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Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

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Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:41 pm
by DC-Choppah
DanDan wrote:'Disinfect a friend...'

I love that. Strange times we are living through indeed.

I am afraid to monkey with the lid myself. When my tech comes over to tune the piano eventually, I can have him remove the lid so I can record once and hear the difference just to try it. If you follow my stuff above, it really was the lid and music stand that was affecting the piano tone quite a bit.

It seems to me that any mic that is getting strong reflections from these big hard surfaces combined with the direct from the strings is going to be comprised in tone. At least that has been my experience. What the audience hears though is mostly what reflects from the lid I guess. But get in close on the side of the piano and you get both direct and lid reflections.

The real clincher for me was when I moved the SM81 around to find a place for it. All by itself it had the phasey, hollowed-out sound anywhere under the lid. So it was not the combination of mics, it was the single mics themselves that had problems for me.

The mics out in front of the lid get away from the lid reflections. Less liddy-sounding.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:27 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
DC-Choppah wrote: I am afraid to monkey with the lid myself. When my tech comes over to tune the piano eventually, I can have him remove the lid...

It's usually very simple to do. You just have to close the lid, pull out the hinge pins, then (with your disinfected friend's assistance) lift the lid clear.

It seems to me that any mic that is getting strong reflections from these big hard surfaces combined with the direct from the strings is going to be comprised in tone.

It's really just because the mics are in close, and the piano is squashed into a room corner. Conventional classical piano recordings are always made with the lid in place...

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:11 am
by Tim Gillett
Hugh Robjohns wrote:...Conventional classical piano recordings are always made with the lid in place...

I wonder if "with the lid in place" is always the best way, and if so why. It's certainly easier...

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:36 am
by Dan LB
Tim Gillett wrote:I wonder if "with the lid in place" is always the best way, and if so why. It's certainly easier...

I suppose the answer is 'it depends' and it's the context that matters - much like recording any instrument.

Take a drum kit for example: you don't normally listen to drums naturally with your ears a couple of inches away from each head, yet that is a sound that's prevalent in a lot of music. Different styles might require a more distant approach.

For a convincing classical piano performance I'd say yes, it is the best way. The reason being that 'in the best seat in the house' of an auditorium / large room / hall - where most classical pieces would be recorded - you are listening to the piano as a whole (the lid being an integral part of that), not a specific zoomed-in 'unnatural' part of it.

The lid of a piano primarily directs and projects the sound of the instrument ( well, a lot of the mid/hf info anyway)

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:33 am
by Arpangel
When you go to a concert, it’s probably in a nice sounding hall, and mic techniques can be geared up to include the acoustic of the hall, that means more distant placement.
If your in a domestic setting, or small room, the last thing you want is the sound of the room, as it’s probably going to sound bad. So it’s a compromise, and sometime far from ideal positions have to be used, at the expense of tonality.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:44 pm
by John Willett
Tim Gillett wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:...Conventional classical piano recordings are always made with the lid in place...

I wonder if "with the lid in place" is always the best way, and if so why. It's certainly easier...

For classical, the audience hear it that way - so having the lid open keeps the same sound that the audience hear in a recital.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:12 pm
by Tim Gillett
John Willett wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:...Conventional classical piano recordings are always made with the lid in place...

I wonder if "with the lid in place" is always the best way, and if so why. It's certainly easier...

For classical, the audience hear it that way - so having the lid open keeps the same sound that the audience hear in a recital.

Well some of the audience in a certain narrow band of seating.

The piano lid has a vital protective function of keeping dust, dirt, foreign objects etc out of the delicate mechanism when not being played.

It was and still is used as a reflector because on balance it's often better than nothing, especially in an unamplified situation in a large venue which has rightfully applied all over the world for hundreds of years.

"Recording only" removes the need for this. OK, the lid translates the sound escaping vertically from the mechanism into a sort of horizontal projection - and imperfectly and unevenly at that. When recording, why not dispense with the lid's imperfections and mic the sound that the lid "hears"?

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:13 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
Tim Gillett wrote:When recording, why not dispense with the lid's imperfections and mic the sound that the lid "hears"?

Sure. You can if you want. And some certainly do in some situations.

The tonal balance is altered, obviously, but that can be accommodated as deemed appropriate or necessary through mic choice/placement and signal processing.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:13 pm
by DanDan
I have done this many times. Removing the lid eliminates the 'clutter' caused by the very early very strong reflections. Comb filtering I guess.
The clarity of the stereo placement is greatly enhanced. There is no confusion whatsoever, the vast majority of the sound travels directly upwards. A stereo mic directly overhead picks up a perfect sonic image of the harp.
This obviously wouldn't work in a non amplified concert scenario. Or if one were trying to capture an audience perspective of a normally lidded piano.
It is noteworthy IMO how easy it is to remove the lid. Just two pop out pins.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:51 pm
by DC-Choppah
I didn't realize how simply this looks. Just close the lid, remove the pins and carry the lid away. No tools. I think i can do this with my uninfected kids. Looks like the lid weighs less than 50 pounds.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:37 pm
by Arpangel
I know this may go against the grain, but, walk into a room, move around, until it sounds good to you, then put the mics right there.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:36 pm
by John Willett
Arpangel wrote:I know this may go against the grain, but, walk into a room, move around, until it sounds good to you, then put the mics right there.

You are quoting me again ;)

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:33 am
by DC-Choppah
Sure, but what is more fun than than removing a grand piano lid with your uninfected kids! Gotta get them some school credit for this.


Photo:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MNz2u ... bZ0x39tJYj

IMG_3037.JPG


Mix:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HRlIZ ... iFzllN2-ea

XY mics above piano:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aAwX8 ... RESooJzFN0

KSM on left:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nNBiQ ... Te9KtKUOxg

SM81 on right:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tz4Ok ... XMBk43r0rD

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:43 am
by DC-Choppah
With no lid, I hear very little difference from the playing position. The piano sounds the same sitting and playing it with or without the lid.

But the XY mics are now much clearer above the piano. Recording sounds more like the piano playing back to me in the monitors. I was able to move the XY mics farther up without the lid. Phase scope shows much less out-of-phase sound.

Mics out front sound the same as before.

Removing the lid has definitely cleaned up the tone of the XY mics above the piano to my ears.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:37 am
by zenguitar
Kids earn their keep!!!!

Shock Horror

Andy :beamup: