4/1/2011 1:23 PM
We’ve been running an ongoing
contest in our magazine Community section soliciting studio tips from readers, and
your responses have been so great that we wanted to share a few of our favorite
answers! Here are the responses to our January question, What’s your favorite
way to mike piano?
Congratulations to Makoa,
whose winning tip (below) scored a Glyph
GT 050Q desktop
hard drive with FireWire 800 and 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA connectivity.
We have another Glyph drive
for the person who can give us the best answer to this question: What’s your
favorite use for a ribbon mic? Send your answers to ElectronicMusician@musicplayer.com. We’ll print the winning tip in our June issue…Now,
read on for our piano-miking tips!
Letter of the Month
My Favorite Way To Mike Piano
I would not call it my favorite method...a surprisingly effective way to record
a piano is with a Shure Beta 57 and a Beta 58!
First, have the piano at “full stick,” then centrally place
the two mics in an xy pattern about foot back and 6 inches up from the hammers.
The beta 57 should be on the bottom of the pair pointing almost directly at the
center-point of the bottom octave of the piano. The beta 58 should be directly
above the 57 but directed at the upper mid registers of the piano, airing to
the high end. (When viewed from the keyboard, both mics should be aimed towards
the hammers and directed slightly down from the horizontal axis.) After
recording, balance the two tracks and hard pan the 57 left and the 58 right.
Then pass both tracks through some gentle compression and EQ to taste. This
method provides a punchy but brilliant piano sound. An example of a Steinway B
recorded with this method can be heard at http://lifeclock.bandcamp.com/track/jetaime.
best way to record a Piano is with a stereo x/y matched pair of high quality
condenser mics - like the EARTHWORKS piano miking system - if it's a grand
piano - open top with the mics facing the keys. If it's an upright, then you
point the x/y matching pair at the front of the piano behind the player's head.
... It always works fine!
My "go to" method these days is a quality electronic piano, chosen
after great length and much comparison. I have a Kawai ES1, has a
phenomenal action, and this routing: ES1 to Mackie CR1604-VLZ to DIGIRack
002 (Pro Tools 9) then back to the Mackie, some sweet Roland Space Echo reverb
(yes, a working RE-201!) added before it heads to my CD burner (HHb BurnIt).
To help with the recording, I have a Frontier Tranzport so that I don't
have to zip around my narrow studio (formerly a porch).
an upright piano: use two Beyer 160 ribbon unidirectional mics in a crossed
pair above the top of the closed piano, angled but facing almost completely
right and left. The pair of mics should be about 13" above the
piano, almost behind the top. I use a pair of old RCA OP6 preamps into a
Neotek 1E. This produces a completely natural sounding piano. The
key is to use ribbon mics, most any of quality will produce great results.
Pekin Inn Recording