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Favorite piano mics?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Keyboards' started by jonyoung, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2001
    Recorded an upright piano tonight (among other things).

    One sm57 about four feet back...sounded awesome (believe it or not).

    The end justifies the means....
     
  2. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I'll throw in another vote for the Earthworks omni's. Gotten great results with those.

    I think the best sound I've ever gotten, however, was with Royer ribbon microphones. It was a fairly bright Yamaha piano, so they may have taken a little edge off, but still the sound was very natural. We had an SF-12 fairly close to the piano and a pair of R121's outside in the room, and I actually preferred the R121's. Not sure if it had more to do with the microphones or the position, but they all sounded great in any case.

    -Duardo
     
  3. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Telarc......those guys are Gods! I have Oscar Peterson Live in Paris on that label, phenomenal sounding. Well, I have lots of mics to look at now. Fortunately, some of them are in friends' collections for auditioning purposes, others I guess I'll try on approval. By all means, keep the suggestions coming, and thanks for all the encouragement and input. If anyone ever makes it through Nashvegas here, please look me up.
     
  4. henryrobinett

    henryrobinett Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2002
    For the jazz I do 9' is the piano, but we rarely have one. Theonly other mic pair I've used in my limited piano experience is Royer 121. Sounded great.

    All the real jazz pianists use 9 footers. Chick Corea, Jarrett, Hancock (when he plays one).

    But nobody has an answer for my query? For my Mobile rig I have a couple of AT4050s and a couple of Oktava MK012s. I'm figuring the Oktavas on the overheads; they're bright, and the AT4050s on the piano. We like a slightly darker piano sound, rather than the usual very bright sound found in pop music.
     
  5. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Wish I could help, henry, but I haven't used either of those mics. Let us know how it works, seems you're elected mad scientist for this one!
     
  6. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    The AT4050 are fairly bright and neutral. How well do they perform in close-mic omni mode? I assume this is how the piano would be mic'ed, to avoid proximity issues.
     
  7. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I'm not really familiar with the Oktava microphones, but from what I've heard I'd probably agree that the relatively neutral 4050's would be a better choice for a piano. Nice to have the different pattern options for different sounds, etc. I've used 414ULS's and gotten fine results with them, and they're somewhat similar.

    -Duardo
     
  8. henryrobinett

    henryrobinett Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2002
    Yes, mad scientist indeed. It won't be for a little while till I record our group with the piano/drums. These are my new utility mics. I'm not that familiar with them either. That's why I'm asking. Sometimes I like to KNOW as much as possible before experimenting. Hmm. That's not really possible is it? That's why I'm more the musician than the engineer. Only YOU know what works for you anyway, right?

    I'm much more familiar with our studio mics and these aren't included in them.

    Yeah, I'm much more familiar with the 414s and if the 4050s are in this same ballpark I'm happy.

    Thanks!
     
  9. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Henry,

    I see you are in Sacramento, where? I'm in Orangevale.
     
  10. henryrobinett

    henryrobinett Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2002
    bgavin,

    Yes, I too noticed you're in Sac. I'm in the south area. Pocket/Greenhaven.

    How long have you been here? Shoot me a PM. Or h.robinett@comcast.net.
     
  11. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    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?
     
  12. slicraider

    slicraider Guest

    I recently used a Neuman U47 and an AKG 451. I placed the 47 over the harp about 18" were it sounded best when I stuck my head under the hood. This spot is individual to most pianos I encounter. I put the 451 about 3" back over "c" one octave over middle "c" around 10" high facing the high end of the keys. The sound was very open and warm with a nice high end to it that wasn't too glassy. I warmed up the 451 and brightened the 47 using the J9000's channel EQ. No compression was used at tracking. :p:
     
  13. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    slicraider, My mentor (now in the big studio in the sky) taught me the under the hood appraoch for where to mic anything. It's the most common sense recording technique I ever learned. Nice to see someone else endorse it! My reason for starting this thread is I need to beef up my mic collection this coming year, and I hope/expect the grand to become a main attraction, being I'm one of the very few project level studios in Nashville to have one in a decent size room. I'll have to scour the want ads for a 47.
     
  14. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2000
    C12's into a BA racked Neve 3405, U87's into the AD MP-2 Tube Pre, or if the top of the piano is off Sony 800G's into the AD MP-2 is effin' awesome. If I compress I usually have the ratios at about 8:1 but the threshold set very high so it only touched the mad dynamics, if at all. I've become a fan of the Aphex CX compressors on Piano with the Nightpro EQ3D post compressor with a smig-a-meter of Air (if needed) and whatever is nessasry there after.
     
  15. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Thanks e-cue! The Sonys are a new one on me, I'll have to do some homework. Love the C12. Thanks for the pre & comp recommendations too.
     
  16. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Home Page:
    Back in my day . . .

    I depends on what kind of piano music you are recording. Once you get a feel for mics you know what I mean.

    For example; if I am doing a solo piano piece that uses the full range of keys I would opt for a pair of Neumann u-87s in a stereo pair over the hammers or perhaps a foot below the hammers (depending on how bright I want it). Why? Because a u-87 tends to capture all frequencies at the same volume (very little bass or treble boost). It also has fairly uniform proximity effect within the full of the piano keys so the far away bass or treble keys will be about the same volume as the middle of the keyboard.

    But if I am doing a country, jazz or blues session I would opt for a AKG 414 stereo pair closer to the hammers. Why? to get the bright attack sound of the hammers hitting the strings for that "cut through" piano sound I will want on the brief piano solos I need to boost in the mix.

    If the piano is the feature instrument in a fairly crowded mix I just might choose to emphasize the high notes by putting a small condensor (AKG452) on the top 1/3 of the harp near the hammers and an 87 somewhere in the lower middle of the soundboard. You won't get an even full-range of the piano sound, but for a pianist who plays mostly bass notes to chords with his left hand and a lot of fast notes up top it will give you the clarity and definition for his high range solos that he will probably want to show off.

    Bottom line, be adaptable and experiment.
     
  17. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Home Page:
    and one more thing...

    when you are miking the hammers, do not point the mic directly at the top of the hammers. Is that what you want to hear - the sound of wood mechnisms dropping felt? No, you want the sound of the string right at the point of impact. Move the mic a few inches below the hammers and point them at the spot where the hammer hits thee string.
     
  18. Fruition2k

    Fruition2k Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Location:
    South Florida
    Favorite ??? Might be far out of reach for many but one Jazz session I assisted for Mack Emerman when I was at Criteria we used an AKG stereo C24 on the Eric Clapton (Layla) Steinway piano. What else can I say but OMG - beautiful - and going though an SSL6000 to a Mitsubishi X800. Everytime I think about it I want to sell my M269 and get an SM69 or C24....but....that legendary piano is 80% of the equasion.... so magical.
     
  19. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Dean, There was a C24 at the school I attended back in the '70's......wish I had the budget!
     
  20. sosayu2

    sosayu2 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    my personal favorite is a pair of km 84's and a pair of neve 1073's....good combo for the grand piano.
     

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