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Piano mic placement?
Old 16th January 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Talking Piano mic placement?

I have to mic up two grands for recording, our new Yamaha DC7 Pro, if it even gets here in time (Keyboard Carriage has royally screwed us on this), and a Steinway we've hired in for a few days. I can't buy any new mics or pre's right now, so I'm more interested in advice on placement, and maybe overall philosophy. We don't have a lot of time to fool around experimenting, especially with the rental. My room is 16' X 17.5', 14' ceiling with absorbtive "clouds". I will likely use a matched pair of Earthworks in an EW pre for the top, and a large diaphram, I don't know, probably a 103 or a 414 into the Vipre, for either the bottom of the soundboard (phase issues noted), or for some ambient/ room position. I want to limit the setup to 3 mics, but will use more if there's a damn good reason to. I'm looking for a warm, romantic sound from the Steinway, almost classical but not quite... and a more even sound from the Yamaha.

The room is very controlled and neutral, imparting very little character of it's own, so mic placement in relation to the source is crucial. Where, and how close do I put the pair? What should I try with my 3rd mic, and do I need a 4th? I want the mix to be stereo, but not dramatically so (ie, not bass hard left and treble hard right).

Thanks in advance guys! This forum ROCKS!!! rollz

Randy
Old 16th January 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
David R.'s Avatar
 

Not by any means an expert on this, but I have recorded a few pianos with good results using 3 mics.

I placed the small diaphram mics pointing about 4" away from the hammers (lid open), and between 6 and 12" from the strings. It really depends on the style of music and the player. The closer to the strings, the more attack. Pan hard. Don't forget to check for phase. The 3rd mic (LD) I place at the edge of the piano, really to pick up the low strings.

For mixing, I usually end up with about a third less of the bass mic. The stereo spread is not that extreme, because of how the entire piano resonates when a note is struck.

Hope this is helpfull.
Old 16th January 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by David R.
...The stereo spread is not that extreme, because of how the entire piano resonates when a note is struck.

Hope this is helpfull.
Yes David, it's very helpful, thanks! And you have a good point about hard panning not being too dramatic, because of sheer resonance and bleed. I just don't want to have to turn hard pans up toward center to narrow the spread during mixing, I hate that sound.

This won't be as big a factor with the Yamaha (when it ever gets here), because it has the disklavier system, so I can have it play itself while I mess around in the control room, and with mic placement. heh

But the good old Steinways, great as they are, will still not play themselves while you play with settings in the CR (I'm the player).

R
Old 17th January 2003
  #4
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

With a C6 or C7, I'm happy with a spaced pair of small condenser cardiods...one pointed toward the hammers at the top, the other pointed toward the bottom of the low strings at the other end. Hmm...it's hard to describe well. I'll post a photo tomorrow.
Old 17th January 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Jon,

Sounds like instead of left/right = low and high, you're going for mic 1 for attack and mic 2 for tone. Hmm, interesting. I would love to see a pic if you have it heh
R
Old 17th January 2003
  #6
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Here ya go.
Attached Thumbnails
Piano mic placement?-piano-tracking-1lo.jpg  
Old 17th January 2003
  #7
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Angle number 2.
Attached Thumbnails
Piano mic placement?-piano-tracking-2lo.jpg  
Old 17th January 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Cornvalley's Avatar
nice mic stands Jon, never seen em crooked like that. who's the maker or did you just whack a fire hydrant or something?
Old 17th January 2003
  #9
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Jon, thanks much for the nice pics. They're actually quite beautiful

Cornvalley, I've seen those booms before. I forgot the manufacturer, maybe it was Beyer. But I remember I had a big, heavy mic I needed a stand for, and those were not heavy duty enough. Be perfect for smaller mics though.
Old 17th January 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
David R.'s Avatar
 

Jon, do you pan hard L-R?

I just wish I had a piano to experiment with. evileye

Something that drives me crazy is when I work to get a beautiful stereo image and for some reason the artist wants it in mono.

This happened last year with a piano I recorded, the client wanted to pan things either left or right to sound more like the Beatles. grudge

All for the finished product, I guess.
Old 17th January 2003
  #11
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malice's Avatar
 

jon,

I want those mic stands

malice
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