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Piano Miking

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by lieperjp, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Where do you mic a piano? I've done it three ways - a flat condenser mic taped to the inside cover of a grand, two or three condensers on a stand, and also some small mics underneath a grand. I have to say that the underneath style of miking gives a nice rich sound, but I was wondering what everyone else does. I usually use whatever I can get a hold of - I put the good mics on the choirs.
     
  2. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Funny this should come up, Matt and I were just having a tangential discussion about pianos. What style music are 'ya doing? What mics do you have handy?

    Condenser on the two hole with an MD441 on a tape bridge pointed away from the keys sounds good, as does a single 421 pointed at the inside of the lid on full stick parallel to the floor (hard to describe without a picture).
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  3. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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    There's a million ways to mic a piano. I've seen PZMs, C451s, MD421s, SM57s, Beta98s and million other flavors. It depends on the genre and the effect you're wanting to achieve. Either way, Ian's buddy Jack can probably help ya out.
     
  4. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Let's not go there. 14 mics in a piano isn't my idea of "mic'ing a piano"
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    This used to be the "standard": C-ducer, usually one for highs and one for lows. Also, here is an article that may be helpful.
     
  6. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    Just for fun, on a 9' grand I placed 2 AKG 451's over the mid/highs near the hammers and set the HPF at 175 htz, then put an Audix D6 over the bass end at the rear of the piano, set a LPF at 175 htz. This was a live performance with a self accompanied vocalist. Very nice rich sound for the application.
     
  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I always just dropped a PZM on the sound board.
     
  8. dvlasak

    dvlasak Active Member

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    There are hundreds of different ways to mic a piano. This is why you have not
    received tons of different posts on how to do it! It is largely subjective...and
    everyone finds their favorite couple of ways to mic a grand.

    Where you are located, can you find a mentor locally?
    Can you give us a rough idea of mic options you have? Or the rental budget?

    I'm tempted to tell you some of the ways I have been taught to mic a grand for
    reinforcement, but I don't want to shout out super expensive mics if they are completely inappropriate... oh well what the hell, I will anyway. Remember, these for REINFORCEMENT, not RECORDING. They also are not always ways that I would necessarily mic a grand!

    1. Lid open full stick: pair of AKG414/Shure KSM44/Neumann TLM103/U87s set to cardioid, 2-3 inches above the strings, high and low separating the
    soundboard into thirds.

    2. Lid open short stick: pair of Schoeps CMC5/MK4, (MK2s subcardioid in a
    pinch), or DPA 4021/4022/4023 (same element, different cable mount) ORTF array.

    3. Lid Closed: Earthworks QTC-1 (now QTC-30, I think) pair spaced 18-20"
    apart sitting over the bridge in a "gaff tape suspension bridge". Yes, they are
    Omnis, yes, they will be plenty loud unless you have slant wedges back at the
    player, in which case you need a Barcus Berry or similar robust,
    can-get-stupid-loud pickup for monitors only.

    4. Schertler piano pickup on the 2nd hole of the soundboard and a tiny
    cardioid above the hammers for bettter attack.

    But much simpler & less expensive - put the mics where the piano sounds good. Stick your head in and around the piano and listen. Use your ears. Decide what it needs then grab the mics that will do what you think is needed.

    If I miced a piano 100 times I might use 100 different techniques.

    Think about the style of the music.
    Think about the characteristics of the instrument and the player.

    You could try less expensive mics. If the piano is too bright us a mellower mic like a dynamic. If the piano is a little dull then reach for something brighter like a LD condenser. If it sounds wonderful as is and you want a truly
    accurate sound then reach for SD condensers. If you need compression try an SM57.

    I probably wouldn't use processing unless you are going for an effect or the style of music calls for it. That would be another decision that I would have to make.

    Hey, I just looked at your profile. Look where I am from. Give me a shout off list. I'd love to know if I've worked with you!


    Dennis
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  9. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everyone who posted! I was just wondering how other people do it to see if there is a better way to do it. What we have now is working adequately. When we need to mic a piano it's usually for both reinforcement and recording at the same time (live concerts that are made into sell-able cd's.)
     
  10. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, I've never really worked on a professional show - just mostly at my HS. I've helped out at a local theatre in Hartford, WI once, but due to time and money restrictions, I can't do that much... And now I'm seven hours away in the middle of nowhere, so I still can't do that much except for the shows we do at my college, which are mostly mediocre as we are a teacher training school only...
     
  11. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    I usually use two condensers, one over the middle of the low strings, pointed towards the hammers, one at the same angle above the high strings.
    Mic choice is based on personal preference and budget. I currently use SM81s and get along real well. A recent show that came though had Neuman something or other. They sounded better but not enough for me to justify the extra cost.

    I've also used a pair of Crown PCC 160s taped to the inside wall of the piano, above two sound holes. It's a decent sounding alternative for times when my condensers are in use elsewhere, or when I don't want the "ugly" stands.
     
  12. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered tape bridges or foam blocks if you don't like the stands?
     
  13. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    My most recent favorite was using a pair of Earthworks QTC30s, which were taped on an angle to the inside of the lid (one over the lows, where the strings cross, one splitting the highs) so that the capsule was touching the lid. This way there's no issue of phase cancellation from reflections off the lid (especially when you're in the unfortunate situation of having to close the lid), since you've effectively got a ground plane/pressure zone thing going on.

    Although it's been argued that an omni inside is fine, since those reflections are part of the diffuse sound of the piano, so I might just try a standard tape bridge next time.

    Earthworks are beaaaaaaautiful sounding mics, and in a well-tuned piano give a really, really natural sound. I'm quite curious to try their new piano mic system, which has two omni's built into a telescoping bar meant to easily pop into the piano and lock in place without damaging anything:

    http://earthworksaudio.com/77.html

    --A
     
  14. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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