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Author Topic: Mic technique for pianoforte?  (Read 698 times)

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Offline checht

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Mic technique for pianoforte?
« on: December 04, 2023, 05:45:23 PM »
I'm on a short rocknroll tour, staying in Belkeley, and there's a pianoforte performance tomorrow night at the house I'm staying at. I've been asked to record.

I've got mk41s and mk22s with me, and an mp-6.

Ideas on placement, config, and which pair where are welcomed.

If I don't hear otherwise, I've been imagining using stereo pairs, one 6-8" behind the hammers and 12" above, 41s in ORTF. The 22s would be about 2' to the side of the pianoforte on the open side, maybe 14" behind the hammers, a bit above top of the opened top. Not sure about config, have an NOS bar with me...

Thanks!
Schoeps MK41 x 2, MK22 x 2; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

Offline SMsound

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2023, 06:57:44 PM »
Sounds right to me.

Have seen mk41s in ortf exactly where you say and it came out nice with a little added reverb.

The MK22 I would put in the knee of the piano, just above the plane of the lid so you don't get lid reflections. I would do AB with 12"-20" spacing on those. Also may need a little reverb.

Since it's a house I would probably not set up mains elsewhere, given that you have these 2 nice options,  as with mains you'll just end up with wall/floor reflections.

Please do post samples -- pianoforte samples are pretty unusual.
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Offline checht

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2023, 07:10:16 PM »
Great information thank you kindly. 

The piano forte lives in the house, and it’s really fun to hear the performer practicing all the time on it. Really neat.  two years ago I recorded a mini concert with 2 baroque era cellos and piano forte there with an all baroque program. It was lovely.
Schoeps MK41 x 2, MK22 x 2; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

Offline SMsound

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2023, 11:34:49 PM »
Great information thank you kindly. 

The piano forte lives in the house, and it’s really fun to hear the performer practicing all the time on it. Really neat.  two years ago I recorded a mini concert with 2 baroque era cellos and piano forte there with an all baroque program. It was lovely.

Do you have an external 2ch preamp (to record ch.5/6 on the MixPre-6) or an extra 2ch recorder plus a pair of mics?  If I were setting this up, I would want the two pairs you described, plus I would also set up mains, assuming nobody minds a tripod in the way. I'm an amateur, not a pro AE, so you can take what I say with a grain of salt. However, I record a lot of pianos in conductors' living rooms. For mains, I usually run A/B array (12" or 16"), as I don't personally see the sense in ORTF/NOS/DIN/whatever in a living room (you'd just be inviting more wall sounds). I try to put the tripod on a carpet (less floor bounce) and depending on how it sounds I like a wide cardioid for this. If the room sounds bad, then you can do hypers or even a Faulkner Array (pair of Fig 8's in A/B) to take the room sound out. As you know, if there is a wall behind the piano, you will still get a lot of muddy wall reflections off of this back wall. Sometimes aiming the mains at an angle helps (A/B mics -> piano -> corner of the room in a line).

The idea is that, if you want to do some nice mixing with your two pairs of spots that are right on the instrument, then you'll likely get the best tape, and you can make it sound more like a concert hall than a living room if you have mixing skills and a nice reverb plugin (or box). However, a pair of hard-panned A/B mains means you can have an 'instant mix' ready to go on the spot. It will sound...a lot like what the audience in the living room actually hears.

One last tip. Nobody does this, but I personally *love* M/S arrays on classical concerts in living rooms, both as spot (stereo) mics and as mains. The reason is simple...M is the standard spot, and the S lets you dial up/down the amount of wall reflections you hear. In the absence of added reverb/processing, my best living room piano tapes are M/S, since I get to choose how much of the walls I want to hear.

Again, just some thoughts from someone who does this a fair bit on a very non-professional basis (usually with 10 mins max setup time and zero sound checks because classical musicians around me all seem to agree that good recordings are made by putting up a microphone and hitting the red 'on' button)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2023, 03:16:16 AM by SMsound »
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Offline SMsound

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2023, 11:43:06 PM »
Piano, not pianoforte, but helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcVqkVgiD2k

Schoeps also has piano array samples (most certainly not in a living room though):
https://schoeps.de/en/knowledge/sample-player.html
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Offline checht

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2023, 07:19:57 PM »
Love it!

I don't have another pair, and am already getting stink eye for the 2 stands in the living room 😀.

Wall behind pianoforte, of course. So the 22s will be a bit closer aimed at the sound board.

Luckily, no one expects an instant mix, so I can take my time once home.

Thanks!
Schoeps MK41 x 2, MK22 x 2; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

Offline SMsound

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2023, 02:43:03 AM »
Love it!
So how did it go? Which pair sounded better?
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Offline checht

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2023, 01:06:15 PM »
I will post the recording as soon as the performer signs off on quality of recording/performance.

I went with km41s ORTF, 10"" behind the hammers and 12" above. Also MK22s A/B 12" split, aligned with the knee and about 20" out. Height was 4" above the opened lid, both pointed about 65º down and at the soundboard/strings.

Not sure if I have a favorite stereo pair. The 41s sound very proximate and percussive, the 22s more mellow but also I think I can hear reflections from the wall next to the instrument. I like a mix of both...

I've attached a couple photos which didn't come out well 😀

It was amazing to stand close and at the knee during rehearsal, eyes closed, listening to the incredible image and sound stage. So different w/out the cross strings of a piano.
Schoeps MK41 x 2, MK22 x 2; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

Offline SMsound

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2023, 05:37:00 PM »
So cool -- looking forward to hearing some samples. Seeing a pianoforte in the living room is definitely something different!
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2023, 01:03:57 AM »
Definitely interested to hear that, and realize I'm very late to the conversation, but I ended up really loving a stereo pair either just over the players shoulders or just over their head. You get a really nice LR image that mimics what the player is hearing (works even better if you've got a binaural rig) and then supplement that with a roomier pair

Offline checht

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Re: Mic technique for pianoforte?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2023, 01:56:34 PM »
While waiting to be able to share this recording, I posted an acoustic recording made a few years back, Baroque cello and piano pieces. Cellos are period instruments.
Posted in Volt's acoustic technique thread:

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=203942.msg2405212#msg2405212
Schoeps MK41 x 2, MK22 x 2; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

 

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