Current Film and TV


  • Strad Syle (Feature Documentary)
  • River Dogs (reality)

In Development

Chop Cut

  • An editing and post facility run by yours truly.

DIY GUY's other life
Hobbies and interests besides making movies.



How to make Small Diaphragm Cardioid microphones, the Stefan way.
click here for Omnis - similar but not exactly the same circuit and thinner body. NICE!

pile of parts soon to be a microphone













This project and interest originated out of my frustration with recording myself playing the violin, not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on a microphone, and my eternal DIY spirit.Bowed, string instruments are difficult to capture accurately because of their many overtones. To give them justice requires a very good (read - expensive) microphone in addition to good placement and room acoustics. A good instrument and player are also somehow important. :)

The general consensus among classical engineers is that for accurate recording of strings, small diaphragm condenser microphones are better than large condenser because of increased accuracy - faster transient response and relatively flat response curve. Because there are so many various sound waves coming from a violin, it can't be expected that they all hit one tiny 16.5 mm surface and because the modern, and sonically more pleasing approach is to mic a violin from six, ten or more feet away, generally they are best recorded with pairs of microphones. There are many rules and things to remember when placing microphones. Phase cancellation, frequency combing, etc. are very important considerations. Learn about the 3:1 rule if you don't already know it. Consider reflected sound, etc. 

However, I digress. This is not about mic placement. In a best world scenario, many microphones, including ribbon mics would be spaced in different areas, catching both the room, and violin. 

In this humble world from which I write, my recordings are sometimes in my living room, which, though it has a wooden floor, and great acoustics, is. well, my living room. More often, they are simply made in my practice room.

With the cardioid microphones built in this project, I have been most pleased with recordings where the microphones are 5 inches apart from each other, placed approximately 8 feet from the violin at a 45 degree angle from the treble f-hole and approximately 6-10 inches above head level. This is a modern method of recording the violin. Heifetz liked mics very close to the violin. This requires that the player be as still as Heifetz (sorry Nadia). It will also catch the sound of Rosin, fingers, breathing, (or muttered cursing in my case) etc. much more easily. I believe that some violinists may have a certain initial preference to this sound because - well, it was Heifetz, and more to the point, it's closer to the way we, as violinists, hear the violin, our ears being so close to the instrument and the vibrations going right through our jaw. I think that the modern technologies of recording have negated a need or desire for such close mic'ing. Another major downside to close micing is that the violin is not sonically getting as completely recorded at this close distance.

I have designed the following pages to be as complete as possible. Hyperlinks will actually take you to order form pages for various parts. Can't beat that with a stick, can you?

recording sample
Listen to a recording made with these microphones.
The piece is Spanish Dance, by Granados
(This recording is a multitrack recording - myself on violin and guitar. It is 'produced' - there is slight multiband compression, however, no EQ. the mics were in an XY position for both the violin and guitar; about six feet from the violin and about 18 inches from the guitar) The mic-pre was the 'green pre' (based on the Amek-Mozart) The reverb is a convolution file of Zipper Hall.


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