Recording A Layered String Section For Electronic Productions

We’ve got another fantastic tutorial that we shot with the team over at Riverside Studios in Berlin – this time with film music composer and producer Emanuel Bender, who shares how to record layered violins to create a string section in a dance music production. Watch the full tutorial inside to get a taste of how simple it can be to create an advanced strings track with just a few takes and a single instrument.

  • The mic that Emanuel uses is an Audio Technica AT4033a (available on Amazon for $399), which is a cardioid condenser microphone. Emanuel uses this mic because he finds it captures the “softness of the strings” well – if you want sharper recordings of transients, he recommends a small diaphragm microphone.
  • To record a sound that emulates a string section (like an orchestra) stay about 30-40cm (~1.5 feet) away from the mic when setting up.
  • For gritty, staccato sounds, record closer to to the microphone to get more of those details.
  • In your DAW, pan the tracks to the left and to the right to create various “players” in the space of your track. Think of it again like a seated orchestra – each instrument will be in a slightly different space.
  • For treatment, Emanuel uses a UAD Teletronix LA-2A compressor, iZotope Alloy 2‘s Exciter, and AustrianConcert and Lexicon 224 reverbs.
  • Not much EQing is needed on strings, except for a simple low cut.

Hear some of Emanuel Bender’s work in the Soundcloud player embedded below:

Special thanks once again to Riverside for helping to make such an awesome production-oriented series. Watch more great tutorials from this live instrument series: 

berlinlayeringrecording studioriverside studiosstringsviolin
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  • Titan721

    Thanks for posting these! One of my favorite producers said he tries to play on whatever he can to Sample for use in his productions. What stuck out to me was this quote: “Even if you can’t play the instrument, as long as you play it with passion, you’ll get something you can use out of it.” So it’s nice to see these so that I if I ever start going down that route, I can use what you guys have posted as a good basis to make sure it sounds right.