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Small room small mics for piano
Old 19th August 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
Small room small mics for piano

Hello!

I’ve been getting help from this forum, steve and others much appreciated!

I’ve been recording trio stuff at my little studio.

So far so good

Two ribbons for piano
Ksm141 pair for drum(xy or over heads)
C414 in hypercardioid pattern on ac bass and di out

I realized I have to minimize bleed, especially piano mics.
I learned that this application, ribbons are no good but anyway I bought it, and like sounds out of it(even found ribbon could Ortf, and I love the sound using ortf in my room)

So thats that,

My real question is

I’m trying to add more mics to piano and found

Dpa 4061 or 4099
Audio technica atm350
Audix scx25a pair


Heard all of them and they all sound good to my ear.

But for my application, when playing with drummer and upright bass I need mics that can sit well near hammer or string and reject room sound as much as possible.
(So that i can blend two pair mics)

Anybody experienced with those on live or recordings with full band playing together?

I have 4 big gobos ready and still experimenting.

Room is treated bit, with clouds and acoustic panel.

Thanks in advance!
Attached Thumbnails
Small room small mics for piano-fdd2f8f6-e009-47f0-b7f8-f5b6f6ec8506.jpg   Small room small mics for piano-95ab2321-8d91-483e-8c06-c37ff81da8e2.jpg  
Old 19th August 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
What ribbons? This will have a lot to do with it.

For piano, Sony mic tend to work very well. In the price range of stuff you are working with I suggest taking a look at an ebay vender called "Vintage mic lover"
Then comparing those mic's to samples at Recording hacks or http://www.coutant.org
Old 19th August 2019
  #3
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al_net77's Avatar
The Audix SCX25a can be mounted very close to the strings, since it has little proximity effect and does not need suspension. I prefer the sound of the Audix to the DPA (I use the 4090) on piano.
Old 19th August 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
The Audix SCX25a can be mounted very close to the strings, since it has little proximity effect and does not need suspension. I prefer the sound of the Audix to the DPA (I use the 4090) on piano.
Goot to know, I guess I gotta save up some for pair of audix.

But I thought dpa were way smaller so that it can reject more room sound than audix, what’s your thoughts about that?
Old 19th August 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
 
al_net77's Avatar
If you want to remove completely the bleeding in a small room you have to close the piano lid, with both DPA, Audix or even Earthworks PM40.
What kind of music is it? If the piano is in the mix and not a solo the close lid can work.
Moreover, if it is not classical and you don't need a "big" piano sound DPA will work (PM40 has a fuller sound but it is on another price level).
Take a look at how to place the Audix: https://audixusa.com/public_12/image...Position_1.jpg
Old 19th August 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
Smile It’s more jazz and world music..

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
If you want to remove completely the bleeding in a small room you have to close the piano lid, with both DPA, Audix or even Earthworks PM40.
What kind of music is it? If the piano is in the mix and not a solo the close lid can work.
Moreover, if it is not classical and you don't need a "big" piano sound DPA will work (PM40 has a fuller sound but it is on another price level).
Take a look at how to place the Audix: https://audixusa.com/public_12/image...Position_1.jpg
Ok so I have to close the lid to minimize bleed! Got the idea. Now going to goole audix and yamihiko pick up.. if my budget allowed pm40 loooks great but unfortunately too expensive..
thanks for your insight tho! Appreciate it
Old 20th September 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
Mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_net77 View Post
If you want to remove completely the bleeding in a small room you have to close the piano lid, with both DPA, Audix or even Earthworks PM40.
What kind of music is it? If the piano is in the mix and not a solo the close lid can work.
Moreover, if it is not classical and you don't need a "big" piano sound DPA will work (PM40 has a fuller sound but it is on another price level).
Take a look at how to place the Audix: https://audixusa.com/public_12/image...Position_1.jpg
Forgot to mention, thanks for your thoughs and ideas.
One thinf quickly, I’m ready to pull the trigger for scx25a but since I already have one C414 xls, do you think is it good idea adding one more c414? It just came up to my mind, when i saw a pitcure of Pair of C414 close to piano strings using clip mount and gaffer tape I believe. (Also 414 is multi patterned mic so I assume it’s more versartile than scx25a, but my question is how they reject room sound.. seems like scx25a is better for rejection room and less drum bleed?)
Old 20th September 2019
  #8
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piano or grand piano? my approach varies quite a bit depending on instrument...

in any case, i'd put the mics inside and close the lif IF wanting to avoid spill - however, i possibly wouldn't but use spill to my advantage.
i'd suggest to not set up too many microphones and use directional/fig8 mics: kick, overhead, maybe snare should do, another mic for bass (plus di for pickup) and a pair for the piano - if it sounds right, another pair for the room (or maybe even mono).
yamahiko or helpinstill can sometimes be nice (as an addition when mixing live) but on their own, i never got them to sound right...
Old 21st September 2019
  #9
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

This is my small room with grand piano. I have a pair of Neumann KM 183s into a Daking Mic Pre II. The biggest issue is controlling bleed when other instruments are playing at the same time. The work around is half stick with a blanket. Of course it causes the piano to sound a little boxey. Needs use of EQ. Not a perfect solution. I can get the Rudy Van Gelder sound if I actually wanted that sound.

Would prefer to be able to use full stick but that is not really a possibility with drums in the room.
Attached Thumbnails
Small room small mics for piano-img_0418.jpg   Small room small mics for piano-img_0422.jpg  
Old 21st September 2019
  #10
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

An example of what it sounds like. Caveat, this was an older set up before the mondo sized desk. Desk is great for daily work and mixing but takes up a good amount of otherwise useful space.
Attached Files

Nial Remix_2.mp3 (12.69 MB, 1044 views)

Old 21st September 2019
  #11
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

From what I can see your room seems to have similar dimensions. Its not idea but its workable. sound absorbers help. Gobos help. Experimenting with mic positions helps a lot.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #12
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Another example. This was a rehearsal with the vocalist in the room with a hand held SM58. Unfortunately she sometimes pointed it at in the direction of the horn and got some heavy phasing. Otherwise its a live recording in a small room with a grand piano.
Attached Files

New York On Sunday Rmx.2.mp3 (7.72 MB, 995 views)

Old 22nd September 2019
  #13
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

My point in all of this is that it is possible to recording this type of music with all live acoustic instruments in a small room. A big room is better. It takes some effort to get the piano and bass to sound good. Needs gobos, blankets, EQ, mic positioning, etc. In a big room it would sound better with much less work but space in NYC is way too expensive.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #14
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If I had more space I would love to have a real Fender Rhodes and a Real Hammond or at least a modern double Keyboard Hammond plus an analog poly synth of some flavor or another. Just isn't enough room and being able to have a quartet or quintet play in the room is the most important thing to me.
Attached Thumbnails
Small room small mics for piano-img_0421.jpg  
Old 22nd September 2019
  #15
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
piano or grand piano? my approach varies quite a bit depending on instrument...

in any case, i'd put the mics inside and close the lif IF wanting to avoid spill - however, i possibly wouldn't but use spill to my advantage.
i'd suggest to not set up too many microphones and use directional/fig8 mics: kick, overhead, maybe snare should do, another mic for bass (plus di for pickup) and a pair for the piano - if it sounds right, another pair for the room (or maybe even mono).
yamahiko or helpinstill can sometimes be nice (as an addition when mixing live) but on their own, i never got them to sound right...
The one thing I would say is that when in such a small room, it really isn't necessary to use room mics. All the mics are room mics in a way. As I have written, half stick with a blanket is workable but produces a distinctive sound that just isn't as good as a full stick in a great sounding large room. In that scenario a room mic makes more sense.

Of course, every situation is unique and it depends on how you want your recording to sound. None of us operate under circumstances so close that what works for one of us will necessarily work for others. But these are all suggestions that are worth trying.
Old 23rd September 2019
  #16
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Old 23rd September 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
Another example. This was a rehearsal with the vocalist in the room with a hand held SM58. Unfortunately she sometimes pointed it at in the direction of the horn and got some heavy phasing. Otherwise its a live recording in a small room with a grand piano.
That's a very good sound and performance - thanks for sharing!
Old 24th September 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
Great..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
This is my small room with grand piano. I have a pair of Neumann KM 183s into a Daking Mic Pre II. The biggest issue is controlling bleed when other instruments are playing at the same time. The work around is half stick with a blanket. Of course it causes the piano to sound a little boxey. Needs use of EQ. Not a perfect solution. I can get the Rudy Van Gelder sound if I actually wanted that sound.

Would prefer to be able to use full stick but that is not really a possibility with drums in the room.
Thanks! Really appreciate for your explanation and great sound clip.
I think I’m getting M160 for drum overhead, and one more C414 for experiment for now. But will remember that blanket! I’ll keep posted although it’ll take some time to do... hopefully can have little time in November to record trio. If I do that, will post some clips as well!

Much appreciate guys.

P.S still thinking to add scx25a pair as well but not sure about this Audix company. Can’t find much sound clips, or review like other popular mics.
Old 24th September 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
This is my small room with grand piano. I have a pair of Neumann KM 183s into a Daking Mic Pre II. The biggest issue is controlling bleed when other instruments are playing at the same time. The work around is half stick with a blanket. Of course it causes the piano to sound a little boxey. Needs use of EQ. Not a perfect solution. I can get the Rudy Van Gelder sound if I actually wanted that sound.

Would prefer to be able to use full stick but that is not really a possibility with drums in the room.
Where did you put the km183s? I ask because I also have them but I've some problem founding the right position, not too close and not too far...
Btw very good sound despite the small room, you've done a really good job!
Old 24th September 2019
  #20
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
P.S still thinking to add scx25a pair as well but not sure about this Audix company. Can’t find much sound clips, or review like other popular mics.
Joe Bongiorno used these on his early solo piano albums. I think he now uses Earthworks omni with his new piano.
Old 24th September 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
The one thing I would say is that when in such a small room, it really isn't necessary to use room mics. All the mics are room mics in a way. As I have written, half stick with a blanket is workable but produces a distinctive sound that just isn't as good as a full stick in a great sounding large room. In that scenario a room mic makes more sense.

Of course, every situation is unique and it depends on how you want your recording to sound. None of us operate under circumstances so close that what works for one of us will necessarily work for others. But these are all suggestions that are worth trying.
you may want to use some more microphones (especially in a small room) than may seem necessary (to blur the image and send ambient mics into efx devices) and use highly directional (dynamic) spots (and then expanders which can further help to get some 'grip').

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 24th September 2019 at 11:04 PM.. Reason: edited for clarification
Old 24th September 2019
  #22
Gear Maniac
Suggetions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
you may want to use some more microphones (especially in a small) than seem necessary to blur the image (and send ambient mics into efx devices) but tgen use highly directional mics while using some dynamic mics for spots (and then expanders) can further help to get some 'grip'.
I’m thinking beyer m160 for drum overheads, and senn md441 for upright bass. But for piano do you have any mics that you have in your mind?
I saw Npr engineer using Senn MKH40 pair for grand piano.. really expensive option tho
Old 24th September 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
Ok,

Quote:
Originally Posted by blanneau View Post
Joe Bongiorno used these on his early solo piano albums. I think he now uses Earthworks omni with his new piano.
Checking his album now thanks!
Old 24th September 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
I’m thinking beyer m160 for drum overheads, and senn md441 for upright bass. But for piano do you have any mics that you have in your mind?
I saw Npr engineer using Senn MKH40 pair for grand piano.. really expensive option tho
maybe go inside the piano with a pair of line audio cm4.
Old 25th September 2019
  #25
Gear Maniac
Line audio

Okay, that mics looks good.. i know people have been using them for a long time.
So my goal is..
Pair C414
Pair m160
Pair cm4


Going to get cm4 pair first since it’s cheap but wondering its cardioid pattern. Wondering usually how cardioid pattern sdc sounds inside of the piano(close miking)
Old 25th September 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
Okay, that mics looks good.. i know people have been using them for a long time.
So my goal is..
Pair C414
Pair m160
Pair cm4


Going to get cm4 pair first since it’s cheap but wondering its cardioid pattern. Wondering usually how cardioid pattern sdc sounds inside of the piano(close miking)
when you go inside the piano, the pattern almost doesn't matter: there is so much sound swirling around (even with an open lid or on half stick) that the only difference you'll notice is a bit more or less cymbal bleed, depending on position/angle relative to cymbals (but even this is unpredictable due to reflections) and room sound.

why a pair for drum overheads? imo there's no need to picture the drums in stereo with a minimal setup (and you can still use pan of kick and snare mics to widen the image a bit) and there won't be any phase issues.

anyway, here are a couple of pics with mics inside the piano from various occasions...
Attached Thumbnails
Small room small mics for piano-20190127_171434.jpg   Small room small mics for piano-20180506_172148.jpg   Small room small mics for piano-20190925_094409.jpg  

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 25th September 2019 at 09:20 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 25th September 2019
  #27
Gear Maniac
Oh..

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
when you go inside the piano, the pattern almost doesn't matter: there is so much sound swirling around (even with an open lid or on half stick) that the only difference you'll notice is a bit more or less cymbal bleed, depending on position/angle relative to cymbals (but even this is unpredictable due to reflections) and room sound.

why a pair for drum overheads? imo there's no need to picture the drums in stereo with a minimal setup (and you can still use pan of kick and snare mics to widen the image a bit) and there won't be any phase issues.

anyway, here are a couple of pics with mics inside the piano from various occasions...
Thanks for great info and wizdoms!
I noticed that when I closed mik near hammer omni or cardioid sounds similar, and now I understand (and learned from you!)

For drums, I’m going to try 3 mics first, and then 4 mic setup. 3 mic would be
One over head(m160)
One kick mic
One right knee mic(from steve’s technique) ksm141 in omni

4 mic would be sams as 3 mic but one more overhead.

Also, I’m gonna get one more C414 xls,
Pair of cm4, one m160 first and going to
Close mic piano using
1. two ribbon ortf + 2 cm4 near hammer
2. Cm4 pair ortf around piano’s curve(pretty close to sound source) + ribbon in AB but near strings
3. Pair or c414 in cardioid or hypercardioid near strings + two ribbon ortf

Since I like the sound of ortf using Two ribbons(there are of course drum bleed in this case but) I think no 1 or no.3 would be my choice but I’m going to keep experiment with those.
Old 25th September 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
Thanks for great info and wizdoms!
I noticed that when I closed mik near hammer omni or cardioid sounds similar, and now I understand (and learned from you!)

For drums, I’m going to try 3 mics first, and then 4 mic setup. 3 mic would be
One over head(m160)
One kick mic
One right knee mic(from steve’s technique) ksm141 in omni

4 mic would be sams as 3 mic but one more overhead.

Also, I’m gonna get one more C414 xls,
Pair of cm4, one m160 first and going to
Close mic piano using
1. two ribbon ortf + 2 cm4 near hammer
2. Cm4 pair ortf around piano’s curve(pretty close to sound source) + ribbon in AB but near strings
3. Pair or c414 in cardioid or hypercardioid near strings + two ribbon ortf

Since I like the sound of ortf using Two ribbons(there are of course drum bleed in this case but) I think no 1 or no.3 would be my choice but I’m going to keep experiment with those.
...maybe note there were no additional mics on the pianos in any of the pics i posted (except for a yamahiko on one occasion which in the end didn't get used) - and what i meant when saying more mics than seemingly necessary, i was thinking about additional room mics.

the rationale behind this is to get a solid picture from few close mics (and not a blurry image due to phase offsets between multiple mics on a same instrument) but then add room sound to whatever extent you wish, maybe from a coincident pair and a very widely spaced a/b pair (only to widen the picture/get some air).

i do use multiple mics on piano as well, but only if i can/want to/need to picture the instrument in multiple ways and let the musician (and/or producer) decide - if so, i often use a pair inside, a pair or trio on the outside, a 'main' pair and/or ambis, depending on various factors of the venue/room/hall.

same for drums: i would drop the right knee mic in favour of a dedicated snare mic (with spill from the hats); if using right knee mic, i'd forget about the overhead. only with a fully miked up kit, i'd use oh's plus maybe right knee mic - in this order...

but hey, use whatever does the trick - good luck, have fun and keep us posted!




p.s. thx for your kind words but i got no wisdom, just a bit of experience...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 25th September 2019 at 12:19 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 25th September 2019
  #29
Gear Maniac
Smile Okay.. room mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...maybe note there were no additional mics on the pianos in any of the pics i posted (except for a yamahiko on one occasion which in the end didn't get used) - and what i meant when saying more mics than seemingly necessary, i was thinking about additional room mics.

the rationale behind this is to get a solid picture from few close mics (and not a blurry image due to phase offsets between multiple mics on a same instrument) but then add room sound to whatever extent you wish, maybe from a coincident pair and a very widely spaced a/b pair (only to widen the picture/get some air).

i do use multiple mics on piano as well, but only if i can/want to/need to picture the instrument in multiple ways and let the musician (and/or producer) decide - if so, i often use a pair inside, a pair or trio on the outside, a 'main' pair and/or ambis, depending on various factors of the venue/room/hall.

same for drums: i would drop the right knee mic in favour of a dedicated snare mic (with spill from the hats); if using right knee mic, i'd forget about the overhead. only with a fully miked up kit, i'd use oh's plus maybe right knee mic - in this order...

but hey, use whatever does the trick - good luck, have fun and keep us posted!




p.s. thx for your kind words but i got no wisdom, just a bit of experience...
I havent thought about room mic. I’ll draw each instrument’s placent and dimensions.
Old 25th September 2019
  #30
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by achabloop5080 View Post
Where did you put the km183s? I ask because I also have them but I've some problem founding the right position, not too close and not too far...
Btw very good sound despite the small room, you've done a really good job!
I’ve used two different arrangements over time. The recording was done with the two 183s on a stereo bar pretty much in the middle over the harp about 4 inches back from the hammers.

One problem with the closed lid is excessive low frequency information. Moving the mics closer to the hammers can help but unless you have a big enough room or a separate room for the piano allowing for full stick you will need to use EQ.

I tend to EQ at the mix stage because I’m often playing and engineering. Recently I got a Daking preamp for piano that has high pass filters on each of the two channels. I haven’t gotten this completely working yet but I will eventually find the right settings and mic positioning that I like.

Regardless of mics, lid position, blankets, room acoustics, preamps & EQs, mic position makes the biggest difference. If you get that the rest will fall into place.
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