Q: I’m tracking an excellent piano/cello duo playing classical music in a nice sounding hall. I’m getting most of my sound using a stereo pair of condensers placed in front, off the stage, combined with a spot mic on the cello. I’d like to get a fuller sound on the cello with less top end than I am capturing using my usual condenser spot mic. Any suggestions?
A: We’ve had good luck using ribbon microphones on cello (we used a Royer R-121, but others may also do the job well), sometimes in conjunction with a condenser that can be blended in to taste for extra articulation and definition. We find that in this application, the ribbon picks up a natural-sounding representation of the cello, with good low end and full midrange. When combined with the majority of the sound coming from a front stereo pair, the result is a resonant, full-sounding cello, even in the high register.
One other suggestion: ensure that your spot mic is in phase with your front stereo pair and any spot mics that are on the piano!