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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:55 pm 
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The General

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I have a question for the resident piano experts. First a little background.

Yesterday evening I lugged the G, my preamps and a few mics downstairs to record a tune I wrote on the piano in our study.

Despite the recording environment being less than optimal and my "guitar player trying to play" piano skills being horrible.....I achieved a good representation of what the piano sounds like.

The piano is very old. Probably circa 1930's or 1940's, inherited by my wife when her grandmother passed away. The piano is pushed up against the wall and I don't want to/really can't move it.

Signal chain is two Studio Projects C4 SDC's positioned inside the open lid>External Preamp>G. If you divided the piano into thirds, the mic's are positioned 1/3 and 2/3 marks.

Here's my problem. I'm getting a very prominant clicking sound (no, it's not click track bleed). This is my first attempt at recording an upright. What is this sound? The hammers? Would repositioning the mics help? Can this be fixed with EQ? Give up Gary, it's an old piano....live with it?

I know I could experiment and figure this out......after a few days....but I don't have the time or household quiet time.

Any ideas?

Gary


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:33 pm 
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You can't hear the clicks when you play?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:48 pm 
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The piano at my mom & dad's place has the same thing. I don't know what it is. What was the last time you had it tuned?


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 Post subject: Responses
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:55 pm 
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DC- I can't hear the clicks when I'm playing casually with the lid down in an open air, non-recording environment. I can hear the clicks when I have the piano miked, open lid with headphones on.

Bob- The piano was tuned about 7 years ago when we inherited it. I checked the tuning with my guitars and it is still in tune.

Gary


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:00 pm 
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I don't know what the clicks are either, but an article in Recording mag a couple of months ago mentioned an increased likelihood of such noises being recorded if you opened the thing up and stuck mics in there. They recommended placing two mics very close to the soundboard on the back of the piano (similar spacing to what you have now). Yeah, I know you don't want to move the beast, but it might pay to at least drag it a foot or two from the wall. The photos in the article had the mics right up against the soundboard - looked almost like they were close-miking a guitar amp. I was rather surprised at how close they had them.


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 Post subject: Good suggestion
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:14 pm 
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Good suggestion JM.

My approach to miking this piano has been from the perspective of a guitar player....ie: get the mics near the inner strings to best capture the sound source. Probably a flawed approach as the sound I hear when I sit down and play is with a closed lid and from an entirely different listening perspective.

.....and when I say "play" I should really say "depress the keys with my fingers" because what I do on the piano is far from playing.

Damn....now I need to lug all that gear downstairs again.

Gary


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:43 pm 
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I hear ya, Gary. You sound like me on the piano. Plink, plink....

Apparently the back of an upright is called the soundboard, because that's where the sound emanates from. Go figure.

To date I've only tried to mic the piano twice. Our is a spinet (low upright) that sits in a room with hardwood floors and essentially nothing in the way of fabric or other sound deadeners. Reverb for days.

The first time I was just putting some plinky high end on a boogie woogie blues thing. I had no idea what to do, and hadn't yet gotten a condensor. Being short on time and not wanting to remove the extensive family photo collection from the top of the piano, I just laid an SM57 on top of the piano. No mic stand.....just laying on its side on the cloth runner, nestled between photo frames. :lol:

I intended to come back and redo the piano at some point, but the piano sound fit right in with the track. The whole song was built up from some improvised live vocals and guitar. I tossed on some bass, manually triggered some drum machine pads, more guitar, etc. By the time I was done it sounded like a band playing in a bar, with the piano sitting over in the back corner of the stage.

The second time I used Octava MK012 mics to record my daughter practicing. I just put them a couple of feet above the keyboard, more or less pointing toward the front of the piano. The room sound took over, and it sounds like I set the mics up at the other end of a large hall. :shock:

I'll try the Recording mag approach next time.


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 Post subject: Live & Learn
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:53 pm 
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I should have done more research before I recorded.

Quiet time is hard to come by in our home, even harder downstairs on a Sunday evening. Opportunity knocked so I thought I could wing it and I almost pulled it off except for the slight annoying clicks.

After considering all the posts and doing some additional reading I've decided to re-track. I'll try the approach you suggested and then try two mics set up facing the piano outside my right and left ears. The top will be closed.

Gary


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:54 pm 
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The only acoustic piano that I've ever recorded was a baby grand. I had an x/y config of small condensors centered above the hammers and one large condensor in the back pointed dead center of the length of the strings. Turned out fantasic, all within the open lid.

As for your clicks, it's got to be the mechanics I guess. If you really can't move it, try the x/y centered apporach above the open top...maybe a foot or two.

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 Post subject: Good Options
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:27 pm 
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DCinFrance wrote:
The only acoustic piano that I've ever recorded was a baby grand. I had an x/y config of small condensors centered above the hammers and one large condensor in the back pointed dead center of the length of the strings. Turned out fantasic, all within the open lid.


I hear ya' DC. When I was in college I served as an intern at the school's recording studio (a full 4 tracks back then!). I miked baby grand pianos all the time, the same way you described. Always very high quality instruments in a real nice room, mostly auditoriums......with great players sitting on the bench. Kinda makes the job a bit easier.

Gary


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:26 pm 
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That it does...it was a Yamaha no less and a pro at the ivories.

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 Post subject: Let's not
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:51 pm 
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DCinFrance wrote:
That it does...it was a Yamaha no less and a pro at the ivories.


Let's not bring motorcycles and elephants into the discussion.

Ooops......


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:54 pm 
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What self-respecting American would ever consider anything but a Harley a motorcycle? :?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:09 am 
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Yeah, we all drive Ford pick-ups too. :P :usa2:


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 Post subject: That's not too far off
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:18 am 
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Bob Keelan wrote:
Yeah, we all drive Ford pick-ups too. :P :usa2:


That's not to far off from the truth here in Texas!

I am sad to say I have not yet purchased either a pick up truck or a street bike. Rode dirt bikes as a kid, never street bikes.

Harley's do look sweet though DC. Huge marketing to the empty nesters here in the US.

Gary


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:17 pm 
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love my f150.
the wife wants the harley, tho.
my mom would have a hissy.


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 Post subject: Biker Chicks are cool
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:03 pm 
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mcnewsxp wrote:
love my f150.
the wife wants the harley, tho.
my mom would have a hissy.


Biker chicks are cool


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