In response to a question about "miking" a string quartet: I quote from John Eargle,"Handbook of Recording Engineering" (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986), considered to be one of the basic books on the subject. "Recording String Quartets This most intimate of chamber groups poses some problems for recording. The players normally array themselves as shown [in a sort of square]. When they are so closely spaced, it is difficult to get a pickup with good stereo localization without moving in quite close to the ensemble. if at all possible, the group should be persuaded to space themselves in a wider arrangement [a semicircle facing the stereo pair]. In this way, a coincident of quasi-coincident pair can provide good stereo interest at a distance above the floor of, say, 2.5 to 3 meters (7 to 10 feet), while maintaining good blend and cohesion. The back lobes of the microphone patterns may be adjusted for the final balance of direct to reverberant sound. Intimacy is important, and images should pretty well fill the stereo stage. In a studio setting, some artificial reverberation- no more than about 1.5 seconds, in the mid band- should be added." (pg. 252) My personal experience is that this works well, although experimentation is often warranted. I recall setting up in the "tight" formation and putting the microphone closer to the floor and closer to the group; this was in a studio, and we were not concerned with an accurate live sound. A lot depends on your goals, the quality of equipment you have, and the performance space. If you are trying to amplify the group, my guess is that contact mics or pickups would give the minimum of feedback, but present some challenges for mixing. Good luck! Bret Smith
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