Recording a Violin ... OH MY what a horrible sound.

HI all.
i am a slightly horrible violin player. I just finished all my backing tracks on a song and am going to do some guitaring (which i am good at)… but i’d also like to do some leads on my acoustic violin…

Now, i read somewhere that a violin is one of the hardest instruments to mic… as most of its beauty and sound quality requires a REALLY GOOD system. which i’m sure do not have … For now it sounds like a violin on a 1980 Vic 20 game.

I am using a UR12 with a Audio Technica P48 cardioid Condenser Microphone (which is less that a hundred bucks.

now these are my options.maybe you can suggest one of these or something else.

  • i need some serious hardware to capture the beauty of my instrument.
    (if so … this will only be an option if it doesn’t break the bank… and i become a better player)

  • I can fudge the sound using various filters and effects.
    ( i am not proud… if i can get a violin-like processed sound from effects then i will be happy. This song only has to please me and my family. lol)
    If any of you can help in that regard, it would be appreciated. I do noice that i need to boost the low frequencies… a clean signal sounds very TINNY.

  • I have an electric violin which i can plug in and process like a guitar… It may create some wild sounds but for my dance or ambient music, anyone would be too stoned to notice my over=processed sounds.
    ( i am writing this before i give up on the acoustic and try my violin… but i will do it soon if my replies are just the sounds of crickets…


I’m a violin player and have done a decent number of sessions.

You do not need anything special in terms of gear to capture your acoustic violin. The difficulty is in mic placement and gain staging, and the need for an acoustic space.

If the sound is super tinny you should check that phantom power is actually on.

If, when you play, you become aware of feline caterwauling sounds, close the windows and set up better sound proofing, Same thing if you hear canine howling. These sounds are probably not in the same key as your recording, so it won’t sound nice. :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

The sound of a violin is very dependent on the space that it’s in. Its richness comes from the distortion resulting form the string moving in the opposite direction of the bow 50% of the time, combined with the acoustic character of the space. So if you you don’t have a nice acoustic space, reverb is a must- it can be reverb with a short tail and not necessarily one that emulates a space- but you will need to tweak it to suit your violin.

If you want the sound to be really bad and to get frustrated to the point of smashing your violin, always think in terms of increasing a given frequency’s gain when you’re working on the EQ. Or, if you’re the type who wants to make a beautiful sound, and live a happy life, think in terms of finding all the ugly frequencies and reducing the gain there. :wink: You cannot add frequencies that aren’t there in the fist place, and the violin really has nothing to offer below 170 hz

The LA Studio preset in the Steinberg Reverence VST is actually a good starting point imo, and you should play with reverb plugin’s EQ to find a decent resonance. Also note many violins need to be notched out at around 2500 hz, and there might be other places where there is a so-called wolf tone. The fiddle I play on resonates louder around C# or B depending on the space and the weather.

For mic placement, keep it off axis- 12 or less inches from a spot outward from the edge of the g-string side f-hole- aiming the mic at a spot to the side of the hole, and not right at it.

Another option if you want a super dark sound might be to set up a mic very, very close to the body of the violin, to get a proximity effect, but this won’t do much for the A and E string, though you will have a stronger signal. (

If you have a nice space set up a room mic to capture that.

That’s my take on this…

Wow !
What a comprehensive response !!!
You have given me a goldmine of ideas to try out…
Thankfully my room is smallish, and there are not extraneous noises. I will work on the placement of the violin and my REVERB and EQ

many thanks.