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piano miking + others...(many questions)
Old 1st June 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
piano miking + others...(many questions)

Hello there!

I just finished build my studio, made it for producing music and practice, and sometimes rehearsals.. and I wondering I might able to make my own records here, so I recorded some samples of piano.

Myself is a teacher, and I've been playing jazz/pop for a while professionally, now feel like it's time to make my own records


1st question : I recorded 3 different style of playing to capture high, low, and mid.


How can I capture this piano sound better?

I used shure ksm141 mp , spaced but I just assumed and put 2 mic for high and low.


2nd question : after you hear this clip, do you guys think is it able to make a good sounding records here?

I'm trying to make a jazz records that feature

Upright bass, drums, vocal, horn section (trp, alto, tenor), and electric & acoustic guitar with very experienced musicians.

most of the songs would be piano(and synth), upright bass(and arco as well), drums, guitar, and singer.

horns will be feature maybe 2 song I think.


3rd question : I have these gears ;

interface : apollo x8p
mics : shure ksm141 mp, akg C414 xls X 1, Lauten Audio LA-320 x 1

and getting nohype LRM-2 mp end of this month.


after getting LRM-2, my plan is

LRM-2 on piano
C414 on Bass
ksm141 mp on drum overheads
LA-320 for vocal

does it seems good idea?

if not, let me know your opinion !

and welcome to advice on mics as well, (able to spend ~500$ more)


Thanks in advance
Attached Thumbnails
piano miking + others...(many questions)-img_6850.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-img_6848.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-img_6847.jpg  
Attached Files

piano 1.mp3 (1.71 MB, 359 views)

piano 2.mp3 (717.8 KB, 355 views)

piano 3.mp3 (1.48 MB, 348 views)

Old 1st June 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

First off, congratulations on a beautiful room. I'm glad to see a bit of treatment, especially in the corners. Looks like a comfortable environment in which to work, which in a lot of ways is as important as anything else.

Your piano recordings sound pretty good as they are. Thanks for including pictures! As for how to improve them, a number of factors are involved. Piano can be one of the trickier instruments to record, strictly because of the sheer size of the instrument and how they interact with the room. Some things to keep in mind:

1.) Piano works differently in a mix with other instruments than it does as a solo instrument. Because the pitch range on a piano is massive, it can fight for space with nearly everything. So while a lush, full range, and roomy piano recording is what you want for solo work, what you need in a mix is a piano that slots in around your other instruments so you can hear everything. I only mention this because I know that sometimes it can be hard to separate the pianist who wants a great sounding piano recording from the recordist who wants to put together a great mix. Context is going to dictate how you want to approach your capture, to a degree.

2.) I think for solo pieces you can afford to capture a little more of your room. Try this: C414 on the lower register, LA-320 on the upper register, KSM141's in an x/y or ORTF configuration two or three meters out from the piano fired at the lid. These are just ballpark suggestions bassed on nothing more than the pictures you provided. The best thing would be to have someone play the piano while you walk around your space and place the room mic pair where you think the piano sounds best. In this case, you want to get the mics literally as close to where your ears were as possible.

3.) Close mics: obviously, the closer you place the mics to the hammers, the brighter and more articulate the resulting sound will be. Farther back on the soundboard will result in a smoother, more mellow sound. A good rule of thumb for striking a balance between the upper and lower registers of the instrument is farther back up top and closer up down low. Experiment a bit with mic placement on both ends of the instrument and you should find a sweet spot for both.

4.) Mic placement can also be somewhat dependent on the style of music you are playing. For example, you might find it advantageous to place mics farther back on the soundboard in general for a softer, more mellow piece of music, while placing the mics closer to the hammers might better suit a piece of music with an edgier, more aggressive tone.

5.) Be sure to check for phase coherence when using multiple mics on the piano. You often times won't need to pan the piano as wide in the mix as you might think. You want to be sure you aren't introducing any weird phase interactions by panning the mic channels closer together.

6.) A ribbon mic, by virtue of the way they work (fig 8 pattern) might be a little tricky to place on the piano in an ensemble recording situation. You run the chance of either picking up too much bleed from other instruments (drums, in particular) or picking up bad phase interactions from the early reflections off the lid of the piano or both. I'm not saying don't try it. I'm just saying you might have to experiment a bit to get it to work, and even then you might decide on a different mic. Typically speaking, uni-directional microphones are your friends when trying to record more than one instrument in the same room. So are gobos. You'll probably want to build some gobos.

Sorry for the book, but I hope this helps. I concentrated on the piano recording aspect of your post more than the jazz recording parts because the jazz recording parts of your post probably warrant their own thread. Recording a piano is a big enough topic on its own.

Last edited by Mag J; 1st June 2019 at 08:36 AM.. Reason: clarity's sake
Old 1st June 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
Wow thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post
First off, congratulations on a beautiful room. I'm glad to see a bit of treatment, especially in the corners. Looks like a comfortable environment in which to work, which in a lot of ways is as important as anything else.

Your piano recordings sound pretty good as they are. Thanks for including pictures! As for how to improve them, a number of factors are involved. Piano can be one of the trickier instruments to record, strictly because of the sheer size of the instrument and how they interact with the room. Some things to keep in mind:

1.) Piano works differently in a mix with other instruments than it does as a solo instrument. Because the pitch range on a piano is massive, it can fight for space with nearly everything. So while a lush, full range, and roomy piano recording is what you want for solo work, what you need in a mix is a piano that slots in around your other instruments so you can hear everything. I only mention this because I know that sometimes it can be hard to separate the pianist who wants a great sounding piano recording from the recordist who wants to put together a great mix. Context is going to dictate how you want to approach your capture, to a degree.

2.) I think for solo pieces you can afford to capture a little more of your room. Try this: C414 on bottom, LA-320 on top, KSM141's in an x/y or ORTF configuration two or three meters out from the piano fired at the lid. These are just ballpark suggestions bassed on nothing more than the pictures you provided. The best thing would be to have someone play the piano while you walk around your space and place the room mic pair where you think the piano sounds best. In this case, you want to get the mics literally as close to where your ears were as possible.

3.) Close mics: obviously, the closer you place the mics to the hammers, the brighter and more articulate the resulting sound will be. Farther back on the soundboard will result in a smoother, more mellow sound. A good rule of thumb for striking a balance between the upper and lower registers of the instrument is farther back up top and closer up down low. Experiment a bit with mic placement on both ends of the instrument and you should find a sweet spot for both.

4.) Mic placement can also be somewhat dependent on the style of music you are playing. For example, you might find it advantageous to place mics farther back on the soundboard in general for a softer, more mellow piece of music, while placing the mics closer to the hammers might better suit a piece of music with an edgier, more aggressive tone.

5.) Be sure to check for phase coherence when using multiple mics on the piano. You often times won't need to pan the piano as wide in the mix as you might think. You want to be sure you aren't introducing any weird phase interactions by panning the mic channels closer together.

6.) A ribbon mic, by virtue of the way they work (fig 8 pattern) might be a little tricky to place on the piano in an ensemble recording situation. You run the chance of either picking up too much bleed from other instruments (drums, in particular) or picking up bad phase interactions from the early reflections off the lid of the piano or both. I'm not saying don't try it. I'm just saying you might have to experiment a bit to get it to work, and even then you might decide on a different mic. Typically speaking, uni-directional microphones are your friends when trying to record more than one instrument in the same room. So are gobos. You'll probably want to build some gobos.

Sorry for the book, but I hope this helps. I concentrated on the piano recording aspect of your post more than the jazz recording parts because the jazz recording parts of your post probably warrant their own thread. Recording a piano is a big enough topic on its own.
Thanks Mag J! Really helpful. Didn’t know it can be a problem if I use ribbon mics with other instruments at the same time. Never done any recording by myself so I’m little scared but I think it’s better to try anyway. I’ll make some note from your advices and keep updating this post. Going to be alot of studying and learning. Quiet excited !
Old 1st June 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
Thanks Mag J! Really helpful. Didn’t know it can be a problem if I use ribbon mics with other instruments at the same time. Never done any recording by myself so I’m little scared but I think it’s better to try anyway. I’ll make some note from your advices and keep updating this post. Going to be alot of studying and learning. Quiet excited !
Right on! We all started somewhere, my friend. Don't be frightened. You already have a good idea of what a piano should sound like which is reflected in the recordings you posted. That gives you a leg up on someone who doesn't play. Now all you have to do is figure out how to make that translate over microphones. Your ears are going to be the best judge of that.

The thing about the ribbon mics is that they pick up sound from both the front and the back of the mic. You can do a lot of awesome things with ribbon mics because they work like this. They can also be tricky in certain situations because they work like this.
Old 2nd June 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
ok, so I'm trying to figure out how more many mics I needs to record basic jazz trio.

I guess I could use ksm141 pair and C414, la320 for piano as you suggested, and then I need mics for drums, and upright bass.

thinking line audio cm3 for drum overheads, and one ldc for kick drum. and one ldc for upright bass.

can you guys recommend budget ldc for kick drum and upright bass?

or if you have other suggestions than what I'm planning to do, please let me know!
Old 2nd June 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
Why LDCs for bass instruments?
Old 2nd June 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
Umm..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Why LDCs for bass instruments?
Actually have no idea why I came up with that. I just thought ldc would work well.
Like I said at first post, i have no engineering experience, just a player but trying to record a trio band in my studio.

Let me know if you have any suggestion!
Old 2nd June 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
Many of the most-used kick and bass mics are dynamics. I like the Sennheiser 602, but there are equally popular mics by Shure, AKG and Heil.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
ok, so I'm trying to figure out how more many mics I needs to record basic jazz trio.

I guess I could use ksm141 pair and C414, la320 for piano as you suggested, and then I need mics for drums, and upright bass.

thinking line audio cm3 for drum overheads, and one ldc for kick drum. and one ldc for upright bass.

can you guys recommend budget ldc for kick drum and upright bass?

or if you have other suggestions than what I'm planning to do, please let me know!
So I would use the KSM's, the 414 and the 320 on piano mostly for recording any solo piano pieces you might want to record and use a much simpler mic setup for ensemble recording, like maybe a stereo pair, or even just a single 414 or 320.

Using a single mic on piano might seem like bad advice, but you have to remember what I was saying about piano in different contexts for a mix with other instruments and solo pieces. You won't need as much low frequency information from the piano because you have the double bass to fill out the low end. Most of your melodic information is going to come from the middle and upper middle registers of the instrument, so that is where you focus your one mic. It's arguably better to treat a piano as a point source in an ensemble recording so you can pan it in the stereo field, rather than having a stereo piano take up twice as much space in the mix. If you think about watching a jazz ensemble live, usually the piano is on one side of the stage or the other. There's nothing wrong with treating it that way in your recording.

Plus it frees up 3 microphones for other instruments.

I think you would benefit from experimenting with a few different mic setups on the piano like the stereo pair, the 4 mic setup, and a single mic with the aim of using each of them in different situations. Most mic techniques are perfectly suited for only a handful of scenarios.

Just out of curiosity, what are the dimensions of your room? I only ask because the more people you try to record on the floor at the same time, the more space you really need to pull off a recording without a lot of bleed and possibly phasing issues between the open microphones.

@ Bushman - actually, three LDC's is not an uncommon drum mic setup for jazz recordings. Given the apparent size of his room from the picture, anyway, you're probably right about going with a dynamic mic on kick.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Given what you already have, I would say to try this for a jazz trio:

414 on piano

320 on bass

KSM141's overhead on drums


Maybe something like this on kick (or more like front of drum kit)

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...mic-microphone

The stealth is a killer little microphone. Might be nice on bass as well, so you could swap with the 320 and see which you like better for drums.

I'd happily record a jazz trio with that mic package.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post

@ Bushman - actually, three LDC's is not an uncommon drum mic setup for jazz recordings. Given the apparent size of his room from the picture, anyway, you're probably right about going with a dynamic mic on kick.
I have hardly any experience recording jazz ensembles, so your input probably (almost certainly) has a lot more weight than mine.
LDCs that I have seen used for kick tend toward the expensive, like the U47. I’d have to do some live testing to be comfortable that a choice from my Neumann-free mic locker would do as well.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
Another mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post
Given what you already have, I would say to try this for a jazz trio:

414 on piano

320 on bass

KSM141's overhead on drums


Maybe something like this on kick (or more like front of drum kit)

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...mic-microphone

The stealth is a killer little microphone. Might be nice on bass as well, so you could swap with the 320 and see which you like better for drums.

I'd happily record a jazz trio with that mic package.
Thanks for your thoughtful ideas.

July or early August im going to start record an album, till then will experiment during rehearsals.

I’m able to purchase few more mics.

Here are some ;

Line audio CM3 pair (wide cardioid) ; for drum overheads

Line Audio Om1 for toms.

Nohype LRM-2 ribbon pair ; for piano. Gotta think how to minimize bleed from drums.

And then I could use c414 for upright bass.

Then la320 and oh, sm58 is left.

Seems like a plan?
Old 3rd June 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post

Nohype LRM-2 ribbon pair ; for piano. Gotta think how to minimize bleed from drums.
The side pickup of ribbon mics is almost nothing. It is a full frequency null that offers much more rejection than the back of any cardioid mics, especially LDCs, which tend to have a lot of sloppiness re pattern vs frequency.
So, if you mic straight down into the piano with a pair of ribbons, often you can get much better drum rejection than with cardioids.
This is only true if the piano lid opens away from the drums. You don’t want “lid bounce” down into the back of the ribbons.
Old 4th June 2019
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
The side pickup of ribbon mics is almost nothing. It is a full frequency null that offers much more rejection than the back of any cardioid mics, especially LDCs, which tend to have a lot of sloppiness re pattern vs frequency.
So, if you mic straight down into the piano with a pair of ribbons, often you can get much better drum rejection than with cardioids.
This is only true if the piano lid opens away from the drums. You don’t want “lid bounce” down into the back of the ribbons.
I was thinking about early reflections from the piano lid possibly causing some phasing issues, but with judicious placement that might not be an issue. OP is going to want to build some gobos anyway, so the ribbons might be the trick regardless of how the lid opens into the room.

You're not wrong, incidentally, about the average price of LDC's used as kick mics. In my experience, though, a good lower priced alternative on kick is a Rode NTK. You'd be surprised how much drum kit information you can capture with a pair of 4050's overhead and an NTK in front, at about the 1m mark.

The Rode NTK os a fabulous kick mic, in my estimation.
Old 4th June 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post
The Rode NTK os a fabulous kick mic, in my estimation.
That reminds me of the Rode K2, which takes up to 160 db without whimpering and has a fairly neutral sound.
Old 4th June 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
Thanks guys! It will take a moments to actually start rehearsing and record with current gears.. but as soon as I do, I’ll update with clips! And then I can decide what is problem, and what kind of mics i need... will keep in mind those audio technicha for sure!
Old 4th June 2019
  #17
Gear Maniac
Diy Gobos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post
I was thinking about early reflections from the piano lid possibly causing some phasing issues, but with judicious placement that might not be an issue. OP is going to want to build some gobos anyway, so the ribbons might be the trick regardless of how the lid opens into the room.

You're not wrong, incidentally, about the average price of LDC's used as kick mics. In my experience, though, a good lower priced alternative on kick is a Rode NTK. You'd be surprised how much drum kit information you can capture with a pair of 4050's overhead and an NTK in front, at about the 1m mark.

The Rode NTK os a fabulous kick mic, in my estimation.
So I’m thinking to make decent gobos, but since room is not that large I dont think I can make gobos too big.

Just wondering is each gobo has to be at least xx inch thick? I heard this for bass trap, so I did it exactly what people suggested but couldnt find useful information about gobos yet.

And as far as I know, gobos will absorb sound, but in my case is it better to make them to not absorb but reflect sound? I have no clue about gobos yet so please correct me if I’m wrong.

Thank you!
Old 7th July 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shimoyjk View Post
So I’m thinking to make decent gobos, but since room is not that large I dont think I can make gobos too big.

Just wondering is each gobo has to be at least xx inch thick? I heard this for bass trap, so I did it exactly what people suggested but couldnt find useful information about gobos yet.

And as far as I know, gobos will absorb sound, but in my case is it better to make them to not absorb but reflect sound? I have no clue about gobos yet so please correct me if I’m wrong.

Thank you!

Since I took these photos I have added a few gobos. They are very useful. But what I have found is that gobos alone doesn't do the job. placing instruments and microphones in the best possible place and choice of microphones matters a lot too.

Generally, because of the drums I close mic the piano with half stick with a pair of Neumann KM183s and put a blanket over the piano. I use a gobo between the bass and the drums and I try to point the bass mic in such a way that the drums are in the null. I have found that ribbon mics are particularly good at this.

As for the horns, again, point the null towards the the other instruments and use a gobo.
Attached Thumbnails
piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0343_1024.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0340_1024.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0363_1024.jpg  
Old 7th July 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

I think your room looks very nice. I just recently bought a nice desk for all my recording stuff, I moved the drums to where the floor tom can be seen in one of the below pics. Nevertheless, the bass and the drums go on that little riser which keeps the sound from leaking to the place below. I have found an Auralex gobo which is a bit pricey but has recently come down in price. It is 4x4 which is exactly the size I need in between the drums and the bass.

Other than all that its about getting good levels, making sure the mics are positioned well and then getting a great performance.

I have posted this because our rooms are somewhat similar.
Attached Thumbnails
piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0358_1024.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0352_1024.jpg   piano miking + others...(many questions)-thumb_img_0349_1024.jpg  
Old 7th July 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
mics seem fine ..placement sounds a little center missing like a hole in the middle of all of them to varying degrees..i try to angle mics in most situations... not hit the source head on

Last edited by Sigma; 8th July 2019 at 06:13 PM..
Old 14th July 2019
  #21
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
I think your room looks very nice. I just recently bought a nice desk for all my recording stuff, I moved the drums to where the floor tom can be seen in one of the below pics. Nevertheless, the bass and the drums go on that little riser which keeps the sound from leaking to the place below. I have found an Auralex gobo which is a bit pricey but has recently come down in price. It is 4x4 which is exactly the size I need in between the drums and the bass.

Other than all that its about getting good levels, making sure the mics are positioned well and then getting a great performance.

I have posted this because our rooms are somewhat similar.
Wow Thanks!

That looks nice.

I moved piano to the right corner to prevent bleed.

Will do short session later tonight and will help some photos and clips as well!!

I do have lots of question but I guess I gotta experiment first, and will come back.
Old 16th July 2019
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

It looks like the room will benefit from diffusers on the walls. Ethan Winer has a great Youtube video on this. Basically, walls will bounce back with pitched tones (you don't want that). But the diffusers break up the sound waves so they scatter with indistinct tones (which is what you want).

diffusors are often unfathomably expensive. but there are ones that are more affordable. for a setting like yours, i would personally go for a lot of square footage of something that is "good" rather than only get a small of something that is the "best".

there is a debate on whether you would want 2d or 3d diffusors, and which ones are better than others. but the difference between something and nothing is significant. so get a good amount of diffusors (whichever type your budget permits), and put them up on the walls.

you have put so much into this room, that it would be a shame not to control some of the wall slap with some diffusion. they really make an incredible improvement to the sound.

Last edited by gearstudent; 16th July 2019 at 10:13 PM..
Old 17th July 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
Great

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
It looks like the room will benefit from diffusers on the walls. Ethan Winer has a great Youtube video on this. Basically, walls will bounce back with pitched tones (you don't want that). But the diffusers break up the sound waves so they scatter with indistinct tones (which is what you want).

diffusors are often unfathomably expensive. but there are ones that are more affordable. for a setting like yours, i would personally go for a lot of square footage of something that is "good" rather than only get a small of something that is the "best".

there is a debate on whether you would want 2d or 3d diffusors, and which ones are better than others. but the difference between something and nothing is significant. so get a good amount of diffusors (whichever type your budget permits), and put them up on the walls.

you have put so much into this room, that it would be a shame not to control some of the wall slap with some diffusion. they really make an incredible improvement to the sound.

Thank you for your word. I'm watching his videos as you suggested,

I'm slowly building stuff (most of them diy), but will keep posting how it works out or not.

I'll look for diffuser as first for sure.

Best,

K.Shim
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