Mics picking up dampers too much

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by WRX07, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    I recorded my Yamaha baby grand the other night and the mics were picking up too much of the dampers. I used one SM81 pointed a little in front of the dampers an octave below middle C 3 ft back, another 81 pointed past the dampers an octave below middle C about 5 feet back, and a Royer R121 about 4 feet from the second 81 to pick up the whole piano. Any mic position tips you guys could offer? Maybe I should use LDC's instead...? Thanks
  2. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    Try it from the other end of the strings.
  3. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    What kind of music/piano sound are You trying to pick up?

    If it's classical, what ever are You dooing with the SM81's inside the instrument, they will pick up any poorly regulated part making noice inside the instrument.

    There's three way's to get away from this:

    primo : Exercize Your peddaling technique, learn how to dampen more silent.

    secundo : have Your pianotech renovate the dampers and its mechanism (if he says he cant make it more silent, get a better pianotech!)

    tertio : put your mikes outside the instrument at least 8-12 feet away.. (Search this forum for previous discussions on piano stereo techniques! Like this one!)

    No need to get any LDC's unless You dislike the sound of the Shures or Royers. But a nother R121 to use in a Blumlein set up might be an interesting alternative. Higher quality SDC's might be an alternative!

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Agreed - if you're going classical, get the mics out of the piano--

    Move the mics a good distance into the hall, open the piano up to full stick and give some height to the mics.

    If you're mic'ing jazz, you can get the mics into the piano, but not up towards the keyboard - get them over the body of the instrument away from the hammers.

    If you're going rock, stick with the jazz approach, but add a hammer pair for sheer percussiveness.

  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    well said, guys... I stick mics inside the piano only when I'm forced to; other times it's a definite no-no.

    I've mic'd pianos all kinds of ways, depending on the job at hand....from ORTF cardioids, to spacious omni pairs, to in-close AT4050s (for Jazz and other upclose recording/sound reinforcment. Generally, the noisier things are onstage (and more separation required) the closer I get with the mics, especially if it's going to go through a PA System. (Don't scream in horror, but in a pinch I've used 2 PZM's taped inside the lid (hi & lo) when it has to be closed up tight with no stick at all. It's no good for serious piano recording, but it gets feeback-free sound to the House PA or a split to my rig when there's no other recourse. It's quite pingy and boxy, but with a little room sim on the PZM mics and a lot of EQ, you can blend it in with the rest of the mix if you have to, and few people notice.

    On the other hand, I like to let the piano breathe for classical and lighter types of acoustic music, thus moving the mics out more. Same thing with recitals & recording sessions. If it's solo piano, you can move the mics around all over the place, provided its a safe room, and even experiment with a pair of "Ambient" mics further out in the room. Noisy action/mechanics can be a problem, but hopefully your tech can help you with the adjustment, or give you some ideas. (You can always ask the pianist to take off his/her shoes when playing. That's a very good place to start. too!)

    good luck indeed with it!
  6. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    Don't be ashamed, I've had to do similar on more than one occasion. You might want to try this one time and see what you think: tape a small di figure 8 to the pzm creating an MS setup. I've found that to be much more usable from a live recording aspect for jazz when you're hands are tied to the pzm route. You may or may not like it.
  7. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    Hey, thanks for all the help guys! It's a Yamaha baby grand and I'm not positive on the measurements but I'll check. The player plays mostly classical but he was trying to write Coldplay-esque songs. His dampening was rather sloppy and just by listening in the room it was quite noticeable. I would like to get a nicer pair of SDC's like KM184's or AKG 451's, and would LOVE to get another 1-21($$$ pricey, however). Another bad thing is the piano is in the corner of a very large room and the bass notes were a little boomy so I had to EQ quite a bit on my channel strip.
  8. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    if the damper pedal is noisy, a different mic won't change anything. You need to get the damper adjusted. Know a good piano tech?
  9. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    I don't know if the damper pedal is too noisy or if his playing was just sloppy. I don't know a good piano tech, either. How much would be a good asking price from somebody in the yellow pages? Also, the piano doesn't need to be tuned.
  10. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    You'll find Your Tech through thier Guild web-site : http://www.ptg.org/findATechnician.php - Much better then using the Yellow pages! (I know this, and I'm not even based in the US, every serious SE should know who is the best local PT where ever your localtion happens to be! :D )

    Sloppy pedalwork is always a major hazzle recording da piano.

    You'll also perhaps need to move the instrument further into the room, walls have a tendency to emphazise small unwanted sounds!

    The SM81's will do a perfectly decent jobb, you'll just have to be a little bit more careful..

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