After ensuring that you have met the requirements of our Stem Service, you may wish to add one or more microphones in conventional placements in order to capture your musician(s) with the focus on quality of sound. This will enable you to blend that recording with the final mix, which may add another helpful colour to your palette.
If separation between instruments is difficult to achieve, then sound barriers and absorbers between players can help.
If you wish to make your own barriers, one effective method is to glue a 50mm thick sheet of X5376ND acoustic absorption foam to a 150mm thick (or more) sheet of Basotect. Both items are available from CustomFoams in the UK – a member of the Vitagroup (Custom Foams, Units 2/17 Deans Road, Wolverton Industry, Milton Keynes, MK12 5NA, UK +44 1908 312 331). Similar products are available around the world.
To ensure tuning is correct when recording profiles, the musician (and/or you) can use a good-quality Tuner to monitor the playing.
Do not change the tuning artificially (using a tuning correction/autotune software) – profile recordings must have musicians’ original tuning.
Note: we have no commercial interest or relationship with any of the companies whose products we mention here. We offer these suggestions solely to help you choose suitable microphones. This is not a recommendation or a requirement that you use these products.
We recognise that our choice of microphones and placement is uncommon for studio recordings. This is due to the requirement for close mic placement with high-isolation.
We have had good results using the Shure PGA98H and the Shure Beta98 ranges of microphones, particularly for Brass and Woodwinds.
We have had good results with the Neumann cardioid microphones, but greater attention and care must be taken to ensure placement reduces reflections and favours the dry instrumental sound.
We have had good results with the DPA 4099 Instrument microphone.
For effective use of the Symphonova Stem Production Services, microphone placement is a factor to consider when two or more musicians are recording simultaneously in the same acoustic space.
Microphone placement becomes a major issue when, for example, brass instruments are recorded simultaneously and in the same acoustic space as strings. The suggestions given below have been tested, and achieve the requirements for our system. They remain suggestions, however. You may well have alternative methods for achieving the necessary results.
Either the DPA 4088 (or 4188 if you prefer the flex headset) or the DPA 4099 in combination with the universal mounting accessory for WW
Note: we have found that some flautists have a loud key-noise, and additionally, that bleed-in from other instruments when recording in an ensemble is particularly difficult to reduce when recording flutes. Although carefully rolling off the bottom of the mic input can dramatically reduce the key noise, we have found the simple solution of asking the flautist to wear the microphone can solve all problems without extreme digital interventions or physical barriers.
Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon
DPA 4099-DC-1-101-U CORE microphone (this is the standard 4099 supercardioid CORE microphone with the universal mounting accessory for WW)
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet
Adapter for micro-dot to 3 pin XLR DAD4099
Adapter for micro-dot to 3 pin XLR DAD6001
If the microphone is a headset, then the mic should be directed to point straight down the keys along the axis of the flute. If the microphone is to be mounted on the instrument, then it can be mounted onto either the body or the head joint and pointed straight down the keys along the axis of the flute.
The best placement choice between body and head-joint will depend on the flute, player and piece, so it is worth experimenting. The head joint tends to have the advantage of quieter key noise, but can be more distracting for the flautist and sometimes captures too much airflow if not positioned carefully.
Shure PGA98H. If you use the PGA98H-XLR, then you will be able to connect it directly to phantom power. If you use the PGA98H-TQG, then we recommend you use the Shure RPM626 In-Line preamp accessory.
Trumpet, Trombone and Horn Mic Placement
To place the microphone on any of the brass instruments, clip it to the bell and point the microphone into the throat of the instrument. This placement of the Shure microphone is in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation and industry-standard practice.
Caution! Ensure the rotation is correct, and the head of the mic is indeed pointed in the right direction or you will effectively be attempting to capture the instrument at 180 degrees with a cardioid microphone that has a high degree of off-axis rejection.
DPA 4099 + VC4099, CC4099, BC4099 clips for string instruments or DPA 4060 (or 4660) microphone + Symphonova strings mic-holder
Violins and Violas
DPA adapter for micro-dot to 3 pin XLR DAD4099
Cellos and Double Bass
DPA adapter for micro-dot to 3 pin XLR DAD6001
If the recording is of each musician in full isolation, then a DPA4099 will provide a satisfactory recording. Placement of the microphone should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s and industry-standard practice.
For live recordings of the musicians playing simultaneously in a shared acoustic space, and/or with other instruments of the orchestra, we recommend using the mic holder and placement designed by Symphonova (see below).
Violins and Viola
The mic holders can be purchased from us. Alternatively, you can easily make them yourself.
Preparation: Viola, Cello and Double Bass
Symphonova Mic-Holder Placement
If the mic easily comes out of the instrument when pulling on the mic wire, then re-insert the microphone and gently slide it until the sides of the F hole grab the microphone sufficiently to prevent it from falling out.
Some recording engineers and many musicians will not be familiar with the sound of exceedingly dry and close microphone placement. It is a sound that could legitimately be described as thin, unpleasant, raw, uncoloured. To help prepare you for the sound you should expect to hear, that will work well with our system, we have assembled a set of recordings that are illustrative of the sound-quality you may encounter. These are provided as a guide only, and should not be used as a target.