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electronic MUSICIAN



Apr 1

Written by: masterblogger
4/1/2011 1:23 PM  RssIcon

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  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


Though 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



The 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!

Thank you!
George Koumantzelis

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).

Rick Reed

For 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.

Jim Kollens
Pekin Inn Recording


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