Room acoustics, instrument placement and mic placement.

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by abquestion, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. abquestion

    abquestion Guest

    I'm going to record some jazz stuff(hard bop, ala Horace Silver and Bill Evans).

    I have Old German Baby Grand Piano(in good condition).
    Bass player with 3/4 size double bass(standard)
    Drummer with 4 piece kit and 4 trad. jazz cymbals (ride, crash, hihats and splash)

    x3 EV Blue Cardinal mics - 2 for piano and 1 for double bass

    Audix 7 mic set for drums

    I searched around the forum and came to conclusion that jazz is very ''room sensitive'' style. I can't ask anyone micing advice without the room info.

    It's 3.20m(10'6'') high, 5m(16'4'') long and 2.8m(9'2'') wide.

    On both 9'2'' walls are big bookshelves. I can move away the table, if it's needed, but I can't move the piano.

    In case there is a big problem with micing, bassist can be in other room behind opened doors that are located in 16'4'' wall, though I wouldn't prefere that ,because I wouldn't see him well.

    1) Should I apply some acoustic treatments and what kind of?

    2)What instrument placement would you suggest in my situation for the best sound?

    3)What micing would would suggest?

    I have a post about piano micing but I feel that it's bit to narrow since there is little info of room and other instruments. However if you want to listen to my piano samples with different mic position and give some advice I would be very thankful. {old-link-removed}

  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Just a quick question -

    Why can't you move the piano?

    Having it up against that wall, IMO, would be the worst place in that room. If it MUST be against the wall, the shorter wall would be a better place. However, for recording (and likely practicing as well) purposes, having it angled in the adjacent corner with a decent amount of separation between it and boundary walls would be best by far.

    That being said - I'll step out for a bit and see what replies come from here.
  3. abquestion

    abquestion Guest

    Is it importante, even if I use close piano micing and blanket?
  4. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    That wall behind the piano is likely to give a lot of bass boost (depending on what it's made from), which will 'fold' right back into the piano itself and be captured by your close mics. Most blankets are invisible to bass, so you won't get much help there.

    The further you can move away from walls (and corners), the less bass boost you will get. Moving out 60cm or more would be worthwhile trying...
  5. abquestion

    abquestion Guest

    Thank you very much for info.
    I'm shocked- sometime ago I did little recording in studio and ''genius'' sound enginer didn't even bother when the piano was very similar to my piano position. He had hard times to get the piano right in mix.
  6. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Well, there are many variables to deal with.

    That wall in your room (or in "genius" sound engineer's studio) might not be solid enough or reflective enough to cause a bass build-up. If it is a solid brick or cement wall, like an external wall of a building, then you're probably going to have problems. But if it is simply a typical internal plaster board wall with another room on the other side, it may not be such an issue.

    But you have to try these things for yourself. As an experiment, record the piano in its current position against the wall, and then move it out to the middle of the room, and try it again. Somewhere between those two positions you might find the sound you want or need.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    As long as we are talking about moving the piano...if you can do it, I'd rotate it 70-80 degrees so that it opens toward the wall with the window. Then you can put the drums on the other side of the room and the lid acts as a bit of a barrier to isolate the sounds of the two instruments.
  8. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Excellent! Killing two birds with one tone... :lol:
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    One note -
    The reference I made about moving into the adjacent corner- don't take it TOO literal.

    If you angle the piano 45 degrees, you won't be much "in the corner" thanks to the physical size of the piano as well as the player's need to be able to actually sit at it whilst playing.

    If you find isolation still is a problem, Bob's idea isn't a bad one. However, this will still have bleed and some bad bleed at that. Given the size of the room, there's nothing you can do to combat that.

    The trick, IMO, is to embrace the bleed. Learn how to use it to your advantage or learn to live with the disadvantages. I've definitely found that over-isolation or other attempts at killing the bleed usually do more to hurt the overall sound than help.

  10. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    A very interesting read gentlemen...

    In regards to using the bleed in such a small room to ones advantage... what about using two of the EV's in an XY, as the primary mics. (or renting a pair of something nice)

    Then supplementing the XY pair with a few close mics?

    Maybe turning the piano so that the lid is facing inward to the room (a la' focused toward the XY pair). Then putting the drums opposite the piano and the upright in the center???

    Just a thought....
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple of variations on Max's idea (which I think is definitely worth a try).
    1. I'd try ORTF rather than XY. Of course, you should try both, but I think that ORTF would give a wider stereo field. More natural for a band rather than a solo instrument.
    2. Try turning the piano 135 degrees counterclockwise and put the nose into the corner. That may not be the best position for recording, but I find that a much "livable" position for a piano in a small room. I think you should try it out while you have some strong backs available to move the piano.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I agree completely

    I'd have to chime in and urge you to only consider doing this if you are turning the piano within the horizontal plane. If you in fact attempt this within the vertical plane, you should indeed have some VERY strong backs handy to not only *move* the piano, but to stabilize it while playing as playing the piano somewhat upside down on a very narrow fulcrum is quite the challenge.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Always another editor telling me to put in more details. :lol:
  14. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Like you would expect nothing less???


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