The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
mics for grand piano? ~$4K budget
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Post mics for grand piano? ~$4K budget

How do I get professional quality close mic'd sound on grand piano for Beethoven/Chopin, trying to keep the mic budget under $4,000? Is this enough? I don't want to go to the $6K+ range for the pair.

I've heard suggestions of DPA 4011, Schoeps CM6 with a wide cardioid capsule, and for much less, the Rode NT5. Any others people can suggest?

What is going to give me that "you are there" sound with plenty of detail, dynamics, note decay, air, and maybe not too much damper noise? Warm and lush too if detailed, rather than edge.

I've been using Joly modified Oktava MK-012 mics with a Mk. I UA Apollo Twin which have sounded OK on YouTube. I recently got a L.K.S. MH-DA005 DAC and the sound of my 24/96K wav recordings are now a disappointment. Flat, dry, thin. I am a long time audiophile who has modified nearly all my gear, so I want to make great sounding recordings. The new DAC makes good recordings sound amazing, so the rest disappointing and uninteresting. I live in the Boston area if there are dealers nearby.

Recording room is a living room with 8' drop ceiling, padded rugs, some non-parallel walls possibly made of homasote (compressed paper fiber), others plaster, velvet drapes. It is a good room. Piano is a Schimmel 176, so not the bass of a semi or full concert grand. Kept regulated and tuned, and an extra tune prior to recording. Pianist wants close mic's so recordings sound like what she hears playing, not the 12th row. I may record some string quartets remotely too and want to pick up all the room reflections to sound like the listener is in the room.

I also recently got a Demeter HXM-1 dual mic pre at an estate sale, (but not yet tried it) if that can help out the Apollo Twin or other ADC.

Thanks for any suggestions.

EDIT: Thanks guys for all the great advice! I will be working through it all.
To be clearer, this was my last recording from the link above, done with my MK-012 mics, done with ZERO processing:

Last edited by markk02474; 2 weeks ago at 08:37 PM.. Reason: add info
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
How do I get professional quality close mic'd sound on grand piano for Beethoven/Chopin, trying to keep the mic budget under $4,000? Is this enough? I don't want to go to the $6K+ range for the pair.

I've heard suggestions of DPA 4011, Schoeps CM6 with a wide cardioid capsule, and for much less, the Rode NT5. Any others people can suggest?

What is going to give me that "you are there" sound with plenty of detail, dynamics, note decay, air, and maybe not too much damper noise? Warm and lush too if detailed, rather than edge.

I've been using Joly modified Oktava MK-012 mics with a Mk. I UA Apollo Twin which have sounded OK on YouTube. I recently got a L.K.S. MH-DA005 DAC and the sound of my 24/96K wav recordings are now a disappointment. Flat, dry, thin. I am a long time audiophile who has modified nearly all my gear, so I want to make great sounding recordings. The new DAC makes good recordings sound amazing, so the rest disappointing and uninteresting. I live in the Boston area if there are dealers nearby.

Recording room is a living room with 8' drop ceiling, padded rugs, some non-parallel walls possibly made of homasote (compressed paper fiber), others plaster, velvet drapes. It is a good room. Piano is a Schimmel 176, so not the bass of a semi or full concert grand. Kept regulated and tuned, and an extra tune prior to recording. Pianist wants close mic's so recordings sound like what she hears playing, not the 12th row. I may record some string quartets remotely too and want to pick up all the room reflections to sound like the listener is in the room.

I also recently got a Demeter HXM-1 dual mic pre at an estate sale, (but not yet tried it) if that can help out the Apollo Twin or other ADC.

Thanks for any suggestions.
The schoeps cmc are very good on (just about anything) but especially on piano..
the demeter preamp you have shoud be very good, never used one, but they do quality stuff, so I doubt this would not be good and is probably better than the (also decent, to be fair) apollo preamp.

a pair of cmc6 or cmc1 would serve you well, with your choice of capsules.

But as always I suggest you to test some of these options out..

in all fairness, while the oktava might have a different sound and might be a tad more "edgy" are not bad microphones, or not at the point that can make or brake a recording.. (of course there are better microphones out there, or for sure better for a certain type of results), the room where the piano is might play a bigger role, as well as the mic technique used to capture the performance.



Cheu
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
How do I get professional quality close mic'd sound on grand piano for Beethoven/Chopin

What is going to give me that "you are there" sound
Hmm...

'Close miked' and 'You are there sound' say two different things to me; the latter being a pair of omnis picking up the sound of a piano in an actual room and the other being something that can work well in a recording context but you don't ever really experience without inserting your head inside the soundboard!

Are external things like street-noise/flght-paths etc an issue, i.e. is extraneous sound going to be a factor affecting how much you can experiment with how much 'room' you want?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It will be hard to go wrong with a pair of Schoeps MK2 for this application. For my personal taste, omnis usually sound more natural as close mics on piano than directional capsules.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
huge fan of the schoeps mk21's for piano here (see pic); i mostly add a .1 mic (with a steep lpf) to bring out the lf...

...but then i've been using a large variety of mics (both sdc's or ldc's) and techniques throughout the years.

a pair or trio of neumann tlm107's or austrian audio oc818's gives you a lot of options but you might as well get a four km184's and a pair of km183 for the same price.

[it's too long ago since i used a demeter preamp so i cannot comment]
Attached Thumbnails
mics for grand piano? ~K budget-20191211_174153.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Two of my favorite piano mics are the Shure KSM44 (now "a"), and the Nevaton MC48.
The Nevaton's sound is closer to what you described, the Shure's very detailed and "solid."
Third choice probably a pair of Neumann TLM170 (or 193 if out of budget).
In your budget, you should find good mics. Player, instrument, room, and mic placement will be much more important factors in the overall result.
IMHO. Good luck.

Last edited by edva; 2 weeks ago at 05:50 PM.. Reason: +
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Pair of Schoeps MK5 would be excellent in a wide variety of situations. I love 4006 and 4011 on piano but for your budget and needs a single SDC pair with multipattern flexibility would serve you well.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Arrow

Here's a sample with the Rodes:



And a sample with Sennheiser MKH8020s:

Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting, thanks. I have followed Pueblo Audio for several years with an interest in purchasing, and then he was working on a battery version, and now it is unavailable! After talking with him one time, he was modest about the internals, so I assume there is room for modifications, which I like. I would love to see pictures inside the pre, +48v, and power supply box!

Omni's may not be for me. My pianist teaches, connected with teachers, and does wish to go back to Bulgaria to get her DMA with Milena Mollova. Hence, she likes to best hear the musical lines and playing technique and not so much room. It is my personal preference to hear more detail and a less dry sound I get from my Oktavas, which do a great job of not picking up the dampers. I got them when she had a very bad and live room - not the case now.

The second video had less echo and was preferable of the two. What preamp was used? Or is the main difference the room and the mics?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Kevin, the MK5 is discontinued, so I would need used or a MK6. The 4011 is less money than the 4006 and cardioid, so in budget (new).
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
So far, I've only been using a spaced pair with one about 6" above the mid-bass string cross and the right channel closer to the dampers, pointed away about a third in from the right edge. The OC818 I had never heard of and looks interesting. More common is the AKG 414C, though nobody has yet suggested it here.

I got the Demeter cheap and am really tempted to modify it with better bridge rectifiers, voltage regulators, capacitors, and tubes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm a big fan of the Earthworks PM40 piano mic set up also.

For 4 grand, there should be plenty of good options out there, wether you like small condensers, large condensers, or ribbon mics.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
I don’t think it’s been discontinued, try searching cmc65 for the complete mic (amp and capsule).

4011 is great too though.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
Kevin, the MK5 is discontinued, so I would need used or a MK6. The 4011 is less money than the 4006 and cardioid, so in budget (new).
it's the other way round: the schoeps mk6 is discontinued (but is still getting serviced) for some time now and you can buy but the mk5 new...

i wastly prefer the schoeps over dpa's for a couple of reasons, one of which is that schoeps has way more capsules available which can easily get swapped to fit the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
So far, I've only been using a spaced pair with one about 6" above the mid-bass string cross and the right channel closer to the dampers, pointed away about a third in from the right edge. The OC818 I had never heard of and looks interesting. More common is the AKG 414C, though nobody has yet suggested it here.

I got the Demeter cheap and am really tempted to modify it with better bridge rectifiers, voltage regulators, capacitors, and tubes.
the oc818 is the best 414 akg never did :-)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 2 weeks ago at 09:14 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Two more mics I'd not considered. I'm unsure about the Neuman. I think I want a flat response and not a presence boost. How do you feel about that?

Yes, all those other things matter, and I've tried gently to suggest she not just drop the dampers and instead had the piano tech try to add felt to not pick up the sound. Elevated the dampers off the strings at rest and didn't work. If she hears the dampers with new mics, perhaps it will matter to her.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
She doesn't want head in soundboard, but seated, playing sound, which is close. So far, extraneous sounds have not been a problem and the room is good. I even find them charming at times. A recording I like is MRCD1010, where every cough, footfall, chair movement, and the dull background roar of the HVAC is picked up. Even the santoor player, Shiv Sharma took time to tune in the middle of the first Rag. It was live and a beautiful recording nonetheless. I will cross omni's off my list unless switchable or a future capsule change.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
So, are there downsides to the smaller amplifier bodies? Some people are all about through-hole components in the amplifier and I assume the medium and small bodies must use surface mount parts?

A recording that sounds close mic'd to me with far more fullness and information is CD SBK48283, a Sony Classics issue of Satie works. Doesn't pick up much reverb or action sounds, just a nice ADD recording. This is the sound I want to get.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I think it's a good idea to have a sound in mind from an existing recording - you can then move your mics around and add some reverb to try and get your sound in the ballpark of that target sound.

Just be aware that - the close presentation notwithstanding - the venue for that Satie recording is a little different from yours:

https://www.patrimoine-histoire.fr/P...e-du-Liban.htm
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
a lot of Yuja Wang's dpa 4006 recordings do sound really up close and, well, lovely....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhBXx-2PadM and also this with Royers https://youtu.be/GwcdGf2uiuw?list=UU...57Mjw-QgFHpRmw

I would certainly rent a few different mics and try them in different configs before committing to a purchase especialy since this is a specific client's needs.....

Ray
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I do like the Wang recording. With the mic's outside peaking over the lip it has more ambiance, but not too much. The Royer recording is probably a little too distant and polite, plus, there will be no removal of her piano's lid!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
The Earthworks piano miking set is great.

Even better, to my ears, is the less-well-known Audix SCX25A-PS. The original SCX25 was not particularly good - don't let the bad reviews on that one color your opinion on the SCX25A. (The PS is the Piano System, with two mics and special mounts specifically for miking piano.) You can mic the piano closed, half-stick, full-stick, whatever, and get good results, although of course closed will never sound as "open" as open will.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you for the Audix suggestion - also was not on my radar, budget friendly, and not as harsh as Earthworks. Being able to clip them to harp rails is a plus so she can close the lid when not recording and still use for giving Zoom lessons. How would they compare to Schoeps cardioids, my leading contender now? Close enough at less than half the price?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I would have never guessed that as the recording space! But, yes, it is the kind of sound I want with the image filling the whole space between my speakers. Smooth with a natural bite of the instrument.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
How does the OC818 compare to the Audix SCX25A-PS? Other than less noise and a narrower presence peak?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
Thank you for the Audix suggestion - also was not on my radar, budget friendly, and not as harsh as Earthworks. Being able to clip them to harp rails is a plus so she can close the lid when not recording and still use for giving Zoom lessons. How would they compare to Schoeps cardioids, my leading contender now? Close enough at less than half the price?
I've never directly compared the Schoeps to the Audix, sorry. My overall impression is that the Schoeps are more detailed or clinical, but not to a bad degree at all. The Audix are more smooth/natural/wide. (Which makes sense in general, when comparing smaller diaphragms to larger diaphragms.)

But, again, I've never directly compared. Both are natural, both are detailed, both could probably work with no regrets. I'm generally more on the budget end of things, but if the extra cost for Schoeps was acceptable, I'd want to do a direct comparison before commiting.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
Thank you for the Audix suggestion - also was not on my radar, budget friendly, and not as harsh as Earthworks. Being able to clip them to harp rails is a plus so she can close the lid when not recording and still use for giving Zoom lessons. How would they compare to Schoeps cardioids, my leading contender now? Close enough at less than half the price?
Plenty of suggestions here : Permanent Mic System For Piano

Ray
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
So, If I go with Schoeps, which capsule? Which might sound better close mic'd: MK21 or MK22 or ... capsule? Which is better if I place mic's peaking over the edge?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by markk02474 ➑️
So, If I go with Schoeps, which capsule? Which might sound better close mic'd: MK21 or MK22 or ... capsule? Which is better if I place mic's peaking over the edge?

FWIW I find this thread odd, although I've replied making several suggestions... Mark you asked for professional quality!!!, you have not the room nor the instrument for anything that was suggested here or the comparisons provided , so knowing all that.......can you hear the sound you want from that piano in that room? can you put your head near the spot where all is what you/she wants ?? i
Ray
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I do appreciate the link to in-piano mics, a nice to have for us. I appreciate the two videos, but I don't the large space used in either and worry I might create new problems which I don't have now using cardioids, and a wide cardioid might be a baby step in the omni direction. The LDCs suggested are of interest to me also. Anyway, I'm just trying to juggle often conflicting goals to get better sound than what I have. BTW, I did put two hyperlinks in my original post that nobody seems to have clicked on or at least mentioned. I just want better than what I've got, especially now that the piano is in a much better sounding room, if not bigger.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Schoeps cmc6/mk21 are favorites here, along with Neumann km a/kk183. DPA 4011s and akg c480/ck61 (and the wonderful c460 mods by Jim Williams) are also excellent. AB pair at the lip. Do not put mics inside the piano - the sound of a piano is more than just the soundboard.
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 95 views: 30001
Avatar for niversen
niversen 24th March 2020
replies: 83 views: 12209
Avatar for d_fu
d_fu 31st March 2009
replies: 63 views: 15740
Avatar for CGBrian.M
CGBrian.M 17th February 2011
replies: 134 views: 45116
Avatar for aracu
aracu 12th December 2012
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump