Recording a piano




The son of a friend of my wife's mother :)
wants to get rid of his piano :)

Don't get a piano offered for free every day, do you?

It will be tuned/checked on monday

After that I see myself trying to record my pling-ploing

Problem is I don't know a thing about recording something a bit realistic (for a realistic price).

I am (getting) familiar with cubase and the tascam us-428.
So I think I need info on mics (preamp?), mic-placement, etc.

Tips and sites are very welcome



thanks for the reply

it's an upright

I don't have any (half-)serious mics
(only a very very very cheap thingy)

I'm interested in a classical sound (I like minimalistic/modern classical stuff like Philip Glass, Wim Mertens)
As I'm used to midi, I'm interested in catching some subtle "imperfections", like release sounds, hitting a key,

so what type am I looking for
some brands-types, would be helpfull
(preamp?, placement?)



since I'm about to buy a mic or two
here's some other things I might wanna record:
tenor, alt, sopran sax
acoustic guitar

I guess this will have it's impact on deciding which mic(s) go(es) best with the piano?



Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2001
Hmmm...well, are you going to the cheapo route or actually willing to shell out cash for a decent mic? These factors are important..Preamps..there's tons of em..Presonus..Apogee..Aphex..Manley..TL Audio..etc etc
Mics..too many to list!!
To start with..AKG..Shure..Neumann..Schoeps(sp?)..CAD..Earthworks..
In fact..I would almost reccomend a pair of earthwork mics..very sensitive but very accurate! Not too high priced either. Of course you will need a external mic pre with phantom power as the Tascam US428 does not provide phantom power..nor would I reccomend using the US428 for high end micing anyways!
AKG 535 mics are great high end frequency response for piano, accoustic or overhead micing.
Seinheiser 441's are great mics for snares, horns and accoustic recording.
Shure makes a somewhat decent condensor mic called the AXS4..I use it on Accoustic instruments and micing a guitar cab!
For classical recording you dont want to do close micing techniques..classical recording is about open room sounds..nuances are caught thru the piano player..if you want to close mic it just dont get too close for classical recording.
Just some tips and so forth!!


Hi Opus2000

Thanks for the reply
I checked some prices for the mics you mentioned,
but I can't afford that right now (after a new pc and shipping tuning the piano...)

So I guess I have to start the "cheapo" way.

My goal is to add more human touch / live feel to the midi-thing I'm doing (electronic music like plaid, boards of canada, orbital).

I'm not good at playing the piano, but I've learned a bit over time. I did play the sax for 7 (?) years, but that was more then a decade ago.
Whatever I record will be mostly burried in the mix (not too much hopefully :)

The creative thing about music is what keeps me interested. I'm not yet into perfecting my soundquality. But I don't want to buy a mic for basskicks if I want to record acoustic strings and wood.

Maybe this will give you (or anyone else) an idea of what I'm looking for?



Hi Han

You're from The Netherlands too?

I'm not sure I understand "Radio Shack PZM's"

Could you explain?


Bear's Gone Fission

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2001
Great suggestion. The Radio Shack PZM's are licensed version of Crown's Pressure Zone Microphones, which Crown has the trademark for. Other makers call them boundary mics. The Radio Shack versions are branded Realistic or Optimus, have a battery power pack so you don't need phantom power, and can be had very cheap, if memory serves maybe around $50 new. They aren't perfect, but they work well for this application and would be convenient since I assume you don't have phantom power. If you do have phantom, they're still not a bad choice, though I'd also suggest looking at the Behringer ECM-8000.



Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2001
Speaking of cheap, a great buy in a dirt cheap mixer is the Behringer Eurorack MX802a. Four mic pres WITH phantom power, plus a couple of stereo line channels in a very sturdy and compact box.



PZM microphones are very versatile microphones and not critical for placement like many other mics.

It's a small metal plate with a small condenser capsule in the middle of it (omni)

If you put a PZM in front of you on the table and play an acoustic guitar, flute, violin or whatever acoustic instrument, you will always have at least a decent sound.

RS PZM's are/were indeed some $50 new, but I understand not available anymore.

I tape two RS PZM's to the lid of a grand piano and always have a decent sound.

Yes I'm from the Netherlands, Ik ben een Hollander :)



Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2001
behringer 602 is even cheaper

why is the friend of your mother's sister's cousin's girlfriend getting rid of the piano in the first place?


Thanks for all the replies

This guy thought the piano doesn't fit esthetically in his livingroom, or something :)

It arrived yesterday
Not in a really good shape, but hey, what do you expect.
Needs more then tuning I think
Some hammers fall back too loud
Some hammers you have to press down really hard to get a sound

But very nice overall
Although I have to share it with my wife ;-)

Can't fix that with a mic, can you?