microphones (again)

Edited: July 3, 2021, 6:47 AM · 3 years ago I wrote.
"It seems that at 200Hz (approx. a violin's G string) a good small-diaphragm condenser's response is already about -3dB. That's a pity, otherwise I'd have suggested all you'd be recording with a large diaphragm is the room's resonances." My previous experience had been playing live mic'd uke gigs with one Shure SM57 and one SM58, not a good match for each other.

So I bought a couple of Shure PGA81s, and someone asked somewhere for me to post a recording of a violin done with them. Forget it! The lack of bass response is almost physically painful.

The resonances and ambience are more important than the violin when recording the violin! I'll look around for a large diaphragm condenser.

Replies (19)

Edited: July 3, 2021, 6:49 AM · "It seems that at 200Hz (approx. a violin's G string) a good small-diaphragm condenser's response is already about -3dB."

Sorry that's rubbish.
Good studio microphones especially DPA, B & K, Neumann, Schoeps are substantially linear across the entire band from 100hz to 8khz.

Where on earth are you getting your ideas from?

Edited: July 3, 2021, 7:08 AM · You are 100% right - it is rubbish. It's about 1.5dB at 200 and 4.3dB at 100Hz. Maybe I was remembering older stats.
Still, the bass response is aurally non-existent. Starting to peak after 2kHz may be exaggerating the effect.


Discovered this useful website, though.

July 3, 2021, 7:17 AM · Maybe you shouldn't be using Shure microphones
July 3, 2021, 7:37 AM · Violin sound spectrum is incredibly complex to the extent that our ears hear differently than what's picking up on mics. Moreover, if you're sticking the mic right next to the violin you're bound to get some nasty shrill sound that's overpowering the bass.
July 3, 2021, 8:43 AM · I'm with Lyndon. I have long found Shure products overrated (same thing as overpriced). I suggest also that you consider a ribbon microphone.
July 3, 2021, 9:22 AM · https://www.musicalhow.com/best-microphone-for-violin-recording/

Take a look at the above article and see if it helps. Just like instruments you need to invest in a quality mic and spend some money. Look at at the Neumann TLM or better

Edited: July 3, 2021, 6:01 PM · Consider this:

Aston Element mic

I used it to record a part played by myself 4-5 months ago. I extracted only a small and dry excerpt, when i played on G and D strings. The song is a traditional circle waltz:

excerpt recorded by me [i edited the audio file: the wav file did not start in many devices. Now it should play]

I put the mic on a stand, 60-70 cm from me, slightly above, very slightly at the left of the scroll.
In my opinion, Aston mics are astounding.

Edited: July 4, 2021, 7:14 AM · Since I'll only be recording as a personal experiment, I'm not going to invest in Neumann mics. I found a Shure SM27 on Amazon, new for £150 with a damaged box. That will do for a while.
July 4, 2021, 6:05 AM · I paid 157 euro for the Aston Element (new).
July 4, 2021, 10:44 AM · "Good studio microphones especially DPA, B & K, Neumann, Schoeps are substantially linear across the entire band from 100hz to 8khz."

At what distance and in which pattern?


The DPA 2011 for example reports effective frequency response at 30cm (~ 1 foot).

The exaggerated bass response from microphones (radio effect, etc.) often arises from proximity effect used to that end. Ribbons actually have more proximity effect, not necessarily a better bass response.

Gordon, if you want to "fix" your problem, move the mics closer, use equalization, or maybe use omnis.


July 4, 2021, 12:31 PM · A local recording-studio guy told me his go-to for recording violin is the Royer R-121. The R-10 is a similar mic but more affordable.
July 5, 2021, 11:09 AM · I'll second the Royer 121. It mainly depends on what you want but ribbons handle the high frequencies of the violin in a much more pleasing way than condensers, dynamics or large diaphragm.
Edited: July 6, 2021, 4:26 AM · When I own a recording studio I'll buy a pair of R121. Until then, I have a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom, and an SM27 in conjunction with a PGA81 will have to do.
Edited: July 5, 2021, 12:56 PM · I'm sorry to repeat myself, but i think you have ignored my advice to test the Aston Element mic :)
It captures sound in a different way than all other mics i own and used in the past (condensers, small, large (even Neumann), dynamics, ribbons).

It seems to be born for recording violin, in my opinion and experience.......

It is a dynamic which requires phantom power. Very high output signal, nonexistent intrinsec noise. Low frequencies captured similarly if not better than a ribbon mic, not a hint of the high-mid exaggerations as the condensers do. Quite open highs. Cardioid.

Edited: July 6, 2021, 4:28 AM · I've bookmarked it, Marco.
July 6, 2021, 12:28 PM · I have 3 of these wonderful handmade ribbon microphones at a bargain price:


Edited: July 6, 2021, 12:43 PM · How much does the Aston Element cost? NVM I saw it at Sweetwater for $200
July 6, 2021, 6:11 PM · I paid 149 euro 7 months ago, in Italy.
Now the same seller sets them at 159 euro. The average price i've seen around is 179-180 euro (in Italy).

The 200$ in USA seem to be comparable.

Edited: July 6, 2021, 8:08 PM · These have a lot of street cred in recording forums at about $150 per mic:


Whatever you get you'll also need an audio interface, a pair of cables, a stand, a stereo bar of some sort, and recording software. If you get a ribbon mic that isn't active you'll also need inline preamps.

Because of all this extra stuff I think folks are better off getting one of the Zoom recorders with mics until you're ready to make the leap off the deep end.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Virtual Sejong Music Competition
Virtual Sejong Music Competition

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine