Mic'ing a miniature piano

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inverseroom
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Mic'ing a miniature piano

Post by inverseroom » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:17 pm

Take a closer look...it's only 61 keys. My tape deck is actually taller!

So how would you mic it? The lid lifts up, and the front panel is removable. It sounds just like a regular spinet.

Image

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jrsgodfrey
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Post by jrsgodfrey » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:36 pm

I always mic spinets from the back. The sound boards are meant to interact with the wall. Pull it out about 8"-10", and put a couple of whatever you like in there -- higher on the right (treble) and lower on the left (bass) nearer the edges of the harp where the strings are tighter (thus less boomy). You generally get a mid-empasized, chime-y and solid sound, ala Beatles w/ the some compression. Very eq-able, too, but you'll find higher comp ratios will bring out the bright attack w/o eq. Drops into the mix nicely. Shouldn't have to lo-pass such a small piano.

Another benefit is isolation form the hammer action and pedal bumps and somewhat whatever is going on in the room.

I love those little pianos.

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Post by inverseroom » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:47 pm

Yah, Eskimo said the same thing, mic from the back...I may move it to where that little synth on the left is now.

One advantage of recording myself is that there won't be anything else going on in the room, though.

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Post by jrsgodfrey » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:31 pm

One advantage of recording myself is that there won't be anything else going on in the room, though.
What, no Gould-ian grunting?


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 9899995423

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:57 pm

I always mic uprights from the back. AKG D19 or EV RE15's are my go to dynamics. EV 666's and 664's are also great.

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Post by inverseroom » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:14 am

junkshop wrote:I always mic uprights from the back
Your av suggests the opposite!

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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:50 am

we got a nice spinet sound yesterday with the top open and a U87 in figure 8 where it would pickup piano and vocals equally. we liked the scratch sound so much we ended up cutting two tracks of spinet with that sound. it was through a neve 5012 into a sta-level, just pulling back a tiny bit on the louder chords. very real and intimate piano sound. alot depends on the piano and the room, though... our spinet is really loud, and it is against a stone foundation wall, so it is a nice bright reflective and diffuse surface.

a lot of the time we mic the back, too... but it depends on each specific piano. sometimes one mic on the soundboard from behind, and stereo room mics or something fun like that.

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i like to make music with music and stuff and things.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:08 am

inverseroom wrote:
junkshop wrote:I always mic uprights from the back
Your av suggests the opposite!
Good point! For a while I was using an omni SDC right up close on the treble side harp (from the front) and a 421 over the bass string. It was OK but there was lots and lots of mechanical noise. NOW I always mic from the back.

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Post by djimbe » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:09 am

We've got a cute little guy like that too, Inverse. We like all covers (above and below the keyboard and the top) removed and generally mic it from the front with a pair of Shure 315's. Little dude is brighter and not as big sounding as our full upright, so being away from a wall doesn't seem as critical...
I thought this club was for musicians. Who let the drummer in here??

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Post by A-Barr » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:39 am

jrsgodfrey wrote:
One advantage of recording myself is that there won't be anything else going on in the room, though.
What, no Gould-ian grunting?


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 9899995423
Sorry. Had to post this: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 3673624060
Watch at 1:36 to 1:40. Ridiculous. Awesome, but ridiculous.

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inverseroom
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Post by inverseroom » Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:15 am

So I got an hour to mess around with the piano...the best sound I've gotten is with two mics...the front panel removed and the Alice SDC pointing at the harp, plus a 635a just kind of dangling down behind it. There's about 5 or 6 inches now between the sound board and the wall. This lets me dial in the amount of brightness/mechanical noise that I like. So far I like both mics in equal proportions.

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Post by joninc » Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:32 am

i have tried a lot of different micing and found similarly that the back projects more and sounds "closer". 2 421's on the front top with panel removed sound "warmer" and more distant.

but one thing i am trying to understand is the relationship with the wall thing you guys are talking about. my piano is in a carpeted room against
a wall and i find it sounds dull and choked there so i roll it into my kitchen
(lino floor) - not against any walls. it sounds great there.

are you saying i'll get a brighter sound if i were to put it closer and parallel to a wall? what's the idea behind the wall/distance/tone?
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Post by lancebug » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:56 pm

inverseroom wrote:
junkshop wrote:I always mic uprights from the back
Your av suggests the opposite!
Thats actually pretty funny. No offense. Just funny. :)

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Post by RefD » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:59 pm

the three times i've miked a piano it's been an early 1950s Wurlitzer spinet and i just dangled an omni dynamic behind it and was happy enough.
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

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Post by apropos of nothing » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:20 pm

joninc wrote:but one thing i am trying to understand is the relationship with the wall thing you guys are talking about. my piano is in a carpeted room against
a wall and i find it sounds dull and choked there so i roll it into my kitchen
(lino floor) - not against any walls. it sounds great there.

are you saying i'll get a brighter sound if i were to put it closer and parallel to a wall? what's the idea behind the wall/distance/tone?
In the carpeted room, the carpet is absorbing a lot of the air movement making more of a "dead" sound. If you roll it out into the kitchen there are more reflective surfaces.

From a recording point of view, if you have too many reflections going to the mic, their energy can be greater than the energy coming from the instrument itself, which can sound good or (probably) not-so-good, since whatever the reflective surface, it will have its own (non-optimized) frequency absorption. OTOH, if you have no reflections, you have no "room", and a decent chunk of what we think of as the sound of an instrument is the sound of the room the instrument is in.


I think my piano will probably sound best mic'ed from the back, since it has a pretty loud action and mildly squeaky pedals. I have to wait for a day that the missus is out of the house so that I can move most of the rest of the room and pull it out from the wall.


IR, that is a totally cute instrument!

If it were me, I think I'd stick a '57 on the grill. Oh wait.

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