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Ayzed 30th October 2019 11:34 PM

Recording Upright Grand Piano on stage with live band.
Hey everyone, I’ve got a ‘live in session’ recording taking place on Friday in a small club space for a 10 piece band in very close proximity.

The room is very well treated for a live venue, and for the session there are no wedges and PA, all members will be on IEMs, but the stage is approx 7m x 3m with a small vanity extension for the lead vocal & upright piano.

I record live shows in the space weekly so know the room very well ect.

The band will consist of lead vocals sitting at an upright piano, and is also the lead instrument in the arrangement.

I’m trying to work out the best way to capture the upright and wanted to know if anyone had any advice or indeed a critique of my approach.

I have primarily for the piano the following mics:

DPA 4099 pair,
DPA 4011es pair (with stereo XY & ORTF bar)
DPA 4006 pair either as ES or A mic bodies
AEA R44 ACE pair
Royer SF24

As I only have a limited time to set stage and recording time pre live show, I am looking to probably use all 5 stereo pairs to make sure I have every option in post to mix.

The stage will consist of 3x Backing vocals rear stage right, Bass DI’d Rear center, then 3x Brass rear stage left.

Upright will be centre front, angled for the rear of the piano slightly angled to be facing the audience. There will also be either a Cajon/hand percussion or small concktail drum kit in front of the brass to the stage left of the piano, and a Nord keyboard on the other side.

My current thoughts are as follows:

To A/B the R44’s to the rear of the piano, with the null’s facing the brass trio, and the SF24 in the middle of the AEA’s so I can possibly fill a hole left by mic’ing close (as bleed can quickly become the enemy).

The next option will be A/B’ing the 4006’s on the soundboard under the keyboard so not to pick up too much vocal spill.

4099’s will be on the soundboard above the keyboard, and then the 4011’s facing down the open lid in ORTF.

The artist is a Pop/RnB A-lister so can’t leave much to chance, and although I will have a little bit of time to Experiment I want to make sure everything is done to make sure the mix is spot on.

I will also be running FOH for the show, so have two focuses for the day, but won’t have worked with the band before the session so can’t get much prep done, and band are still in pre-rehearsal so things seem to be in flux and could potentially change (upright was a baby grand until a day ago and frankly would have been much easier to deal with!)

Would love to hear any thoughts & opinions or if anyone needs any other details?

- sorry title is weird, think my autocorrect added it possibly?!

brhoward 31st October 2019 04:14 AM

Using 5 stereo pairs on a single upright piano seems excessive.

I'd think one pair would suffice? Depending upon the style of music, I'd use the AEA pair on the back of the soundboard. This will give you some isolation from the vocal and you can use the nulls of the figure-8 to avoid spill from instruments that will be a problem.

In the amount of time it takes to setup 5 stereo pairs, you should be able to setup one satisfactorily and get a sound check. Go Minimal!

deedeeyeah 31st October 2019 07:52 AM

4011's either at the soundboard, with the rears to the audience and a single 4006 inside (used as a blm) to pic up lows or then 4011's pointing into the piano with the top off (and keep the 4006).

with any additional mic, you'll pick up additional unwanted sound...

Ayzed 31st October 2019 07:58 AM

Thanks for the input guys, I’d like to clarify I’m not planning to use all 5 stereo pairs in the mix, it more to have the options later in post production!

During sound check I won’t have time to be as clinical about placement as I’d like, so it’s more about having the availability to choose different sounds later in the mix.

For the live show the 4099’s will be used, but for the recordings I where I’d like to know I’ve got all bases covered.

Ayzed 31st October 2019 10:21 AM

@ brhoward , I think my primary pair will likely be either the R44’s or the 4011’s On OH as @ deedeeyeah also said. I’m concerned the 4006’s will be far too ambient in anything other than (too) close proximity to the soundboard, but non the less would rather have the option to mute it than not have it.

As suggested, I’ll in all likelihood set up all of them as this will be done before the band arrive, but without any extra help to both set up and test myself.

Are their any other ideas not mentioned that I might have overlooked?

Generally I’m more than happy recording grand piano, but this upright seems unlikely to be easy given the parameters.

deedeeyeah 31st October 2019 11:26 AM

maybe i couldn't get my idea across with a single 4006 inside the piano: the point is not to pick up ambient sound but all the low end rumble.
i'd tape it to the bottom and then close the lower lid again; any blm or pzm would do. i suggest using a single mic for this (and use an expander while mixing) - think of it as the .1 mic!

2manyrocks 31st October 2019 02:20 PM

It seems fairly obvious that you are concerned about the piano recording and won't have a lot of time. The thing that adds extra pressure here is that you will also be running FOH. If you could get an assistant to run FOH, then you could give your full attention to the recording in the short time you have.