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Piano recording

Discussion in 'Piano' started by Kecinzer, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Kecinzer

    Kecinzer Active Member

    Well... I could really use some feedback on this. I just test-recorded a piano (Steinway Grand 1990). In a few days I need to do a whole CD (piano & cello). Mainly Schubert.

    This was my setup:
    KM184 in ORTF - 25cm above the strings (detail)
    (Left 30) Low strings 0dB
    (Right 30) Treble strings -2dB

    4006 in 60cm A-B - 1.5m from the elbow (ambience)
    (Left 40) -6dB
    (Right 40) -5dB

    NT1A - 25cm above the end of the bass strings (low end / warmth)
    (Left-7) -10dB

    ISA828 > Aurora8-FW > Logic9 (Recorded @ 24/88.2)



  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Do you always use that many mics on piano?

    Have you tried muting some of the mics to see how it sounds? I would have tried just a stereo pair but that's just me. Maybe a stereo pair over the strings and a distant pair for ambiance.

    I'm not one to judge here. I'm sure there are better ears with better gear in these forums. I'm hoping Cucco will chime in.
  3. Kecinzer

    Kecinzer Active Member

    "I would have tried just a stereo pair but that's just me. Maybe a stereo pair over the strings and a distant pair for ambiance. "

    That's pretty much what I did... plus just a shade of the bottom of the lower strings for more depth using one NT1A.

    "Have you tried muting some of the mics to see how it sounds?"

    A good point, Hueseph. The idea is to cover all angles while I'm tracking. Actually I used 7 mics for tracking and then in studio I listened to every single one of them individually and in many different combinations. Ended up using 5 and 3 of those just for the flavor.

    This way I could search for the perfect sonority - and yes it's still not 100% there. I just spoke to the pianist and her only concern is that as she put it "it sounds a bit metallic". Some people like their Steinway sounding dark, and some prefer more detail.

    Thanks for your reply.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm not very experienced recording piano, so take this for what it is worth. I like both the string balance and the amount of room in the mix. Gnerally a good recording, Nothing that is "wrong" to my ears. However, I think the overall effect is slightly "brittle" (I guess metallic is another descriptor) but I don't think it's just an eq problem. (Yeah, I might like a darker eq, but that's taste, not a "problem.") Like hueseph, I'm suspicious of all of those mics. That could be causing some phase issues that is the source of the sound I don't like.

    Now, I could easily be wrong here. But I'm a firm believer in turning off any channel that you don't absolutely need. How much have you played with a two or three mic mix? Or at least one where one pair is 15-20 dB below the other?
  5. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I'm not sure that ORTF is going to be effective at such close range... (25 cm)... there will be a dead zone in the middle, between the capsules, that will not be properly reproduced. This assumes the standard 110 degree angling of the mics.

    I have done extensive experimentation miking the grand here in my studio, using a variety of methods, each method with a variety of mics. For my particular piano, I have concluded that a mid-side arrangement, with a Rode NT-5 as the mid mic and a Cascade Fathead as the side mic produces the best result.

    While I know that every piano is different, I think it would be worth trying mid-side as your "close" mic setup. I have no particular recommendation for your ambient mic setup.

    On my piano I set the m/s setup about 7" - 8" above the strings, angled so the side mic figure 8 pattern runs perpendicular to the bass strings, positioned just above the harp member that divides the angled bass strings from the rest.



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