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Recording a Harp

Wunderhorn

Senior Member
What would you suggest how to record a harp in a home studio environment for a solo production?

Pickups seem to not work well (sound tends to get muddy), and I wonder if a pair of dedicated stereo microphones would be best, or separate ones? What would you recommend for placement and how to achieve a satisfying stereo image?

Thanks for any input.
 

Maxime Luft

Senior Member
For a solo production I would definitely use close microphones and focus on a nice and wide stereo image.

In this video (precisely starting from 01:25), you will see how one mic points to the lower strings of the harp (probably for the left channel) and the right one to the higher ones.



At 00:49 you will see how it tends to be done with a piano, although I should say that for the harp the mics would be a bit too close.


If you can, you should also put some stereo room mics at about 2 meters from the player to capture a bit more distant sound.
Happy recording:)
 
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Wunderhorn

Wunderhorn

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So you think for a stereo image it is desirable to have the lower strings one side and the higher on the other?
 

jfino

Active Member
Stereo mics. Experiment with distance and height of the mics to get optimum bass and treble balance.
 

JT

Senior Member
I recorded a celtic harp at home using a stereo pair in an X/Y configuration. I had them placed on the side of the harp, opposite the player, about 18" away from the strings. If I had more time, I would have experimented with different mic placements, but I'm happy with what I got.
 
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Wunderhorn

Wunderhorn

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Thanks, guys for the good information!
Still I wonder about the final stereo image. Placing one mic closer to the lower strings and the other closer to the higher strings makes sense to capture them equally, but then in the final mix would you leave that arrangement? Having notes move from one ear to the other doesn't quite feel right, or am I wrong with this assumption, or does the sound bleed over from left to right so much that it does not matter? (I am not a recording engineer, so please bear with me...)
 

Maxime Luft

Senior Member
Well here you may listen to a close mic recording, with the bass to the right and the higher notes rather on the left side. I honestly find it a bit too wide though.


Here is an example where everything happens in the middle, not bad either.



You will surely have to experiment a bit first before finding a result that satisfies you;)
 
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Wunderhorn

Wunderhorn

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Thank you for those nice examples! Perhaps some middle ground between the two, maybe leaning slightly towards the wider stereo field might do the trick. There will definitely be some experimentation. We still have to make a decision on mics as well.
 
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