Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instruments?

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AmyJ23
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Tell us something.: I'm a musician and I've been wanting to add the flute for sound layering and textures in my music. I've tried using midi keyboard programs to get the sound but they just sound fake. So I want to learn from people who specialize in wind pipes, etc. on how they record and what other things I should use.

Thanks!

Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instruments?

Post by AmyJ23 »

I've tried sampling but I just couldn't get the right tone and clarity that I want to hear. It just sounds fake for me. I know how to play flute so I'm planning to just record the the track on my own. Any suggestion on how to best do it? Like the distance of the mic and how the room should be?

Thank you all in advance! :thumbsup:
fatmac
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by fatmac »

I mostly record harmonica, some ukulele, occasionally whistle for various forums, & what I use is a Samson USB mic plugged into my computer, on which I use Audacity software, & nearly always have the mic 12"~18" away from me & whichever instrument I'm using.

Regarding the room you use, normally it wants to have soft furnishings, I use my bedroom, if you use the bathroom, you will get a kind of reverb sound.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by flyingparchment »

the advice i've heard, and that works well for me, is that the mic should be placed fairly close to the flute (say about 1-2ft away, or the same distance you'd use for micing string instruments), aimed roughly at the embouchure hole or maybe a bit further down the flute, and positioned above the player pointing down, so that the player isn't breathing on it. with a cardioid microphone, that will get the sound of the flute and not much else, which sounds like what you want.

if you want a more natural recording with more of the room sound (and natural reverb), you can use two microphones in a stereo setup (M/S, X/Y, OTRF, ...) positioned a bit further away. stereo recording is a bit more involved, but not actually that difficult; there's loads of guides on how to do it around the internet.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by Caspermilktoast »

I have found closer is better 3" or so but be sure your embouchure is not blowing into the mic. If you are further away you can pic up key and finger sounds. That's my experience. I can send you a link to some of my recordings if it helps.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by daveboling »

As far as position in relationship to the mic, you might try what these two lads do:
Image
Image
They seem to have had some relative success.

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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by Holmes »

I wouldn't use the technique above (photos) for recording flute. If a studio condenser mic was being used you'd blow the diaphragm out. If examples are useful to you there's this one...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WxolGq ... sp=sharing

Let's see if this works as a direct hosting link:- https://www.dropbox.com/s/68oiylssfkhzd ... 7.png?dl=0
Save your hot air for blowing down your flute
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by highland-piper »

The better the room sounds the further away you can put the microphone, if that's the sound you want. If the room sounds bad then you'll want to be fairly close to it.

If you have a set of closed back headphones (highly recommended) then you can easily walk around and try different positions and hear how they sound in real time. Also good to know that where the instrument is in the room makes a difference, where the microphone is makes a difference, and the relationship between the two makes a difference.

In the photos above, the performers have their instruments very close to the microphone, but they are playing on stage, so they need to do that to avoid feedback.

If you don't have a microphone the Shure SM81 is good for acoustic instruments. It has a flat response. The CAD M179 is good too, and a bit cheaper. It also has a variable polar pattern. Sometimes different patterns sound better.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by rykirk »

I wouldn't 'record the room' unless it's a really nice room like an actual hall or church or some specific echo effect you're going for like in a concrete stairwell or something. If you just want a clean flute sound I would close mic the embouchure hole from above and in front maybe 6"-1' and get a nice clean recording. You can always add reverb, EQing, and other effects to a clean recording, you can't take them away from a boomy room recording.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by swizzlestick »

Simple question, but the answers quickly get complicated because there are so many variables. Different types of microphones with different pickup patterns. Different mic placements based on these different types and on different playing styles. Different rooms and recording technology.

Here is a short article that addresses some of the issues. https://recordingmag.com/resources/reco ... the-flute/ But this overview also makes assumptions.

If you read the article, keep in mind that as a beginner you are likely to use a cardioid dynamic or condenser mic. Not ribbon. Dynamic mics are generally less sensitive and, therefore, pick up less background noise. You tend to see them in live settings. Condenser mics give more detail but tend to pick up the clock across the room or outside traffic. They are more common in studio work. I usually don't bother with condensers unless I have a treated or very quiet room.
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Re: Any recording tricks for flutes and other wind instrumen

Post by pkev »

Hi There

I personally use an original AKG C1000s for flute and whistle but have also used a Shure Beta 58A

Depending on your room circumstances it also might be worth setting up a noise gate

pkev
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