Recording my Yamaha U3

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by mwf, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. mwf

    mwf Guest


    I am brand new to these forums and desperately need some advice and help if possible.

    I want to record my upright U3 piano at home, my set-up is as follows:

    Edirol R-09HR-high grade stereo condenser mic/recorder
    Mic stand/boom stand
    No mic adaptor, thus duct tape/velcro tabs to hold mic to stand!!!!!

    I have read numerous different methods in recording upright pianos, some say take off all removable panels and position mic inside piano, or behind, or even below the keyboard with the lower panel off. Behind the piano is out of the question, as is against a wall and I cant move the piano anyway else! Lower down I am reluctant due to possible pedal interference noise.

    I am therefore considering opening the top lid and positioning the mic attached to the stand towards the hammers/strings. I have already done some recordings with the edirol using this method, however my major concern is the kind of distortion type noise I keep getting, as if the piano is too loud for the mic or something. Yes I have checked the input level on the mic and its set correctly and there is no peaking etc... the problem is that often this 'noisy' sound keeps occuring.

    I believe it could be that the mic is too near the strings/hammers, am I supposed to put the mic inside the piano??? Or just above the top of the piano with the lid open??? I think its sounding less noisy further away from the inside of the piano, more like just above, but I am still not getting desired results anyway. This noise I keep trying to explain is like a kind of booming/rattling sound, very annoying and I am getting very frustrated with it, there is this kind of noise in many other recordings I have listened to, but they are not as obvious or loud as when i make recordings. I can hear this noise on my stereo/speakers often when listening to other music/cd's etc... and its down to the speakers no doubt, but on my recordings they are far more obvious and noticable indicating
    I am not placing the mic properly near the piano or something.

    Can anyone throw any advice or suggestions my way? Would be greatly appreciated, oh and I am very new to recording with a mic set-up.


  2. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Could you post an example of the noise? It could be the recorder rattling against the stand, or maybe too high sound pressure level. (Or a number of other things)

    For microphone placement keep in mind that with one microphone sound dissipates as the 1/ distance squared. To get an even tone across all the strings you would want it equal distant from all of them, but then the microphone would have to be far away. The further away, the more room sound you will have.

    One microphone on a piano is always hard. It depends on the piano, the room, the player, the style of music. Really, it just depends on what it sounds like. Normally I would poke my head around the piano until I heard the tone I wanted, and start with the microphone there.

    A technique that I like to use when nothing else is working, is to put the microphone just above and behind the players head. It sounds good to the pianist right?
  3. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Sounds like you have a loose speaker. When you get a certain amount of energy in a certain freq range it makes the drivers rattle.

    Have you tried your recordings on a different system?
    Does it still suffer from that noise?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I've always found it a challenge to effectively Mike any upright piano. You just can't make it sound like a Grand. But you can get a good ambient acoustic sound. With real studio microphones, we can obtain better results over the opened lid.

    Your biggest challenge is that this little recorder was not necessarily designed to be stuck inside a piano. Although you should have no problems from a couple of feet away. A suggestion I will make for you is to place it flat, on the floor within 2 feet. Placing this device on the floor will make it work in a more similar manner to a "Boundary Microphone". This will eliminate nasty reflections that will cloud the sound. This way, I think you like the sound better even on a carpeted floor? Just don't stick it down by your feet.

    There may be yet another problem. From what you describe, it also sounds to me like you have the microphone sensitivity switch set to high? And you probably have the limiter/AGC switch turned on? This will indicate proper recording levels and provide you with nasty distortion and all sorts of bloat. And since this is meant for a more ambient oriented pickup, not necessarily good in close miking situations.

    You don't have any loose parts. But you're sustain & damping pedals can produce rather loud, low-frequency clunking sounds that would cause what you've described. Switching on the low-frequency cut filter could help that but certainly would not eliminate that nasty acoustic artifact. So having the lid open may provide you with a better sound with your device further away from the lid opening. It's not meant for close miking.

    Unfortunately, this device is not exactly designed for what yo are trying to do. So high-quality microphone does not really mean high-quality microphone in this application which is largely misguided. If however you were in seventh Row Orchestra Center and you are recording a Verdi Requiem, it would sound fantastic. That's what it's designed for, not rock-and-roll. Think about returning it if you can?

    Talking to sales representatives about what you want to do also be helpful, as they may be able to help prevent you from making these kinds of costly mistakes. Stop reading specifications! It doesn't mean anything. It has nothing to do with what you're recording is going to sound like. It's also known as "operator error" and the most common problem of all.

    I promise I'm not laughing at you. (Snik snik)
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Ms. David, the op states; "I can hear this noise on my stereo/speakers often when listening to other music/cd's etc... ".

    Why would you assume it's the recorder?
    Have you tried one?

    I am keen to know as I can purchase one locally, retail and cheap... So I am rather interested.

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Greener,this person is actually describing 2 different problems.

    This person is probably turning up crappy computer speakers too loud. Loose connections? Sure,but it has nothing to do with anything electrical. Notice there is no reference to "studio monitors". No mention of listening to anything through headphones, was even mentioned. I'm just trying to get them a better recording on their gizmo.

    So if they hear sound coming out of the speakers, they're connected. Sure, you should take those 1/8" connectors and twist them a little bit to make sure they're fully seated. Speaker rattling around in the box? Cone dislodged, torn, blown up? We all know that's not the problem. It's a clueless lack of understanding. Sort of like jumping into a pool before you make sure it has water in it. "The speakers are rated at 10 Watts. I only plugged a 1 Watt amplifier into them, so I don't know why they are distorted?" That's what's going on here. Now they know also.

    sorry, I'm tired.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    I'm going to bed on a perfect A. Its 4:40 a.m..
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA

    I have one of these and I use it a lot. I've posted about it several times if you do a search. Remy has it pegged. It works great as a general xy room mic. If you are in a situation where that works as a micing technique the results are so good that all of your other expensive equipment will hang its metaphorical head in embarrassment. I recorded a lot of my daughter's classical concerts from the seventh row as Remy suggested. You should not be able to get results that good with so little expense and effort.

    I've gotten a good sound on a grand (which I sold my Yamaha U2 for) with the top at half stick and the mic about a foot in front of the curve in the body. On the Yamaha I'd move the piano into the room (the old 38% rule is probably good). I'd put the mic at least two feet away from the piano - further if the room sounds good. Try it on the floor as Remy suggested. Try it about the middle of the sound board. Try it above the piano with the top open. Try it over the pianist's shoulder with the front off.

    Update: Reread your post. Forgot you couldn't move the piano (not even temporarily?). I'm going with over the shoulder if that's the case. I bought the stupid little leather holder with the stand adapter for my R09. Seems overpriced, but it is a big help. A camera tripod works great to hold it. Very stable, light, and easy to adjust to different heights and angles.
  8. mwf

    mwf Guest

    Thanks guys, great responses. I will get an example of this noise and try to get a link for you to listen to what i mean, I have a wedding to go to now, so it will be tomorrow now.

    Thanks again people, much appreciated.

  9. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Ditto :)
  10. mwf

    mwf Guest

    I dont agree that the Edirol was a costly mistake, because it can be used for many different applications/set-ups, including acoustic instrument recording at close proximity. The manual explains ways to mic instruments etc.. I needed a mic that would record my piano well in stereo, I have no decent soundcard in my pc or capabilities to create a set-up direct from a standard mic to pc connection. My Edirol does everything for me, and its a condenser mic so it captures sound just like any other mic, why should it be so different and a costly mistake as you say Ms.Remy?

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