How do you mic a flute?

How do you mic a flute?
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Hey Michelle @FluteCafe, how do you typically mic your flute for solo or for ensemble?

Would love to hear thoughts on how you guys do this :smiley:


condenser mics do better than dynamic mics for woodwinds and flute

my choice of mic is "Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser " but any good condenser mic will do
My flute is silver with gold head joint (Powell handmade professional series) and provides a very full tone but airy at the same time so placing the condenser above the tone holes usually gets the sound I like, but they can be miced behind the flute for more ambient tone and at the head joint for overblown jazzy sound.

For recording room, hardwood floors with tall vaulted ceilings work best. Room treatment can be fairly basic

Here is a vid for ya, (condenser mic in front of the tone holes, closer to the head joint)


Do you put it directly behind the mouthpiece, about the same distance as if someone was singing into it?

I haven’t recorded a solo flute in about 10 years. I’m not even sure how I’d do it if I had to today. Hmmm.

Do you print with an outboard compressor directly in the chain? What preamps?

How about a piccolo, pan flute, indian bamboo flute, or recorder? Same method? :slight_smile:


a little further away than if someone was singing into it. Normally between 6-18 inches away depending on type of sound you want. I normally position it around the middle point of the flute for an overall balanced sound. If I want a more brighter tone, I place the mic 12 inches above the flute, diaphragm pointed towards the tone holes. For really airy tones, point the diaphragm towards the head joint.

Can record directly into a usb interface without a pre-amp and into your daw. I am usually on the move so I carry a usb interface hooked up to a laptop.

Same process for any flute. If you prefer to move a lot while playing, then there are flute mics you can velcrow to the mouth piece


Had a chance to try some good outboard compressors and preamps on your instrument? Was wondering if you had any favorites?


I liked Pro-VLA II , like the resonant sound vibe from it. No real favorites on the preamp.