Favorite piano mics?

Thomas W. Bethel

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2001
Oberlin, OH
1> C-414's in figure 8 with the lid removed. Placement depended on the piano.

2> AT4050's in a DECCA TREE arrangement about 7 feet back from the piano (depends a lot on how the room sounds)

3> BK4006's over the piano with the lid removed. Placement depended on the piano.

The MOST IMPORTANT POINT in recording piano is to make sure the instrument is properly tuned and in good playing condition with no squeaks rattles or other mechanical problems. The pedals should be practically "thump" free and sostenuto pedal should be adjusted for the best overall release without the "harp" effect some pianos (STEINWAY ESPECIALLY) show when the foot is taken off the pedal. The other thing is to make sure your studio stays at a normal temperature and humidity during the recording session and that the piano tech call be on call if you need him for problems. There is nothing that can put a damper (excuse the pun) on a piano recording like a broken string, hammer problem or mechanical noise that can ruin a perfect recording job.

I do lots of classical recordings and the best friend you can have is a good piano tech who knows what he or she is doing and is efficient when it comes to solving problems.

Another word of warning is to make sure the piano is in the space for a couple of days (or a week) before you have it tuned and before the recording session goes on as pianos need to acclimate themselves into new spaces (especially in very cold or very warm weather)


Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2003
Tom, My first 4050 arrives tomorrow, will be ordering another soon and look forward to trying that arrangement. The room sounds great, even tempered, decay a little short for most classical uses. I have a great tech, the piano sat for two weeks before being tuned. There are some pedal noise issues I need to have addressed (I had a friend come over and play last week and noticed the harp effect you mentioned, don't know if much can be done there).


My (theoretical) concern with LDC on piano is a loss of the highs. The piano was a huge range and harmonics well above that range.

Is this not the domain of the SDC instead?
Not necessarily...there are plenty of large-diaphragm condensers that go well above 20 kHz, and plenty of small-diaphragm ones that don't. All other things being equal, a small-diaphgragm microphone will be more accurate than a large-diaphgram microphone, but also more noisy. Since all other things are never equal, though, it's hard to make generalizations.