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piano damper noise

Discussion in 'Piano' started by benny, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. benny

    benny Active Member

    I'm interested in learning some piano micing techniques that will minimize damper noise.

  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The simple answer is to not put microphones too close to the dampers. Move the mics towards the tail of the instrument a few inches and angle them down towards the strings. You also may just have an instrument with a loud damper set (which makes life really unpleasant when you need to record it).

    Entire books could be written on piano micing techniques... When I need to close mic, I usually go high-end, low-end a few inches out from the hammers. In film/acoustic situations, I'll put the mics out near the curve of the instrument. For classical solo recording, I use a stereo pair 6 feet out or so from the instrument.

    Each has their own distinct sound that will or will not work depending on the kind of recording you are trying to make...

  3. Mediaguru

    Mediaguru Guest

    I recorded a 170 grand steinway once that had TERRIBLE damper noise!
  4. RichardOtt

    RichardOtt Guest

    Oil! Use Oil! Ask the technical consultant accompaining the recording to have alook after the piano. In professional sessions, there is allways a master piano present watching and adjusting the tuning. With good instrumentes there is no damper noise.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Good advice when applicable. However, all dampers have some noise, though the level will be severely attenuated with a clean, oiled mechanism.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I think you might be talking about graphite, but it's the same thing....keep it quiet if you can, if not; work around it.

    For sessions (vs. concerts) I've had players actually remove their shoes....they feel they get a better grasp (ha!) of the pedals, and there's less noise too.

    This would be a good topic over on the acoustic music forum, btw....I'll bet there's a few more folks who've dealt with it over there as well.
  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    When it comes to damper noise, I find it to not just be a matter that is easily fixed via oil or graphite... Sometimes the felt works its way into the strings and it rubs as it is raised and lowered. Either that or it just gets hard over time and bangs on the strings... Neither of those issues are easy to fix mechanically. If you find this to be the problem, it is time to work with mic placement.

    I thought of another work aroudn for this- mono ribbon mics. situate them so that the null of the figure 8 is facing the dampers. You can get amazing localization/isolation that way.

  8. RichardOtt

    RichardOtt Guest

    The problem ist, that damper noise is not only of low freq, so that cutting away lower freqs would solve the problem. If you really cannot solve this mechanically, the only thing to do is moving mics towards the strings more inside the piano. You will have to use TWO pairs of stereo mics then in order to achieve a sufficient sound. Mostly used cingif is a ORTF-like pair near to the "diskant" area and a nother AB-System at the tale. The angle between the two systems is about 90 dregrees leading to an independant system easy to be overlaid. Distanz for AB might be 20inches, the diatance of the ORTF-like cardioids ranges from 10-to15 imches at an angle of 90-100 degrees. You may try wide cardioids too.

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