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which pair of mics to record upright piano? Condenser Microphones
Old 11th April 2009
  #1
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once a roadie's Avatar
which pair of mics to record upright piano?

Would like a pair of solid state omni capsule mics to close mic my upright piano...$1200 pair or less...?

anyone tried these 3 zigma mics?

what else is there / should I go small or large diaphram?
Old 12th April 2009
  #2
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jjblair's Avatar
Get a pair of Chameleon TS1s, and use the omni capsules. Sounds amazing on piano.
Old 12th April 2009
  #3
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infiniteposse's Avatar
 

Not a terribly high-end suggestion, but I got great results with my Sound Room MC-012's with the omni caps through my Great River MP2NV. Great price/performance. I can't vouch for anyone else's Oktava's besides the Sound Room's pairs though...
Old 12th April 2009
  #4
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I like my km184s on the back..(for chordal definition)

or my m160s on the back (for fat simple lines)
Old 12th April 2009
  #5
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Thebassist's Avatar
 

414

earthworks

KSM 32


My personal fav but out of your price range... Kiwis!!!!!!!!
Save up and get a pair. You'll love em.
Old 12th April 2009
  #6
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robmix's Avatar
I use AKG 414TLII's all the time. Sound awesome !!
Old 12th April 2009
  #7
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 

M50s


(This is the high end forum, btw)
Old 12th April 2009
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

AKG 451's for me. 414s if i want something darker. 451's seem to cut in a dense mix better while 414s sound a touch more natural to me.
Old 12th April 2009
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Depends on what sort of sound you're trying to achieve.. And what sort of genre you're working in.. and where the piano is gonna be in the mix, and how it's gonna be focused.

I've found that a pair of AKG C414's have been able to give me a nice balanced sound, quickly and reasonable effortlessly.. Then you can choose which pre/eq you use to add a bit of colour.

I'd say a pair of omni's is the way to go, but on occasion I've had success with a pair of sdc's in cardiod.. On the back of the piano..

Depends how much room you want too..

414's would be a great option, dunno how much they are tho.
Old 12th April 2009
  #10
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unit7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Depends on what sort of sound you're trying to achieve.. And what sort of genre you're working in.. and where the piano is gonna be in the mix, and how it's gonna be focused.
+1. I once compared KM56's (which is my favourite for grand piano) to SM57's (!) on a vintage Lennonish upright. I was a little shocked... Just a tip... The frequency response of that mic just nailed that piano on that tune (pop). It didn't sound dull at all, and it has been one of my favourites on upright since then. And if you have other musicians playing close, sticking the 57's down 20cm from the top of the piano and then putting some blankets over stops leakage better then I ever would have believed.
Old 12th April 2009
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Yehh for real.. 57s are great.

Also 1 LDC tube mic (I'll take a U47 please) in the middle of the piano a la John Lennon is often the trick!

Really closely mic'd upright can sound a bit weird, when in the mix.. Imho

The space and interaction with a room becomes so much more apparent when introducing other sounds to the mix..

A decent neutral enough spaced pair in a good room.. Then pre/eq to taste!

Try the Beyer MC930's if you get along with a pair of SCD cardiods.. I think they're boss
Old 12th April 2009
  #12
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once a roadie's Avatar
thanks for the replies...

I've done a few different things - my upright is one where the top flips open and is against a wall (with foam behind the piano)...

I'm looking for a Natural sound, with the ability to pick up the close mic (what i consider a pop sound) by getting the mics close to the hammers...

My room is tile and and wood, reverberant so I don't mic from too far outside the piano.

Things i have tried:

1) pair ATM 450 side address just inside the top (pretty good but moving the mics inside to get the hammers did not sound great, I think because they are cardioid)

2) borrowed a pair of studio projects C4 with omni capsules (these I could submerge deep into the piano and although at first I felt they were colored, the omni effect made this easy to mix)

3) An old Beyer m88 on the top strings and a Blue baby bottle on the low strings (cool natural sound)...have done the same thing using a cascade fathead instead of the beyer

4) M/S from the top of the piano...cascade fathead side to side, blue baby bottle facing down into the piano just inside the lid...sometimes gets too much room, but I think good for solo piano recording...sample and photo at:

Free File Hosting Made Simple - MediaFire


I'd like a set of omni mics that have a great vibe / tone that I can submerge and get the hammers if I want them, or pull them out a bit as well...

PS - I am also open to mic/pre combo suggestions...for now, I use the UA 2-610 because that is all I have available...hence, I am thinking I don't want tube mics...I wish mojave would make the little mics in FET formation...

So - does this help?

What are the small condenser omni options?

earthworks tc20?
Old 12th April 2009
  #13
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outUVphaze's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Depends on what sort of sound you're trying to achieve.. And what sort of genre you're working in.. and where the piano is gonna be in the mix, and how it's gonna be focused.

I've found that a pair of AKG C414's have been able to give me a nice balanced sound, quickly and reasonable effortlessly.. Then you can choose which pre/eq you use to add a bit of colour.

I'd say a pair of omni's is the way to go, but on occasion I've had success with a pair of sdc's in cardiod.. On the back of the piano..

Depends how much room you want too..

414's would be a great option, dunno how much they are tho.
I second that
Old 13th April 2009
  #14
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dandeurloo's Avatar
Advanced Audio Microphones 414's for a little brighter sound or his CM -54 for a darker sound. If you want a lot of rejection from the back I would use the 414's. They seem really great about not being to influenced by the back of the mic. I also have a vintage pair of KM 84 that are really nice but for your budget I would use the 414's.
Old 13th April 2009
  #15
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gear is cool's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Yehh for real.. 57s are great.
i have many wonderful vintage mics here and i'd have to say that the 57 is my go -to
mic of choice for piano, it sounds f'ing great in a mix...who would of thought?
i'm a snob when it comes to gear too
i couldnt believe it ... but my ears sure did!
good luck w/ the project!
Old 13th April 2009
  #16
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

I tested 14 microphone pairs on piano. Despite it is a grand piano, you might be interested in listening to these recordings:
Microphones shootout eSnips Folder.
Old 13th April 2009
  #17
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gear is cool View Post
i have many wonderful vintage mics here and i'd have to say that the 57 is my go -to
mic of choice for piano, it sounds f'ing great in a mix...who would of thought?
i'm a snob when it comes to gear too
i couldnt believe it ... but my ears sure did!
good luck w/ the project!
You know now that I think about it... of all the upright tracks I've recorded at my studio I think the ones that sounded the best in the mix are the ones where I haphazardly pointed a 57 toward the general direction of the piano while trying to keep the session moving along. Every time I've attempted to choose a "proper' mic and take some time to make it sound good, I always had to fuss with placement and with compression/EQ in the mix. I think I'm going to start actually choosing the SM57 for piano on purpose next time. I'm glad I saw this thread. heh

Brad
Old 13th April 2009
  #18
Baz
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Baz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandeurloo View Post
Advanced Audio Microphones 414's for a little brighter sound or his CM -54 for a darker sound.
I just used a pair Dave's CM54's (with omni heads) on our C7 for the first time a few weeks ago,and find them to be anything but dark - especially compared to KM84 and 4050's I was using just prior. I used both the GR and Flamingo at different times, and even through the GR,they remained quite bright

Aside from one of them having the pad roll-off button pushed in and displaced on arrival (does Dave not inspect these before he ships??) we were quite impressed and I'll be using them again, soon. Added a TLM49 to the back of the piano and it was sounding pretty full.

For $230 a piece, and that's with card and omni heads incl,they're a pretty good buy at first blush.

Dave has recommended his 414's and we might try them out at some point in the future, but I think we could use a piar of his CM12's a little more at this time.
Old 14th April 2009
  #19
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Benmrx's Avatar
 

I'm always looking for a better solution to mic'ing our upright. Which also has an option for bringing "tacks" down for more of a clavichord sound.

Why have I never tried 57's??!

Thanks for reminding me how awsome those mics can be.
Old 14th April 2009
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post

Try the Beyer MC930's if you get along with a pair of SCD cardiods.. I think they're boss
+1. These are flat enough where they won't over emphasize the highs like many other less expensive small diaphragm condensers. I personally wouldn't want to use omnis, unless a huge room sound is desired. Even close up omnis are going to sound very ambient (even if the room sounds balanced, i.e. not too dead or too live).
Old 14th April 2009
  #21
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unit7's Avatar
57s on upright

Quote:
Originally Posted by gear is cool View Post
i'm a snob when it comes to gear too
i couldnt believe it ... but my ears sure did!
sounds just like my experience. and i got the tip from a veteran engineer over here. i was quite suspicious. thought i couldn't trust his old ears...
and the lo leakage thing is a great bonus.
Old 3rd May 2009
  #22
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once a roadie's Avatar
what about KSM141s?

there is a pair for sale in classifieds...

what other options are out there?
Old 3rd May 2009
  #23
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Benlittlejohn's Avatar
 

beyer 930s, 414s, and 57s.

all work well .

all work better than each other in different musical contexts.
Old 3rd May 2009
  #24
Gear Head
 

If you don't have a pair of c414's, get them. Then, if you decide that omni's aren't the best solution, you've also got other options. Lots of people will suggest more obscure mics, but c414's are really great in so many situations, especially pianos (both upright and grand), that's it's tough not to recommend them.

They also work great as live piano mics, and basically on all wind and string instruments, as well as drum overheads. Difficult to get bad sound with them, although, I honestly don't understand why you want to use an omni pattern for upright piano.
Old 3rd May 2009
  #25
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once a roadie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass5 View Post
If you don't have a pair of c414's, get them. Then, if you decide that omni's aren't the best solution, you've also got other options. Lots of people will suggest more obscure mics, but c414's are really great in so many situations, especially pianos (both upright and grand), that's it's tough not to recommend them.

They also work great as live piano mics, and basically on all wind and string instruments, as well as drum overheads. Difficult to get bad sound with them, although, I honestly don't understand why you want to use an omni pattern for upright piano.

Want omni for putting the mics deep inside the piano...open top lid and lower them in...sounds great but you need omnis for it to work in my experience...
Old 4th May 2009
  #26
I've used a variety of mics with results I was happy with. Some of my favorites: KM84's, Royer SF12, Coles 4038, Soundelux 251, U67, SM57, 414's.

In general I don't like really bright sounds and I don't like to only put mics in the lid. Although if I do I'm more likely to use a 57 than anything. A 57 really does sound good on an upright. I really like the KM84's along with something in front or a room mic.

Sometimes I like a mono mic. Often like a tube mic over the open lid. It really depends on the sound you're going for.

I put a SF12 infront of the piano on a recent session and belnded it with the KM84's in the lid. Nice combo. SF12 into API and KM84's into Purple Biz. Also had a U67 up as a room mic into a V72. Seems like a lot of mics... But I was going for a round sound. Plus, it was a really good room....

One 251 above the open top and the SF12 in front got me a more punchy tone... Also had a sm57 near the floor back a little on a track. Hit it with a MC77 a bit... sounded cool.

I usually pull the piano off the wall. Get in the middle of the room unless I want the sound it gets being so close to the wall.

I have a pair of 451 omni's I like too. But sticking them in the lid is not my favorite with any mic or atleast if it's the only mics I'm using.

Different flavors tho. Many things will work. Maybe worth trying to get your room to sound better.
Old 4th May 2009
  #27
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I tested 14 microphone pairs on piano. Despite it is a grand piano, you might be interested in listening to these recordings:
Microphones shootout eSnips Folder.
That's a great test you've done there Didier - thanks! Any chance of the WAV's?
Old 4th May 2009
  #28
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Hi James,

I can upload a part of the wav files :
1) I did not kept the first two ones that I recorded, the 414 and the 4047.
2) Most of the 12 remaining ones are in 44 kHz x 24 bit, the size of which is about 65 MB per file,
3) The last ones (MC 48, Valvet and 4038) are in 44 kHz x 16 bit, about 45 MB per file.

I did not find that there is a significant loss with the mp3s at 320 kbits. But if you could limit your choice to a few files (give me an order), I would upload them somewhere for you.

Cheers,
didier
Old 4th May 2009
  #29
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Well, on second thoughts Didier, don't worry - the differences between the takes are probably going to make a much more significant difference anyway!

Is it me or is the Schoeps the quietest and most natural of the bunch? I do like this sound.

And the Avensons sound wonderful (especially given their price!) but are very noisy in comparison - I've recorded often with these and I don't seem to recall them being this noisy? Maybe the take was quieter?

414 - not bad at all, also the 4038's.

What were your thoughts?
Old 4th May 2009
  #30
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unit7 View Post
+1. I once compared KM56's (which is my favourite for grand piano) to SM57's (!) on a vintage Lennonish upright. I was a little shocked... Just a tip... The frequency response of that mic just nailed that piano on that tune (pop). It didn't sound dull at all, and it has been one of my favourites on upright since then. And if you have other musicians playing close, sticking the 57's down 20cm from the top of the piano and then putting some blankets over stops leakage better then I ever would have believed.
Yep... if it's a rock thing, 57's, or 545's or whatever, can really surprise you. I like two SM7's.

If it's NOT a rock thing, then you can be severely disappointed.
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