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Grand piano + 2 ev blue mics = wide frustration.

I'm musician new to this forum and quiet new to recording DIY.
(I tried to use search button for my problem but couldn't find any answer)

I have two Electro-Voice Blue Cardinal mics and nice baby grand piano, external sound card and few very good softwares.

Here is data of mics:

EV Blue Cardinal:
Element Condenser (self-biased)
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Impedance, Low-Z balanced 50 Ohms
Connector Type 3-pin XLR
Open Circuit Voltage 10 mV/Pascal
Audio Frequency Response 35 - 20,000 Hz
Maximum SPL (1% THD) 150 dB

I want to record acoustic jazz stuff.

How can I make most out of things I have?
In my situation I can work with mic placement and software I won't be able to change my equipment right now.

I would VERY appreciate any tutorials or tips in mic placement and software using to get nice warm, jazzy piano sound with little bit of concert halls brilliance.(Sorry if my sound slang is stupid, I'm beggniner :oops: ) I've tried some tutorials from web but they didn't work for me.
Please ask extra info, if I forgot to mention any importante info above to help me?

Thanks in advance.


Davedog Wed, 02/13/2008 - 16:15

Are you working with the top open on the piano? Are you willing to take the top off the piano? How is the room where the piano is located? Shape, size, heighth....etc.

The specs of a piece of equipment give very little insight as to its true tonal nature.

In this case, the piano itself and the nature of the room are going to have a greater effect on the outcome of the recording than the mics themselves.

So enlighten us as to the realities of the room and the instrument and lets go from there.

Mckey Fri, 02/15/2008 - 16:04

Well if your gonna be doing multiple instruments in the same room, and your doing jazzy stuff, I would almost think of doing micing the whole room with those two condensers, and see what happens. Get the instruments in the right spots and the levels right and who knows, you might just find out it works. Is the bass play upright or electric? And what kind of set is drummer using (power, fusion, jazz)?

Davedog Sat, 02/16/2008 - 15:06

Its a good thing that the room is fairly tall and its not square.

Setting goboes (shields,dividers) will certainly help in cutting down the bleed from the other instruments.

You are probably not going to need seven mics on a jazz set.

Having said that, if you have the channels and the tracks for it, it doesnt hurt to have too many mics instead of too few.

I've read a bit on the Blue Cardinal mic and it gets very high marks for its fidelity as well as its mellow sound. Very balanced. I would start with the lid open on the piano. Face the opening away from the bass mic and the drums setup. If you have a piano moving blanket, I would drape it around the case as best posible. Place the mics inside one below the A 440 and one two and a half octaves above that. Listen on your phones and play while having someone else move the mics till it hits the sweet spot. Spen a lot of time doing this, it will pay off bigtime later on.

If you find the piano sound to be too constrictive and not bright enough like this, then take the top off. This WILL allow you many more placement choices. It will also spread the piano out in the room so a room mic up high or two would be in order. Its going to bleed into the other mics a lot like this, so you may as well make it part of the sound.

The room mics should be condensers of some sort. You still want to close mic the piano.

Send a list of the mics you have access to and perhaps we can make a suggestion about where to start.

List the drum mics as well.

BobRogers Sat, 02/16/2008 - 16:27

Try to do some more searches around this forum. What you are getting from Dave is a more rock/country/pop method of micing a grand piano. If you look around the Acoustic forum you will get a more classical style. Jazz can go either way. I have not heard your stuff, so I have no idea what you are looking for, but the fact that you are putting 7 mics on the drum is a big clue. Makes me think that Dave's ideas are the way you want to go. (Bad Plus?) My basic suggestion is to have the bass and drums lay down some simple tracks - maybe just 48 bars of blues. Then spend an afternoon or a lifetime moving the piano mics around until you get a sound you like. I think you'll get your best results playing together, but only after you discover the piano sound that fits your group best.

anonymous Sun, 02/17/2008 - 08:08

Thanks for advice.
Regarding to drums mics. Since I'm in charge for mics I got mics for everyone. I disscused what we together can afford with drummer and decided to buy 7 mics. We all are decent musicians but not very familiar with recording. When there was a need for amp. in gigs sound guys always used at least 5 mics. I have watched many videos; jazz drummers tend to use quiet many mics even with small sets. Maybe I'm wrong.
We're going for accoustic type of sound like Bill Evans, Horace Silver and todays ''hard bop'' follower's.

BobRogers Sun, 02/17/2008 - 10:18

Well the seven drum mics made me think that you were going for the modern rock style of drum mixing where every drum is individually miced and often gated and compressed. Some jazz fusion drummers go for that style, and it is the default mode for a lot of sound guys at live shows (and, sadly, the only way that many of them know how to mix drums). For the style you are going for I'd try to capture most of the sound of the kit using two overhead mics. If you have two good preamps - use them on the overheads. (Search "recorderman drum overhead" for a very good way to position the overheads.) Since you have the mics, you might as well set the other five up, but I'd use a very light touch in adding them to the mix. A bit of snare, a smidgen of kick, a threat of toms.

Cucco Wed, 02/20/2008 - 17:58

Hmmm.... a couple of things -

1 - Drums -
I've never known or seen light jazz kits mic'ed with 5 to 7 mics. For recording a small (2 tom) jazz kit, I'd be hard pressed to use more than 2 to 3 mics.

2 - The pictures you sent dance around the placement that I would use to start with for jazz piano. Picture 2 would be the closest starting point although I would likely aim the capsules towards the strings and maybe come in (towards eachother or towards middle C) just a tad.

I have also had good luck with jazz piano coming over the head of the pianist with a coincident or near-coincident pair.

Also, I've had luck coming from outside the piano at the lip (about 4-6" up) and aimed into the strings.

I didn't get a chance to listen to the clips since my monitoring chain is on-location right now and not any where near me. However, I can definitely make assumptions on what I'd hear from the pictures based on experience. Try #2 again this time aiming down (maybe only 45 degrees) and bringing them in just a tad. Make sure they're a good 6" off the strings. Too close and you'll never get the kind of depth and breadth required for jazz.

anonymous Thu, 02/21/2008 - 15:55

Thank you Cucco for answer. I'll definetly try your suggestion as soon as possible!

Regarding the drums. Now I'm really confussed. I've always thought that in studio situation jazz pro drummers use at least 5 mics, but now everyone tells it's opposite.
I don't want to sound arrogant ''smarty'' but I really have seen a lot of jazz drummers in pictures and videos using at least 5 mics in studio situations like Bill Stewart, Alex Riel, Peter Erskine, John Riley, Omar Hakim, Ari Hoenig etc. I know that I'm newbie, but I'd like to now why some use many mics while others are against it!

Also I will appriciate any other advices regarding sound samples in my previous reply!

Cucco Thu, 02/21/2008 - 17:19

No prob.

Generally, I'll set up a few different mics on kit - maybe an AB pair, a Royer SF12, a snare mic, a kick mic, maybe a M/S pair in front and a room mic or two, but that by no means I'd use all of them. In fact, I'll usually just use one of the overhead pairs, maybe a room mic or two and depending upon the track, maybe the kick mic.

It's fairly common practice to put extra mics up and simply use the ones you need. (At least since the days of multi-track with high track counts.)

Davedog Thu, 02/21/2008 - 20:07

Yeah....Whut he said.

Use a crapload of mics. Make them all do something and not be setup just to look like a picture of a setup.

I would have no problems at all using two dynamically different overhead pairs as well as a couple of room mics placed in ares to capture different tonal qualities of the area. I would also mic the top and bottom of the snare though I doubt I would ever use both for jazz.

The point everyone is trying to make is to simplify because it seems you are rather new to this and simplicity can help a lot when dealing with recordings that involve a lot of taste and touch rather than slambam thankyou mam as rock tends to be. Jazz is so much about the intervals and the space between that getting a really complicated soundscape can ruin the effect your trying to capture .

This is especially true at the mixdown. Jazz should almost mix itself and capturing the sessions at their best is the whole point.