Recording Violins

I have tried to record violins, but they sound so out of tune! What is the workaround for this? Now I use East West Platinum Orchestra and that sounds good, but not when I record violins! I am looking for a orchestra sound.

Sound out of tune? Are they out of tune?

With any fretless instrument there will be intonation sacrifices. If you layer them, recording multiple takes that all play together, this masks it.

The Violin player’s skill has a lot to do with how out of tune they play. It helps most times, if you are recording them , to take one ear cup off so they can hear their instrument naturally. It helps their pitch.

Lastly, if the just are bad players and pitch poorly, close mic record them and use the pitch driver plugin in cubase to tighten up their pitch. It has to be mono though then you will have to create an artificial space for it to dwell in.

I done 2 recordings of violins and both were out of pitch(fretless) maybe I would find some better players!

What is your foldback latency? If they are listening in headphones and your sample buffers are set high, that will attribute to a bad pitching episode.

Thx for reply! What I need is a violin player with a fretted violin! OR! A pro violinist.

String intonation is a very delicate subject.

Monitoring is one of the keys. String players usually refer their intonation to the “group” they’re playing in. So, unless you have solo strings, layering strings always needs very well-designed monitoring control.

Having skilled players is essential, of course. Pitch correcting string intonation usually doesn’t create very good results.

What have you used to do the pitch correction?

I didn`t use pitchshift I recorded someone and then payed someone 100bucks and it sounded really messed up. Like totally out of tune. So I have used East West Platinum Orchestra instead because th estrings on here were perfectly pitched.

Thinking of paying someone at a musicians school a 30 dollars an hour to do some violin tracks. Much cheaper than 100dollars pr. Song!


You should try recording a violin and penny whistle together :smiling_imp:

LOL :laughing: I can only imagine

If you are going to pay anyone, hold auditions, then hire. Script your parts and have sheet music ready. It will make it much less painless and less costly. At the bare minimum, have a skeleton arrangement for them to go off of. In my experience, most classically trained players need sheet music. Once you get the “meat and potatoes” recorded, then you can let them get expressive if they are able to.

If you record the instrument close, you should be able to insert cubase’s “pitchcorrect” plugin to tighten it up a bit. You have to set it to respond slow but it will not make a poor performance sound good. It will make a good performance even better. You can try variaudio, but the squeaks and other oddities coming off the instrument register wrong note segments.

Variaudio is completely useless for any range above c’’’ I think, so no use for higher violin parts.

The &100 for a player playing out of tune are well wasted. Get a decent player. Or, even better, a group of decent players (which, admittedly, tends to get expensive rather quickly).

Still, layering strings to achieve a “string orchestra” sound is not as easy as it seems. You need to vary the position to the microphones, even the distance, you definetely need to vary the playing technique, and, if possible, record with different instruments (several different violins).

Otherwise you will get the sound of one person playing 10 times as opposed to a string orchestra sound. Phasing may also get in your way.

Still, if done properly I would prefer every true string ensemble sound in the world to any library (so far). The difference is actually quite drastic (depending on the arrangement, but always noticeable).

Probably! I’ve recorded violin a few times and the players were apparently experienced but on all occasions they were… well… just horrible. :confused: Fortunately I was able to tune them - sort of.

My personal thoughts after that experience is that fretless instruments only ever really sound any good are when they’re played by absolute virtuosos. Anything else… :confused:

+1 :open_mouth:
I went to school and lived under campus like conditions for a year. Four string players decided in the classroom that they should start a … string quartet, of all things! OK fine for all I care … except one thing. One of them lived in the same house as me and they had no other place to practice than UNDER MY FLOOR! :astonished: :unamused: It wasn’t like I could not hit the play button on my boombox and drench out their noise. But it sort of hurt my brain how these guys round 20-25 years old, with years of experience (one had even studied in France), sounded! The music was turned into UGLINESS! The intonation was kinda close really but that made it perhaps even worse haha. The guy who went to France also was the one who spoke of untempered natural scales and stuff he’d read somewhere but had no concept of how to perform haha. It was more like a cop-out for him as he maybe was suspecting that his intonation was kinda sub par.

But then again … since then I’ve run into “proper” string players who are professionals and they sound fine, some even magical. Maybe they used their ears? :wink: Moral of the story I guess is “don’t trust amateur string players”. :laughing:

Sounds like the beginnings ov the Kronos Quartet :sunglasses:

Violinists seem to tune their strings by ear to natural fifths. If you’re going to use them with equally tempered instruments (such as guitars, keyboards and anything Cubase) they are out of tune to start with. Natural fifths are sharper than equally tempered fifths by a small but audible amount. This will be amplified by the time you’ve gone from the G to E strings and if each open string is progressively sharper and sharper there’s nothing they can do about it.

I suggest you invest in a clip-on chromatic tuner (cheap and indispensible, works off vibrations, make sure it’s got a ball-joint) and get them to tune their open strings to that, i.e. equally tempered fifths.

I’d be interested to know if that works so I’ll keep monitoring the thread to see if you have any luck.


How is fretless instruments different than say voices?
Stop calculating and start listening. :wink:

Tuning like that does work. Sunday I was recording violin, trumpet and other instruments. I had the violinist tune using my android tuner app. And the trumpet, I had her tune into it as well. The only difference was some of the trumpet notes were sharp and some were flat. We tuned to split the difference using her trumpet line per song as the barometer notes we were to split the tuning differences. Don’t forget to remember with horns is they change tune when the instrument warms up from being blown into (in my experience). The horn recorded sunday was a silver one, but brass ones I have recorded too do it as well.

!!AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!! Give them a towel to clear their spit from the horn into. I had one player squirting it onto the studio floor then one of my dogs marked on top of it!


Here is a video from Sunday’s sessions:

Like me too while you are there! :mrgreen: