The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Acoustic Piano Recording Condenser Microphones
Old 15th September 2011
Deleted User
Acoustic Piano Recording

Hey guys , what does your signal chain look like for this application?

Im trying to figure out how to get a great recording on a 6 ft grand. Classical Pianist

Im looking for this info:

1. Mics
2. Pres
3. Comp/Limiter if any
4. Mic placement

Old 15th September 2011
Lives for gear
gear is cool's Avatar
It depends on the track.

For a more open detailed vibe.

Coles 4038 and U47 - Api or Neves - Pultec on the Coles

For a dense rock vibe - 1 SM57 - Neve - Done!

Placement - open lid and point at strings, use ears and put mic where it sounds good
Old 15th September 2011
Deleted User
thanks , forgot to say Classical Pianist
Old 15th September 2011
Lives for gear

i would start with a main pair of mics in a good room or hall.

probably omni, but possibly cardioid, or ribbons in figure 8.

if they want "that sound," i would add another pair inside the piano, right over the strings.

depending on the venue i might experiment with a distant ambient pair as well.

i'm not as much a nut as some for transparency in classical. so Neves + Neumanns are certainly a viable option. but i've done the DPA + Millennia thing too.

EQ as necessary to mitigate any room resonance issues or add a little bit of top end.

no compression.

i will confess to a couple DB of peak limiting sometimes when dealing with a piece that goes from ppp to fff. like 1.5db or 2db on the two or 3 loudest peaks of the piece. i'm pretty sure it's transparent in most listening situations. and i don't like having to tweak my volume knob during playback.
Old 15th September 2011
Gear Addict
Leonardo_007's Avatar

KM184 in x/y / as coincident pair.

i heard that TELDEC studios won a contest with a technic having incorporated a Neumann boundary layer microphone and obviously achieved stunning results.

don't know how it works... but if you have one at hand, it's definitely worth trying.

the first suggestion is the classic mic setup for this purpose.

if you have no KM184 on stock, try with a pair AKG C451

as for pres i recommend a millenia for they are a preferred choice in classic acoustic recording situations.

if you really should need a compressor, try to add only a db with a pair either of LA2As, ADL1500 or in feedback mode with a portico 5043.
Old 15th September 2011
Gear Guru
John Willett's Avatar

For classical piano I always use omnis - directional microphones tend to miss the bottom end of the piano and sound thin, so I would avoid any directional mic.

My omnis are:-
Sennheiser MKH 20
Sennheiser MKH 8020
Neumann KM 183-D
Neumann KM 130-D
I would choose one pair of these.

I also have a Jecklin and a Schneider Disk if required.

Positioning - I normally start with about 20cm spacing at around head height and about 2m from the piano and move to taste (depending on the piano, the room and the material being recorded).

I record directly to a Nagra VI - for pre-amps you could use the Nagra EMP (same pre-amps as are in the Nagra VI), or something like a Millennia.

I don't use a compressor but I often use a peak limiter in case the pianist gets over enthusiastic - this prevents overload glitches.

Yes, I do have the Neumann GFM 132 boundary mics. and have used them for piano; but they would not be my first choice for a classical piano recital. I also have special adaptors that will change any 19/20mm diameter mic. into a boundary mic.
Old 16th September 2011
Gear Nut

i've heard some crazy stories about eccentric pianists placing matched condensers over each shoulder.... so they pick it up the way their would hear
Old 17th September 2011
Deleted User
Thanks for the info guys
Old 18th September 2011
Did you know that the Remote Recording Forum has a whole section (tag) devoted to recording piano?

piano Threads - Forum Tags by Zoints
Old 19th September 2011
Deleted User
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Did you know that the Remote Recording Forum has a whole section (tag) devoted to recording piano?

piano Threads - Forum Tags by Zoints

Thanks a million!!! lots to read
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 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…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump