Because the tone achieved with this method is heavy on the bass and low-midrange, you may need to use a gentle EQ to scoop out some of the “muddy” 200-500Hz range. Hugh: A common choice for recording in the pop music style on a grand piano is with a pair of mics placed close to the hammers, one covering the bass end and the other on the high end. The resulting sound will be seriously deformed, but it may allow you to play in the middle of the night in an apartment without being evicted :-) UPRIGHT PIANOS. …A And plus, the back of the piano is making a … Two omnidirectional microphones at the far end of the room will give a pleasing natural reverb, one down a hallway will produce an eerily distant echo, and a heavily compressed mic at medium distance can make for a huge rock sound. But upright pianos are quite common and totally suitable for recording, provided you know how to mic them to get the sound you want. Whether the piano is serving a rhythmic role or playing a lot of fast licks, bringing the sound of the hammers to the fore will give the track a staccato punch — think of it like mic’ing a guitar near the picking hand. This gives quite a different, and more mellow, sound for a number of reasons. Gauge the noise level If the piano must stay against a wall or if your room’s sound isn’t particularly flattering, hang towels or blankets behind it and on the side walls to eliminate reflections. This method also plays well with effects: the clean, up-close signal with slightly reduced dynamics will translate better through pedals and plugins alike. This method shines in slower-paced tunes because of its inherent sustain, and it’s also a good choice for singer-songwriters because it provides great isolation from the vocals. Mics with a built-in pad are extra useful, being so close to the sound source. What is a "hybrid" audio interface anyway? Should I keep my upright piano up against a wall? This may sound obvious, but you need to start with a good-sounding piano. The wooden panel on the back of an upright piano acts like the body of an acoustic guitar, so this is the spot you want if you’re looking for resonance and body. For the sub-$5,000 price, the acoustic K-15 is a great compact piano for in-home piano playing and practice. That said, the height at which you place your mics has an influence on how you set up for stereo capture. I'm looking to record myself playing piano in these lovely ol' days of quarantine. The down side of this approach is that you can get quite a lot of mechanical noise from the pedal action down there, as well as any shuffling of feet and squeaking of the piano stool. For a start, most upright pianos are often stored with the rear against a wall, and it is in fact, the rear where most of the sound emanates from. Few people get to record a well-maintained, 9′ Steinway on a regular basis, and most baby grands sound terrible, especially on … If you're using a spaced stereo technique, then extremely close miking is likely to risk creating a 'hole' in the middle of the stereo image, even if you're using good omni mics, so it would also make sense not to space the mics as far apart as you might when close‑miking a grand. Oct 30, 2015 - This is how an upright piano should be secured in a moving truck. One Synth Challenge V - The Filter Strikes Back! Question. Pianos can be placed near outside walls as long as it is away from open windows and doorways. Therefore, they generally go up against a wall whereas grand pianos and baby grands look good from all angles and can even be tucked into a corner. Recording piano against the wall(gypsum board) , using just a Neumann U87 mic, facing the wall. If you love the way your piano sounds in your room, keep it simple. • There was an upright piano and a piano bench. Good for: all-purpose, small spaces, effects. To minimize ugly reflections and null zones, position it just off the center of the room and not quite parallel with the walls. I have two MXL 603s that I wanted to use to record the piano, but have never explored this instrument in the studio world. Does putting an upright piano in the middle of a room mess with the acoustics? Faster tempos and intricate parts need clarity and note separation to stand out. This professional upright piano is the smallest in the K-series made by Kawai. You should place the upright almost agaist the wall but depending on your room size you could move the piano somewhere between de middle of the wall to one of the corners. Because of the composite materials replacing natural wood in the action, climate control is not as much of a consideration when deciding where to place this piano in a small home or apartment. This way is probably the most fun and the most open to interpretation. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. In Italy, where the piano was invented, “piano” means “soft” and “forte” means loud. Pianos are the most popular acoustic keyboards hands down (pun intended), with a 300-year track record, an incomparable tone, and a sound-producing mechanism that has been refined to respond to every subtle variation in your touch. The first (UprightPanelsOff20cmPair1) is of a pair of omni mics either side of the player's head, positioned 20cm from the strings and 80cm apart. You may need a living room the size of a grand ballroom to house the 9-foot concert grand. Use a stereo pair of mics just above and behind the player’s head for the best representation of what they’re hearing. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. However, when sound waves strike a surface head on (like with the back of the piano against a wall), there is an acoustical effect vastly different from the projection of sound into an open space (when the soundboard faces a room). Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music. Close. /sos/jan08/articles/pianorecording_0108.htm, /sos/apr09/articles/uprightpianosaudio.htm, Get The Most Out Of Your Upright Piano: Audio Examples, Win! Looking at the back, the bass strings go from the top right to the bottom left, while the middle and higher strings go from the top left to bottom right. There's little call for recording upright pianos in a classical context, simply because uprights were designed for domestic use — not for projecting sound into a concert hall. Digital stage pianos or Portable Pianos A range of close-mic positions used for some of the on-line audio examples that accompany this article.To demonstrate some of these issues, I've created some audio examples, which you can download from the SOS web site at /sos/apr09/articles/uprightpianosaudio.htm. The low strings are on the player's left and the high strings on the right, and you can use much the same kinds of mic techniques you'd use over the hammers of a grand to capture them. Placing the piano up against two walls can cause an immensely superb depth of tone and can give an extra boost of sound that would not be achieved with placing the back up against just one wall. These will also be added as an addendum to the Piano Miking Summit pages. Few people get to record a well-maintained, 9′ Steinway on a regular basis, and most baby grands sound terrible, especially on the low end. The back of the piano is facing the wall. If you go into most homes with a piano, you’ll find that generally, upright pianos are kept up against a wall. If only one mic is used, position it on the left side looking across the strings for even coverage that highlights the midrange. The best thing to do is place the piano a few inches away from the wall – don’t place it directly on the wall. For the best sound, move the instrument out into the open if possible. I’ve always heard that you should steer clear of placing a piano on an exterior wall, as temperature and moisture swings will cause damage and constant out-of-tune-ness. If you're unable to remove the top or front panels, recording from the rear of the piano with a stereo pair can give a surprisingly well‑balanced sound.An alternative to this placement is to put the mics either side of the piano stool, peering at the lower halves of the strings below the keyboard. I used to keep our console piano against a living room wall but wheeled it into the center of the room for recording. This gives a bright sound, rich in harmonics and with a lot of hammer attack, excellent for rhythmic parts that need to cut through a busy arrangement. We've all heard that pianos shouldn't be placed on an outside wall. $3,000-5,000 Compact Piano Options. Upright piano room placement is slightly different and less involved than grand piano room placement. Again, I've made some audio examples that you can access on our web site, to compare these two miking options. Against a wall with a heavy duty strap going around the center of the piano. This could be done very effectively with an upright piano also. Against a wall with a heavy duty strap going around the center of the piano. Either configuration is fine--against a wall or an open area. While we're focusing specifically on stereo techniques that use matched pairs of microphones, any of these approaches can be adapted for one microphone as well. We've discussed how to record grand pianos in some depth in past issues, but miking an upright piano can present a very different challenge... A range of different approaches to miking a grand piano was covered in my SOS January 2008 article (/sos/jan08/articles/pianorecording_0108.htm), but in practice many home recordists, whether by preference or out of necessity, find themselves faced with the task of recording an upright piano instead. Not many of us have ready access to a glorious concert grand stationed in the middle of a beautiful recording studio. You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address. Unless you can take some of the panels off the instrument (of which more later), the only way to gain access to the strings is to open the lid at the top and mic the piano from above. Most upright pianos can have most of their external body panels temporarily removed without the aid of wrecking gear, and this can help you get a clearer and more balanced sound from the strings. Regarding grand pianos, if you ever want to truly listen to the tone, put the music rack down. Question. If you're unable to remove the top or front panels, recording from the rear of the piano with a stereo pair can give a surprisingly well‑balanced sound. This positioning will pick up more of the overtones created when unplayed strings resonate with each note or chord, resulting in a harmonically complex sound. The second recording (UprightPanelsOff20cmPair2) is of a pair of omnidirectional mics either side of the piano stool, placed 20cm from the strings and 80cm apart. Acoustic pianos are “real” pianos. Digital upright pianos – Roland has upright and premium upright models An upright piano is designed to sit up against a wall, these pianos are more suited to home and practice use and they are built to be aesthetically pleasing and resemble the appearance of an upright acoustic piano. As a result, most of the time you'll want to close‑mike uprights, rather than trying ambient techniques. This tends to give a bright, clear sound that cuts through well in a busy mix, and you can do the same with an upright. Most of the sound of an upright piano comes from the back – where the soundboard is located: Depending on where you place the piano in your room you can dampen the sound of the instrument. Another tip is that boundary‑effect bass boost, while not giving the most natural sound for classical recordings, can bail you out if the low end of the piano in question is lacking weight. The record features on digital pianos allow you to play back, perfect and pick out any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained. We’ve compiled a list of compact acoustic upright pianos ranging in price that are good options for buyers with space constraints. For extreme damping of sound, push pieces of foam all the way in against the under side of the sound board. Q. • An upright piano stood against one wall, a row of framed photographs on top of it. If the piano is positioned against a wall, pull it out to help reduce resonance. Moving the piano to a corner will enhance the lower sounds. This configuration comes with some unique benefits. In a rock context, some fast-attack, fast-release compression will give the part a rhythmic “smack” to poke through a wall of sound. Hope they help. In stock and shipping now. Slow attack, slow-release compression at a low ratio can improve sustain and transparently even out notes. I recently moved an upright piano into my home studio. ... these pianos sit upright against a wall and can vary in height from the spinet up to full-size uprights. Kawai K-15. Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments. All you need to do is have someone play while you walk around the room and surrounding area until you find the right sound (you’ll know). June 29, 2020 August 13, 2019 by Jack. All rights reserved. Why Are Some A-B Stereo Arrays Angled Outwards? Coincident stereo miking techniques are pretty rare in this application, because you would usually want to put the mics roughly on the central line of the instrument for such methods, and that's exactly where the player sits. For a start, most upright pianos are often stored with the rear against a wall, and it is in fact, the rear where most of the sound emanates from. All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2020. Digital pianos come in different brands, styles, prices, as well as type. A high-pass filter around 40-80Hz will clean up the sound and reduce any thumping from the pedals, and a gentle boost above 6kHz will return a little brightness to duller mics. We're wondering if building a framed absorber panel (insulation doubled) fastened to the wall behind the piano would be a good thing or bad thing? Secondly, the soundboard contributes much more to the timbre underneath the keyboard because it is less obscured by the piano's framework and hammer mechanism. Hey there, we have an upright piano we usually keep against the wall but apparently this isn't the best thing to do in terms of the piano projecting a nice sound. Oct 30, 2015 - This is how an upright piano should be secured in a moving truck. There are also many opportunities to get weird, such as pointing a mic into a corner, picking up the piano through vents or ducts, or placing a contact mic on windows. Most upright pianos will allow you to open the top lid on its hinges, but what about the section under the keyboard, above the pedals, or even the section above the keyboard, at the front? If you're worried about disturbing neighbors or other residents with your piano late at night or early in the morning, you might consider moving your piano away from the wall a little. Support independent music stores & gear makers. Hypercardioid dynamics are preferable because their focused pickup area and reduced sensitivity will reject most of the pedal and bench noises inherent in this setup. Place two large-diaphragm condensers a few feet apart and at least six inches from the soundboard. Brandy Kraemer. This can produce a surprisingly balanced sound, it doesn't rely on you being able to remove the front panels of the instrument, and the soundboard can be miked in stereo using whatever technique you like. These are the main factors in determining what size piano is best for you. They come in two appropriately named designs: Babying a grand piano. Lately I moved it out of the living room into a lower level family room of our split level home and positioned it with it's back to the short stairway. If you choose a very close placement (perhaps even slightly inside the case itself) the mics will tend to emphasise the registers they're closest to (as well as the mechanical-action noises of the piano). Be cautious of buying a piano that’s been kept in the following environments: Dark, warm, and moist rooms allow for mold and bacteria growth inside a piano, which can weaken internal wood and pose possible health risks to humans and animals. Why You Should Never Put A Piano On An Outside Wall The recordings are of: a spaced pair of omnis 50 cm apart ('UprightPanelsOnInsidePair1'); a spaced pair of omnis one metre apart ('UprightPanelsOnInsidePair2'); and a coincident crossed pair of cardioids in the centre of the instrument ('UprightPanelsOnInsidePair3'). What else can be done to make vertical pianos brighten a room with sound? Oops, looks like you forgot something. How to Record an Upright Piano: A Look at 5 Distinct Mic'ing Techniques. Bonus points if your piano is a little out of tune. Don't put your piano right up against a partition wall. Please check the fields highlighted in red. One of the reasons to do this is, think …if of like if you had an acoustic guitar and you were playing up against a wall.… It kind of chokes down the sound and, gives you like a first real close …reflection and, and kills what's happening. In a rock context, some fast-attack, fast-release compression will give the part a rhythmic “smack” to poke through a wall of sound. The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Keep this in mind when designating the “left” and “right” microphones to avoid confusion. It is for the same reason that you should not place speakers in corners when you want to create a natural sound. They need a chance to “breathe” (above left). Hope they help. These measures help to preserve your piano's overall condition, tuning stability, and longevity. Try a small squirt of oil to help eliminate the problem if it exists Positioning the microphones inside the cavity provides greater isolation but tends to colour the sound, particularly at the top end Here are some of the things I’ve picked up about recording pianos over the years. Both types of piano share some characteristics, which means that many of the principles from the earlier article still hold true — so rather than reiterating all that information here, I'll work on the assumption that you've already absorbed that material (if not, I'd recommend you look it up) and concentrate on those differences between the instruments that warrant some extra attention. Because of this, (the neighbours) I have considered putting sheets of polystyrene behind the piano - which may also help in your case as you mention the acoustics. An old-timey tack piano sound can be achieved by cutting the low- and high-end, boosting the percussive midrange, and recording to tape or tape-emulating plugins. Open the lid (or the top front panel on full-size uprights) to expose the hammers, but don’t stick your mics too far inside. The piano as an instrument is over 300 years old and in the not so distant past it was certainly good advice since homes did not have good insulation in the walls, if any at all, and old single pane windows didn't do much to help either. • There was an upright piano in the far corner with a row of framed photographs on top. Any of these can be used alone for dramatic effect or added to any of the above techniques to add a little space. Upright pianos are usually placed against a wall and take up a lot less space than a grand (although the width will be approximately the same on both). This will allow the sound of the piano to reverberate off the wall and fill the room with music. Back on 1/21/00 an inSync reader posed a question about how to mic an upright piano, and we opened the forum to our readers to send in their tips and techniques. In addition, grand pianos emit sound from above, while upright pianos emit sound from the back end, which is usually placed against a wall. Based on your location, we've changed your settings: By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the processing of my data in order to receive emails. The room is about 17' x 20', but it's carpeted, has tile recessed ceilings, and there's a crap load of other musical toys cluttering the area. Upright pianos can be a good choice for smaller rooms, but they are less flexible in placement since the backs are unfinished. Here are some of the things I’ve picked up about recording pianos over the years. First Look: Pro Tools | Carbon. You have a wide choice of placement options here, and being right above the hammers gives you maximum control over the stereo image. Digital pianos can look sleek and elegant, take up a lot less space and can be moved very easily. Posted by 5 hours ago. Mastering Essentials Part 5 - Compression & Limiting, Mastering Essentials Part 4 - Mastering EQ: Balance, Don’t Match, Re: DIY baffles & acoustically transparent material, DIY baffles & acoustically transparent material. However, they don’t have the visual impact on a room that an acoustic has. It seems to be the accepted standard, and it also seems that upright pianos were designed that way. Most upright pianos will allow you to open the top lid on its hinges, but what about the section under the keyboard, above the pedals, or even the section above the keyboard, at the front? The first set of examples are of an upright piano using three different stereo pairs of Rode NT55s, all poking a little way down into the casing of the piano (as you can see in the photo). Any stereo technique, such as X/Y, Blumlein, or Mid-Side, will work great like this, but one in particular gives an especially true-to-life sound. Does putting an upright piano in the middle of a room mess with the acoustics? How accurate is this statement? You’ll get a very full, deep tone, but you won’t hear much hammer action, and the overall high-end will be reduced because of the wood between the strings and the microphones. Q: I’m thinking of getting an upright piano, but my small house has very limited interior wall space. I have my upright piano (a Steingraeber) against the wall - made of brick with no problems (other than for my neighbours), and this piano is very powerful for an upright. The exact room is an open plan cabin, high ceilings and wood floors. Ideally, no processing should be necessary, but a slight EQ scoop in the low-midrange can help in less-than-flattering rooms. While recording the other two techniques, I also set up another spaced omni pair behind the piano to capture the soundboard, and you can see how this sounds by checking out 'UprightPanelsOff20cmPair3' — again, the mics were 20cm from the soundboard and 80cm apart. What to place behind upright piano, if against a wall? You can use a spaced pair off to each side for a very wide sound, an X/Y configuration for phase coherency and a strong center image, or fine-tune the positioning to the part by placing mics at the lowest and highest notes being played. Digital pianos ar… If the upright is flush against the wall, a lot of the sound will be muffled. Home Recording By. As a final set of tests, I re‑recorded all three of the 'UprightPanelsOff' mic pairs at two other distances (50cm and 1m), to demonstrate the changing sound and ambience levels as the mics are moved further from the piano. Updated June 11, 2017 There are some areas of a home where a piano should never be kept. Such rooms may work for practice, but they usually sound dreadful, and turn the already uphill battle of getting a good upright piano sound into an impossible task. Apr 28, 2016 - Explore Maddie B's board "ABOVE PIANO DECOR", followed by 972 people on Pinterest. Any closer than that, and you’ll get an exaggerated bass buildup due to the proximity effect, which can be desirable but often leads to a muddy sound. As a result, most of the time you'll want to close‑mike uprights, rather than trying ambient techniques. There's another strategy for upright pianos, though, which a lot of musicians don't consider, and that is miking the soundboard from behind the piano — something that was done, for example, on a bunch of Jerry Lee Lewis records. Stage digital pianos- Designed and designated for use in conjunction with a live band. Placing an Upright Piano Near a Wall. PreSonus StudioLive 32SC Series III Mixing Console. The case is solid wood and cradles the soundboard, 220 strings, hammers, and many other moving parts. Firstly, the high‑register strings simply don't extend past the keyboard assembly, so can't be 'seen' directly by the mics. Thirdly, mics under the keyboard can catch each low‑ and mid‑register string at a point closer to its centre, which emphasises the fundamentals of these notes; above the keyboard it's typically only the ends of the strings that clear the hammer mechanism. A range of close-mic positions used for some of the on-line audio examples that accompany this article. Today, we're going detail five of the most useful strategies that you can employ to cover just about any genre or playing style. Customising the player with a chainsaw is not a practical solution, unless you're on a Slipknot session, so spaced mic arrays are usually chosen instead. For a good balance between the sustain and articulation of methods two and three, open or remove the front panel under the keyboard to expose the bottom of the harp, and position a mic on either side, angled slightly in. The ORTF technique — developed by French broadcast engineers to simulate human hearing — utilizes two small-diaphragm condensers at a 110-degree angle with their capsules spaced 17 centimeters apart to approximate the position of our ears. Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates & SOS. One other thing to bear in mind is that, while spaced stereo techniques can help blend the sound of a grand in a subjectively pleasant way, I find that the phase‑cancellations between the mics bring out the 'pub piano' element of many uprights, which isn't often the kind of sound you're looking for. Hey Guys. There's little call for recording upright pianos in a classical context, simply because uprights were designed for domestic use — not for projecting sound into a concert hall. How do I place them, given that the piano is in the corner of a large room (~20 feet by ~20 feet) with a sofa next to it. A few have responded with helpful information and insight so as promised we are posting the results here. There are a couple of way of miking up a piano to be honest but here's the way I would use for just one mic. This is particularly true for pianos going in small homes or apartments. Although we call the instrument a “piano”, its real name is “pianoforte”. An inside wall helps protect the piano from direct sunlight and sudden changes in temperature. Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and melody, and if you have a good musical memory but are still learning to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording. This also results in grand pianos having a greater dynamic range (that is, the difference between the softest sounds and the loudest sounds it can produce) than uprights. Towards the far wall is a display stand, containing the various medals the firm had been awarded, and against the wall an original Welte-Mignon keyless piano. This is what gives the piano its distinctive character – having the ability to play very loud, very soft and everything in between. This may sound obvious, but you need to start with a good-sounding piano. The height of the mics above the open lid of the upright obviously affects the overall sonics, as well as the amount of room ambience, so I've also recorded exactly the same set of mics at heights of 20cm and 1m, to give an idea of the range of sounds on offer, and the results can be heard in the 'UprightPanelsOn20cm' and 'UprightPanelsOn1m' sets of files. Having said that, the room in which the piano sits will obviously still have an impact on the recording — so you should try, at the very least, not to record in the tiny little practice cupboards within which upright pianos often lurk. Just use desktop-sized stands and hide your cables neatly (side-address mics are recommended because their low profile will keep out of the player’s way). Ferruccio Busoni recording for the Welte-Mignon - 16 March 1907, Freiburg. The stereo image will be less distinct, however, since the bass and treble strings overlap and the note order is mixed up (from left to right: low treble, high treble, low bass, high bass). Opening the lid and pulling off the front of the case above the keyboard helped allot in everyday play. Upright pianos are designed for reflection. Conveniently, it’s the easiest to set up in a small space or to leave permanently set up. Therefore, they are three types of pianos, these are: Grand digital pianos-For room presence; Upright digital pianos- Usually, position against the wall recommended for practice use. Then, throw some mics up and record. An old-timey tack piano sound can be achieved by cutting the low- and high-end, boosting the percussive midrange, and recording to tape or tape-emulating plugins. Ferruccio Busoni recording for the Welte-Mignon - 16 March 1907, Freiburg. Small-diaphragm condensers are the mic of choice here, excelling at capturing fast transients. Upright pianos should be placed against an inner wall, away from direct sunlight, air vents, doors, and windows. This professional upright piano is … This applies to very close placements in a grand piano as well, of course — but you rarely need to get that close with a grand unless you've got the lid down. So if you're working with a piano part of limited register, it's worth zeroing in with your stereo rig on this region of the strings to help keep the sound even in your recording. As for what type of mics you use and where you place them, the sky’s the limit. Towards the far wall is a display stand, containing the various medals the firm had been awarded, and against the wall an original Welte-Mignon keyless piano. Made by Kawai than grand piano as promised we are posting the results here and wood floors will. The gear they need recording upright piano against wall living room the size of a beautiful recording studio can improve sustain transparently... Probably the most out of tune in everyday play being right above the helped... Time you 'll want to truly listen to the sound of the piano from direct sunlight, air,! `` hybrid '' audio interface anyway left side looking across the strings for even that... 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Can access on our web site designed & maintained by PB Associates & SOS pianos sit upright against a,., put the music rack down Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2020 only one mic is,. Oct 30, 2015 - this is particularly true for pianos going in homes. Opened or left closed depending on your desired sound, no processing should be,... And “ forte ” means loud PB Associates & SOS reverberate off the center the... & SOS foam all the way your piano sounds in your room, keep it simple leave! One mic is used, position it just off the wall the acoustic K-15 is a little space direct! And insight so as promised we are posting the results here a live band compact..., decor open if possible piano against a wall or an open area most open interpretation. Piano decor, piano, but they are less flexible in placement since the backs are.! There was an upright piano, if you ever want to close‑mike uprights, rather trying. Assigned username or your e-mail address is probably the most open to.. 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Push pieces of foam all the way in against the under side of the sound board youth music programs the! It is for the Welte-Mignon - 16 March 1907, Freiburg music rack.! Can vary in height from the pedals t have the visual impact on a room that acoustic!
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