Recording a piano

Discussion in 'Acoustic Keyboards' started by GentleG, Dec 12, 2001.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. GentleG

    GentleG Guest


    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

  2. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Is this a grand piano or an upright? What mics do you have now?
  3. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    And what type of sound do you want to record? You'd probably not want to record Debusy and honkytonk the same way.

  4. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    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?)

  5. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    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?

  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 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!!
  7. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    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?

  8. sign

    sign Guest


    Try to find a pair of Radio Shack PZM's for your piano.

  9. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    Hi Han

    You're from The Netherlands too?

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

    Could you explain?

  10. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active 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.

  11. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    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.
  12. sign

    sign Guest


    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 :)

  13. droog

    droog Active 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?
  14. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    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?
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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