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Concertina miking (and a I tune I recorded!)


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I've had in my mind for a long time now an idea to try recording the English concertina with what I suppose is an unconventional microphone setup. Co-located mics are fine if you have a really nice acoustic and want to make a concert-like recording, but that's not always the case. I've always found when recording at home then using X/Y or mid-side, a metre or two back from the concertina results in:


1. a left/right bounce where the tune jumps around in space. I find this positively painful, so the only solution without additional processing is to narrow the source stereo recording.


2. in spite of the above, a really localised sound. The more you echo-proof your recording space the more this is true. It's realistic... but not actually particularly engaging to listen to, and I've not yet found a good way of widening up the sound without causing other problems.


So - I had an idea that using one mic in front of the concertina and one mic behind would pic up the same sound but with different details, so would get interpreted as a single wide source. Here's the setup:




The sound gets attenuated by the player so the rear mic (right channel) needs to be increased, but the idea definitely works - a simple stereo mix (with no reverb etc) has a nice wide sound with no disconcerting jumps from left to right.


I'd like to hear comments on this (does anybody else to it?) or ideas about other ways to get the same effect.


Here's an example (with a bit of reverb and equalisation) - a Frédéric Paris tune called Ganivelle, with improvisation/doodling.



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Thanks for the nice comments :) I should have also uploaded at least a sample of the raw recording. Listening again today I think the sound would be better with my other mics (Rode NT1 instead of NT5 - don't know why I didn't use them in the first place!), a little further from the walls, and perhaps even more cushions/damping...

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Ditto to the comments above. I only wanted to add the the sound quality came through beautifully on my laptop speakers, so it must be high quality indeed.

Same here; I really like what I can hear but neither my sound system nor my own knowledge allow me to add anything useful.


Lovely playing Danny, as I've come to expect.

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  • 9 months later...

Skimming through older posts, I can't help replying to this, as I have a recording studio of sorts in my home too.


I always noticed the mics placed at either end of concertinas on TV shows in Ireland and the like. Seems they always keep both mics center and don't pan them--they blend them to mono. Which makes sense. I suppose if you really HAD to go for a stereo sound you'd be pulling a spaced pair or coincident pair back a ways. Then in the mixing you could just not pan hard left and right, but somewhere in between. There's also no reason you couldn't fill any holes down the center of the stereo field with a third mic. Often a mic placed over the shoulder of the musician will pick up a great tone, and it's hearing more or less what the musician is hearing. This mic could be used to "fill the hole" so to speak. I may experiment with this once I can play anything worth recording.



Your recording sounds great! I'm certainly not suggesting you need to make any changes. Just blurting my thoughts.


Exquisite playing too.

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Extraordinary (both the quality of recording and performance). You should consider putting out some albums.

There's more than an album's worth of free mp3 recordings on Danny's web site, starting at "Various tunes arranged and played by me." He also has some very nice recordings on English International.

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You should consider putting out some albums.


Thanks - I was thinking about that a little while ago and probably will do something at some stage. I had an idea for making a free to distribute album for a charity, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe when I've finished with my current pet project...

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  • 2 weeks later...

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