 for interface, 90 for both mics, another 50 for cables/stands), but is portable, and is not much worse than you see in many studios. Now that I've bought it all, does Martin think those are ok choices?


edit: Here is the thread.

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As a former music recording engineer in studios in Chicago and L.A., mic placement and room placement will make a HUGE difference. For example, the reason why you hear so much bow noise in Heifetz recordings (Itzahk calls this his zzzht sound) is because he liked a very close mic placement. Invest in a floor mic stand with a boom arm so you can experiment with mic placement.

To get a good setup, try talking to the mic while moving around the mic to narrate what position you are playing from. Start at about 3 feet up from your violin at about 45 degrees from the violin facing squarely at the top/bridge/bow. 

For room placement, try the mic in different places around the room. You will find different reflections at the microphone can make a huge difference.

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