Stringed Instrument Mics


  1. If you could have 2 mics to record strings - anything from cello to violin to acoustic guitar - what would they be?

  2. In my opinion, I would probably go with a combination of small diaphragm and large diaphragm condenser mics. Maybe an earthworks QTC40 and a NU87. However these are quite expensive. Any ideas for substitutions?

  3. Ive seen a lot of stringed instrument body-mounted choices like the bartlett mics - what do you all think of these?

SSD rocks socks!


Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 2 378



AKG414 and AKG460 if money wasn't a problem.

Otherwise the SE Electronics SE2200A and the SE1A and that is from personal experience of owning and using them for these exact applications.

For recordings don't use body mounted mics. When was the last time you listened to a stringed instrument that close? The sound needs space to work properly. The body mounted mics are a necessary evil in loud live sound situations.

Hope that helps.

Mike Thornton

Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 886


The AKG C414 B-ULS is a good choice, due to the lack of a presence peak in the treble response--it's a very neutral sounding mike that way, and so will work well on a variety of instruments. Mikes with treble presence peaks may sound nice on some instruments and not so good on others.

Budget choice: the AKG C1000-S can sound good on strings if you use the super-cardioid adapter, which tends to flatten out the top end response. (Without the adapter--in cardioid mode--the C1000-S sounds rather bright, which can be a problem with some string instruments.)

Regarding instrument-mounted mikes, I have often used a Countryman Isomax cardioid lavalier mike for recording jazz acoustic bass, clipping the mike to the low "E" string, just below the bridge. This particular setup sounds quite natural and gives me more isolation than standard mikes on stands. If I don't need the isolation, the Neumann U87 (or U67 if it's available) sounds great on acoustic bass.

Robert Auld

Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 131


DPA 4006s for studio work, for live work I use AT831b as they are more discrete.


Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540



I'd go with a stereo pair of small condensers. Certainly can do some nice stuff with a small and a large as well but if I only had 2 a matched pair it would be.

If money's not a concern I'd got with a pair of vintage Neumann KM84's. Always liked them when I had access to them.

With some many choices on the low end I'm not sure what to go with. Lots of great small condensers out there.

Matthew M

Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 301


I've had good luck with two large diaphragm condensers (one dark, one bright) on 12th fret & Bridge of guitar. If we're not sure what we want the guitar to sound like I'll throw a pickup on the guitar and run it through Waves GTR later.

I've done an stand up bass once, we took a direct signal and threw a U87 on it.

Matt McDermott

Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 156


An AKG 414 and an Earthworks SR40. With the selectable pattern on the 414 you get a lot of flexibility and you can even use it to record two instrumentalists (guitar, violin) by setting it to figure 8 and placing it between them. (Worked great on a recent gypsy swing show.)

The Earthworks pencil condenser gets in places that the 414 can't, and is a phenomenal sounding mic on strings. Better isolation than the QTC40 if you find yourself working a live gig, but definitely go with the omni if you are doing strict studio work.


Posted 2012-06-04T01:35:32.540

Reputation: 774