The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
recording upright piano. in mono.
Old 28th November 2012
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Leonardo_007's Avatar
 

recording upright piano. in mono.

i really hate recording with multiple microphones - even if it's only two of them at one source.
firstly, because of phase issues and secondly, i don't want to spend too much time on experimenting with mic positions etc.. i want to get fast results, following the natural flow and i'm not the kind of guy who like to work with the phase reverse button.
as i know that even for drums there are 1-mic techniques that work!
i honestly ask myself why it shouldn't be possible to record piano just with 1 mic only (251 type).

i've read there are guys who think a 1-mic technique would sound awful...

why would you think i should use more than 1 microphone for recording piano?

thanks in advance for your contributions.
Old 28th November 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
There's so much to be learned from using a single mic, good move!
Once you accept the facts that
A) a mic will only ever REPRESENT ITS VERSION of a source (with varying degrees of fidelity),
B) stereo is often more impressive but not necessarily more realistic than mono,
you'll start to see how much depth can be achieved with just 1 mic, and your mic technique will improve.
Plus: mixing will be much easier.
Old 28th November 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 

One mic down near your shins, at that point where the strings cross works well. With the front cover off of course. On some older threads people recommend the SM57 which I didn't believe at first, but it works surprisingly well.
Old 28th November 2012
  #4
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

Reason 1: you want it to sound like you're sitting at the piano for solo work.

2: you want more movement in your track stereo-wise.

Both examples are best for sparse arrangements. In a rock or busy mix, mono is fine.

3: when you aren't able to get an even response from one mic without getting it too far away or compressing too much.
Old 28th November 2012
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Leonardo_007's Avatar
 

well, thanks André!

but do you think, a stereo mic-technique will sound more impressive?

i planned to increase depth during the mixing stage (e.g. panning the miked piano half left, panning the piano-reverb half right) in order to increase the stereo-impression...
Old 29th November 2012
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Ergo's Avatar
 

I love mono piano. Some of my absolute favourite records have only one mic on the piano. Most of the time, that spread out low-high/left-right thing sounds really distracting to me. It can take the focus away from the performance and melody.

Check out some of Kevin Augunas work. He gets some really nice piano tones with one mic.
Old 29th November 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 

its totally possible and i dig your approach. a m49 works great in that case.
Old 29th November 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Things to keep in mind with uprights:

Try them away from walls.
Try micing the soundboard.
Try with the cover on and off.
Old 29th November 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I love recording piano in mono, especially if it is a dense arrangement. As the previous poster stated down forget to try miking the soundboard from the back of the piano. It can work surprisingly well sometimes.
Old 29th November 2012
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Leonardo_007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
its totally possible and i dig your approach. a m49 works great in that case.
ah yes!

m49's are Al Schmitt's prefered choices for piano, good recommendation!


Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo;
Things to keep in mind with uprights:

Try them away from walls.
Try micing the soundboard.
Try with the cover on and off.
yes, i remember them.

unfortunately, some preparations and provisions are quite time consuming
Old 29th November 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Just because 2 mics are used on a piano doesn't mean it has to be mixed in stereo. The idea would be that you are picking up the low and high ends of the piano evenly. This is a practical decision. If you're not hearing the bass on the piano to the extent that you'd like, then use another mic. You also probably shouldn't be making mix decisions prior to the recording of the song. Better to stay flexible and work in the service of the recording.
Old 29th November 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 
bassman's Avatar
 

Ribbon mic out where it sounds natural to you in the room. Fast, done.
Old 29th November 2012
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
One mic down near your shins, at that point where the strings cross works well. With the front cover off of course. On some older threads people recommend the SM57 which I didn't believe at first, but it works surprisingly well.
I like this one as well. Well, except for the SM57 part.

a couple of other things to try:

push the piano close to a wall and tape a PZM to the wall

and for any instrument, over the musician's shoulder is always a possibility
Old 29th November 2012
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Stereo recordings just sound more like the real thing...and if you for example work with XY stereo micing, you won´t have any phase problems....perfect mono compatibility, possibility to reduce the stereo width in a crowdy mix...

And if you place the mics on one stand with a stereo bracket ( Schoeps UMS 20 Universal Stereo Bracket - Digital Audio Service ) , you can handle it like as if it was one mic :-)

have fun!!
Old 29th November 2012
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Leonardo_007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I love recording piano in mono, especially if it is a dense arrangement. As the previous poster stated down forget to try miking the soundboard from the back of the piano. It can work surprisingly well sometimes.
thanks Ronan! much appreciated comment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq;
I like this one as well. Well, except for the SM57 part.
oh, yesterday i was surprised when i read Bob Olhsson expressed his appreciation for the 57+58s to be used in this application.
Old 29th November 2012
  #16
I just finished up a Christmas CD where I recorded 17 choirs in 17 schools and in many cases an upright piano was used as accompaniment. As I had a limited number of channels with my mobile rig, I had to record these in mono and could not remove front covers.

I merely opened the lid of each one, aimed straight down, on axis, over middle-c with a U89 or C414xls in wide cardioid (6" above piano). Even response, natural sound. Every one of them was tickled pink with the results.

Last edited by Ward Pike; 29th November 2012 at 01:01 PM.. Reason: additional mic information
Old 29th November 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
waxx's Avatar
 

I recorded once a jazzpianist on an bosendorpher upright with an akg stereo ldc (don't remember the type, but it's a clean stereo T shape microphone he brought himself) on an siemens broadcast mixer preamp he also brought with him to an apogee rosetta/mac/logic setup.

the piano was in the middle of the semi dead but good sounding room of 5x6m with a 2.5m ceiling, the mic was about 1.5 m behind the soundboard on level of the keys on and the lid and back of the piano were taken off. That is still one of the best pianorecording i made... I just needed to eq a bit and did some parallel compression with an stock logic plugin to mix it.

It also helped that that guy knows how to play and had a very good upright. He first had a full classical training but switched to jazz a few years ago because then he can improvise...
Old 29th November 2012
  #18
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo_007 View Post
oh, yesterday i was surprised when i read Bob Olhsson expressed his appreciation for the 57+58s to be used in this application.
I must admit I once used 57s on a piano for a certain song and it did work - for that song anyway.
Old 29th November 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I must admit I once used 57s on a piano for a certain song and it did work - for that song anyway.
yeah, some arrangements and uprights practically beg for 57's.
Old 29th November 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Piano in mono. A world of possibilities. Nothing like a mono piano to instantly yank one out of the boring elevator music world or 70s CarlySimonEltonJoniNewAgeYawn category.

The song is king. If you're sticking a mono piano in there, I'd add it later in the tracking process. That way, you can try diff mic positions to see where/how the mic placement eases the piano into the sonic landscape of the other instruments.

As an aside.... My favorite pianos are bizarre and full of attitude. They are always mono. My alltime favorite mono piano is one that is heavily compressed, tracked at 7.5ips to a second machine WHILE intermittantly touching the tape path with fingers to warbleize and mess up the sound... AND .. simulaneously running the mic signal out the console direct...into a Vox amp.. WITH light tremelo cranked up on the amp.... and then micing the amp too. Yum Yum. Dripping with greasy, thick, grimey, magic ...

The Hollies-Pay You Back with Interest 1967 - YouTube

If God had wanted us to record pianos in stereo, he/she wouldn't have invented rock and roll to blow out one or both of our ears. Mono is cool.
Old 29th November 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
gear is cool's Avatar
I too love a mono mic on piano, normally its a coles 4038 with a touch of pultec eq.

I honestly can't remember the last time more than 1 mic was on it here.

Good luck!
Old 30th November 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Yep, most everything can be done with one mic, basically.
.
.
.
Old 30th November 2012
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Leonardo_007's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Yep, most everything can be done with one mic, basically.
.
.
.
i think you nailed it.

how i wish, i had known that in advance before i bought my 16-channel setup.

for my approach of making music, 8 hq channels (mixing desk & r2r) appear to be totally sufficient and could have saved a lot of money, no need for stereo pres etc..
Old 1st December 2012
  #24
If you mic in mono you have to be quite far away to get a good balance of high and low piano and my upright doesn't cut through if it's too ambient. That is the one mic compromise. To close mic you need two at least but you can keep it all mono if you like.

If it's a song that's mainly piano I like to feel near it and you would hear some stereo spread if you are near it or sitting at it. If the piano is part of a band you'd be further away and then the piano is basically a mono source (although you may want some room in stereo).
Old 1st December 2012
  #25
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Famous Yard View Post
If you mic in mono you have to be quite far away to get a good balance of high and low piano and my upright doesn't cut through if it's too ambient. That is the one mic compromise. To close mic you need two at least but you can keep it all mono if you like.
this can be gotten around in the method suggested above by initialsBB:

Quote:
One mic down near your shins, at that point where the strings cross works well
take off the lower front panel, and at the spot where the strings cross in an "X" you get both the high strings and low strings in a pretty fair balance.
Old 1st December 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Famous Yard View Post
If you mic in mono you have to be quite far away to get a good balance of high and low piano and my upright doesn't cut through if it's too ambient. That is the one mic compromise. To close mic you need two at least but you can keep it all mono if you like.
I have found one mic pointed down towards the low strings, but coming from the mid-high end will get a natural balance most of the time.
Old 1st December 2012
  #27
Lives for gear
 
donnylang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Famous Yard View Post
If you mic in mono you have to be quite far away to get a good balance of high and low piano and my upright doesn't cut through if it's too ambient. That is the one mic compromise. To close mic you need two at least but you can keep it all mono if you like.

If it's a song that's mainly piano I like to feel near it and you would hear some stereo spread if you are near it or sitting at it. If the piano is part of a band you'd be further away and then the piano is basically a mono source (although you may want some room in stereo).
This is not so in my experience. Depends on the mic, position, piano and song of course.

An EV 635a placed near the low strings under the hood, pointed slightly down and toward the higher strings will get you a pretty fair balance. This mic has a bass roll-off and pretty crisp highs, so it works well.
Old 2nd December 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 

I don't think 635a has a bass rolloff does it? It's just a lack of proximity effect.
Old 2nd December 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
donnylang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
I don't think 635a has a bass rolloff does it? It's just a lack of proximity effect.
not sure what to call it technically. definitely captures more in the highs than other dynamics, without getting the lows like a condenser, regardless of proximity in my experience. totally has no proximity effect either.

the response graph shows it starts dropping off around 100.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump