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Piano Pedal Noise
Old 21st December 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Piano Pedal Noise

Hi, i'm all new to this forum so go easy!

Ive recorded a grand piano and used two bass techniques:

- Se1 stereo conincident pair quite close...sounds v nice
- 2 nt1's in the hood (one aimed at Left Treble strings and one to the right on the bass strings. The piano is side on so to capture the audience perspective)

a) Iv got a real problem with pedal noise. Other than trying to find the exact frequency and EQ out, is there any other technique I can use.?

b) Should I just use one set of miss for the mix, or use both techniques? I'm not sure the Left Se1 on treble strings and Right Se1 on bass strings will give a true stereo image.?


Thanks all
Old 21st December 2011
  #2
Real pianos make noises, key noises, hammer noise, pedal noise, and god forbid the pianist might also breathe. It is not a midi instrument and these things are a part of the performance. Now if the pianist really stamps on the pedal, then it is time to have a word with him. Or if he hasn't cut his nails that can also be a problem. But noises of the instrument you will have to and should live with.

As for stereo spread it really depends what effect you are going for. If it is recital music as heard in a hall, well from the audience's perspective the piano will have a small spread and be a virtual point source. Whereas if you are going for a player's perspective it will fill the soundstage.

It alo matters what medium it is intended for. XY has good mono compatibility - so if its for radio this is more likely to be your choice. If its for CD you can just choose the sound you like best, but its much more likely to be one pair of mics rather than both, which would give an odd stereo impression to say the least, and more mics = more phase issues.
Old 21st December 2011
  #3
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studiostuff's Avatar
 

The best solution is to find a piano that doesn't make as much noise when the pedal is used. Some are better than others.
Old 21st December 2011
  #4
Here for the gear
 

piano pedal and mixing

Thanks Windmillsound!

Yep, theres definitely a bit too much pedal noise to be natural, so I'm just going to have to try and Eq a bit and drop the dB a bit at the point of pedal noise. lol cheers for that!

Its going to be bounced down to CD. The intended space will be a concert hall so just enough reverb to sound natural but not over the top. Probably space designer in logic.

So if i am doing it from the audience perspective should i pan the miss hard left and right? or just enough to create a valid stereo image.

Yep I'm really worried about using both because i think its just going to be unnatural. I will probably settle for the XY Se1's

ps Have a look at the attached pic. This is the NT1s in the hood. Sounds nice, but will it give a true stereo image (capturing treble freq on LEFT and bass on RIGHT..should these be hard panned?)..ignore the AKGs.


Thanks so much..:D

Quote:
Originally Posted by windmillsound View Post
Real pianos make noises, key noises, hammer noise, pedal noise, and god forbid the pianist might also breathe. It is not a midi instrument and these things are a part of the performance. Now if the pianist really stamps on the pedal, then it is time to have a word with him. Or if he hasn't cut his nails that can also be a problem. But noises of the instrument you will have to and should live with.

As for stereo spread it really depends what effect you are going for. If it is recital music as heard in a hall, well from the audience's perspective the piano will have a small spread and be a virtual point source. Whereas if you are going for a player's perspective it will fill the soundstage.

It alo matters what medium it is intended for. XY has good mono compatibility - so if its for radio this is more likely to be your choice. If its for CD you can just choose the sound you like best, but its much more likely to be one pair of mics rather than both, which would give an odd stereo impression to say the least, and more mics = more phase issues.
Attached Thumbnails
Piano Pedal Noise-photo-dec-19-11-57-37.jpg  
Old 21st December 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissylad View Post
Thanks Windmillsound!

Yep, theres definitely a bit too much pedal noise to be natural, so I'm just going to have to try and Eq a bit and drop the dB a bit at the point of pedal noise. lol cheers for that!

Its going to be bounced down to CD. The intended space will be a concert hall so just enough reverb to sound natural but not over the top. Probably space designer in logic.

So if i am doing it from the audience perspective should i pan the miss hard left and right? or just enough to create a valid stereo image.

Yep I'm really worried about using both because i think its just going to be unnatural. I will probably settle for the XY Se1's

ps Have a look at the attached pic. This is the NT1s in the hood. Sounds nice, but will it give a true stereo image (capturing treble freq on LEFT and bass on RIGHT..should these be hard panned?)..ignore the AKGs.


Thanks so much..:D
why not just make a real stereo recording away back from the piano (several feet away). noises drop way down. 100% realistic from an audience perspective.

if you eq out the pedal ( and good luck with that!) will the music still sound natural?
Old 21st December 2011
  #6
Microphone placement is questionable on piano, but you can try the Swedien's Blumlein configuration. (Check the Pensado's Place with Bruce). This is fantastic mic technique.

As for pianos, I recorded two weeks ago monster Steinway D model, probably best piano model currently in production. The piano was tuned to the perfection by the dedicated Steinway technician. Glorious sound, glorious feeling keyboard and guess what. The pedal was noisy as hell even if you only tap sustain pedal. So I ask technician, why? Answer: So you must learn how to play on Steinway D

So if you check all recordings by for example Diana Krall, in piano passages you can clearly hear pedaling. This is what Steinway has. Unique resonant body that nobody else can manufacture heh

P.S. resonance of the lowest tone on Stein was about 1 minute man!!! Standard pianos have about 30 seconds in good condition.

Steinway is Steinway
Old 21st December 2011
  #7
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Any amount of EQ that could noticeably diminish the pedal noise will probably wreck the piano sound. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater and all that.

Let's hear the unaltered recording. Then we'll have a better idea what we're talking about.

Just remember in the end that stuff makes noise in real life. It can't be eliminated. Listen to Clapton Unplugged. Foot tap tap tap tap tap...
Old 21st December 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

ll: pd :ll

HPF to taste and low self. . .surgically or otherwise.
low end management for proximity. . .

try it C
Old 21st December 2011
  #9
Here for the gear
 

audio unaltered piano recording

pianorecord01 by chrissylad02 on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

The se'1s are xy pair about 1 meter in front of piano (piano is side on with lid fully open)

nt-1s are inside the hood (left=aimed towards treble, right=aimed towards bass)

any suggestions would be great.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
Any amount of EQ that could noticeably diminish the pedal noise will probably wreck the piano sound. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater and all that.

Let's hear the unaltered recording. Then we'll have a better idea what we're talking about.

Just remember in the end that stuff makes noise in real life. It can't be eliminated. Listen to Clapton Unplugged. Foot tap tap tap tap tap...
Old 21st December 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icecubeman View Post
The pedal was noisy as hell even if you only tap sustain pedal. So I ask technician, why? Answer: So you must learn how to play on Steinway D

So if you check all recordings by for example Diana Krall, in piano passages you can clearly hear pedaling. This is what Steinway has. Unique resonant body that nobody else can manufacture heh

P.S. resonance of the lowest tone on Stein was about 1 minute man!!! Standard pianos have about 30 seconds in good condition.

Steinway is Steinway
Sorry, but Steinways are not intrinsically noisier than other pianos, and if you have a noisy action or pedal mechanism, it can almost always be adjusted down to near-silent levels. I have a model L that is extremely quiet, and it's from the notorious chattering-teflon bushing era. BTW, if you want to hear really amazing sustain, play one of the Faziolis. Big wonderful bell-like sound that goes on forever. All Steinway grands are good, some are great, and I'm happy they still have some competition.

WW
Old 21st December 2011
  #11
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You could build a makeshift baffle around the pedal. That would dampen the sound quite a bit.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #12
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captainate's Avatar
 

One of the ways I like to mic piano can help with this:

XY pair over the hammers but pointed back at the harmonic (ish) of the strings. This pair is generally about 2-3 feet above the hammer/damper system and is in vertical line with the G-C range above middle C (just to the right of the middle, from the pianist's perspective)

Then you can use a HPF on this pair to get rid of the rumble of the pedal. A third mic (generally a LDC or RE-20) is used much farther away from the pianist's position to capture the bass strings only. Mix to taste.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #13
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idylldon's Avatar
 

As a piano tech and studio owner with a '68 Steinway D in the studio, I can tell you that most of the pedal noise that emanates from a WELL-MAINTAINED concert grand comes from poor pedal technique on the part of the player. There are way TOO MANY players that either don't have a clue or seem not to give a damn about how they're tromping on the pedal like is was the accelerator pedal in a destruction derby car. The players that do understand how to use a pedal properly, and it's definitely a learned skill, record beautifully without all the extra noise.

Having said that, I agree with other posters that:

1.) The piano is a mechanical beast with more moving parts than most automobiles (have you ever inspected a grand piano action closely?); therefore, there will be some mechanical noise. How much and how acceptable it is comes under the discretion of the player, the engineer, and the producer. Most of the classical players I've had the pleasure of recording don't mind the noises at all.
2.) Trying to EQ out pedal noise is like pissing in the wind. Ain't going to happen and you will ruin the overall sound of the piano because the noises aren't restricted to a small slice of the EQ pie (Hint: Even the pedal noises have harmonics/partials on top of the fundamentals and, curiously enough, they align themselves with fundamentals and partials from other notes that you might want to keep full and lively.)

Depending on where the mechanical (not player-induced) noise is coming from (pedal assembly/linkage or the dampers themselves), there are things that can be done to minimize the noise, but you need a competent tech for that. See comment above about "well-maintained."

Anyway, if you don't like the pedal noise, just put on any Glenn Gould recording and listen to him hum/sing along with what he's playing. Your pedal noise won't seem as intrusive then. His engineer[s] went to great lengths to try to minimize it, but it's still there loud and clear. Frankly, it's part of the charm of his incredible playing.

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 22nd December 2011
  #14
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famousbass's Avatar
 

the biggest +1 for the prev post



We're talking pianos here.

I grew up with a piano and am oblivious to pedal noises.

People who don't dig the noises are who MIDI was indadvertedly designed for.
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