Mic placement for solo piano

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Hello James,

I've been reading your pages on recording with increasing hunger this evening. I haven't ordered your book yet (but I fully intend to on Monday :)). Unfortunately I've already bought some recording equipment, so for the time being at least I'm simply asking you how to get the best results with the equipment I have.

Equipment: Akai DPS16 (digital hard disk recorder, capable of 24 bit 96khz), 2 x Audio Technica 4033a condenser microphones, 2 x DBX mini valve pre amps.

Specifically, I'm about to record some solo piano (for somebody else)and I would very much appreciate some advice on microphone placement and configuration. So far I have experimented with two types of setup. Spaced microphones about a foot over the strings (one over the middle part of the base and another over the middle part of the treble, and about a foot from the dampers) and a pair of coincident mics, diaphragms at 90 degrees about a foot over the strings (also about a foot from the dampers). One problem at 24/96 with both setups is the amount of noise captured by the dampers lifting and returning to the strings.

All advice is very gratefully received.

Diarmuid Dunne.

-- Diarmuid Dunne (diarmuid.dunne@virgin.net), March 09, 2002


(Apologies I was sure I'd answered this, but I guess not.) The mikes are much too close. "Legit" piano sound doesn't exist 'til ear or mikes are several feet from the piano. Put the coincident pair four to eight feet off the crook of the piano, looking down at the point where hammer strikes string an 8ve or so above middle C, and the noise component will be far lower. If it's still bothersome, the piano itself needs work.

-- James Boyk (boyk@caltech.edu), April 13, 2002.

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