1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Any of my mics good on piano?

Discussion in 'Piano' started by district, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. district

    district Guest

    got an on location session tomorrow recording upright and baby grand in very small room with wall treatment on every wall above pianos and brick below (still very live). Never recorded piano before, I have these mics

    BLUE Kiwi
    BLUE 8Ball
    AKG C414B XLS
    AKG C1000S
    Royer R-122
    Audix ADX-51 (x2)
    Audix i5
    M-Audio Luna (does anyone have or like this mic BTW?)

    anyone have suggestions which I should bring?

    Also,I plan on bringing my UA 1176 and API 3124. Would a Trident S20, UA 2108 or Sytek MPX-4ii be any better than the API? I figure one tube and a good clean 4 channel I would be covered. I only have 3u to travel with and the 1176 is 2, so...

    thanks to anyone who may wander by with some tips in the next few hours!!
  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    As much as many hate the C1000s, I've used them under the lid on the 6' grand in my room to get a bright, almost "tack" piano sound on some R&B stuff. The 414 is always a winner on piano. Can't say anything about the rest of your collection. FWIW, if you can, mic the upright from the back (hopefully it's not shoved up against a wall, or can be easily moved if it is). You have nicer pres than I do, so no advice there either, sorry! The only other advice I have is make sure your mic placements are not so far apart that you get a hole in the center if you pan hard to each side.
  3. district

    district Guest

    thanks. The upright is up against a wall unfortunately and cannot be moved. I will keep that in mind.

    I also neglected to mention the style will be mostly 60's pop/rock and Beatles sound.
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Distinguished Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Definitely try the R-122 and 414 on the grand. You're going to end up in a bit of a sound pattern battle unless you put the 414 in figure 8. That way you have two figure 8's in there. I think I might try the 414 on the low end and the royer on the high side to start.

    I've got the SF12 and it is real silky on the highs. The 414 is a bit more edgy all around and should do fine on the low end for that "60's" agression in the lower registers.

    The C1000 in the upright... dunno. Might be almost too much brightness. You'll have to try it.

    Haven't used the BLUE at all or Audix mic's you have. The only Audix I used was the D6. They might do just fine, or be total crap. IHNOK and wish I could be more help.

    The e609 might work in the lower register of the upright. The problem is that "presence" boost from 2k-5k. Getting something in your locker to offset all that high end gain would be the concern using it if you use more than the one mic.

    I know most folks hate dragging everything under the sun with em' to location sessions, but I've found that I would be seriously screwed if I didn't. (It happened twice... NEVER again!)

    Remember to have fun and experiment!! Try lid closed, partial open and full open... narrow to wide seperation... phase inversion of each mic, etc.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Madmax has got it right....The 414 and the Royer will give you what you want on both pianos and I would stick the Kiwi up as a room mic as well as the Luna as a room mic only place it in a low position.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Never recorded piano before... Hummm......

    If you took a little time, tried every mic you have, through every pre you have, in every position you can think of(Or have suggested), you would have piano recording experience, ey?

    Couldn't hoit!

  7. district

    district Guest

    Okay, just finished the 12 hr session. Lots o' fun, that's for sure! I didn't get a chance to see Max or Davdog's response (thank you though guys!) before I went off to it so here's how it went down...

    I brought the Royer, C414, Kiwi, C1000 (in case), Shure Beta51 (I hate that thing!, anyone else have problems getting it to work sometimes?) and my ADX-51 pair for some XY or spaced pair action. Long story short on the situation, we had an in to some practice space pianos and we are not sure if we're really allowed to be recording there but decided it was worth the free cost. we get there, pick the best of the 2 rooms, set it all up, a guy knocks on the door and we thought we were busted for sure. He asks if the piano is in tune okay, not knowing yet we say yes and he goes away. So we start getting some tones and stuff and realize that it's flat. We tracked the guy down, he checks it out and it was at A439 (and the place doesn't have the budget for constant tuning so they go with the law of averages over the year). He was cool though and mentioned that, while he "didn't tell us this", that the chapel has a Steinway that is tuned to A440 and no one will probably even notice. Best case scenario right there! Get out of the 6x6 room, into an awesome chapel area with a wonderful sounding grand and room to put up mics wherever I wanted. Sorry, that was a long setup, so NOW, here's what I did.

    FYI, I am a novice at best for mic placement technique, I go with what sounds good, I know the theories, just need to keep experimenting til I learn all the why and when.

    I forgot the Royer shockmount at first and so I went with the Kiwi, just outside the curve at about 5ft high pointing into the full stick open lid and ran it into my 6176. Then I threw up the ADX-51's on a Y bar balanced between lows and highs. Last I just wanted to see what that Beta51 could do so I taped it to the inside of the lid in balance between high/low. All those other mics besides the Kiwi I ran thru the API, seemed to work.

    That was the first segment until I got a studio partner to bring me the shockmount for the Royer. Then, I put that up about 7-8ft away and 7 ft high and ran that to the 6176, switching the Kiwi over to the API. Then I put the C414 in Figure 8 run to the API and paired it with the Kiwi to attempt a M/S thing. (I realize it's best to have a pair but does it really matter?) Plus, I'm not mixing any of this so I wanted to give the mix engineer plenty of tonal options. I flopped between crushing the Royer and 8:1, it wasn't really getting hit either way.

    Bottom line, $*^t sounded really good IMO. They were very happy with the tone and I got paid so I guess (unless the mix engineer hates it) it all came out okay. Once I get a hold of the sessions (recorded on his rig) I will post to get peoples opinions. 1 Piano Micing Experience in the bag, many many more to go. Again, much thanks for the advice, sorry this turned out so long!

    BTW, am I correct in thinking that to "decode" the M/S in Pro Tools I need to duplicate the C414 Figure 8 track, invert phase, pan both accordingly and mix with Kiwi? It doesn't seem right because both sides are the same but that's not really what the mic is hearing on it's "sides". I'm done now, thanks!

    The DA
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Yup...that's about it.

    I must admit, that seems to be playing each mic opposite of its strong suit though. This could be a good thing.

    The 414 is bright and the Royer not so much. Perhaps flipping the jobs could really provide the balance you desire...

    Oh well, I guess you've already recorded though... (y)

Share This Page