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Which mics for piano recording?

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Which mics for piano recording?

Postby klapatas » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:45 pm

I have access to these mics (in matched pairs): Neumann M49, Neumann M149, Neumann M250, Neumann M269, Coles 4038, RCA MI 6203. Which ones would you choose to record a Yamaha C7? My mixing console only allows for 6 simultaneous mics. Thanx!
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:39 pm

Welcome to the forum.

This thread might be of interest :- https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=70879
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:02 am

Well somewhat dependent on the genre you are recording and the acoustic space in which you are recording, so more information would help.

Either way, you should be able to achieve an excellent recording with just one matched pair - obviously with optimum positioning.

For what it's worth i would use an A/B pair of omnidirectional SDCs for classical styles and then consider moving in closer for contemporary or jazz styles, perhaps with cardioid mics (I like the TILM193 for this).

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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:43 am

Obviously with mics you're spoiled for choice. What is the room like?
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Ariosto » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:11 am

Great advice so far, and just to add the the Coles ribbons could also be excellent.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby John Willett » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:16 am

Not a very good choice really - none of those would be my first choice.

That is an excellent list of high quality microphones, but totally lacking in any decent small diaphragm condenser.

For piano I always use a pair of SDC omnis

My first choices would include: Gefell M221, Sennheiser MKH 20 or 8020, Neumann KM131-A or 133-A, Josephson C617set, etc......

The ones you list seem to be LDCs - so, if that is your limited choice - I would take the ones that can be switched to omni, try them out and choose the one that sounds best for you.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:25 am

Yamaha C7, hmm, not a bad piano.
But I can’t really comment as we don’t know what type of room it’s in, that’s very important.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:30 am

John Willett wrote:That is an excellent list of high quality microphones, but totally lacking in any decent small diaphragm condenser.
.

Well, they do have a pair of Neumann M250s -- possibly the most sought-after and expensive small-diaphragm condenser mics ever made...

Having said that, the combination of M250s and a bright piano might be a bit much, but that would be my first port of call.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby John Willett » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:41 am

Sam Inglis wrote:
John Willett wrote:That is an excellent list of high quality microphones, but totally lacking in any decent small diaphragm condenser.
.

Well, they do have a pair of Neumann M250s -- possibly the most sought-after and expensive small-diaphragm condenser mics ever made...

Yes, but in a very large housing like the M50 - which adds colouration.

It's a very strange list of microphones - all ancient designs with no normal SDC in the list at all. It's what you would expect to be a small part of a mic. list in a good studio - but the rest of the list seems to be missing. :?:

Sam Inglis wrote:Having said that, the combination of M250s and a bright piano might be a bit much, but that would be my first port of call.

I would probably agree , the M49 switched to omni may have a warmer sound, but it would depend on the vintage and would they still be matched after all this time? Same about the 269 (which is similar to the 69).

Or did the OP just take the "icons" from the mic. list to impress us and ignore all the rest - some of which may be better and more suitable. :?:
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:28 pm

John Willett wrote:
Or did the OP just take the "icons" from the mic. list to impress us and ignore all the rest - some of which may be better and more suitable. :?:

How to make a newcomer feel welcome... :roll:
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:45 pm

Well, if it was me, the RCAs would be my last choice, and I'd probably only consider the Coles if I wanted a particularly rich and dark tone, or if the piano itself is super bright and tinny-sounding.

Which leaves the Neumanns.

As John says, the most common way that piano is recorded for classical music is using a spaced pair of omnidirectional mics. So, you could try that with the M250s or with the M49s in omni. But I see no reason you couldn't also get good results using other techniques. I'd probably put up the M250s as a spaced pair, the M49s or M269s in cardioid in something like the ORTF arrangement, and another pair as room mics. Then I'd pick whichever I liked best, and if I didn't like any of them, I'd move them around or substitute other mics.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:18 pm

It is a slightly odd question to ask on the face of it as it would surely be reasonable to assume that anyone who had acquired a collection of top-flight vintage mics like that would also have acquired the knowledge to use them appropriately.

But perhaps the OP is simply hiring a studio and wants to go in with some idea of what to discuss with the studio's resident engineer.
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:01 am

I think more info is needed.
Are these the only mic's?
What’s the room like?
What type of music is being recorded?
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Re: Which mics for piano recording?

Postby John Willett » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:49 am

Arpangel wrote:I think more info is needed.
Are these the only mic's?
What’s the room like?
What type of music is being recorded?

:thumbup:
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