How to record a string quartet with a Metal band

So, if you ever want to know how to record a String Quartet with a Metal band, let me tell you something you don’t want to hear – don’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t combine a String Quartet with your Metal band. It’s actually a great idea. But, don’t record them together. Record one or the other first, then have one or the other play alongside the recording.

Why do I say this? Because, from experience, a Metal band completely drowns out the String Quartet. You simply have to record them separately.

how to record a string quartet with a Metal band

Snippet of “My Last Serenade” (c) 2015 Vampiress Records, Astral Eyes

The above is from our song My Last Serenade. It was the ballad on Another Sacrifice Gone Wrong. We recorded it with a String Quartet + Metal band. We didn’t record them together as in order for a tube amp to sound decent, you have to make the tubes work hard. Which of course, means really making the tubes work (turning them up).

So the String Quartet got recorded first. We originally were going to have the String Quartet play alongside us, but realized we would have drowned them out. Yes, it’s possible to play in two separate rooms with glass between you so you can see each other, but you won’t drown each other out. There are plenty of studios setup like that. The one we recorded in was not.

Instead, we hired a String Quartet in Los Angeles and they recorded themselves and sent us the files, and the band played with the files playing into our headphones.

How to mix the String Quartet + the Metal band.

There are many ways to do this. You don’t have to follow this example. This just happens to be what we did.

When we actually went to mix everything together, we played a single guitar on the left. The cello and viola went to the right. The violin I and violin II went up the middle. The vocals and bass guitar also went up the middle, as did the snare and bass drum. The toms went left and right. My guitar solo went up the middle. And the synths went full range (left, middle, right).

That was the mix. It worked. It sounded fantastic.

With two guitars, you’ll of course have to do it a little differently. We only had one rhythm guitar and had that guitar go opposite of the cello and viola. It really sounded cool that way.

Let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime, if you haven’t heard the song before, check it out. It turned out pretty amazing. Thanks to Randy Burk, our Producer, and Studio Pros from Los Angeles who supplied the String Quartet.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie, and he can still throw a football

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