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Lavry MP10 with DPA 4011's Piano

Lavry MP10 preamp's with a matched pair of DPA 4011's into an RME ADI-8 QS (ORTF)
My 13 year old daughter once again. Piano and room aren't the best but what do you think of the Lavry's with the DPA's?

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Comments

TheJackAttack Wed, 12/28/2011 - 22:52

Well, I'd like to hear the space omni's (about 17-20cm) first. I think the height of the ceiling is what is hosing the ORTF pair. This might be where that U87 on the soundboard side of the hammers about C5 PLUS the spaced omni's across the room but not too close to the wall behind them. Is there a doorway on that side of the room you could place the pair in front of?

Boswell Thu, 12/29/2011 - 03:50

Nice playing! I'm missing the low bass in the recording, which is typical of cardioids at that distance but is the sort of thing that omnis would pull in.

I would be surprised if the room reflections intrude excessively with omnis, and it may require some experimentation with mic positioning to get the best balance between direct and ambient sound. With the DPAs in omni, I might even go a little wider than Jack's suggested A-B spacing, but I don't know your piano and he's the pro in that area.

Paul999 Thu, 12/29/2011 - 07:59

Nice post audiokid. My yard stick for a recording works like this. If a person walked in off the street and asked you to record piano and you gave them this they would likely be overjoyed. The playing is nice and the recording is not a mismatch for that. When the engineers skill fall short of the performers we have a problem. This sounds great.

If i go into squint/OCD mode what my nerd brain hears is this. The attacks do get a little aggressive at times and there are some minor reflections from the room. The piano is in tune enough but not 100%. The room reflections and the piano tuning tell me that this is a real piano and my brain likes that. The attacks hit me a little hard distracting me even when I listened on my laptop. (I listened on studio speakers to). Is this an upright piano? If I was a betting man I'd say it was although a nice bright one well maintained. ORTF is one of my favourite stereo micing techniques. It tends to work better in big rooms though. I'm sure you tried X/Y. Your not getting a huge stereo spread here which is good. My opinion on spaced pair is that most of the time I find it too unnatural. It is a bit of a last resort for me. If I was concerned about the room and had done all the treatment I could my gut tells me that I would try X/Y, ORTF(which you've already done)Mid-side and then spaced pair. This is the order from what I think will be the most effective to least in your situation. Sometimes in a small room a dynamic like an SM57 can yield surprising results to reduce room reflections with the right pre. Somtimes just a hint of a direct mic can solve a lot. I do this when I mic quartets. ORFT about 6-8ft back and a direct sm57 on each. I've had less then zero luck with omnis in a small room. I've never used DPA's though. Mostly KM84's, 414's, sm-81's and good ol sm57's.

I'm not sure how informative that was since we are still getting to know what each other knows.

Cheers

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 09:54

Thanks for the comments everyone. I love doing these.

I'm more stoked on the accuracy of the DPA with the Lavry pre's ! I tried some subtle compression last night and it helped those hammer attacks immensely but I didn't want anything in the chain other than the raw take. I want you to hear those Lavry pres with the 4011's. Wow I say but... I realize now its not easy, or impossible to hear how tight they sound with this piano and small room. Bummer... but I'm going to try a few other suggestions tonight. thumb

Never the less, I see you'd have to be in the room to hear how accurate this combo translated. Or can you hear what I'm talking about? This combo is so slick that it convinced me to sell my FF800 and order 2 AD11's for my mobile rig.

I should have mentioned this: The piano is a 5' 10" Kawai Parlour Grand ( a nice way to say Baby Grand :) in desperate need for restoring. The felts are almost into wood. It has been voices to death and the strings are original and tight. Its hard to keep it in tune for long with the amount of playing my girls are doing a day on it. It's a beautiful Japan version but its worn. I'm debating restoring it or buying a new one.

I'm going to eventually do this all more pro in one of our Churches so I really appreciate you all helping me get my chops up. Recording piano's is a whole new world for me and its gaining momentum. I'm going to need a lot of help!

I'll try your suggestions tonight and post soon. Thanks!!!

Paul999 Thu, 12/29/2011 - 10:07

[quote=audiokid, post: 381476]

I should have mentioned this: The piano is a 5' 10" Kawai Parlour Grand ( a nice way to say Baby Grand :) in desperate need for restoring. The felts are almost into wood. It has been voices to death and the strings are original and tight. Its hard to keep it in tune for long with the amount of playing my girls are doing a day on it. It's a beautiful Japan version but its worn. I'm debating restoring it or buying a new one.

Ha! If I was a betting man I'd be at the race track eating my hat because I made the wrong bet.LOL

I'm going to eventually do this all more pro in one of our Churches so I really appreciate you all helping me get my chops up. Recording piano's is a whole new world for me and its gaining momentum. I'm going to need a lot of help!

This will be fun. You'll be kicking butt at this.

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 14:03

When you go to a church to record you will be learning it all over again because of the space. At that point with a concert grand in good shape, I would but your Royer SF24 right up close-within 1-2m-and then use the DPA's in ORTF from about 5m back and 4m tall. All this is rough starting point without knowing the piano and church. Alternatively, you could put the DPA's in omni in the piano towards the tail pointing down at the bass bridge and the other pointing down towards the soundboard six inches (the mic angle not the mic position) from C5. Then use the SF24 back about 4m and about 2-2.5m tall.

As to accuracy of the DPA's, I'm in love. I didn't think it sounded like a vertical but I can tell how some might think so. I guess I have my head in too many pianos as a matter of course. It's a love hate thing. I am a little obsessed with good piano tone like you are with hybrid summing.

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 16:25

Thanks for the tips John. I know the space is going to be different all over again but just playing with it all now, is all so helpful for me.

I know I know! DPA's ooooh la la, they are so true and headroom galore! Yesterday blew my mind!

TheJackAttack, post: 381442 wrote: Well, I'd like to hear the space omni's (about 17-20cm) first. I think the height of the ceiling is what is hosing the ORTF pair. This might be where that U87 on the soundboard side of the hammers about C5 PLUS the spaced omni's across the room but not too close to the wall behind them. Is there a doorway on that side of the room you could place the pair in front of?

Okay we're all omni city here plus I tuned the piano a bit (still needs more but we can hear past that). I have the U87 in place and YA! I'm hearing the love between the 2006 and U87. You are going to love this next take. Its much better.
The U87 is around C5 , 8 " above and 10" behind the hammers. Omni - Its all sounding similar to me. What are you listening for John?

I have the 2006's in the dining room doorway. It sounds better to me in that area (less hammer attack) so I'll try there first.

Just waiting for the performer to walk in, hehe!

( using GR MP-2NV for the U87)

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 18:04

Okay, she'd kill me if she knew I posted this. I talked her into recording this for me without warming up so there are some mistakes but I think it sounds better. Tuned the piano a bit more. This is the above config John suggested. Added some lite compression.

thoughts?

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TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 21:09

OK. So some of the phasing is resolved. How little of the U87 did you use and did you delay it to match the distance to the DPA's? Basically the U87 is to very very subtly fill out the body. 99% should be from the stereo pair. I will sometimes use a very light compression on the close mic (U87 in this case).

At this point I am having trouble discerning what is simply a sour temperament and bad unisons and what is the room. I'm also guessing the strings are not level to the hammers but that will be fixed on the rebuild. I really hear it when the sustain pedal is engaged but even dry.

The playing of course is very nice.

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 21:20

Yes, I hear that sustain pedal too..

Cool, thanks for helping me again. Whats even more a help is learning what you expect. I'm coming at this from Rock so its very interesting to learn the classic way of doing this. Kudo's on your abilities!

I'll take a bit more U87 out and time align it. I didn't do that. Do you just do this visually? .
What song works better for you tonight?

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 21:39

As far as time align, I start with a tape and set 1 ms per foot delay. Then I just set a loop and dial it in as best as my ears tell me. The close mic again is just icing, if you can "hear" it then it's too much.

I wish I were closer. I have my passport but the distance is the issue. We could just spend a couple of hours and a bottle working through some things and then listening to about 20 CD's of various decades and performers. Make sure you catch the ORF New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. There won't be piano necessarily but the sonic painting and the audio engineering are top notch.

This is one solution of the problem. Pletnev and Chopin. I don't care for the stereo perspective but the close vs room mic is good.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000001GYT/?tag=r06fa-20

This is another solution and I like the sonic image better. Claudio Arrau. Room mic's are much closer to the piano.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VH2XX4/?tag=r06fa-20

On both of these recordings, the stereo pair is probably within ten feet and supported by close mic or no lid and Blumlein over the top. Of course having the piano be a non issue helps a lot with the decisions.

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 22:00

Here are the two again aligned with less U87.

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audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 22:04

TheJackAttack, post: 381532 wrote: As far as time align, I start with a tape and set 1 ms per foot delay. Then I just set a loop and dial it in as best as my ears tell me. The close mic again is just icing, if you can "hear" it then it's too much.

I wish I were closer. I have my passport but the distance is the issue. We could just spend a couple of hours and a bottle working through some things and then listening to about 20 CD's of various decades and performers. Make sure you catch the ORF New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. There won't be piano necessarily but the sonic painting and the audio engineering are top notch.

This is one solution of the problem. Pletnev and Chopin. I don't care for the stereo perspective but the close vs room mic is good.
[="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000001GYT/?tag=recording.org-20"]Amazon.com: Chopin - Pletnev: Fryderyk Chopin, Mikhail Pletnev: Music[/]="http://www.amazon.c…"]Amazon.com: Chopin - Pletnev: Fryderyk Chopin, Mikhail Pletnev: Music[/]

This is another solution and I like the sonic image better. Claudio Arrau. Room mic's are much closer to the piano.
[[url=http://="http://www.amazon.c…"]Amazon.com: Piano Sonata No.1 in F minor, Op.2 No.1 - 2. Adagio: Claudio Arrau: MP3 Downloads[/]="http://www.amazon.c…"]Amazon.com: Piano Sonata No.1 in F minor, Op.2 No.1 - 2. Adagio: Claudio Arrau: MP3 Downloads[/]

On both of these recordings, the stereo pair is probably within ten feet and supported by close mic or no lid and Blumlein over the top. Of course having the piano be a non issue helps a lot with the decisions.

If I strike it rich I'll be sure to buy you the ticket AND feed you well! If it was summer, we could go fishing on the side! I would love that.

Thanks for the links, I'll be sure to watch and listen.

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 22:18

I think these are much better. Add 2-3 more milliseconds of delay and I think that is worked out. The U87 might just maybe need to be more to the middle of the keyboard on this piano. Those bass strings are so short and anemic they aren't popping through or providing any rumble. A Kawai is a brightish piano anyway and won't sound nasal like a Steinway but still a quality instrument. The hammers are definitely grabbing the strings unequally and it's one reason the sustain is not spectacular in the low end either. To my taste the tenor and bass need to be stretched down a tad more but the high end is bordering too much stretch. Of course that is all a crap shoot since it needs a complete tuning. It's low isn't it? I had the pleasure of playing in an orchestra with Barenboim playing/conducting all the Beethoven piano concertos over a three year period. He can be an ass on rare occasions (and which of us aren't) but is a fine musician and I have a lot of respect for his touch.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VHKFIY/?tag=r06fa-20"]Amazon.com: Chopin: The Complete Nocturnes: Daniel Barenboim: MP3 Downloads

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 23:11

Add 2-3 more milliseconds of delay to the U87 you mean?

What do you mean "tenor and bass need to be stretched down a tad more"? What is stretched?

It was just tuned a few weeks ago. These girls play this thing! And the weather has been all over the map this year. Its close to 440 but I haven't checked for a few days.I managed to grab my wrench and tweak it a bit.

Found the song she is playing from Daniel Barenboim , thanks! We'll both listen to it in detail! Its a dark sounding recording eh? The lower mids are almost to muddy for my tastes but I have to get over my desire to make /hear things bright for classic don't I?

You've been very blessed with all your experiences and opportunities. I'm sure you've worked very hard, well deserving.

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 23:30

On a piano because of the tension that the steel wire is under, the physics of the strings create partials that are less than perfect when compared to theoretical. This large quagmire of a subject is called inharmonicity. All tuners adjust a piano to account for this. In short, the 2nd partial of any given string should be exactly double the frequency it is sounding. If A4=440Hz then in theory A5 should =880Hz. A6=1760Hz etc. Depending on the given piano each of the partials are sharper than theoretical and the higher the partial of the string the more it is sharp. So your middle temperament octave f3 to f4 or expanded c3 to c5 is stretched about 2hz wide of perfect in order to then tune the top and bottom and make it fit together smoothly. There are as many conventions to tuning aurally as there are tuners but the sort of Bb vanilla starting point is to stretch down by playing 5ths and listening for either the 3rd partial of the bottom note or the 6th partial depending on your ideal. Work your way down the piano until you hit bottom. The key is not to let your ear go hog wild because you will end up with the bottom actually too low. Conversely for the steel strings C5 and up, you tune another couple octaves by tempering 5ths, 4ths, and octaves. By the time you get to where you can't hear those beats you just tune octaves up to the top. Again this is just the starting point to a mastering of the practical application. For instance on a smaller grand I might tune 4:1 octaves in the treble and 8:4 octaves in the bass to account for the greater inharmonicity of short strings.

It is harder to explain than it is to demonstrate. Suffice it to say that a guitar or bass tuner is neither accurate enough (rarely accurate to 1/6 of a cent) and it won't allow for proper stretch of the octaves. Think about your guitars. If you tune the bottom e to match the top e exactly and then tune each string e->a p4, a->d p4, d->g p4, g->b just 3rd, the last b->e sounds like a$$. You have to compromise to get a sweetened tuning that works well. Now instead of 6 strings you have 88 notes worth of strings.

You have the ears. I could teach you how to tune well enough to touch up your piano in between tuner visits in about three hours. Then it is practice practice practice. Figure roughly 500 tunings to competency and 1000 tunings before mastery if one is conscientious and capable.

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2011 - 23:44

Yes, thanks for the fine explanation! I actually understand this but like you say, practice practice and having someone like yourself go through it with me would be the best. Lets add that to your list when you get here! smoke .

I should buy a simple kit. I don't mute the other strings when tuning. It gets a bit challenging trying to hear which one is out. I'll take my finger and hold one to help. I feel the beats, which helps.

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 23:47

Incidentally, on that Chopin/Barenboim recording you will hear they did not dial the delay in very well for it being a DG recording. The piano does not sound like a Steinway D either to me but they could have eq'd it out too. I would not be surprised if this were a Bechstein or maybe a Pleyel (but not likely). Horowitz's Steinway D was tweaked to be a lighter sound and shallower key dip than nearly every other D due to the types of music he performed in the latter part of his life and rarely was it huge concerti. Some of this sound in the Barenboim recording might also be from too much close mic and so the bass strings don't get the opportunity to really develop properly.

TheJackAttack Thu, 12/29/2011 - 23:59

Unless the tuning is fresh it is nearly impossible to feather a piano back to a sweet tuning. The piano here in my house gets a lot of use. It's a 1908 52" tall vertical and is in need of overhaul. I can stand to play it for about 10 days after I tune it and it's about two or three weeks before I can't stand to even listen to someone else play it. I would tune it more often if it weren't for all my wife's nick nacks on the top of the damn thing. If I were in your house with that much playing going on by three or four folks, I'd be forced to tune it more frequently or go mad! I mean more than I am already ;-)

TheJackAttack Fri, 12/30/2011 - 09:03

In your rig, visually matching the peaks is likely a viable solution. How far was I off? In lesser rigs and without a very large display it is difficult to get two tracks to line up that close in this kind of recording because it is so evident when it isn't. Maybe I need to plug the DAW into the 47" 3D Vizio?!!? Anyway, I usually time align via the control surface or the mouse with a looped section of the session. Even listening to the six second tidbits of those piano recording links you'll get the idea.

TheJackAttack Fri, 12/30/2011 - 09:29

Are you using a delay VST like the ReaDelay (Cockos) or GDelay (GVST), or are you actually moving the track? I'm lazy, I just use a delay on the close mic'd track and spin the rotary on the control surface to adjust the timing. I think I wasn't very clear about that last night since by the end it was about 01:30 here and I had yet to go beat the neighbor's kid from running his bass tube in his -get this- white Dodge minivan. F'n kids need to get off my neighbor's lawn too!!!

I used to use analog and digital delay boxes a ton when I was in the Corps running sound. I could run tiers of monitors out into the audience of band or top 40 band concerts and have the volume really low. Each rank would be delayed so that if you walked from the stage out to the last audience seat or the FOH you had seamless sound and yet weren't really aware of the speakers.

Blah blah blah. That's all just to say it is faster for me to use a delay VST plugin than to move a track.

audiokid Fri, 12/30/2011 - 09:54

White mini van, that's so funny! Sounds like those are being replaced for the 1960's VW hippie vans lol.

I move tracks manually. I only add plug-ins if I have to. I never knew something like that would even exist. I see Cucco is here today. He uses Sequoia, maybe he has a trick for this?
I had a bit of a problem un linking the U87 track from the stereo DPA track though. I had to copy it first, then delete it and then paste it back in the same spot in order to move it. Other wise they would all shift together. Any tips there Cucco?

Paul999 Fri, 12/30/2011 - 10:10

I haven't listened to the new tracks although I will when I am in the studio later today. The conversation about time aligning is very interesting to me. I tend to not time align unless I am after as direct a sound as possible and wanting to loose much of the room. I tend to not time align tracks in these types of recordings letting the image soften with the combination of different mics. You guys are obviously competent with time aligning. I am wondering why are you both so much in favor of time aligning. I've never really experience the sonic impact as better just different and depending on what I am after is what I choose.

TheJackAttack Fri, 12/30/2011 - 10:23

If you don't align the close mic with the room mic and you have more than a couple feet of distance, you will get a weird Doppler effect and it will not sound clean in any circumstance. This is true whether the close mic is prominent or in a supporting role. It is always very evident in classical instrumental recording. It is less so in choral work simply due to the fact very few choirs sound crisp and tight. Anonymous 4 would be a different story but not many choirs can actually sing in modes either.

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