Say you are needed to record the following; A violin, Cello, guitar, and piano. What mics would you use, condenser (tube or?), mini cardioid condenser (like the ATM350?), Large Diaphragm Dynamic Mic, (EVRE20?), or small like the Sure SM81? How about a AKG C414BXLS? or a C 3000 B?
I'm curious to see just how many are used for recording strings and as well as how you go about mic placement.
I mean, I'm just sitting here with not a whole heck of a lot to do but wonder through music catalogs and studio magazines such as Tape Op and Mix. So many ads that claim so much more performance than even the presidential candidates can offer! It's mind boggling but thank God there's Pizza!!!!
Are you looking to capture the space they're in or do a studio recording with the performance?
A single stereo pair of 414's is a very clean and accurate way to do it. I'm a big fan of mid-side recording with those guys.
414's work on nearly everything.
If you want more control over mixing, you might augment the 414 room mics with condensers a few feet from the strings. An RE20 hot on them might work ok in this situation too, though I've never tried it and you might lose some sensitivity towards the quieter stuff. Some people like to use a pencil mic close to the bridge of the (acoustic) guitar to get the grit and then place a larger diaphragm mic farther back to pick up the rounder sound of the entire instrument. For piano, stereo mics over the soundboard always nice. The SM81s might work for the piano or strings, though it likely will take a little EQ in post to get them to sit.
No but I've tried AEA and Royer and found them very smooth but lacking in detail compared to condenser mics. Killer for cab micing electric guitar and bass, however.
If I was trying to capture your bunch playing as an ensemble with the space, I wouldn't use cardioids. I'd use omni's. Like a pair of Earthworks spaced about 8 inches at a distance of 3 to 6 feet depending on the perspective you were after. Actually you can go as far as you want, even to the back of the church if you're used to hearing your performances from there.
Mic'ing individually, I'd go with small cardioids if I had to use the same mics for everything. At a distance of 10 to 16 inches depending again on desired perspective (any closer or farther and you'll have proximity effect to deal with). Something like Rode NT5's if you're on a budget. I've been using a pair of DPA 4021's for a while which have similar sized capsules and are similar in character but are a little quieter, have somewhat less coloration, but cost way more money ... they work very well for me on both percussion (snare and bass drum) and strings. I use the DPAs allot on stage for piano, harp, and acoustic guitar concerts. A high quality but cost effect alternative to the dpas are the gooseneck EW FM360. I n the studio, however, I usually do piano m/s with a u87 and an EW qtc40... which is also a good alternative to spaced omnis.