Which are good mics and what are good positions of the microphone rel to the violin?

Keeping in mind:

  • confort for the player
  • acoustic feedback sensitivity
  • best quality tone from the instrument?

(this question does not include electrical violins)

  • Many string players I know go for a piezo pickup rather than a mic. Much less acoustic interference, easy to attach to bridge or f-hole as you desire. – Carl Witthoft Jul 8 '13 at 17:50
  • Good remark @CarlWitthoft, piezzo is even more known in the guitar "world" bu I think it's very limited in sound/tone quality. It looses the acoustic sound feeling. Although very practical to play in loud stages and avoid feedbacks. – Sergio Jul 8 '13 at 17:52
  • Sergio - I would definitely recommend trying some of the Fishman piezo pickups. They are expensive (I think my last one cost more than my violin) but they (in my opinion) sound better than a mic'ed up violin! – Doktor Mayhem Jul 8 '13 at 19:47
  • @DrMayhem, I agree with you, the downside is that I play often in classical concerts and the piezo mics are not practical to take on/off, and when they are on I feel they mute the violin's acoustic sound. – Sergio Jul 8 '13 at 19:55

I have found that positioning a mic about halfway up the fingerboard is the best tone compromise for "mic"ing a violin live. Although I most often use a clip mic near the chin-rest pointing above the bow/string area to avoid having it in my line of sight if I look at my left hand.

Halfway up the fingerboard gives the best tone quality.
Near the bridge the sound has many high frequencies and sounds quite hard.
Near the f-hole frequencies around 250~300 hertz get a huge boost.

About Mic types, so far dpa-4099 is the best option since it's a harmless rubber clip attached to the instrument, and is a high quality condenser mic. Because it's a condenser mic it is acoustic feedback sensitive, but it has not been a problem for me.


Bluegrass players generally use a large diaphragm condenser mic (like a Neumann U87) on a boom stand pointed down. That way you can move in and out to control mix and dynamics, moving in on intros and breaks, and away when you "chunking" or filling. The condenser mic picks up a wide range, so you don't lose the warmth of the instrument as you often do with piezzo mics. You need a good sound guy to dial it in though.

  • And also because of that priority to the good sound they lose a bit on mobility and possibility to move on stage. – Sergio Jul 14 '13 at 23:55

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