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Recording piano, what mic to use

Discussion in 'Piano' started by oskysum, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. oskysum

    oskysum Active Member

    Hi guys, firstly i would like to thank people in this forum for being so helpful.

    I have no experience in recording piano, so would like some advice, as one of the songs my band is doing has some piano. so.. where to start?

    What mic/mics would you guys recommend?
    on a budget of 100-300 pounds.

    Where to play the mic/mics? -
    I'm very confused about this, but I was thinking of keeping it simply and having it 2 or 3 meters away.
    the type of piano i'm using is an upright piano - is this gonna be a major problem?
    I suppose the ideal thing is to have 2 or 3 mics. But saying if i'm buying one mic, what would be a good condensor mic?
    I recorded it before with a mic i can't remmeber which one, and the mids were way to high...

    should i just hire/buy an electronic piano and make my life easier?
     
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Why dont you simply rent a set of mics for the session? Sounds like you're in Jolly Olde and I'm sure there are rental houses that would be able to advise and carry specialty mics for your singular purpose. Unless you want to own them..... but then I dont see the budget to own good piano mics, so a rental for your task seems to be at hand.
     
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you want to go ahead with purchase rather than rental, a pair of Rode NT5s (£249 from Digital Village) would serve you well for this job, but the condition and tuning of the piano as well as the space in which you record it are probably more important. You also need to take the pre-amps into account when considering the resulting sound.

    Here's a link I've posted before to a good article on piano recording. There's a boxed bit of text towards the end that talks specifically about uprights.
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    With regard to the piano itself, you need to make sure that it is not only tuned but that the regulation is in order and especially that the hammers are shaped (no grooves and mated to the strings) and traveled (aligned to the strings). If they are not, then the quality of sound is severely decimated and weird ringing or overtones can be produced which will be picked up by the microphones. I agree that NT5's can be effective on a piano. If isolation is not too much of a concern then pull the knee board off and take the front board (where the music rack is) off. If your music is not memorized then at least take the top off. Often the hinges on the top have a pin that can be pulled. If it does not then just prop it open. Get the piano AWAY FROM THE WALL. Consider using some gobos to avoid too many reflections.
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Man this is a toss up.

    I see you are using Sonar 8.5 " and in a band. What kind of music?

    Right on , you have a DAW that will do everything you need and more! Do you have a controller and is your midi tight?

    If you are going to improve your recording gear ( what do you already have?) or are planning to invest in a piano rig and more gear anyway? ... one quality 2 channel preamp and two mics is min requirement IMHO for this step.
    Nothing more beautiful than a well recorded and like TheJackAttack say's "properly tuned and regulated piano in a good room" so go for it.

    I love that link Boswell.

    However, if you have a good keyboard controller, ... pretty solid results can be had ITB right now!
    If you are recording anything less than Classical, for the time and money it takes to get up to acoustic standards... its not something that happens by just going out and buying a mic. Piano is one of the most difficult instruments to get right. It can sound almost as bad as a violin. It can sound so honky and clunky and ringy and room reflective that you will just go nuts trying to fit it into the mix. Electric Piano is the only way to go IMO if you are not prepared to dive in.

    I would always have the controller and use a piano plugin before I took the leap into acoustic recording. Poorly sounding piano is far worse than any sample library IMO.

    Just make sure your latency is ready for you with ITB piano libraries.

    Roland makes a great electric piano.
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'll make this more understandable for you. You are in a band. When you go playing clubs or other events, do you plan to schlep a full-blown upright piano with you? No? Why not? It only takes 4 guys to move an upright piano. You'll have to be more careful to worry about scratching them. Especially one that has a black ebony finish grand piano. Elton John White. Fire walnut. This is why God created black Naugahyde.

    And are you or anybody else in your band good at tuning pianos, also adjusting and/or tweaking action? No again? Well then, you've answered your own question. You need a live playable electronic piano. Computer-based sample pianos are pretty cool, in the studio. Not so much cool live but, still doable and I've seen it done with laptops. But then you still need a black-and-white midi keyboard controller. That's almost like having a electronic piano.

    There are so many, so so many reasons to have an electronic piano. Always in tune. Always able to be moved by a single person. Doubles as a MIDI controller and generally has presets of other similar keyboard instruments such as harpsichords, Fender Rhodes/Wurlitzer's, Steinway, Yamaha, Baldwin, string sections, choral sections, honky-tonk.

    So think about it. Do what makes sense. My reasoning would be if you and your wife had 3 children, wouldn't it make more sense to have 5 motorcycles instead of a single car?? Of course it would. Look at the versatility. 10 Tyre channels of transportation instead of just 4. And everybody knows 10 is better than 4. 10 tyres provides a greater level of safety that 4. But then again as an American, I think it should be spelled " tires"? Maybe one spelling denotes metric where the other spelling denotes American? So why don't British grand pianos & American grand pianos, have different width keys?? This is getting too complicated. You need to eliminate the piano altogether! Try banjo?

    Pickin' & scratchin'
    Mx. Remy Ann David



    I guess you can tell I don't have any children?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  7. oskysum

    oskysum Active Member

    what does Jolly olde mean?!

    cheers guys, i'll just use an electronic piano! i just thought it would be easier with the mic. I'm actually a pianist myself and have my piano tuned regularly so that wouldn't be an issue. but yeh makes more sense
     
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    England.
     

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