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 Post subject: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:12 am 
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Greenhorn

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Gloucestershire, England
Hi All

I know there is already a post at the bottom of this topic on the subject, but I thought it would still be worth posting my own asking for advice.

I'm lucky enough to have a friend from the Welsh National Opera coming over tonight to record some cello parts for one of my tracks, and I don't want to look like too much of a fool........

How should i go about micing up her instrument and recording her. The environment will be my spare room (a regular size double bedroom) - wooden floors and plenty of certains, drapes and soft furnishings. The microphones I have at my disposal are: SM57, SM58, Rode NT1a, a similar lowish budget ADK LDC and a pair of small diaphram condensers.......

Any tips?

Cheers
Alex


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 Post subject: Re: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:58 am 
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Footswitch Genius
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i'd say go with the LDCs for the close mics (not too close though) and if you have spare tracks you could try the SDCs as ambient, but you probably won't use what they record - depending on the song of course.

no matter how well prepared you are, there'll still be a bit of fiddling around while you get your mic and player positioning sorted out for the best sound

in my opinion, forget using the 57 and 58 entirely - they are too middy for such a rich instrument as a cello

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 Post subject: Re: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:04 pm 
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Greenhorn

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Gloucestershire, England
many thanks for the tips

Alex


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 Post subject: Re: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:00 pm 
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Marker Magician
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Posts: 3465
Machine type: AW2400
I recorded a cello for an original tune we once produced. I used 3 mics, but as Axle suggested, I didn't use all three - or did I? - I remember I was glad to have the inputs as I mixed. I do believe I had an LDC on the bridge, about 12 - 14 inches out, and two other small diaphram condensers on the body at distances I can't picture right now - it was a couple of years ago. I did have one back a couple of feet, but not way back in the room

About the 57 and 58 - they are mid rangy - could depend on the track you are trying to capture. If you want the cello cutting through, the 57 might be the mic that does it. I remember doing about 9 takes. The player was a symphony cellist, as in your case. and the piece was not too rocking, ala Electric Light Orchestra, but I do recall coaching the player to dig in a bit, as what was being offered was too "melodic" for my needs. Once the attack became a bit more vigorous I started to hear what I wanted - I do recall during the mix being very surprised about how easily the instrument fell into place. It did not seem to compete with the bass, as i had expected. I do recall having a lot of the Bass track in the cellist ear during tracking - as this is what she wanted to hear.

If I did it today ( for the same song), I would track in a livelier room. And I would probably utilize a Stereo Mid/Side setup , of which I've become quite fond, about 6 feet back along with a second stereo pair in close. If you don't like or utilize a mid side, then a stereo pair of cardiods in an XY or a Blumlien config ( XY with figure 8 pair) would do the job. I'm sure. When it came to mixing these two configs to a submix, I perhaps would insert about 6 ms ahead of the close pair, to move them, in time, behind the MidSide (ambient) signal. This allows you to bring up the close pair's volume substantially, while maintaining the ambient quality created by the far pair, and "beefs up" the submix IMO.

Here is a link to what we did. It is on a YouTube picture, put together by a third party, using our song with permission.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=CA&hl=en&v=SjQOnXHbafg

Good Luck

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 Post subject: Re: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:40 pm 
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Greenhorn

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Gloucestershire, England
Thanks for all that detailed info. Most useful. I'll let you know how I get on. Going to have to do some serious submixes, as the song already has a hell of a lot going on and I plan at least 3 tracks of cello parts.

Cheers as ever for such quick and useful responses
Alex


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 Post subject: Recording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:28 pm 
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The General

Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:20 pm
Posts: 3870
A few comments Byron.

First, I learn so much from listening to the material you engineer as well as your detailed documentation. Thanks for taking the time to both explain with words AND post links to the musical end result.

Second, what a well recorded cello. The attack, dynamics and sensitivity of the part shine through.

Third, you do a really, really good job of defining the individual parts of a mix while not making anything overpowering. This is something I don't do very well. Seems I'm always trying to make every part "heard" all the time and clearly that is not the right approach.

Keep up the good work.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Rcording the Cello
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:13 pm 
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Marker Magician
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thanks gary - it is fun and instructive listening the work of others who ar on various stages of the same learning curve.

As for hearing everything, some times the litmus test, when you are tempted to turn something up in the mix, is to turn it off instead. How obvious is its absence? If it leaves a hole, perhaps it was loud enough, or maybe you like the hole, so it could actually be turned down rather than up. If this is the case, maybe a fairly active compression setting combined with the lower volume will get the track sitting where you want it.

volume is one thing. I find myself experimenting with some fairly aggressive EQ curves for those things you want cutting through. Once you find a sound you like, you can sometimes go back and tone down the eq by selectively cutting in other tracks that may be competeing with the sound you have engineered for you kick, bass, chopping guit or mando etc.

that was one of the great aha moments when I found you could accomplish more in a mix with cuts than gains. Tracking and Mixing to lower volumes is something that you and Geno and others have discussed and I have incorporated into my practice. You can get the volume later - much easier to achieve a balance mix when all the tracks are not dancing at the edge.

and while I'm rambling - up front vocals are important to me. I was just thinking about this the other day. some songs, even though the lyrical content is lightweight and the melody/music is the main piece, suffer IMO from stifled vocal tracks - either too low volume, or too great a dynamic range against the accompaniment or worst of all poor diction/enunciation. IMO you need to get the vocal out there, so even if you choose to not pay too much attention to it on subsequent listens, that is a decision the listener is able to make, as opposed to always struggling, and hence dissatified by becoming resigned to accepting that you will never know what the message/story of the lyric is, or in many cases isn't.

I am going to my other computer to post a song you may enjoy. very different from the usual fare around here. It has lots of vocasl, but no lyric really - rather it is a soundscape.

cheers,

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