The Only 3 Best Microphones for Violin Recording in 2019

In this post, we are going to present you the best violin mics for recording.

Our Best Pick
Neumann TLM 103 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Nickel) With Suspension Shockmount
Best Value for Money
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone - Hypercardioid
Good Recording Microphone
Sennheiser MD 441-U versatile dynamic super-cardioid pattern microphone a five-position
Neumann TLM 103 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Nickel) With Suspension Shockmount
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone - Hypercardioid
Sennheiser MD 441-U versatile dynamic super-cardioid pattern microphone a five-position
7 Reviews
5 Reviews
7 Reviews
Polar pattern
Large diaphragm capsule cardioid microphone
Hypercardioid
Dynamic super-cardioid
Frequency range
20Hz-20kHz
40 - 18,000 Hz
40 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal to noise ratio
87dB (A weighted)
76 dB-A.
88 dB SPL
Impedance
50 Ohms
200 Ohms
200 Ohms
Our Best Pick
Neumann TLM 103 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Nickel) With Suspension Shockmount
Neumann TLM 103 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Nickel) With Suspension Shockmount
7 Reviews
Polar pattern
Large diaphragm capsule cardioid microphone
Frequency range
20Hz-20kHz
Signal to noise ratio
87dB (A weighted)
Impedance
50 Ohms
Best Value for Money
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone - Hypercardioid
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone - Hypercardioid
5 Reviews
Polar pattern
Hypercardioid
Frequency range
40 - 18,000 Hz
Signal to noise ratio
76 dB-A.
Impedance
200 Ohms
Good Recording Microphone
Sennheiser MD 441-U versatile dynamic super-cardioid pattern microphone a five-position
Sennheiser MD 441-U versatile dynamic super-cardioid pattern microphone a five-position
7 Reviews
Polar pattern
Dynamic super-cardioid
Frequency range
40 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal to noise ratio
88 dB SPL
Impedance
200 Ohms

Last update on 2019-11-09 / Affiliate links / Updated prices and images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Violins have always been a beautiful part of the music. Classical music, in particular, has been heavily influenced by these stringed instruments. Today, the beauty of the violin is being experienced across several genres, including rock music.

Having said that, if you wish to amplify your violin sound, you need to adopt some electrical solutions.

The most commonly used is the microphone. Just as we have flute mics and piano mics, there are some mics that work better for the violin than others.

Which microphones are the best for playing the violin on stage?

Which ones are better for recording violins in studios?

Let's find the solutions to all these questions.

Factors to consider before buying violin mic

Violin mics buying guide

Frequency response

Any mic you wish to use for your violin must have at least a frequency range of 150HZ to 18000Hz.

Any narrower frequency range will not capture the full violin sound like it's supposed to. Also, since the violin is a high pitched instrument, it's better to use mics with tempered high frequencies to prevent harshness.

Directionality

For a violin, it's always better to use the mic with cardioid, super-cardioid or hypercardioid polar pattern.

They reject unwanted sounds more easily than other types.

Hypercardioid does better at rejecting such sounds than the cardioid. Avoid omnidirectional mics unless you're trying to record room sound in a well-treated studio.

Clip-on mics are best for solo sessions.

Recording location

Are you playing on stage or in the studio?

How good is the room acoustics of the location?

Some mics do a better job in less than ideal recording environments while others simply expose the acoustic issues in the room.

How to mic a violin

The first thing to consider here is distance. Since you'll most likely be using a cardioid or super-cardioid mic, proximity effect may be an issue.

To avoid this, the mic should be one to three feet away from the violin.

The mic stand should be about the height of the player so that the mic points down towards them.

Angle the receiving end of the mic such that it faces the area where the bow touches the strings.

Here are the top 3 violin microphones

Neumann TLM 103

Neumann TLM 103

TLM 103 is a cardioid condenser microphone from Neumann. Its capsule was made to imitate that of the U87 in behavior and sound.

It's a small mic, although not so light for its size. The metal grille and frame are all made of metal. TLM 103 is well built and solid.

It has no switches on it. It has a smooth body that ends in the XLR port for connection at the bottom. Also, it requires 48V phantom power to work. This can easily be provided by a mixer, preamp or external sound card.

Sound quality

TLM 103 a highly sensitive cardioid mic. When you use it to capture the violin sound, you can be sure it will pick all the loud and quiet notes.

Neumann TLM 103 frequency response

Credit: Recordinghacks.com

Its frequency range is quite wide thus captures frequencies beyond the range of the violin. It can also be used in recording room ambiance when the room sounds great.

However, TLM 103 will be more suited to some violin players than others.

This is due to its brightness. There's a presence boost that makes the violin sound shine through. While this works well in some styles of music, some players prefer their sound to not be so bright.

Pros:

  • Highly sensitive
  • Good for studio violin recording.
  • It can also be used as a room mic when recording in the studio.

Cons:

  • Placement can be tricky because of the mic's shape.
  • Not practical where there is a group of violins.

Beyerdynamic M160

Build and design

Beyerdynamic M160

The M160 is a ribbon mic with a hypercardioid polar pattern. Its shape is quite unique. It has a thin shaft with the address end of the mic at the top, like a spherical ball that's wider than the shaft.

The mic has no switches or filters on it. This means that you can't make any changes to how the mic captures the sound. You can only tweak things on your DAW or on the mixer. It's a rugged mic that is built to withstand the rigors of live use.

This mic has a very tight polar pattern, which is a good thing, but a slight movement by the musician can put him in an off-axis position, especially when he's standing. This is a huge contrast to what you get with piano mics.

Sound quality

Playing violin

The M160 has that warm sound that is common to ribbon mics. It's not just a low mid-frequency boost warmth, it's warmth with some thickness.

Beyerdynamic M160 frequency response

It just makes the violin sound rich. I especially like this sound because it makes classical violin sound so good.

If you're playing for a film score and you need to record an emotional violin solo, this is the kind of mic you need. In the low octaves, you have that thick warm tone, and in the high octaves, things don't get too bright.

Naturally, the violin already has a tendency to have bright high notes. This may make them sound a bit too bright when you use it with a bright sounding mic. However, with the M160, you get a rich natural tone.

Pros:

  • Rich and warm sound
  • Hypercardioid pattern makes it good for stage use.
  • It's also good for studio recording, especially when with a band.

Cons:

  • If you need a very open bright sound this mic is not for you.
  • The slight movement of the violinist can cause a change in sound.

Sennheiser MD 441

Build and design

Sennheiser MD 441

This mic is one of the most versatile violin mics you'll find. It has a lot of hands-on controls that make it useful in different situations.

The MD 441 is quite bulky, larger than most conventional mics. It has five possible settings for its low-frequency roll-off and two positions for the high-frequency boost. If you're not a fan of high-frequency roll-off, you can flip the high-frequency boost switch as you please.

Because of its size, you can't use any regular mic clip with it. Sennheiser supplies its mic clip, but the one that comes with this mic is quite fragile.

Sound quality

Sennheiser MD 441 frequency response

The mid frequencies of this microphone sound very natural with no coloration in that part. Although you can change that in the high mids by applying the high-frequency boost on the mic.

You can eliminate low-frequency background noise by engaging the low cut switch. For a violin, I don't think you need any frequency below 150Hz. It's better to cut everything below that to totally eliminate that rumble.

It is also a very sensitive mic that excels both on stage and in the studio. Its super-cardioid pattern ensures that mic bleed from other instruments on stage is not a problem.

Pros:

  • You can choose the sound you want with the switches.
  • Excellent rejection of background sounds.

Cons:

  • The clip is fragile.
  • The mic is quite bulky.

Conclusion

There are different ways to amplify your violin sound, but if you choose to use a mic on a stand, the mics we've listed are your best options.

In some cases, violin pickups come handy to amplify the sound and fine-tune it.

Take a good look at all the factors you need to consider and decide which one of them will be a good fit for you.

Rest assured that regardless of which of these three mics you decide to pick, you'll have a great experience.

Jennifer Webster

Jws

Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI. 

I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.

Follow my blog for regular content :-)

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