Guidelines for miking a viola with DPA Microphones.
Please remember, great sound is subjective and the miking methods described in this article are suggestions only. Try these methods out, but make sure to listen and choose the best solution for your specific situation.

Close miking an instrument is often considered to be a compromise to the instrument’s true acoustic sound. An instrument’s sound is usually designed to be experienced at a distance so that all the different elements of the sound are naturally blended into a perfect harmony. Yet often, mounting a microphone directly on the instrument is the most practical solution. 

Finding and placing the microphone in the instrument’s sweet spot – or your preferred location, can be a challenge. Keeping it there can be even more challenging, especially if the instrument is moved. For this reason, close-miking requires a dependable mounting solution.

A compact cardioid microphone directly on a viola

Point a 4011C Cardioid Microphone, Compact directly at an area of the instrument and thereby enhance a special sound, i.e. timbre, bow sounds or finger sounds. 

Furthermore, the 4011C is under influence of the proximity effect, which can be used to enhance the low frequencies of the instrument and thereby give the recording more body.

This set-up is also excellent for live sound applications. 

A miniature microphone directly on a viola

For live use (or home studio) the 4099 Instrument Microphone for Violin may well be the ideal solution. This mic has a supercardioid polar pattern that allows the mic to focus on the instrument and get a good isolation from the other sound sources on the stage or bad acoustics. 

This also reduces the risk of feedback significantly, while keeping the rich and nuanced sound of the instrument uncolored. 

However, because of its high directionality some time should be spend on finding the right placement of the mic. The position will always be a compromise trying to capture the whole instrument with a narrow pick up pattern. The VC4099 Violin Clip included with the 4099 Instrument Microphone for Violin offers a unique solution that is both secure, highly flexible (fits also viola, mandolin & banjo) and very gentle to the instrument. 

An even smaller and yet superbly sounding microphone is the 4060 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone.

Related content

In Microphone University we have loads of content that could be relevant to you. Learn more about how to mic various instruments in the articles below.



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