recording a piano!

Discussion in 'Acoustic Keyboards' started by gibbler, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. gibbler

    gibbler Guest

    Hi! I'm a recent college grad, and I've been making amateur home recordings for years, but recently I just upgraded my equipment. Here's what I'm working with: Lexicon Lambda USB interface, MacBook Pro (GarageBand), AKG Perception 120 condenser mic.

    When I have recorded the piano previously, I was using the Shure PG58 and getting mediocre distant-sounding recordings. I know it's not the right mic for this, but it's all I had. I just borrowed the AKG from my boyfriend and I have noticed already that it is better quality than the Shure, but this is the first time I'm using it.

    I have an old Wurlitzer console piano, and I'm wondering what the best mic technique would be for this situation. I've tried recording with the top open and the mic inside, but all the noise from the hammers records and it sounds clicky. If the mic is farther away, it sounds too distant. Again, this was all with the Shure so perhaps the condenser will help. I also know that it's ideal to record with two condensers, but I only have one, and the other dynamic mic.

    If anybody has any suggestions for mic placement with the condenser in a boom stand, that would be awesome. I'm also not sure if it's better to have the piano top open or closed. I just want to get a recording that doesn't have the hammer noise, but doesn't sound distant! Thanks so much!

  2. Cubase123

    Cubase123 Guest

    OMG ur a college grad!! so am I!!!

    Admin reply " Cubase123, Obviously never learned a thing!"

    RO admin removed the part about promoting piracy and where to buy hacked software.

    NOTICE Cubase123 ! Do not talk about, or promote piracy and stealing on this website. You are now on the suspended list here. The music business is hard enough to make a living without the likes people that steal. Promoting others to steal from the hand that feed us all... designers/ publishers/ musicians etc. is the worst thing you can do for our well being.

    bye bye
  3. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Cubase, things you're doing wrong:
    1. Using MIDI for piano.
    2. Using a cracked copy of anything.
    3. Claiming to be a college grad.

    Gibbler, have you tried behind the piano about 2/3s of the way down, messing with the mic there? Most people seem to prefer the top off, but I don't think it matters much.

    You won't be able to get a good sound with the mic inside partly because of the hammers, but also because the sound is amplified by the body of the piano and you'll have problems with the reverberation, etc.

    Try directly above or behind the piano or under the keys, if that's possible. You ought to, with good gainstaging, be able to get a decent sound with the microphone behind/above the player?
  4. gibbler

    gibbler Guest

    @Cubase123 - I'm wasting a lot of money by borrowing a microphone, huh? :p

    Any piano player would play the piano if he's got a piano. Keyboards are not the same.

    @StephenMC - Good ideas, I'll give them a shot. Thank you!
  5. Cubase123

    Cubase123 Guest

    stephenMc? is that ur real title cuz it's a totally gay name, if u really are an mc u would've thought before calling urself that

    1. I don't have a midi keyboard
    2. I actually am a college graduate
    and 3. OKay i admit it i am using the cracked copy

    anyway to gibbler

    "I've tried recording with the top open and the mic inside, but all the noise from the hammers records and it sounds clicky"

    lol, I hope ur boyfriend leaves u because u probably destroyed his AKG mic putting it inside of the piano!!
  6. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Hah. StephenMC. It's a first name, plus middle and last initials. Good shot, though.

    Using a cracked copy is illegal.
    If you are indeed a college graduate, please act like an educated person.
    And using sampled sounds from FL Studio (such as the piano sounds on there) is, in essence, MIDI.

    And the AKG is fine.
  7. gibbler

    gibbler Guest

    @Cubase123 - I also hope your boyfriend leaves you, because you probably destroyed his AKG mic by putting it inside of him.

    Still open to suggestions from mature, educated people.
  8. Sethiroth

    Sethiroth Guest

    I don't have anything to add other then, I laughed my damn ass off when I read this! :D
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    If possible try moving the piano around. You don't want it dead center - say 38% in. Yes that's ridiculously precise, but try in somewhere close to that position. Another mic position to try is over the pianists shoulder - if it sounds good to you why not the mic. In general, move around fairly close to the piano while it is being played and try to find a position where it sound the best to your ears. Put the mic there. If that doesn't work try taking any removable panels off of the piano - not just opening the top - and go through the same exercise.

    A better mic is going to help, but positioning of the mic and piano is far more important.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    great advise (y)
  11. gibbler

    gibbler Guest

    @BobRogers - I'll try that out, thanks a lot!
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Uprights, spinets, console & desk piano's just don't record like Grands. It's in the totally wrong frame & wrong frame of reference. And for that reason, they are always best when a more ambient sound is desired. You're never going to get that down your throat & open like effect, as you do with an instrument as naked as an open Grand. I've even taken my numerous Sony & Sennheiser lavalier microphones stuck inside of uprights. It still remained elusive & ungratifying. So, yeah, pull it away from the wall some. I mean that soundboard is just plain aimed in the wrong direction. Perhaps we could devise a 90° device for piano & pianist? But then? How to make the music stay put?

    Thinking inside the piano box
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  13. gibbler

    gibbler Guest

    Well, if only I had a grand.... :p
  14. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Grand Piano?
    Got a job?
  15. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Remember that pianos are like women - when they're not upright they're grand.
    audiokid likes this.

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