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-   -   Offset spaced tail pair on grand piano? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-in-location-recording-amp-production/765640-offset-spaced-tail-pair-grand-piano.html)

king2070lplaya 18th September 2012 03:10 AM

Offset spaced tail pair on grand piano?
 
Today I tried something a little bit different rig at the tail end for a solo piano recording. I set the pair up at different altitudes to match the angle of the lid going up, so that the treble side mic was about a foot higher than the bass side. I thought the result was nice, and didn't seem to have any timing or phase problems.

My reason for trying this was to see if cutting out lid reflections from the mic pickup made a difference in how the sound was captured. It is difficult to judge subjectively how much better/worse the capture was, as I blended this with a front pair for my final sound. The front pair led the tail pair by about 5db in the final 2tk mix.

I'll try and throw some samples up tomorrow.

Has anyone else ever done this on the tail pair before? What say ye?

hbphotoav 18th September 2012 03:08 PM

Since you know what you did, it would be informative to perhaps do a direct comparison with two pairs... one "standard", one with your elevated perspective. Probably a hassle... but certainly better than conjecture. Ears will tell...

king2070lplaya 18th September 2012 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hbphotoav (Post 8273268)
Since you know what you did, it would be informative to perhaps do a direct comparison with two pairs... one "standard", one with your elevated perspective. Probably a hassle... but certainly better than conjecture. Ears will tell...

Yeah, it would be informative. I was just wondering if anyone had tried this before.

Plush 18th September 2012 03:48 PM

Using the two mics at the butt end and combining with two front mics is a classic way to record piano trio too.

Using all omni mics, the set up depends on precise (measured according to a
diagram) placement of mics and players.

For pure piano recordings, balls out engineers go for the butt end placement. Usually the only supplemental mics used then would be hall ambience mics.

rumleymusic 18th September 2012 05:29 PM

I have thought about it a couple times, but never really thought to try it. I guess I didn't think it would make too much of a difference. You really would have to AB it to see if there is even a slight change.

king2070lplaya 19th September 2012 04:22 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is what I'm talking about.

didier.brest 19th September 2012 08:36 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Sreen shot from Pianomania (recording of Art of Fugue
by Pierre-Laurent Aimard for DG) and from Beethoven Piano Sonatas DVDs by Barenboim for EMI. Neumann M 50 for Aimard and Neumann TLM 50 for Bearenboim ?

JonesH 20th September 2012 05:28 PM

Cool pics, Didier! Lends some weight to the method described. I will try this the next time I'm recording piano in October - should be able to put up three mics so we can compare having the left mic elevated vs not elevated.

Inspiring!

hbphotoav 20th September 2012 09:14 PM

Ooohh-Raahh! Looking forward to hearing snips...

HB

studer58 23rd October 2019 08:16 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by king2070lplaya (Post 8271955)
Today I tried something a little bit different rig at the tail end for a solo piano recording. I set the pair up at different altitudes to match the angle of the lid going up, so that the treble side mic was about a foot higher than the bass side. I thought the result was nice, and didn't seem to have any timing or phase problems.

My reason for trying this was to see if cutting out lid reflections from the mic pickup made a difference in how the sound was captured. It is difficult to judge subjectively how much better/worse the capture was, as I blended this with a front pair for my final sound. The front pair led the tail pair by about 5db in the final 2tk mix.

I'll try and throw some samples up tomorrow.

Has anyone else ever done this on the tail pair before? What say ye?

Varied tail-end mic heights confirmed in these Teldec plots also...10 cm difference only, in both cases

king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 14280573)
Varied tail-end mic heights confirmed in these Teldec plots also...10 cm difference only, in both cases

Interesting! I’m pretty sure that’s where I got the idea from, similar session photos. As far as I can remember, that was the only time I tried the mics at different heights. Didn’t notice a big enough difference in sound to warrant the inconvenience of needing an extra stand.

I have much respect for all of the different piano recording traditions, especially the Philips and DG approaches and the sounds they yield, but a Well-placed Tail pair plus room pair and/or Bricasti is for me such a reliable way to get a really good, quite flexible piano sound.

deedeeyeah 23rd October 2019 02:19 PM

by comparison to other positions, i mostly don't like tracks from mics at the tail end as they often provide a different balance between string, reflected and ambient sound than those from mics to side (or inside the piano) - some producers seem to like it tough.

to me, the lid is an integral part of the sound of the grand piano and if productions allows for using it on full stick, i almost always favor the sound i can get this way.

i'm okay to rely on tracks from mics at the tail end or blend them in if the lid is off or if they are stemming from a wide l/c/r setup (front, center/tail).

studer58 23rd October 2019 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14280972)
to me, the lid is an integral part of the sound of the grand piano and if productions allows for using it on full stick, i almost always favor the sound i can get this way.

Sure, nobody in this thread/context is discussing anything other than full-stick & with lid on.

However, the soundboard/lid system propagates not just up vertically or forward towards the audience, but also out towards the tail end, and forward towards the pianist...the lid is a hemispherical radiator. The soundboard also radiates down towards the floor

Place your microphones wherever you find the sound that pleases you the most...

deedeeyeah 23rd October 2019 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 14281032)
Sure, nobody in this thread/context is discussing anything other than full-stick & with lid on.

However, the soundboard/lid system propagates not just up vertically or forward towards the audience, but also out towards the tail end, and forward towards the pianist...the lid is a hemispherical radiator. The soundboard also radiates down towards the floor

Place your microphones wherever you find the sound that pleases you the most...

i hear a somewhat aggressive tone in your comment, no?

maybe read my post again: there is no denying that you get a different blend of string sound/sound from the soundboard/lid reflections/ambient sound at the tail end than from the side! (due to the physical proportions of the lid already, the way sound propagates, refracts, 'wraps' around the lid, due to the ratio between fundamentals and overtones at the far end of the strings etc.)

if you think that's the best place to put some mics, go ahead (guess that's what we're all doing: position mics where we think we can achieve good results) - if you do however get a chance to compare their pickup with what you get from mics which you put elsewhere, i'm convinced you might give your choice a second thought, regardless of what you've been reading or watching on the topic - takes a bit more than a minimal setup though to go the extra mile...

king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 04:36 PM

I mean, that technique has made/makes the likes of Ashkenazy, Rogé, De Larrocha, Bolet, Argerich, Thibaudet, Perahia, Hamelin, etc. all sound pretty fabulous.... It’s definitely a sound with a pedigree, not some uninformed experiment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14281088)
if you think that's the best place to put some mics, go ahead (guess that's what we're all doing: position mics where we think we can achieve good results) - if you do however get a chance to compare their pickup with what you get from mics which you put elsewhere, i'm convinced you might give your choice a second thought, regardless of what you've been reading or watching on the topic - takes a bit more than a minimal setup though to go the extra mile...


deedeeyeah 23rd October 2019 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by king2070lplaya (Post 14281254)
I mean, that technique has made/makes the likes of Ashkenazy, Rogé, De Larrocha, Bolet, Argerich, Thibaudet, Perahia, Hamelin, etc. all sound pretty fabulous.... It’s definitely a sound with a pedigree, not some uninformed experiment.

i say this is the usual killer argument, throwing up some big names... - well then:

the engineers working for those artists used vastly different mic setups, be it occasionally or during different periods of the artist's career. there's hardly anyone sticking to the same formula all the time (anymore).

no, i don't think they all sound fabulous (all the time)!

and i happen to have worked for two musicians on your list (and a few more i could add) and neither the artists nor their agents nor the producers nor the conductors (if there was any) forced me into using mics at the tail end!

(in addition to the mains and sometimes ambis, i mostly use two different systems in parallel to offer a choice - none at the tail end though)

___


funny you mention perahia: i just recently got to record and mix a demo for a local pianist who brought along a recording of perahia as a reference - while there is no doubt the maestro played with greater authority and got to play on a much better instrument, the young pianist opted for a much different soundfield during mixdown - imo for very good reasons! taste of course may vary...

(i might even still have those tracks somewhere)

king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 05:42 PM

jummpp

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14281360)
i say this is the usuall killer argument, throwing up some big names... - well then:

the engineers working for those artists used vastly different mic setups, be it occasionally or during different periods of the artist's career. there's hardly anyone sticking to the same formula all the time (anymore).

no, i don't think they all sound fabulous (all the time)!

and i happen to have worked for two musicians on your list (and a few more i could add) and neither the artists nor their agents nor the producers (nor the conductor in one case) forced me into using mics at the tail end!

(in addition to the mains and sometimes ambis, i mostly use two different systems in parallel to offer a choice - none at the tail end though)

___


funny you mention perahia: i just recently got to record and mix a demo for a local pianist who brought along a recording of perahia as a reference - while there is no doubt the maestro played with greater authority and got to play on a much better instrument, the young pianist opted for a much different soundfield during mixdown - imo for very good reason! taste of course may vary...

(i might even still have those tracks somewhere)


king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 05:53 PM

ugh, what are we even doing here?

You don’t like tail piano techniques. Good for you! This is a thread started years ago for people who are curious about them. You have nothing to add to it. Maybe go scream into the void about your lack of taste and disregard for recording history in a different thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14281360)
i say this is the usuall killer argument, throwing up some big names... - well then:

the engineers working for those artists used vastly different mic setups, be it occasionally or during different periods of the artist's career. there's hardly anyone sticking to the same formula all the time (anymore).

no, i don't think they all sound fabulous (all the time)!

and i happen to have worked for two musicians on your list (and a few more i could add) and neither the artists nor their agents nor the producers (nor the conductor in one case) forced me into using mics at the tail end!

(in addition to the mains and sometimes ambis, i mostly use two different systems in parallel to offer a choice - none at the tail end though)

___


funny you mention perahia: i just recently got to record and mix a demo for a local pianist who brought along a recording of perahia as a reference - while there is no doubt the maestro played with greater authority and got to play on a much better instrument, the young pianist opted for a much different soundfield during mixdown - imo for very good reason! taste of course may vary...

(i might even still have those tracks somewhere)


deedeeyeah 23rd October 2019 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by king2070lplaya (Post 14281389)
ugh, what are we even doing here?

You don’t like tail piano techniques. Good for you! This is a thread started years ago for people who are curious about them. You have nothing to add to it. Maybe go scream into the void about your lack of taste and disregard for recording history in a different thread.

appreciate your friendly tone... - nevermind, keep looking for confirmation of your prejustice!

king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 06:03 PM

I meant it in the kindest way possible :-)

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14281393)
appreciate your friendly tone... - nevermind, keep looking for confirmation of your prejustice!


king2070lplaya 23rd October 2019 10:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Piano two ways, for a concerto audition tape.

I cannot for the life of me understand why GS uploader has so much trouble with phone photo orientation....

studer58 24th October 2019 05:16 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Deedeeyeah..... in the Klavier pdf attachments in post #10 above and here below you'll see multiple mic pairs in use, for different sonic perspectives...we will never know in which combination they were used (or even abandoned/discarded) in the CD's they were used for....

At best, it illustrates everybody's point here that there are inevitably as many mic placement possibilities as there are opinions and tastes in piano sound ...and my preference will likely not mirror yours, and vice versa.

I have experimented with under the lid placement and generally found it unsatisfactory: ditto with cardioid and near coincident miking...but that is not to say you can't record piano that way, if it's a means to your desired end ? I'm sure many successful and revered records/CD's have been....and also with M-S, Soundfield, ribbon mics, Blumlein, PZM etc

We can all post famous names, stage and mic pdf's and photos...at the end of the day they just confirm or refute biases and preferences...that's all.

This is a thread about tail-end placement...if one is unable to contribute illuminating or helpful material, what is the point of adding (apart from registering an affront to your preconceptions, or wanting to be provocative & argumentative ?)

deedeeyeah 24th October 2019 09:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 14282353)
Deedeeyeah..... in the Klavier pdf attachments in post #10 above and here below you'll see multiple mic pairs in use, for different sonic perspectives...we will never know in which combination they were used (or even abandoned/discarded) in the CD's they were used for....

At best, it illustrates everybody's point here that there are inevitably as many mic placement possibilities as there are opinions and tastes in piano sound ...and my preference will likely not mirror yours, and vice versa.

I have experimented with under the lid placement and generally found it unsatisfactory: ditto with cardioid and near coincident miking...but that is not to say you can't record piano that way, if it's a means to your desired end ? I'm sure many successful and revered records/CD's have been....and also with M-S, Soundfield, ribbon mics, Blumlein, PZM etc

We can all post famous names, stage and mic pdf's and photos...at the end of the day they just confirm or refute biases and preferences...that's all.

This is a thread about tail-end placement...if one is unable to contribute illuminating or helpful material, what is the point of adding (apart from registering an affront to your preconceptions, or wanting to be provocative & argumentative ?)

it's not about being provocative: i outligned a few findingings which i HOPE can help others to reconsider their choice - i find this more valuable than preaching the same gospel over and over and claim intellectual superiority...

interestingly enough, i didn't get to hear any argument against what i brought up besides personal attacks - something i experience rather often here and may i say, mostly from less experienced folks...

i wish i'd get to hear more from folks who have not been blindly copying things for ages but got challenged under widely varying conditions, from working with crappy gear to all the nice toys, from amateur to world class artists, from location recording to studio production to mastering to broadcasting, from analog to digital, from minimal mic setups to high channel count productions but most importantly, from jazz to (european) classical and beyond (say indian classical on to pop, rock, metal).

it's this broader perspective which i miss - but to get back to our piano topic: put a (measurement) mic close to the strings of a piano, start by the hammers, move to the middle and then to the tail, repeat at some distance - where do you get that typical piano sound? is it really towards the tail? in my experience, very, very rarely so - i mostly do not put mics at the fretboard towards the head of the guitar either; do you? and how about a cello or bass?

oh, this is about putting mics at the tail end of pianos, no matter what? sorry for crashing your party...

king2070lplaya 24th October 2019 01:30 PM

Look at the title of the thread. Not only is it obviously focused on piano “tail placement”, it’s about a very specific approach to tail placement. That’s how forums work; you title a thread and, generally, that’s the focus of what gets discussed.

I’m not name-dropping artists at random, I’m referring to well-known albums on which the tail technique was used to, subjectively and objectively, great success. Rogé’s Ravel Miroirs or G Major concerto recordings on Decca come to mind. And Ashkenazy’s entire Decca catalogue, while not all gems from a sonic perspective, but by and large a pretty incredible collection, all were recorded in this way. The list is not short. It’s a technique with a well-established, well-documented, quantifiable, objective history. A pedigree. If you personally don’t like any of these records, that’s totally fine! But that is your own opinion, your own “prejudice”, to use your words. That is not an official consensus, as far as I am aware.

Also, nobody here has said that the tail technique is the only way to record piano. I don’t personally believe that. Just yesterday I recorded a session combining stereo techniques on two pianos, because these techniques are tools to achieve a desired outcome. I’ve said many times, including in this thread, that I have a huge admiration for the wide variety of piano recording approaches that are practiced by world-class engineers. I just personally have a better understanding of how to use this one technique to make good piano recordings than I do of others. And so it’s what I talk about on this knowledge-sharing forum.

As to the ad hominem attacks you receive, it may have something to do with your generally dismissive demeanor towards other members’ largely uncontroversial thoughts and opinions. Your attitude, and I honestly mean this constructively, seems not to be one of curiosity and understanding, but of arrogant authority and an unwillingness to participate in conversations in a constructive way, which are counterproductive to the exercise of a “forum”. You’re obviously not alone at GS with that kind of attitude, but if you’re feeling like you’re constantly under attack here, maybe consider your own tone as well.

KB


Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14282591)
oh, this is about putting mics at the tail end of pianos, no matter what? sorry for crashing your party...


deedeeyeah 24th October 2019 01:54 PM

it's not that i'm having issues in general with this site (on the contrary, i made friends here with whom i started conversations in this public forum, expanded to a private level, met them and in some cases even started working together), it's just that a few members try shouting down any voice outside their group think and possibly feel challenged by contradicting views... - to put it in the kindest way possible :-)

nevermind and good luck!

studer58 24th October 2019 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14282887)
it's not that i'm having issues in general with this site (on the contrary, i made friends here with whom i started conversations in this public forum, expanded to a private level, met them and in some cases even started working together), it's just that a few members try shouting down any voice outside their group think and possibly feel challenged by contradicting views... - to put it in the kindest way possible :-)

nevermind and good luck!

It may be just the opposite....that your own 'private-think' is so narrow and inflexible that you are unable to entertain the possible validity of an alternate approach, whether that alternate has proven historical or theoretical underpinnings or not. Beware of the dogma that bites the owner....

Here is some source material to exercise your canine teeth upon: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/DeccaTr...Tryggvason.pdf

deedeeyeah 24th October 2019 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 14282924)
It may be just the opposite....that your own 'private-think' is so narrow and inflexible that you are unable to entertain the possible validity of an alternate approach, whether that alternate has proven historical or theoretical underpinnings or not. Beware of the dogma that bites the owner....

Here is some source material to exercise your canine teeth upon: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/DeccaTr...Tryggvason.pdf

once more, you (guys) are trying hard to make me look like an illiterate sociopathic fool, incapable of getting the fine lines and inner mechanism of great art...

funny then how i managed to survive and flourish, keep getting hired, lead a company, work in different fields, teach, research etc?!

it's true that i'm somewhat allergic to sharing 'common knowledge' the way it often happens over here (as in this thread) - case in point:

___

to judge whether a chosen technique was well suited, it's not enough to refer to basic mic technique, cite historic examples, bring up big names or show a pic of a setup you recently used yourself - they are all missing context:

who, where, when, what general/specific technique, tape or digital, cd or broadcasting, radio or tv, vinyl, fm or dab, mono, steron or surround, what surround format, budget, time frame, post production, mastering etc.

since many of these parameters cannot get qualified, imo it's mostly pointless to argue along the historical lines as there simply isn't enough information available: we were not there, we (mostly) know nobody who was involved, documenation is poor - high time for urban legends, myths, dubious advocats etc.

it's not that bringing up capitol! vienna! decca! deutsche grammophon! (insert) composer! (insert) artist! (insert) engineer! tape! dsd! fazioli! etc. and everything immediately becomes clear...

___

what i'm more into is (and what i suggested earlier on and in various other threads) is that - if making any claims - it's manadatory to provide evidence by doing comparisons: set up the very same mic system, with the same angle, at the same distance and move from head to tail...

COULD BE that the recording from the tail end shows a quality not found in recordings done in other places!

next step would be to hear those tracks maybe with gentle dynamic control (to compensate for proximity) or small filter adjustments (to compensate for specific room characteristics), then together with mains, maybe ambis, with and without some artificial room sound - many more things to dig into but with more and more bases covered, one might bring up historical examples, references and start comparing, deconstructing things, one after the other...

... before (maybe) getting to the conclusion that in that very specific situation, a specific setup had an edge over another setup, but maybe just regarding a specic quality and less regarding another.

___

that's the way i pratice (and teach) things here - could be you're not much interested in any of this or better don't wanna participate in my idiosyncratic foolishness: all fine, just don't claim to have investigated everything on end and know so much better than me or others: chances are you don't and most likely not so when it comes to practical experience...

king2070lplaya 24th October 2019 05:11 PM

I did the learn the technique directly from someone who was there engineering the sessions, who taught it to me very specifically, provided concise and accurate documentation, etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14283044)
since many of these parameters cannot get qualified, imo it's mostly pointless to argue along the historical lines as there simply isn't enough information available: we were not there, we (mostly) know nobody who was involved, documenation is poor - high time for urban legends, myths, dubious advocats etc.

it's not that bringing up capitol! vienna! decca! deutsche grammophon! (insert) composer! (insert) artist! (insert) engineer! tape! dsd! fazioli! etc. and everything immediately becomes clear....


Klimermonk 24th October 2019 05:42 PM

Knowing what you know then Kevin, if you did a video just on DECCA tail I would watch the crap out of it. Hint :lol:

I got started using tail bc of Hudson, years ago. Never felt like I mastered it.

king2070lplaya 24th October 2019 05:52 PM

I don’t much see the value in reinventing the wheel in this way.

I’m all for experimentation and proofing results, developing NEW techniques , but much like in the scientific community, we don’t need to (and don’t really have time to) repeat all this experimentation; a lot of well-documented work has been done for us over the last half century!

The difficult part I think is getting access to the specific documentation for a lot of it, and acquiring the mentorship to help us understand exactly what’s been done. This thing we’re doing is a combination of art, trade, and science, and I’ve found it very similar to learning a musical instrument. You find a teacher, you follow a tradition, you practice and hone your skills.

In my mind jumping from technique to technique, constantly testing unfamiliar approaches and techniques, while this can give a good broad overview of what might be achievable, it is not a good way to hone ones skills. You must choose a method and whittle away at it, learn it inside out, before you can truly be a master at it. I think this is what you’re also saying, but I think your approach is flawed in that you see the history as an abstract and inaccurate concept, and I see it as a tradition that one ignores or dismisses at their own peril. There is no artist or tradesman in the world that developed their craft in a vacuum.



Quote:

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah (Post 14283044)
what i'm more into is (and what i suggested earlier on and in various other threads) is that - if making any claims - it's manadatory to provide evidence by doing comparisons: set up the very same mic system, with the same angle, at the same distance and move from head to tail...

COULD BE that the recording from the tail end shows a quality not found in recordings done in other places!

next step would be to hear those tracks maybe with gentle dynamic control (to compensate for proximity) or small filter adjustments (to compensate for specific room characteristics), then together with mains, maybe ambis, with and without some artificial room sound - many more things to dig into but with more and more bases covered, one might bring up historical examples, references and start comparing, deconstructing things, one after the other...

... before (maybe) getting to the conclusion that in that very specific situation, a specific setup had an edge over another setup, but maybe just regarding a specic quality and less regarding another.

___

that's the way i pratice (and teach) things here - could be you're not much interested in any of this or better don't wanna participate in my idiosyncratic foolishness: all fine, just don't claim to have investigated everything on end and know so much better than me or others: chances are you don't and most likely not so when it comes to practical experience...