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#187579 - 12/15/04 04:38 PM best piano microphone
richard_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 192
Loc: philadelphia
I want to record my Boesendorfer grand. What are some excellent microphones for this purpose?
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Richard

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#187580 - 12/15/04 04:59 PM Re: best piano microphone
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
6 of them.

Norbert
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#187581 - 12/15/04 05:41 PM Re: best piano microphone
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
I do not have an excellent mic set-up; however, much has been written on this subject in some of the other forums on this board.

Using the "search" function -- run the words "micing", "recording techniques", "recording equipment", etc. & see where this takes you.

You may also check out the section in the main directory related to the *PW CD Compilation Project*, b/c I believe in the threads here people talked about their techniques for recording.

Good Luck .... \:\)

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#187582 - 12/15/04 07:03 PM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Some say a pair of ribbon Coles 4038 or 4040's is the best. I tend to agree \:\)

Dan
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187583 - 12/15/04 08:42 PM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Coles 4038's (which are ribbon mics) are great. I have a Royer SF12 stereo ribbon mic that I think is wonderful. DPA 4011's are great mics as well. I've used AKG 414TLII mics with wonderful results. These are all very expensive at $2k (or greater) for two channels.

Other choices under $1500 would be Shure KSM141's (I use them all the time). Audix makes a lollipop-style mic called the SCX25 that's wonderful, but on the high end of this price point. Audio Technica 4041 (sound great on acoustic guitar -- haven't tried them on piano yet). Rode (I forget the model -- is the NT4?). My favorites at this price point would be the Shure KSM141's at around $750-ish for the pair.

Also, keep in mind that great microphones are only half of the equation. A great mic pre is also important. For a non-colored, transparent sound (which is probably what you're going for), I'd recommend preamps from Millenia Media, Earthworks, GML or Buzz Audio, with the Earthworks being the most economical of the bunch. In the prosumer/budget category, consider the Grace Audio preamp -- very clean sounding.

Of course, the title of this thread said, "the best". It would help to know your budget, as well as your expectations and experience with this sort of thing.
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#187584 - 12/16/04 05:12 AM Re: best piano microphone
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3855
Check out the December 2004 edition of Recording Magazine, page 72 for some help.
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#187585 - 12/16/04 06:19 AM Re: best piano microphone
richard_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 192
Loc: philadelphia
Thanks for the various suggestions. Just to put it all into perspective, although I own a high-end piano, my recording 'gear' is at the other end of the spectrum. I have a Boss BR864 digital 8-track recorder and a MAudio Audiobuddy dual microphone preamp (with phantom power). I tried recording the piano using the internal mike of the Boss recorder and I was horrified at what I heard. It sounded like it was recorded over a telephone! I'm probably being naive, but I'm guessing that a 'good' (whatever that means) microphone would make a huge difference. I'm not trying to make professional recordings, but I would like to capture some of the warmth and beauty of the Boesie's sound.
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#187586 - 12/16/04 07:46 AM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Then why did you ask for the best piano microphones?

With that setup just get a pair of MXL 990's, cheap and will fit the bill.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187587 - 12/16/04 10:32 AM Re: best piano microphone
Ishkabibble Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 79
Loc: Edmonton

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#187588 - 12/16/04 11:29 AM Re: best piano microphone
richard_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 192
Loc: philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ishkabibble:
Crown SASS-P MKII
Very good deal on this here:[/b]
How does this microphone compare with the others mentioned in this thread?
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Richard

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#187589 - 12/16/04 01:04 PM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
 Quote:
I have a Boss BR864 digital 8-track recorder and a MAudio Audiobuddy dual microphone preamp (with phantom power).
Not a bad set-up, but not "the best" either. If you can swing it, I'd recommend a spaced pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in omni mode. Should sound great. They're a significant step up from the MXL microphones (which aren't bad for your set-up either). Then down the road, you can upgrade your mic pre if desired.
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#187590 - 12/16/04 01:38 PM Re: best piano microphone
Ishkabibble Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 79
Loc: Edmonton
Richard,
I haven't used the other mics mentioned, but I own a SASS and it is a great stereo mic.

Within the enclosure, the mic capsules are postioned very similar to where they would be if they were the ears on a human head. Especially if headphones are used to listen to the recording, what is heard is very close to what one hear at wherever the mic was when it made the recording.

Position the mic in your favorite listening spot in the room and you'll record what your ears would hear in that spot. I have tried positioning the mic slightly higher and behind my head as I play and the results on headphones are amazingly similar to what I hear as I play. (I listen to the recording using a pair of Grado headphones which have very good dynamic range - bass response is simply fantastic.)

Crown has a demo CD of some recordings made with a SASS and, if you can hear it, I'm pretty sure you'll be impressed.

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#187591 - 12/16/04 02:13 PM Re: best piano microphone
Richard McIntyre Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Bedford, PA
Any comments on the KSM32 as a piano mic? Steve Y - can you compare the KSM141 with the KSM32? I've read that the large diaphram mics can be good for piano.

Thanks,
RichardM

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#187592 - 12/16/04 05:26 PM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I'm sure the KSM32 would be fine. I haven't compared the two. I was never a big fan of Shure mic's until I bought the KSM141's. I had used SM81's many times in the studio, and really didn't like them at all -- much too harsh/brittle sounding. Two different recording engineers that I really look up to told me that they love the KSM141 on piano. I thought they were nuts, but agreed to try them. I'm glad I did. They're completely different than the SM81. Very open and transparent sounding, with a silky top. They're not the best mics I've ever heard on piano. But they're definitely the best mics I've used for under $1500. Considering that they're well under $800, that's quite a statement!!!
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#187593 - 12/16/04 11:18 PM Re: best piano microphone
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6176
Just made a recording following Dan M's playbook (a pair of MXL 990 microphones and an M-Audio AudioBuddy pre-amp). See THIS POST (click here) for details and link to MP3. Thanks, Dan M!

SteveY, I came very close to getting a pair of KSM141 -- but chickened out at the last minute figuring I cannot yet justify a pair of $800 microphones at the moment.

Comments and suggestions on how to make better audio recordings (with my current equipment) are welcome and will be greatly appreciated. \:\)
_________________________
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#187594 - 12/17/04 05:40 AM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Sounds good Axtremus. MXL microphones are pretty great for the money. The KSM141 might get you a touch more detail, but at considerably more expense.

For those who want to learn more about recording techniques, there's some good information at this site. Click on "microphone university", then "application guide", then select an instrument.

http://www.dpamicrophones.com
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#187595 - 12/17/04 08:26 PM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Bah, that dpa mic site! (sorry Steve \:\) )

I started there when I was learning, but for my situation (not unlike most home recordists) they're advice (spaced omni's) didn't work at all. I think it would work good in a nice big recording space.

But it's a good place to start.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187596 - 12/18/04 07:33 AM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
So what you're saying, Dan, is that you're favoring your EARS over what you read. Good for you!!!

For what it's worth, I love spaced omnis on my piano. But I use them in a close-miked situation so the room isn't that much of an issue.
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#187597 - 12/18/04 07:38 AM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Well, and to be fair I'm not done working on it. Recording is tough! I have a lot of respect for you guys.

I'm getting good results these days with a Jecklin disk, and a variety of mics, believe it or not.

Dan
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187598 - 12/18/04 08:10 AM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Dan, what's your set-up again? (piano, mics, pres, converters, recording media)
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#187599 - 12/18/04 03:40 PM Re: best piano microphone
Richard McIntyre Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Bedford, PA
Steve, have you tried a single KSM141? Does it sound good, or do you need the stereo pair to get good sound?

RichardM

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#187600 - 12/18/04 03:43 PM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I think any mono system is going to be lacking. If you're considering a single KSM141 for budgetary reasons, I think you might be better off going with less expensive microphones.
MXL, Studio Projects, Oktava, etc. come to mind.
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#187601 - 12/18/04 04:32 PM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Steve,
I have various cheap cardiod condensor, a couple of dynamics, pair of Coles 4040's, Lavry Blue D/A & A/D, and a custom tube pre I designed and built myself. Piano is a Walter 190.

Dan
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187602 - 12/18/04 04:50 PM Re: best piano microphone
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Wow! Lavry -- I'm impressed!!! I have Apogee AD/DA in my studio with the Big Ben clock. I'm very happy with them. But I'm considering getting a Lavry Blue set-up for my piano.

What media are you recording to?
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#187603 - 12/18/04 06:57 PM Re: best piano microphone
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Hey Steve,
The Lavry is the best I've heard, both A/D and D/A. You know that point when electronics get really good, that the music gets silky quiet and smooth?

I record 24/88.2 to a Linksys NSLU2 fileserver - haven't burned anything yet.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#187604 - 12/18/04 07:00 PM Re: best piano microphone
HappyGoLucky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 295
Loc: Arlington, VA
I use a Shure VP88 stereo mic and think it is just great. My piano recordings are quite good for home recordings I think. I don't know how it compares with the other Shure mics recommended here -- and would be curious to know what others think.

Virginia (from Virginia)

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#1837918 - 02/03/12 12:04 PM Re: best piano microphone [Re: HappyGoLucky]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 476
Loc: canada
Originally Posted By: HappyGoLucky
I use a Shure VP88 stereo mic and think it is just great. My piano recordings are quite good for home recordings I think. I don't know how it compares with the other Shure mics recommended here -- and would be curious to know what others think.

Virginia (from Virginia)


Here's my set up:

Mics: (rented) 2 AKG 414xlms 5.5 ft off floor looking into the piano, about 1 .5 ft out from the middle of the instrument. Mics are 1 ft apart angled slightly away from each other (kinda like human ears).

Mic Setting: -12 headroom; "Omnidirectional" (Whatever the means)

Preamp: Fast Track Ultra (Sue me! Can't afford anything else!)

Software/Hardware: Little MacBook running Garageband.

Short raw sample of Nocturne (opus 9 no 1) (please excuse the playing!) at 320 kps: http://www.box.com/s/28llz3nl7f757z0tlr2n

Result: Here's a processed version which I will get around to improving:
http://www.box.com/s/pcgjnn7zba2vimx4ma2o

Criticisms more than welcome. And please don't be nice. I want honesty and suggestions re: better Mics, Mic settings, and Mic placement.

For example: where should the Mics be placed with big piano in small room? Under the lid? And what's the deal on "Headroom" and "Polarity" settings????

Cheers,

JG

P.S. Piano: Hailun 218

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#1837987 - 02/03/12 01:51 PM Re: best piano microphone [Re: richard_dup1]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2728
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I believe you would be better served by starting a new thread than by resurrecting one that's more than 7 years old.

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#1837992 - 02/03/12 01:56 PM Re: best piano microphone [Re: Steve Chandler]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 476
Loc: canada
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
I believe you would be better served by starting a new thread than by resurrecting one that's more than 7 years old.


I thought about that.... !!!!

JG

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#1838026 - 02/03/12 03:18 PM Re: best piano microphone [Re: richard_dup1]
Kieran Wells Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 240
Loc: Saint Paul, MN
Nice job John. I get what you are doing with the mastering; I might lighten the reverb saturation but choose a 'bigger room'. So, less but more. Sounds good though. I would not close mic with only 2 microphones especially if they are omni, so I think you are on the right track there. With cardoid mics, You can get closer to the piano, even inside a little. Just try to keep them as equally high up as you can and apart. I like to point the bass mic at the bass section where you can see understringing, and then the other in the mid treble. There is nothing wrong with what you are doing though. It is just another method that might work out for you with different mics.

I just use 2 Rode nt1000 mic's (like an NTK without the tube) into a focusrite pre, into vegas pro. Some of the pro audio guys I know really like the NTK's, Neumanns, and various crazy hand made and vintage remanufactured mic's. One of the last things we did had a ribbon mic in the mix. Those were big setups though--6-8 mics. Those setups had almost no eq, just blending for the most part.
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