Thread: How to Mic a Flute and How to Mic a Violin
From: Dan Evans (Lake in the Hills, IL)
Subject: Flute miking
Any one with the experience of miking a flute for PA?
1 mic at the mouth piece?
1 mic at the end?
2 mics at the keys?
Dan Evans
Fox Valley Church
Algonquin, IL
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From: Gary Welker (Glenwood Springs, CO)
Subject: Re: Flute Miking
Dan,
What I do is take mic and put it about halfway down the tube, from the
top. I don't get the breath noise but I get the fullness of the
instrument.
Gary Welker
First Assembly of God, Glenwood Springs, CO
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From: Jim Brown (Chicago, IL)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"Any one with the experience of miking a flute for PA?">
My experience is with a jazz flute, which absolutely
DEMANDS a variable-D mic with a very good windscreen, like
an RE-11 or RE-16. Jazz flautists will invariably blow
straight into the mic, hence the need for the RE-11/16. It
has never occurred to me (partly because of the
hard-headedness of many musicians on the subject of mic
technique) to try any other placements, and their desire
for a lot of monitor.
Another consideration is that flute is a relatively quiet
instrument, hence we are often going for gain. If it's a
more classical form of music and still needs amplification,
I would consider giving the instrument some space (like a
foot or so).
Most reed instruments, like soprano sax and clarinet (which
the flute is not) sound much better if you go for the
middle of the horn and stay away from the bell. It might
be worth playing with if you have a cooperative player and
some time.
Jim Brown
Audio Systems Group, Inc.
Chicago
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From: Thundercraft (Chilliwack, BC, Canada)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"Any one with the experience of miking a flute for PA?">
I generally use a Peavey condensor (not sure of model right now) aimed
toward the mouth. I try to have it between the mouth piece & no more
than 1/3 the way down - but usually the flute player ends up moving a
bit & it is about 1/2 way down. The sound is produced at the mouth
piece.
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From: Ray A. Rayburn (Boulder, CO)
Subject: Flute miking
Dan -
For sound reinforcement I have rubber-banded a small condenser lavaliere
mic about an inch or two from the mouthpiece of the flute. The sound was
reasonably natural, and the gain before feedback was outstanding.
Ray Rayburn
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From: Steve Harper (Norfolk, VA)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
Dan-
Like most woodwind instruments, sound comes out the whole thing. With a
flute, much of the characteristic sound comes from the mouthpiece. At
the mouthpiece is lots of breath noise also, and for inexperienced
players it more exaggerated. I put a Neumann KM84 about 1/3 of the way
down from the mouthpiece and about 8-12 inches away. Sometimes it
doesn't matter where I set the mic, when the orchestra comes in they
move them out of the way to sit down. At least woodwind players are
easier to work with than string players :-)
Steve Harper
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From: Thundercraft (Chilliwack, BC, Canada)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
Speaking of strings... how do you mic a violin (as part of a worship
team).
Rob
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From: Jens W. Skov (Denmark)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"Speaking of strings... how do you mic a violin (as part of a
worship team).">
Depending on music style, I would use a clip with a small gooseneck (AKG
C419) placed on the violin at the shoulder. Or I would use a condenser
placed on a stand about half a metre over the violin from the back
pointing at the upper middle of the body of the instrument.
Jens W. Skov
St.Sc.E.E.
Technical University of Denmark
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From: Thundercraft (Chilliwack, BC, Canada)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
Jens W. Skov wrote:
<"Depending on music style, I would use a clip with a small gooseneck
(AKG C419) placed on the violin at the shoulder. Or I would use a
condenser placed on a stand about half a metre over the violin from
the back pointing at the upper middle of the body of the instrument.">
I should point out that at the moment our speakers are behind (L/R) &
about 10ft (3M) above.
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From: Jens W. Skov (Denmark)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
Thundercraft wrote:
<"I should point out that at the moment our speakers are behind
(L/R) & about 10ft (3M) above.">
Then I'd definitely go for the close-mic method.
--
Jens W. Skov
St.Sc.E.E.
Technical University of Denmark
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From: Jim Brown (Chicago, IL)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"Speaking of strings... how do you mic a violin (as part of a
worship team).">
When I'm going for gain, I've clipped an omni lav (MKE-2 is
a very good one) onto each string player's bridge. I've
done this on a string section with a big band behind or
along side them, and it's worked nicely (and with a lot
less leakage than with 451's on booms overhead). The 451's
had somewhat sweeter string sound, but the leakage was a
killer.
When you're miking a lot of players in a section, you can
generally Y identical mics on like instruments in pairs
into an input.
Jim Brown
Audio Systems Group, Inc.
Chicago
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From: Ron Hagelganz (Vancouver, WA)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"Speaking of strings... how do you mic a violin (as part of a
worship team). When I'm going for gain, I've clipped an omni lav
(MKE-2 is a very good one) onto each string player's bridge.">
I have also used that method (usually with a uni tho...) with good success,
although I have had a couple players who did not want anything clipped to the
bridge because they felt it muted the resonance of the instrument. So in
those instances I used a 451 on a boom stand behind their chair with the mic
next to their cheek aiming at the instrument.
My favorite trick is putting a big foam windscreen on an AT-831 and dropping
it down the top open end of a bassoon and then putting a rubber band around
the top to hold the cable in place.
Ron
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From: Thundercraft (Chilliwack, BC, Canada)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"When I'm going for gain, I've clipped an omni lav (MKE-2 is
a very good one) onto each string player's bridge.">
You don't experience any vibration problems by doing this? As the
bridge supports the strings, it is also transmitting the sound
(vibrations) of the strings to the instrument. Also, is the rozen (sp?)
that comes off the bows a problem with the mics (that stuff is awfully
sticky)?
However, I do like the close proximity that this gives. Must give
excellent gain before feedback.
Rob
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From: Thundercraft (Chilliwack, BC, Canada)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
Ron Hagelganz wrote:
<"I have also used that method ( usually with a uni tho...) with good
success,although I have had a couple players who did not want anything
clipped to the bridge because they felt it muted the resonance of the
instrument.">
That may have some validity to it. When a violin player wants to mute
the instrument, they put a Mute (small wooden clamp) onto the bridge.
It is very effective in killing the sound. I'm not sure if the small
spring loaded metal mic clip will make that much of a difference.
I wouldn't worry about any 'damage' that the mic clip would cause to the
bridge (as a bridge is as cheap as borscht).
BTW I do play violin on occasion with some of the worship teams
so that is why I was asking.
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From: Jim Brown (Chicago, IL)
Subject: Re: Flute miking
<"You don't experience any vibration problems by doing this? As the
bridge supports the strings, it is also transmitting the sound
(vibrations) of the strings to the instrument.">
Generally when you are going for this much gain, it isn't
a solo situation, and the other stuff in your mix will obscure
these second order effects. This is true of close miking in
general -- the close mic techniques we've talked about for
piano, for example, will pick up more hammer and action sound
than you would like for a solo recording, but are the only way
to do it when the piano is playing with a rhythm section around it.
Again, the leakage from the rest of the band obscures the second
order problems of the non-ideal mic placement.
If I were doing a solo recording of a piano, I would use a
stereo mic or a stereo pair out in front of the piano in
the curve. For strings, I'd be overhead or in front with a
good condenser pointing at it. But with these instruments
in the middle of a contemporary ensemble, all you would get
from these positions would be trash -- "pure" string and
piano sound, but tons of leakage from the rest of the band.
Jim Brown
Audio Systems Group, Inc.
Chicago

 

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