Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Arpangel »

John Willett wrote:
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 ;)

John, I used to say this to Mike, and he always said it never worked.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11600 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Ariosto »

I've been meaning for some time to record the piano from just behind the pianist i.e. from the pianist's hearing perspective. But the said pianist is so busy setting up phones, computers and what have you to be able to teach on line, that I really don't know when that will be ...
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 920 Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

DC-Choppah wrote: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.

It will depend to some extent on the room acoustics (ceiling height and surface, mostly, but also proximity of walls etc), but in general you're quite right: playing with the lid open or removed makes little difference to the sound heard at the keyboard.

Mics out front sound the same as before.

You really are firmly wedded to using a plethora of mics, aren't you! ;)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 34723 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Arpangel »

Try walking around with something like a Zoom handy recorder, while someone is playing, try all sorts of positions, everything, then play it back and see what sounds best to you, it won’t be top notch, but you’ll definitely hear what’s good and what isn’t.
The you can put your main mics in the best position, hopefully.
I get the feeling this one will run and run though...I thought I had the record for the longest running thread on this....

:D
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11600 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by John Willett »

Arpangel wrote:
John Willett wrote:
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 ;)

John, I used to say this to Mike, and he always said it never worked.

It works for me - but it is not a "hard and fast" rule. It's a good indicator of where will be best in that specific acoustic and is the best place to try first - and move if it's not right.
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7277 Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:00 am Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The technique may not identify the absolute best place for the mics, simply because mics 'hear' things in a simpler way than we do -- they don't have all the automatic processing that we have to eliminate acoustic issues...

However, it will definitely help you identify places where the sound quality is very poor, and it will also help find a good direct/reverberance balance -- ie, identify the critical distance in the room.

In reality, we all tend to implemnent this technique unconciously anyway.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 34723 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The technique may not identify the absolute best place for the mics, simply because mics 'hear' things in a simpler way than we do -- they don't have all the automatic processing that we have to eliminate acoustic issues...

Yes - you have to learn to listen like a microphone and be aware of what the room is doing. And not only listening like a human.

Many years ago I had a demonstration of what a room does and how it affects the sound and I have been aware of it ever since. :thumbup:
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7277 Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:00 am Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Ariosto »

Best to have headphones on and monitor walking about the room and also close to instrument holding the mic(s) so you can hear where it is bad and where it is good. Also on a tallish stand so you can maybe check height as well. But maybe my idea of best piano sound will be different to yours ... with someone playing of course, which might be tricky if it's only you ...

I've really just recorded short sections in several places instead and chosen the best position - as the A said to the B.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 920 Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Kwackman »

Ariosto wrote:Best to have headphones on and monitor walking about the room and also close to instrument holding the mic(s) so you can hear where it is bad and where it is good.

Here's a video showing this procedure, albeit on an acoustic guitar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VzZU_8XPPU

15 years old! (the video, not the demonstrator!)
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2709 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:00 am Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:lol: Wow. That was a long time ago!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 34723 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by DC-Choppah »

I've put the lid back on to record. Gone back to the mics out front and the XY mics over the strings come way down in the mix like Hugh preferred. I didn't ditch them completely, they are nice to have in the mix to change up the sound sometimes.

I did use the technique of moving around the mics with headphones and could make some small changes to the mics out front, but they do sound best pretty much where I had them out front. I have some very high isolation headphones that we use to track drums that worked well.

What I found was when mixing the 'lid off' piano tracks with other instruments, the piano had more of a thin, electric piano quality to it. I actually prefer the lid-on sound in the mix now after hearing it in context. Lid-on sounds more like a piano when all the instruments are there. Warmer, more complex, less bell-like. Note attacks are rounder and less sharp.

Removing the lid definitely changes the sound and removes the hollowed out phasey-sound I originally wanted help with. I will use that on some solo piano stuff. Great tip. And easy to do.

But the out front mics fix the phasey-sound too, and end up sounding more piano-like in the mix.

Thanks for all the help!

Gonna go back to focusing on the side of music again.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1839 Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am Location: MD, USA

Re: Please help recording grand piano to eliminate phasey sound

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:thumbup:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 34723 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 
Post Reply