How to mic a cimbalom

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The instrument we will record today is a modern concert cimbalom made in 2007 by Balázs Kovács, and modeled by Modartt for the KIViR project.

Preparing and miking of the cimbalom

The sound of the original instrument is brighter and metallic, but we have prepared it so as to obtain a smooth and round sound without using the soft pedal. The sound intensity and dynamics of this instrument of Hungarian origin are comparable to that of the piano, and it can easily be heard within an orchestra. The bass of the cymbalum is located at the broad part of the soundboard, where the player is positioned, and the treble at the narrowest part.

In the first example, we positioned two omnidirectional microphones spaced 80 cm apart, about 1.40 meters above the ground, just in front of the upper part of the cimbalom. This is one of the most common microphone placements to record this instrument.

The screenshots below show the positioning of the microphones in Pianoteq.

The choice of placing omnidirectional microphones near the instrument captures both the ambience of the room and the direct sound of the cimbalom.

The room in which we made this recording is a simulation of Studio 2 of the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. It is an ideal venue to record the cimbalom and obtain an intimate sound, without the instrument being drowned in the reverberation.

In the second configuration, we placed a stereo pair spaced 2 meters apart about 1.50 meters from the cimbalom.

The resulting sound allows to capture the entire atmosphere of the room and all the frequencies and resonances of the instrument.

There are still many ways to position the microphones to record the cimbalom, and we will present them in a future article.

In the meantime, we encourage you to experiment with different positions and combinations of microphones to find the sound you like.



Download high-quality audio files (.AIFF)

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