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Pedal Noise from Grand Piano-suggestions?

Discussion in 'Piano' started by sirpicksalot, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. sirpicksalot

    sirpicksalot Active Member

    I'm currently attempting to record a grand piano, and have run in to a few little hick ups. To give you an idea of my set up... I have one Shure SM81 mic which is running through a lower end M Audio interface. I wish I could record it in stereo, but this is all I can afford at the moment. So I feel like the sweet spot is with the mic pointing straight down at the mid section of the piano (lid up)... So far this gives the best results tone-wise. The problem with this spot is that I am picking up big time noise every time the pianist pushes the pedals! It isn't one of those natural piano sounds either. It is loud and ugly! So I tried a variety of approaches to get away from this. So far I found a really unorthodox position that sounds semi-ok. I have the lid open a fraction and have the mic at an angled down in a small opening on the front all the way to the right of the piano. But I'm sacrificing some clarity/tone just to avoid this nasty pedal noise. Any tips on mic placement or cheap home remedies to reduce the noise? To be specific with the exact noise... It isn't the sound of the pedal itself. It is the sound that the strings are making when the pedal is pushed. You can hear this funky string sound every time its pushed!
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    My guess is that you need piano tech rather than recording advice. Fortunately we have a few that hang out here and may be able to give some pointers. While you are waiting for that, try a couple of other mic positions that have worked for people. A search of this board or the whole web will yield more ways to do this than you can count. I'm not much help since my favorite techniques tend to make mechanical noises like you are talking about worse. I've had a pretty good tech work over the piano to keep pedal noise as low as possible.
  3. sirpicksalot

    sirpicksalot Active Member

    Well I was wondering if this was a piano tech issue too, but we are recording in a auditorium where there are two pianos (Steinway's) which are exactly the same. Both pianos do the same thing. It isn't a noise that you can hear when you are hearing the piano played normally. But when a mic is sitting on the inside of the piano it really accentuates this pedal/string sound.

    Anyway thanks! And I have looked online a good bit before posting here. There is a ton of info out there on recording piano in stereo (two mics) but I'm having a harder time finding info on recording with one mic.

  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    In your searches you probably already came across this Sound On Sound article about piano recording, but it's one that I reference from time to time.
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I agree with Boswell that the Sound on Sound article is one of the best on line. In your situation, the choices away from the body of the instrument are the choices I'd experiment with. The close-mic techniques are more characteristic of pop music, and that's what I usually do. But they will emphasize mechanical noises.

    Another piece of advice - don't worry about this too much. These sounds ARE natural to the instrument. They are there all the time, but we tune them out.

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