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#1164744 - 03/18/09 04:50 PM Recording the Piano
SJFAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 140
Loc: france
Hello

little questions if you don t mind


IF it s piano only >> Where should be the mike ? do you think that the sound engineer should add a little reverb ? Do you think that the final music should be mono or stereo ?
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#1164755 - 03/18/09 05:12 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: SJFAN]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2030
Loc: Maine
I'd recommend a Google search using the string - recording the acoustic piano -. Sound on Sound has an excellent article that is one of the first informational sites on the list.
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#1164760 - 03/18/09 05:23 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: David Jenson]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
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#1164767 - 03/18/09 05:34 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: Les Koltvedt]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
You can also search Gearslutz.com for opinions.

My own Grotrian sounds best from the player's vantage point, so I record with stereo mikes just behind and above my student's when they perform. Also, it's an ORTF splay, so check that out.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1165186 - 03/19/09 09:55 AM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
Hi, SJFAN. How is piano is recorded is often a direct function of the genre and indirectly, a function of the desired perspective.

Classical commercial piano recordings are often recorded from a more distant perspective mainly because that's how classical concert audiences are used to hearing live performances. And anything over about an 18-inch recording distance requires omni (non-directional) mics in order to obtain a flat-spectrum natural-sounding recording. Typical arrangements involve an omni-pair spaced about 8 inches apart at a distance of 5 to 15 feet from the piano. Since this setup picks up substantial room ambiance, you need a good sounding space and external reverb would be undesirable. I should also mention that non-commercial classical recordings, often made by or for the benefit of the performer, sometimes use a closer perspective... more like what the performer might hear while playing from their seat at the piano bench. Which might also account for why classical labels often don't ask the performer what they think about their recording setups. My favorite close perspective studio omni setup uses Earthworks QTC40's located about 20-inches directly above the strings with the piano lid removed... with this type of setup, an external sampled-space reverb can be simulate a more distant perspective if desired.

Pop and Jazz recordings tend to go for a closer more intimate perspective. Partly because performances are usually amplified and often also involve vocals or other instruments. And venues are usually more intimate. These usually employ directional mics positioned anywhere from 8 to 20 inches from the strings, usually in point-source (X-Y) configuration. The closer you get to the strings, the more room ambiance falls off. Its inversely proportional to the square of the distance. So move a mic from 16-inches from the strings to 8-inches, and the room will fall off by a factor of 4. Given the relative lack of room ambiance, a little reverb might be needed to get a natural sound. This is the preferred recording method for spaces that aren't particularly good sounding or where there might be excessive environmental noise. I should also mention that omnis, being imune from proximity effects, are also often used at distances less than 8 inches from the strings where extreme intimacy is desired. The law of inverse squares quelches room but it works best for soft sensitive playing with limited dynamics unless you use omnis with wide-excursion suspensions to avoid physical overloads on loud passages. My favorite low cost, high quality X-Y setup is with a Audio Technica AT825 or AT822 stereo mic at a distance of about 14-inches above middle C about 8 inches south of the dampers with the left element angled a bit towards the tail of the piano to avoid excessive damper noise.

Howard

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#1165506 - 03/19/09 07:42 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: hv]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1905
Loc: El Cajon, CA
When you're using distant mikes, how do you get full stereo on the piano, for example with A0 panned 60° left, C8 panned 60° right (or whatever would be the perspective of either A - the pianist, or B - someone standing in the middle of the curve of the Rubenstein R-371 with their head in the piano, which I have done, and it's a VERY wide stereo), and everything else in between distributed evenly?
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#1166155 - 03/20/09 11:01 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1167259 - 03/23/09 11:57 AM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: hv]
Phillip S. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Hi Howard,

Do you have any recommendations for a somewhat higher-priced mic set-up?

I am looking at a pair of AKG 414's, and also an Oktava MK-012-01 stereo-pair.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, a bit off topic, you mention "excessive damper noise". I'm getting a lot of string sound as the key is released and the dampers return -- the dampers make the strings sound. Someone said this is probably hardened dampers. Does that sound right?

Thanks,

Phillip


Edited by Phillip S. (03/23/09 12:00 PM)

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#1167400 - 03/23/09 04:24 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: Phillip S.]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Phillip, I use a matched stereo pair of the 414's for recording my students. Works fine. I've also used AKGs 480b with omni capsules off the tail of the piano, and also had good results.

There is a huge danger with ultra close miking - one which is not recognized by a lot of the so-called pros. Sound pressure falls off with the cube of the distance, so when you are miking close, you are unwillingly emphasizing certain frequencies and de-emphasizing other frequencies. Critical ears can here it plainly in most pop/jazz recordings. I'd strongly urge you to try for a blended sound.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1167820 - 03/24/09 09:50 AM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Phillip S. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Phillip, I use a matched stereo pair of the 414's for recording my students. Works fine. I've also used AKGs 480b with omni capsules off the tail of the piano, and also had good results.

There is a huge danger with ultra close miking - one which is not recognized by a lot of the so-called pros. Sound pressure falls off with the cube of the distance, so when you are miking close, you are unwillingly emphasizing certain frequencies and de-emphasizing other frequencies. Critical ears can here it plainly in most pop/jazz recordings. I'd strongly urge you to try for a blended sound.

John


Hi John,

Thanks for that info and advice. Where do you position the AKG 414's? Also, what are you recording into, i.e., preamp, mixer, recorder?

Phillip

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#1168133 - 03/24/09 06:08 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: Phillip S.]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, to answer the position question, "It depends." When I'm recording in recital, placing the mikes behind the student would pick up a lop-sided audience sound, so I generally place the mikes several feet in front of the instrument. By the way, they 414's are on a stereo bar, and spaced the normal ORTF distance, but I often use wide cardioid, rather than true cardioid, to get a more even sound.

I have three preamps in different rakes - a True Audio 2 channel, which is VERY GOOD!, A 4 ch Sytek, which is actually quite good also, and a 4 ch Benchmark Pre420. I record student groups, such as choirs and orchestras, and having a 4 ch with built in mixer makes the job rather easy.

In the studio, my lessons are recorded directly to DVD, and the AKG 414s serve as the primary pickup. They are located about 8 feet behind us, as I have two pianos side by side. This way, we get a balanced sound from both instruments, and the student can hear me talking as well.

Hope this helps.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1168719 - 03/25/09 04:37 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: Phillip S.]
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
Originally Posted By: Phillip S.
Do you have any recommendations for a somewhat higher-priced mic set-up?

I am looking at a pair of AKG 414's, and also an Oktava MK-012-01 stereo-pair.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, a bit off topic, you mention "excessive damper noise". I'm getting a lot of string sound as the key is released and the dampers return -- the dampers make the strings sound. Someone said this is probably hardened dampers. Does that sound right?



Hi, Phillip. For directional stereo, I used an Audio Technica AT825 successfully for years. Very natural sounding. A Rode NT4 is similar in concept, slightly darker, a little more expensive, and a little bit quieter. I took a big step up a few years ago with a DPA 3521 stereo kit and I love it. Sheopps makes a model with a similar rep called the CMXY but I've never been able to lay my hands on one of those.

Howard

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#1168731 - 03/25/09 04:55 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: hv]
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
Hi, John. Use a True Systems P2 myself and its my goto solid state unit, especially with a U87 in an ms array. But I just took a different direction for down and dirty multi-channel. Been using a Sound Devices 744T for a few years which has a squeaky clean stereo mic pre that I like so much I just took the plunge for its 8 mic-pre big brother. Gonna try it out next weekend with a piano, vocalist, and 4 brass players.

Howard

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#1168836 - 03/25/09 08:41 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Phillip S. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Thank you both, John and Howard, for your help.

Phillip

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#1168887 - 03/25/09 10:46 PM Re: Recording the Piano [Re: hv]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Yes, I thought about that 8 channel unit, but decided the income I generate burning CDs wouldn't quite justify such a luvly recorder!

I've also wanted the Schoeps. And at one point, I almost ordered the Gefell m930s.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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