Traditionally, lavaliers have been the go-to mics for violin recording or in a live performance. Today, depending on the scenario, mic selection and placement can differ. Various new approaches to violin mics are used in productions worldwide in an array of applications. Which is best? That’s hard to answer precisely, but this article will help guide your decision using real-world examples when choosing mics for violin. Please remember that not all sound is equal, and this article only provides suggestions.
Traditional Lavalier as Violin Microphone
The CO-8WL omnidirectional lavalier mic is popular in live sound and recording. This miniature violin mic option has a low profile of merely 4mm in diameter and performs well under pressure. The flat frequency response provides the purest sound from the violin.
Here, the lavalier mic is mounted on the violin strings between the bridge and tailpiece using a string mount. The video below shows this violin in action as performed by Anny Ly.
As another example, also in the video, is Norwegian violinist and composer, Henning Kraggerud. His musicianship has earned him the esteem of his musical colleagues and the admiration of audiences worldwide. While in Leeds, he shot this video in his hotel room at sunset. His violin microphone of choice, the CO-8WL, set the bar high in recording his beautiful and dark rendition of Postlude No. 10 in B flat minor.
EMBRACE™ as a Violin Microphone
A new type of violin mic actually requires no mic on the violin itself. The EMBRACE microphone—known for being a custom-fit ear-mounted microphone—is small and designed for camouflage. This wireless violin mic option sits on the ear optimally over the violin for precise placement.
Renowned violinist Joshua Bell desired a violin microphone with a strong emphasis on preserving the natural sound of his violin, so he preferred to avoid any direct attachment of a microphone to his Stradivarius violin. And the search began, but for the televised performance, the visibility of a headset microphone posed a significant concern for TV producers, necessitating a solution that wouldn’t be intrusive on camera. Furthermore, consistent and close microphone placement near the instrument was crucial to ensure the accurate capture of the intricate nuances of his playing.
Given these challenges, the EMBRACE Earmount microphone emerged as the optimal choice for sound engineer Paul Bevan. This innovative solution provided a discreet means of capturing Bell’s performance without compromising the purity of the violin’s sound. By securing onto Bell’s ear, the microphone was optimally placed over the violin and preserved the natural resonance of the instrument. Its unobtrusive design also addressed the concerns of TV producers, remaining virtually invisible during broadcasts. And finally, the EMBRACE Earmount’s strategic placement near the violin ensured the faithful capture of every delicate note and expression, enabling an authentic representation of Bell’s musical artistry.
A Headset Violin Mic Serves Dual Function
Germany’s sibling violin duo— The Twiolins, Marie-Luise and Christoph Dingler— were intent on finding a violin microphone for live performances in which some songs included vocals. A headset violin mic seemed the best choice to provide optimal placement of the element near the instrument and double as their vocal mic.
The award-winning SERIES8 headset violin microphone was selected. “When performing on large stages we always use two CO-8WD headset microphones with our wireless systems,” affirmed Christoph Dingler, violinist and sound prodigy. He further praised, “The frequency response of the entire spectrum of our violins are completely captured and conveyed, and the high linear resolution from the miniature-sized capsule is excellent. The CO-8WD is extremely close to the original sound even without equalization—it is absolutely at the top of its class!”
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