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Thread: Which mics for piano recording?

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    Which mics for piano recording?

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    I have access to these mics (in matched pairs): Neumann M49, Neumann M149, Neumann M250, Neumann M269, Coles 4038 and 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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    What kind of recording? Is it piano only? If it's piano only those Coles in a Blumlein array could get you a lot of dimensionality, space, and detail if you don't mind boosting some high frequencies afterwards. I'd be most excited to try that first.

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    If, and only if the room sounds nice, then if the piano is bright, like most C7s are, then a pair of the Coles would work for me, probably in the cutout about a metre away in Blumlein, but if the room is less nice, then lid on full stick and the 149s in closer and then create the space artifically with a position favouring low/high strings and good artifical reverb.

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    Now those are what I call options - I would stick with the Neumanns. They just can't be beat.

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    Id reach for the most natural reproducing Microphones when recording piano if the piano has a primary rolle in the song. If it is fills or a smaller role in the arrangement, I would experiment with which mics would compliment the piano role the best.

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    In questions like this it really helps to know what kind of piano it is (grand, baby grand, etc) and if it solo or part of a larger group. If you want clarity and its part of a rhythm section you might go with smaller capsule condenser mics miking closer to the hammers (but not right over them - look for the spot where the hammer hits the strings). If you want a bigger concert solo piano sound, then you go full lid and mic the higher notes close to the hammers but put the lower note mic further down the harp so you get the full range of the low end.

    Keep in mind that in general, the bigger the diaphragm the bigger the pickup pattern. You need to listen carefully and get the two mics so they are even in terms of stereo spectrum.

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