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Mic for a grand piano

I am looking for a good quality microphone to mic a grand piano (playing with a full band) in a 1,500 seat church with decent acoustics and a good sound system. The music style is contemporary (the newer music is getting more hard rock like). It will not generally be moved. The lid will be on the lowest position. We have tried a few types of microphones and contact pickups some better than others but are looking for better quality solutions.


sheet Thu, 04/19/2007 - 15:50
Are you looking for better tone only, or are you trying to obtain the elusive gain before feedback?

What have you tried and what did you not like, what is the skill level of the engineer, is the mic feeding piano into your stage monitor mixes, and what's your budget?

Most churches mega and tours have given up on mic'd pianos and use MIDI'd pianos, or synth pianos. I did a tour where the piano keyboard was pulled out and a PC88 sat in there. It's the only way to get tone and decent level with a loud stage.

moonbaby Fri, 04/20/2007 - 06:33
I agree. I have used Shure KSM32 and Audix SC25s in the past, but those were both more traditional churches, with "full stick" lids.If the player needs the lid down for sightline purposes, and the band is a more contemporary rocking type, a MIDI keyboard is a much more sane approach. There are a lot of them out there, and the feedback I get from the players is that Yamaha and Kurzweil have the best action and tone.

Kent L T Fri, 04/20/2007 - 15:10
We do have a keyboard player and keyboard (triton), but we also have a dyed in the wool piano player who will play nothing electric.

Yes on both counts sheet feedback is an issue as well as sound quality. We can get a good quality with certain mikes but then suffer feedback problems and bleed. We have had a contact microphone which taped to the bottom of the sound board it was great in combating feedback but the sound quality was a little lacking. LDCs (2 different ones) are just too unruly but they sound great and the regular condenser handhelds (Audix) I just haven't really liked either. So I was kinda looking for a mic that strikes a balance between the two. Quality sound yet controlling feedback at the same time.

sheet Fri, 04/20/2007 - 18:09
Welcome to the world of unsolvable issues. You can't have both. There is no such thing as isolation and gain before feedback, when you have a 7 to 9 foot long wood box full of strings and resonator.

Your piano player is going to have to get out of the 1950s. Spend the 2k bucks and MIDI the silly thing. The piano player will not know. The sound module can be located under it.

The thing to remember is that the piano was not made to be direct mic'd. It is an unnatural sound. Then the style and technique of each player makes it sound like a completely different beast. A percussive over-th-strings-jazz set up was required by on of our players, because she was so soft. Then when the gospel banger got up there, a single Crown PZM on the resonator rocked.

These players have to understand that you have limited resources and one piano with many players and tones. In a perfect world they could have their own. The only way that they will be heard is if it is MIDI'd, otherwise, I am not putting it in the mix, and I am certainly not putting into the monitors. Gosh. Sorry, I had a flashback. Where are those green pills?

HansAm Sat, 04/21/2007 - 01:42
This might sound crazy. But a teatcher at the school i went to, back in the days, miced up a grand piano with a SM57 and a kitchen towel...

He rolled the kitchen towel into a "turban" and put it in the "hole" of the metal framing inside the piano and stuck the SM57 up trough that.

This was lid down, cause it was for television, and they(beeing the producers) didnt like the lid up..... So anyways. Just my input.

sheet Sat, 04/21/2007 - 08:17
yeah, I had an old employer swear by stuffing mics in the sound holes too. It was different. It was not articulate on the top end. TV guys do what they have/want and don't worry about the audio so much. We audio guys don't care about lighting so much, and lighting guys don't care about us. It's a funky world.

Kent L T Tue, 04/24/2007 - 17:36
Well at least we only have one piano player to deal with :P. That being said I understand exactly what I am asking. I am looking for the best balance of a not so good set of circumstances. Maybe the wording I used was not the best. What I should have asked is what mic would you use in this situation. I can always stay with what we have which is adequate but not as good as I think it could be.

Will have to try a pzm haven't tried one of those yet.

The 57 well I am not at all sure I would like that.

sheet Wed, 04/25/2007 - 05:40
You might try another engineer that works with non MIDI pianos in a concert setting. See what they can tweak to improve what you have, if it can be. Mic positioning is everything and EQ is everything here.

I still say that if you have the cash to buy any mics you want, MIDI the keyboard. She will never seen the contacts under the keys. Tell her the extra cables under the piano are for the humidifier. haha

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 04/25/2007 - 09:50
I (working for t.v. actually, hence the closed lid, to keep my camera collegues happy) have had fairly excellent results with a closed lid and gafertaped mics in the piano (either Neumann km140's or dpa 4006, but i suppose rode nt5's would work too) You need quite a bit of eq and lots of verb, but you really can get a good sound that way...