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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » General Discussion
Recording an upright piano
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AbjectEvolution



Joined: Jan 29, 2008
Posts: 137
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Recording an upright piano
Subject description: What microphone(s)?
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I am buying an upright acoustic piano soon. I do not own a condenser mic and I assume that might be what I want to use to record the new piano? If so, what mic? Do I need two mics?

Any help is appreciated.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Condensers work well with piano, but aren't absolutely necessary. If you don't already have a couple of mics, get one condenser and one dynamic.

Good choices for dynamic are Shure SM57 and SM58. The 58 is for vocals, and the 57 is for more general work. A very good alternative to the Shure is Digital Research DRV-100 sold at Guitar Center; half the price and they sound very good.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Digital-Reference-DRV100-Dynamic-Cardioid-Handheld-Mic-105930713-i1532394.gc

A good condenser mic is on sale now at Musician's Friend

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/cad-cm217-condenser-mic--buy-one-get-one-free#review - two for $49; not bad IMHO.

Always pick a small diaphragm mic; avoid the large diaphragm ones which usually cost more anyway. Without going into the details, the small ones have much less distortion. That's the reason animals don't have large diameter eardrums.

Here's a neat trick I learned a long time ago for recording acoustic guitars and pianos. Use two mics, one condenser and one dynamic, placed very near each other; keep the separation as close as possible; certainly not more than a few inches. I sometimes tape the mics together to get them as close as possible. Send one mic to the left channel and the other to the right. Balance the levels as needed. It makes a very nice spacial effect, and a nice transparent flat frequency response.

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Winstontaneous



Joined: Oct 31, 2008
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Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've had pleasing results with a Shure SM7 dynamic on my upright piano. It's more than a hundred years old (the piano, not the mic Smile) and is pretty noisy mechanically. Sounds good through my SoundCraft board & M-Audio DMP3 preamp.

I had tried a couple inexpensive condensers and my Zoom H4n recorder--they picked up too much key/pedal/other noises. I moved the SM7 around and found the best location was about a foot above the floor, maybe 4 feet behind the bench. Best balance of low/highs, minimal noise and room resonance. Track below, a jaunty little tune.

Dynamic mics may be less "accurate" but are more forgiving in less-than-perfect circumstances. There's also something to be said for finding a place in the room where the top & bottom ranges are balanced and putting a mono mic there. Sometimes close mic'd pianos sound too "hammer and string-y" for me...I wanna hear some soundboard resonance too. Just my experience, if my piano was in better condition and in a nice room I'm sure nice condensers and fancy preamps would sound great.


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