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Using a Grand Piano as a reverb
Old 7th March 2008
  #1
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Surfkat's Avatar
 

Using a Grand Piano as a reverb

This is something I have tried a few times and was talking today to another engineer who had also played around with it. I thought maybe someone here would have some cool tips and tricks for doing this.
My process is to use a small speaker, like an Auratone for example, and place this under the soundboard as close as I can get without touching. This is fed from an aux send. Then I put a weight on the damper pedal and mike the piano with a stereo pair of SD condensors. If you get the levels right you can get some awesomely organic sounds, but you still have some bleed from the speaker. Anybody ever try some kind of driver mounted on the soundboard? Other ideas?
Old 7th March 2008
  #2
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

Instead of holding down the damper, try taping down all the keys of a certain chord or tonal center.

-R
Old 7th March 2008
  #3
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wheever's Avatar
 

PSP make a little free plugin called Pianoverb that simulate exactly what you're discussing. Check it out, if it's compatible with your platform.
Old 7th March 2008
  #4
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David R.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wheever View Post
PSP make a little free plugin called Pianoverb that simulate exactly what you're discussing. Check it out, if it's compatible with your platform.
Man, if you have a real piano to mess around with, why would you even think of a plug in?

Go for the real deal. Put a brick on the sustain pedal, tie some silverware to the strings to make it rattle...go crazy.

Have fun, experiment, this is what it is all about.
Old 7th March 2008
  #5
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I've done this to create bloom for a sampled piano part. Makes sampled piano parts sound way more real. Doesn't even have to be a good piano. It's kind of akin to reamping a piano. I use a speaker a bit bigger than an auratone, though.

I've met couple engineers who will always mic the grand piano in the room regardless of what's being recorded in the room. Sometimes they'd use it in the mix, sometime not.
Old 7th March 2008
  #6
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Watersound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
I've done this to create bloom for a sampled piano part. Makes sampled piano parts sound way more real. Doesn't even have to be a good piano. It's kind of akin to reamping a piano.
Very cool idea, I'll have to try it out.
Old 7th March 2008
  #7
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Jayro_Rockola's Avatar
 

We have a raw piano soundboard in a utilty closet here and I have always thought about using it as an interesting 'verb device. Mabey treating it like a plate? Any other takers?
Old 7th March 2008
  #8
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laughton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Instead of holding down the damper, try taping down all the keys of a certain chord or tonal center.

-R
I've done this with REALLY nice results. It is a cool effect! Sounded great with trumpets.
Old 7th March 2008
  #9
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wheever's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David R. View Post
Man, if you have a real piano to mess around with, why would you even think of a plug in?
Convenience? Not having the neighbor's rugrat squalling on your track?
Old 7th March 2008
  #10
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DeepSpace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wheever View Post
Convenience? Not having the neighbor's rugrat squalling on your track?
Surely there's a plugin to add the rugrat. No?
Old 7th March 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laughton View Post
I've done this with REALLY nice results. It is a cool effect! Sounded great with trumpets.

Anyway we could hear that?
Old 7th March 2008
  #12
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Admiral James T.'s Avatar
 

I often run mixes (or part of it) through my recording room and re-record it to get some nice ambi, and sometimes I combine this with the "pianoverb", I just put the microphones close to the piano, and I have to crank them speakers up like hell to activate the strings... I tape down a suitable chord if I wanna use it as a special effect. If I want a "real" reverb I hold down the damper pedal.
But hey, Les Paul, Eddie Cochran and others did the same thing way back in the fifties... So it's one of the oldest "artificial reverb units".
Old 7th March 2008
  #13
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gallerytungsten's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
Instead of holding down the damper, try taping down all the keys of a certain chord or tonal center.

-R
What a fun idea! And a great idea by Rick.

Sort of along the same line, I was thinking, how about using some small speakers, and duct taping them to the strings? (In particular the bass strings.) You could maybe also re-purpose some spring reverb transducers, and use the piano strings as temporary reverb springs.

Also, to expand on what Jayro mentioned about using a raw piano soundboard. A number of years back, I saw a really great free jazz show where they used a couple piano soundboards as percussion instruments. (Sam Rivers, Kidd Jordan, & co., doing a tribute to Coltrane.)
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