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Forte Piano
Old 9th January 2013
  #1
Forte Piano

Anyone have any experience recording solo Forte Piano in concert. 500 seat, pretty good sounding room. Considering a Schoeps MS pair if no one has any reason for using something different. It will be center stage and pretty quiet I imagine.

Thanks.

D.
Old 10th January 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
dbssound1's Avatar
 

I've done a lot, and any of your standard stereo techniques will work fine. Love the Schoeps MS!
Old 10th January 2013
  #3
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbssound1 View Post
I've done a lot, and any of your standard stereo techniques will work fine. Love the Schoeps MS!
Agree.
Old 11th January 2013
  #4
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Don't treat it any differently than any other small ensemble recording. It is a quiet instrument (and I would hope that the flute isn't a modern flute with a Fortepiano- that would be odd) so a clean setup will be to your benefit. Otherwise, have fun.

--Ben
Old 11th January 2013
  #5
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Yannick's Avatar
 

The usual techniques apply, but there is one caveat:

I have seen (especially the late 18th century models) pianofortes that project actually far more than a modern Steinway.

I have had situations where I had to record from a greater distance, even in churches or chapels.
A Walter eg. does not sound at all from within 2m. The sound has nothing to do with the real thing. Kindof like recording a great Stradivarius. I have never heard a spot mic sound good on an instrument from that caliber.

So, recording a fortepiano live in a noisy hall could be quite a challenge.
Old 12th January 2013
  #6
The date went really well overall. I did in fact go with a Schoeps MS pair, Mk4 and Mk8, into and dematrixed by a SD 788T. I also recorded the mics "as is" on two other tracks, which was good since when I played the 50/50 back in the studio, there was too much (splattery) room which was quickly fixed with an adjustable MS decoder plugin in my DAW. Lots of stereo audience even after I turned down the side channel a bit. The forte piano is pretty mono sourcy; just a little piano on a wide stage that sounded better corrected.

The instrument is an antique (duh!) and the bench was a little squeaky but the musician was very aware and so not a problem. The HVAC in the church was another issue but was brilliantly cured with Izotope RX, my first experience with this for me.

All in all, a nice evening's result.

Thanks to all for your input.

D.
Old 7th August 2019
  #7
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Would anyone like to add to the wisdom already posted here, again for a solo fortepiano in a large good hall, minimal traffic noise and next to no HVAC. I'm guessing a 'Decca tail' placement might not be as appropriate here as it would be for a regular Steinway concert grand ? I don't have ribbons or M/S capability, but all other stereo methods are possible (don't think I'll opt for Decca Tree either....)
Old 7th August 2019
  #8
Hmm. If I did this date today, I'd probably opt for my Samar Stereo Ribbon. Luscious.

Maybe close ORTF. If not, J-disk with wide cardioids?

D.

Last edited by tourtelot; 7th August 2019 at 03:35 PM..
Old 7th August 2019
  #9
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jnorman's Avatar
To me, it would depend on how much control I had over where to place mics, and whether I had time beforehand to set levels etc with the group (many times, I do not have that luxury). In any situation where I am unsure, I use a standard boojum/jnorman array and figure out what works best during post. Generally I find that I use mostly the ORTF pair and blend in slight amounts of the omnis if I need a little more bottom end or a bit more room sound.
Old 7th August 2019
  #10
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Maybe close ORTF. If not, J-disk with wide omnis?
What is a 'wide omni' when it's at home?
Old 7th August 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
What is a 'wide omni' when it's at home?
Ah, let me correct that.

D.
Old 7th August 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
The date went really well overall. I did in fact go with a Schoeps MS pair, Mk4 and Mk8, into and dematrixed by a SD 788T. I also recorded the mics "as is" on two other tracks, which was good since when I played the 50/50 back in the studio, there was too much (splattery) room which was quickly fixed with an adjustable MS decoder plugin in my DAW. Lots of stereo audience even after I turned down the side channel a bit. The forte piano is pretty mono sourcy; just a little piano on a wide stage that sounded better corrected.

The instrument is an antique (duh!) and the bench was a little squeaky but the musician was very aware and so not a problem. The HVAC in the church was another issue but was brilliantly cured with Izotope RX, my first experience with this for me.

All in all, a nice evening's result.

Thanks to all for your input.

D.
When recording MS with my 788 I just
record Mid and Side on separate tracks
and use eg MS AB (A track MID and B track as SIDE) to monitor decoded stereo at the time of
recording.
I use the free Voxengo MSED plugin to
decode to stereo later.
(Note: the default setting for this plugin
is “Inline”, so you need to switch it, besides “Inline” and “Decode”
the plugin also offers “Encode”).
Old 7th August 2019
  #13
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
To me, it would depend on how much control I had over where to place mics, and whether I had time beforehand to set levels etc with the group (many times, I do not have that luxury). In any situation where I am unsure, I use a standard boojum/jnorman array and figure out what works best during post. Generally I find that I use mostly the ORTF pair and blend in slight amounts of the omnis if I need a little more bottom end or a bit more room sound.
I produced this CD years ago basically utilizing your boojum/jnorman array and it worked beautifully. Fortepiano has some real mechanical issues but was tamed pretty well here (recorded in summer as it was just too dry for the fortepiano in the winter).

https://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Sona...s=music&sr=1-1
Old 7th August 2019
  #14
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jnorman's Avatar
PJW - very nice!
Old 7th August 2019
  #15
Gear Head
Thanks so much, jnorman!
Old 11th August 2019
  #16
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Seeking your opinions on which of these two AB omni pairs has the most satisfying fortepiano sound; obviously at different distances and locations from the instrument, both recorded at the same time.

No eq or dynamics, no reverb etc added...just level matching of the 2 mic pairs.

Thank you for listening, and for your considered contributions

This post has sample A...the following has sample B
Attached Files

Beethoven sample A.mp3 (13.98 MB, 689 views)


Last edited by studer58; 11th August 2019 at 05:31 PM..
Old 11th August 2019
  #17
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Here is fortepiano sample B....
Attached Files

Beethoven sample B.mp3 (13.98 MB, 754 views)

Old 12th August 2019
  #18
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Some hiss and air-con noise removal is required for sample A, but left in at this stage for comparison purposes
Old 12th August 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Some hiss and air-con noise removal is required for sample A, but left in at this stage for comparison purposes
where does the hiss come from? wasn't there any option to turn down the air conditioning? how much does noise removal affect room sound/reverb in your experience?
Old 12th August 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
where does the hiss come from? wasn't there any option to turn down the air conditioning? how much does noise removal affect room sound/reverb in your experience?
Air conditioning in this place is fixed, behind a locked panel (just like the clear acrylic covers over the graphic EQ faders in some of the in-house PA systems you have seen in your working life !) ...so when the hall temperature has stabilized the fan speed ramps down, nothing unusual in that.

If I do several passes of non-aggressive noise removal I can generally achieve a good reduction of noise without harming the room sound/ambience too much...and I will do this, if I end up using sample A. Is that your preferred mic pickup of the 2 samples ?
Old 12th August 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Air conditioning in this place is fixed, behind a locked panel (just like the clear acrylic covers over the graphic EQ faders in some of the in-house PA systems you have seen in your working life !) ...so when the hall temperature has stabilized the fan speed ramps down, nothing unusual in that.

If I do several passes of non-aggressive noise removal I can generally achieve a good reduction of noise without harming the room sound/ambience too much...and I will do this, if I end up using sample A. Is that your preferred mic pickup of the 2 samples ?
thx for your comment on the topic of noise reduction - in order to avoid any, i mostly use a different approach regarding mic placement and hence s/n ratio: i go very close (or use a colleague's cedar should i need any noise reduction)...

i tend not to comment on any sound clips...

(as i think it's too time consuming to provide enough context of a recording/mixing session which would allow to put things into perspective and imo mix choices/aesthetics often seem to be far beyond what most people around here are willing or able to discuss in a meaningful way)

...so use whatever you or the artist like best!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Well, in the absence of any opinion to the contrary, I think I'll go with sample B
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
It's a good choice I think.
A sounds a bit muddy (due to noise red.?), B is more clear. Also acoustics a re better captured. Wonder if the NS could be a reason of a different stereo image? In the A example I miss Side a bit, while in B Sides are more dominant than the Mid. Was almost thinking of getting the Mid signal from your A and mix it a bit with B to fill the hole which I slightly feel - it's quite wide for the piano, no?. But it's very little, so probably subjective.
Anyway, both nice to listen to!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stradivariusz View Post
It's a good choice I think.
A sounds a bit muddy (due to noise red.?), B is more clear. Also acoustics a re better captured. Wonder if the NS could be a reason of a different stereo image? In the A example I miss Side a bit, while in B Sides are more dominant than the Mid. Was almost thinking of getting the Mid signal from your A and mix it a bit with B to fill the hole which I slightly feel - it's quite wide for the piano, no?. But it's very little, so probably subjective.
Anyway, both nice to listen to!
Thank you for your considerations Stradivariusz....I appreciate your analysis very much ! Both were AB Omni pickup, sample A is overhead Km183 @ 48 cm spacing and B is MKH 8020 @35 cm spacing, so no MS used...

I could try converting the sample A Left/Right to MS and then extracting the mid component to blend with B, as long as phase interactions are benign. Certainly worth a try, or else process B in Voxengo Span and try for the same result ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Thank you for your considerations Stradivariusz....I appreciate your analysis very much ! Both were AB Omni pickup, sample A is overhead Km183 @ 48 cm spacing and B is MKH 8020 @35 cm spacing, so no MS used...

I could try converting the sample A Left/Right to MS and then extracting the mid component to blend with B, as long as phase interactions are benign. Certainly worth a try, or else process B in Voxengo Span and try for the same result ?
This is exactly what I mean SPAN is great for that kind of processing. Thought to extract and bounce just Mid from A and mix it with B to see what happens. Won't damage anything and can be fun to check it out.
Perhaps, to diminish phase issues you could HPF the A as high as it' still usefull and mix those higher frequencies just for feel in the space without loosing clarity of the B.

Playing with mid-side processing in post even if recording is done with another setup is an amazing tool. Curious for the result.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Here is fortepiano sample B....
B for me.

I’m not sure what the yardstick is or was for these recordings, but to me B is a totally acceptable recording, i.e. if I stop ‘listening’ to it as an engineer or a critic and just let it play, it’s quite nice to listen to.

I think it’s important to be able to disconnect ourselves from our process as part of evaluating recordings. I learn a lot about my own recordings by leaving them playing in the background while I do other stuff (wash dishes, check emails, social media, etc.) that takes my mind off the recording itself. The things that really annoy me will stand out over a few repeated plays, while things I thought were going to be annoying turn out to be nothing.

I would not try extracting anything from A to add to B, at least not to start with. I think that will just make it messy. I’d be inclined to work with what was captured in B, because I think everything you need is already in B - maybe just not where you want it or how much of it you want.

The only thing I’d be considering addressing is the width, and for that I’d be attempting a bit of MS to bring up the M; hear what happens. That’s always a bit random with AB but it has worked very well for me in the past, and saved one or two recordings from the scrap heap.

And also, just for curiosity value, I’d be inclined to run it through RX7 Elements’ De-Click module. If you get the settings right, it will take the hard attacks off of those notes and help mellow and round the sound out a bit. I use that trick a lot for the metallic percussive stuff I’ve been recording in Bali lately - hard wood mallets hitting thick metal bars. Super fast attack transients. De-Click mellows them out very nicely. It’s just an experiment, maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but if B was my recording it’s one of the things I’d be trying... (It’s Plan B when I should’ve used ribbons but instead used SDCs, LOL!)

Last edited by Simmosonic; 4 weeks ago at 11:33 AM.. Reason: It needed editing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post

I would not try extracting anything from A to add to B, at least not to start with. I think that will just make it messy. I’d be inclined to work with what was captured in B, because I think everything you need is already in B - maybe just not where you want it or how much of it you want.
You're difinitely right. The idea was:
1) Subjectively I feel that there is a slight hole in the middle, what I hear just in the headphones. It's like the piano is divided in tw channels not having the continuity from left to right. A little info, really very little in the mid would glue these parts together maby without messing the image.
2) because I like to puzzle.

Edit: I'm a musician, not an engineer, so I accept that there are more pro ways of doing things which I don't know...yet.

Further, I think too that the B is just fine.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stradivariusz View Post
1) Subjectively I feel that there is a slight hole in the middle, what I hear just in the headphones. It's like the piano is divided in tw channels not having the continuity from left to right. A little info, really very little in the mid would glue these parts together maby without messing the image.
Yep, I got the same impressions when listening in headphones. Not so obvious through speakers but it’s one of those borderline things that, once you notice it, you’ll hear it everywhere. Unfortunately I heard it first through headphones, and that set up the rest of the listening for me, LOL!

Otherwise, everything else about the recording of the instrument, the music and the performance itself (ignoring the things we have no control over like audience or people in the room, A/C, page turns, etc.) is just full of MKH8020 goodness and I felt that bringing in elements of A (KM183s) would do it a disservice, tonally.

But also, I’m a mnmlst. ;-)

Last edited by Simmosonic; 4 weeks ago at 03:16 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
I always keep a ribbon in my wallet so that no one needs to use Plan-B the next morning.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I always keep a ribbon in my wallet so that no one needs to use Plan-B the next morning.

Ha! Mics as prophylactics...
Topic:
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