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Recording piano and electric guitar... Condenser Microphones
Old 15th January 2019
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post

You might also enjoy this Sound On Sound interview on piano miking: YouTube
Was an interesting vid. I'm surprised that they spent 20 mins explaining the mic setup and didn't spend time listening to the differences btw the pairs setup. Would have been even better to hear, after seeing the setup.

Tom
Old 15th January 2019
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Let's clarify, omni mics are not 'vaccuum cleaners for room ambience'...irrespective of whether that room ambience is either good or bad. It depends entirely on how they are used.

Bring an omni mic closer to the source and the proportion of that source's sound increases in the pickup ratio of the mic's total sound...it will simply pick up less room sound by being closer to the source. It will also likely sound more pleasant and rounded than close miking with a cardioid. If you disbelieve me, try some close miking with an omni. It's all about placement and relative distances.

If you would normally mic at a distance from a piano, in a nice supportive room....in a poor room, simply bring your omni mics in closer to the piano...and you'll immediately minimize the room's contribution to your total sound pickup.
Agreed - the ratio is only 1.7 a cardioid at 17cm distance would give the same room ratio as an omni at 10cm.

So - take the omni closer - and an omni does not suffer from proximity effect and will not change in character as it's moved closer.
Old 15th January 2019
  #33
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Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I actually don't normally like the sound of a close miked piano, I much prefer a softer sound with more space, and this really does go against the grain.
But, as I said, this piano, in this room is a unique case, as are all recording situations!....aern't they? I'm not going to use Omni's, it just sounds wrong to me.
When I step back and listen to my partner playing our piano, what comes out of the monitors is the closest thing to the piano when using the MKH40's, not so with the Omni's, they make it sound muffled, coloured, and very very roomy, even when used close, it sounds nothing like this piano at all.
Our room is 20ftX18ft with a 13ft ceiling, it's heavily curtained and heavily carpeted, with lots of furniture, you'd expect it to be really dead, but it has a nasty lower mid range bump, that you can hear straight away on recordings.
Because of how they are made, the MKH 40 does have a better bottom end than a normal AF condenser - though they still sound a bit thin when you compare them to teh MKH 20 on a grand piano.
Old 15th January 2019
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I did try down at the tail, but maybe not close enough in. In the past I helped a friend on quite prestigious classical sessions, in great churches and halls, his first instinct on grand piano was a couple of spaced Omni's down at the tail, about 2ft away, pointing at the player parallel with the piano. This always sounded wonderful in a great sounding hall, but that's not my situation right now!
I'll experiment with more mic positions, using Omni's, and let you know!

I never liked the mics down at the tail.

I have them further round, more close to rt.angles with the pianist.
Old 17th January 2019
  #35
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That Rode i Phone mic sounded very good, I liked the lean tight sound, compared with the other mic's, very surprising.
I wish I had a pair of MKH20's to try John, if they're that good I may put them on my shopping list.
I have a friend who recommends Schoeps CCM4/8 in an MS configuration, he says it's his favourite mic set-up full stop, especially for piano.
Mic's are so dammned expensive, it makes my synth buying activities pale into insignificance!
Old 17th January 2019
  #36
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Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Following the less is more micing theory I would spot place two of my tube mics, a flea 47 next for piano & maybe an AT 4060 for the guitar and work very carefully with the placement of these card only mics. This is a bit of old school for todays favored protocols however I am an old dude that has a lot of success using this type of capture for a duet.
Hugh
Another good less is more trick is to go old school with a pair of ribbons and the most gain-y mic ore’s you got. People forget that’s how they got live groups 70 years ago. Sometimes when I need that live vibe that I can use on Ana actual album I’ll put a pair of rca 44’s on two huge pres like RCA OP-6 and crank it. As you crank it you can close your eyes and SEE the room growing it’s incredible. It’s like you’re in the room and can hear everything perfectly balanced (assuming you are providing a balanced source).

Usually with those old RCA mics you keep the source “one hand” away at about 6” but this trick is something completely different and yields a massive spacial soundstage you might find justbwhat you’re looking for
Old 17th January 2019
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
Mic's are so dammned expensive, it makes my synth buying activities pale into insignificance!
But good mics will last forever.

They are a mature technology and, if bought wisely, will never have to be bought again.

My MKH 20/30/40 mics are all mid 1980s vintage and are still going strong, are still in current production, it's just that the price was about £350 each when I bought them.

Anything based on computer technolgy has a very short life span - after a very few years you can get something twice as good at half the price.

And, yes, I do remember when a CD-R cost about £16 each as opposed to about 16p.
Old 17th January 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
...I have a friend who recommends Schoeps CCM4/8 in an MS configuration, he says it's his favourite mic set-up full stop, especially for piano...
interesting... - although i'm a huge fan of m/s, piano is excatly one of the larger instruments on which i'm mostly NOT using m/s, at least not when getting very close/inside the piano and hence try to keep out the room to a large degree - ime other approaches are better at this and also yield a more interesting stereo field while the m/s can become a bit much mono-ish (or room/reflections start crawling in too much when raising the sides).

btw: why not use two pzm's? many models are affordable yet can give you as pleasing results as highly expensive über-mics...
Old 17th January 2019
  #39
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A pair of big old RCA ribbons brings back memories of Flatt and Scruggs in the early 50s. The precise and timely execution of their choreography was a show of it's own. The best Bluegrass two mic live concert capture today is Dell McCoury's band: and I have observed two AT4060 tubes used on stage for their show.
Hugh
Old 4 weeks ago
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
A pair of big old RCA ribbons brings back memories of Flatt and Scruggs in the early 50s. The precise and timely execution of their choreography was a show of it's own. The best Bluegrass two mic live concert capture today is Dell McCoury's band: and I have observed two AT4060 tubes used on stage for their show.
Hugh
You should also try to catch a Chris Thile (solo) or Punch Brothers show... My pal Dave Sinko often does him/them with a single U89 (or a pair) and maybe a 4099 on the upright. Cool stuff.

Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers - "Movement and Location" - YouTube

Cheers, to players, and to engineers who know when to get out of the way...

HB
Old 4 weeks ago
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
interesting... - although i'm a huge fan of m/s, piano is excatly one of the larger instruments on which i'm mostly NOT using m/s, at least not when getting very close/inside the piano and hence try to keep out the room to a large degree - ime other approaches are better at this and also yield a more interesting stereo field while the m/s can become a bit much mono-ish (or room/reflections start crawling in too much when raising the sides).

btw: why not use two pzm's? many models are affordable yet can give you as pleasing results as highly expensive über-mics...
I have a pair of Audio Technica PZM's, but was wondering where to put them in relation to the piano?
The use of M&S on piano has never worked for me, it just sounds wrong, the Schoeps combination is good though, on a lot of things, I think it's the CCM8, a lot of people seem to love it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I have a pair of Audio Technica PZM's, but was wondering where to put them in relation to the piano?
The use of M&S on piano has never worked for me, it just sounds wrong, the Schoeps combination is good though, on a lot of things, I think it's the CCM8, a lot of people seem to love it.
it's not that i dislike my mk8's (or any other schoeps capsule), it's just that i'm not a big fan of m/s on pianos - regarding the use of plm'/pzm's on (grand) pianos, i have been getting good results with mics in three different positions:

- 'taped' to the lid is best for the pzm's behaviour (largest boundary, not elevated from an even surface). if spill from a nearby instrument is an issue, it may not be a good choice though (direct sound from nearby instruments); handling is a bit tricky (trying not to scratch the polish) but i like the sound pretty much: a bit more 'dry'/direct sound from the board/strings/less reflections than in other positions. maybe not best for a balanced stereo image.

- to both sides of the instrument, nearby the frame, equidistant to the hammers - pretty much balanced regarding the registers and with the option of getting a wide stereo image. ime reflections inside the piano are so strong that you risk less of a hole in the middle than with using other types spaced mics.

- in the position where many people might put a spaced pair of mics (on the right from the pianist's perspective but inside the piano)

i like the latter the least (not so well balanced, a bit on the brighter side, maybe not enough definition in the lower register), but it has been useful to keep out other instruments (as the mics are a bit shielded from their direct sound)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #43
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Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I have a pair of Audio Technica PZM's, but was wondering where to put them in relation to the piano?
There's a good, if old, guide from Crown....page 5 has piano hints.

http://www.coutant.org/pcc160/127089.pdf

As well as attaching it directly to the piano body, frame or lid....also take note of the advice to use a panel (which is often a lightweight square or rectangle of acrylic plastic 'plexiglass') or a wedge (page 6,7) of the same material.

The panel gives you more separation, a bit like a Jecklin Disc. I've used them...they work, and are very cheap to make....most hardware shops sell the material as a window substitute. Plenty of samples shown later in the guide....

Be sure to read the introductory pages (if you're unfamiliar with boundary miking principles) as you need to be mindful of bass rolloff due to boundary dimension effects, shaping directionality, the effects of mounting in corners etc.

"The frequency response of a flat panel is the smoothest of all the boundary assemblies in this booklet. For a 2-foot square panel, there is a 10-dB rise above the low frequency shelf at 497 Hz for direct sound at normal incidence (Fig. 23). F-6=94 Hz. The polar pattern is omnidirectional at low frequencies, supercardioid at mid frequencies, and hemispherical at high frequencies"

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 01:56 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I have a pair of Audio Technica PZM's, but was wondering where to put them in relation to the piano?
Are they half-cardioid PZMs? or hemispherical?

If hemispherical, underneath the piano works very well.

You can also stick them to the lid - but be careful that they are stuck properly and the sticky doesn't damage the piano.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #45
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Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Are they half-cardioid PZMs? or hemispherical?

If hemispherical, underneath the piano works very well.

You can also stick them to the lid - but be careful that they are stuck properly and the sticky doesn't damage the piano.
Hi John, my AT PZM's are cardioid. I used these very successfully on my old piano, they sounded better than anything else! I'll try in the lid, have to think of a safe way to stick them.
Thanks everyone for the links too!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
Hi John, my AT PZM's are cardioid. I used these very successfully on my old piano, they sounded better than anything else! I'll try in the lid, have to think of a safe way to stick them.
Thanks everyone for the links too!
For "temporary" placement, I'd go to a quality gaffer tape... I mic up pianos on a regular basis (PA and archive recordings) and have yet to have to remove residue. Any tape will, over time, become a problem... but for a few hours (or a few days) ProGaff, PermaCell or other industry "standard" tapes will work fine.

I would NOT recommend "doubled-over" tape (to make "two-sided" bits) but would endorse taping plate edges from the front.

Cheap stuff (and any/all "duct" tapes) are to be avoided at every turn. I'd also avoid the double-sided foam stickie things. The glue is really aggressive, and is difficult to remove.

One old guy's opinion...

HB
Old 4 weeks ago
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
Hi John, my AT PZM's are cardioid. I used these very successfully on my old piano, they sounded better than anything else! I'll try in the lid, have to think of a safe way to stick them.
Thanks everyone for the links too!
Rycote "stickies" may be a good idea.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #48
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ANY tape becomes an issue with heat: be careful when using tape on a stage whith lots of shiny light spots for tv production!

if using pzm's, i always start inside the piano and only move to the lid if not satisfied; sometimes video/tv folks don't let me to use tape though (except for fixing cables to a leg of the piano)...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #49
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FWIW, my "go-to" inside a grand piano rig is DPA4061 elements, usually with grids on, either a single (gaffed about 1"/2cm above the frame where the low and high strings cross) or double (gaff tape bridge spanning the width of the box, usually 4"/10cm behind the hammers, at 1/3-2/3 across the span... think a 1/3-cost Earthworks piano rig). The elements and wires are so lightweight, there is no stress on the bridge. MicroDot connector(s) are usually placed on a mic bag just under the lid stand, and cable(s) are run out, down the leg, and to the snake or stage box. If the piano is being moved around (as on an upcoming cabaret-style show next week), I'll also use a single similarly placed omni element on a Shure ULXD or Sennheiser EW transmitter, placed on a mic bag under the stick. "Look, mom! No wires!"

Either solution works with the lid closed, or at any stick height... however, if the stage is loud (i.e., a jazz thing, with a drum kit close beside the open lid), there will be significant bleed. Lid down... just a clean, close, well-balanced acoustic sound. Usual comment from folks is... "Nice. Sounds just like a piano."

Works for me.

HB
Old 4 weeks ago
  #50
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i'm glad reading that others successfully use close mics inside the piano as well!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #51
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I'm going to try the PZM's on the floor under the piano, I'm away so can't do anything right now.
I'm worried about this approach giving a dull sound though, as there is thick carpet in this room.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #52
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Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I'm going to try the PZM's on the floor under the piano, I'm away so can't do anything right now.
I'm worried about this approach giving a dull sound though, as there is thick carpet in this room.
Doesn't matter if there is carpet underneath the PZM...its a hemispherical pickup, so what's above the mic (ie the piano) counts, not what's under the mic. Worry less, experiment more ! All will be fine
Old 4 weeks ago
  #53
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Doesn't matter if there is carpet underneath the PZM...its a hemispherical pickup, so what's above the mic (ie the piano) counts, not what's under the mic. Worry less, experiment more ! All will be fine
that's not quite true: if a considerable part of the pickup around the pzm is carpeted, this does affect the sound quite a bit - i'm all for experimenting but i bet the op will be disappointed by the sound from underneath the piano; if using blm's/pzm's, start experimentation inside or on the lid...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
I'm going to try the PZM's on the floor under the piano, I'm away so can't do anything right now.
I'm worried about this approach giving a dull sound though, as there is thick carpet in this room.
there is one good reason for picking up a piano from underneath though: one can get very good definition in the lower register - to get this, i suggest bringing a capsule of a mic of choice very close to the soundboard rather than using pzm's on the floor as they mostly sound way too dull and show a complete lack of directional cues, pretty much regardless of mic, positioning, piano or room...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 4 weeks ago at 12:34 PM.. Reason: edited twice
Old 4 weeks ago
  #54
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
when recording a piano, pzm's on the floor imo mostly sound way too dull and show a complete lack of directional cues, pretty much regardless of mic, positioning, piano or room...
yes that's quite true..and they'll introduce off axis bleed of any other instruments playing in the room at the same time...so under the piano really can only add something of value if it's the only instrument active at recording time
Old 4 weeks ago
  #55
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
yes that's quite true..and they'll introduce off axis bleed of any other instruments playing in the room at the same time...so under the piano really can only add something of value if it's the only instrument active at recording time
yep - useful as kinda ambient mics then.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #56
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
yep - useful as kinda ambient mics then.
Maybe so....crush them with a brutal compressor to confirm your hypothesis !
Old 4 weeks ago
  #57
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Maybe so....crush them with a brutal compressor to confirm your hypothesis !
no worries: i'm certainly one of the rare folks who indeed uses lots of dynamic devices, also for classical music (and even on the way in) - mostly on close mics though to redo what some air between the instrument and the mic usually does...

...and on the master bus.

but yeah: four button trick on room mics has its place (in r'n'r) - and no: no hypothesis, experience!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #58
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...that' how i'm (forced to) using piano mics today:
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #59
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...that' how i'm (forced to) using piano mics today:
Do you not get any knocks bumps or vibration attaching mic's to the frame?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #60
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Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
Do you not get any knocks bumps or vibration attaching mic's to the frame?
usually not - if it becomes an issue, i'm using low cut filters and/or shockmounts. just a bit of towel between the frame and the manfrotto clamps is mostly okay though.
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