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How Do I Record a Concert Grand in a Small Basement... (Read 1200 times)

Offline njpiano

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How Do I Record a Concert Grand in a Small Basement...
« on: April 30, 2015, 10:49:34 PM »
OK, so I'm currently baby-sitting a concert grand piano (Lester 9ft). I've got it sitting in my 20' by 10' basement with tile floors, plaster ceiling, and normal dry-wall walls. How would you guys suggest I mic it up? I want to get some recordings of it (it's got a marvelous tone, btw) before someone buys it, so any suggestions? Thanks! (If this is in the wrong forum section, someone please tell me!)
"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." - Johann Sebastian Bach

Offline indianajo

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Re: How Do I Record a Concert Grand in a Small Basement...
«Reply #1 on: May 01, 2015, 01:11:41 AM »
One of the pros on here (I forget who) said in his studio, with multiple musicians, he tapes a couple of audio-technica 4050 condensor mikes in omni mode to the bottom of the soundboard of his grand.  You can use a PC or laptop running free Audacity software, but you're going to need a source of phantom power and level setting for a condensor mike.  I'm using a 1998 Peavey Unity mixer I picked up in 2011 for about $100 but mcmelectronics.com is selling cheaper solutions which might not be as durable.  
In my dining/music room which is 14'x 18' x 11' I'm getting decent sound out of a Shure KSM27 condensor mike set in a rubber block on a camera stand about 8' from the piano/organ.  First decent mike I ever owned, everything else has been trash.  I did record some stuff with a choir in 1985 on mag tape using a guy's RCA ribbon mikes, but the keyboard went into the mixer electronicly, I don't think ribbon mikes have enough highs and lows to do a piano justice. You can read a lot more about mikes on recordinghacks.com which I discovered yesterday, by looking up text on a guy's octava (russian) mikes.    If I had $800 I'd buy a couple of Shure SM32, which lack the 5 db mid-range peak of the KSM27 and its follow up model the SM27 (quieter electronics). Note specs aren't everything, quality control counts for a lot, IE the production mikes actually reflect what is published.  Radio Shack used to spec 20-20000 hz +- 3db on every speaker that sounded like **** in the store, and the secret, published by mistake in one brochure, was that the "production tolerance" was +-20 db!
I see a lot of shure SM27-32-42 or 44 on HDTV shows, is how I picked up on them.   (KET Jubilee and APM Woodsongs). I want a mike flat from 40 hz to 15 khz since I play piano repretoire that goes all the way up and down the piano keyboard.  Many people want the bass gone because of footsteps cause rumble, but my recording room has no other occupents.  And I am dealing with a "mid-range honk" on my $80 KSM27, but since I'm not doing voice I could probably do without it.  The rock standards SM57 and 58 both have bass suppressed under 200 hz and a mid-range honk to emphasize vocals or lead guitar.  Not good for piano, IMHO. If you want to hear my KSM27 it is the quiet channel of my organ track on inbojat.tumblr.com Yellow bird.  The hissy channel is a $2 dynamic mike I had lying around which is not as awful as the ones that came free with the Sony TC250 tape deck.  There might be a piano track soon on inbojat; I just finished tuning my Sohmer console piano after I broke a hammer shaft in the Steinway.    The limitation is eliminating the mistakes that crept in while I wasn't practicing due to  two broken pianos for 8 weeks.  
You're room is going to be a problem.  My recording area has carpet, plaster walls covered in bookshelves full of books and records, and a suspension ceiling. Ie, my space is dead.  You're going to have trouble with annoying too fast reflections in that hard room.  If you have money buy sound foam from some supplier.  If you don't buy shelves of books at Salvation Army close out day ($.25 each if 2 months old) or pick up scrap carpet foam or sofa cushions on garbage day until you can afford something that new that doesn't smell.  After you've eliminated all the **** too fast reflections and standing waves in your hard room, you can add some reverb later with a box or with another free software package.  Ubuntu studio is running on the PC I dedicated to recording, it has both Audacity and the other one with the built in effects.  Don't skimp on hard drive picothinker told me I believe 3 mb per minute of recording 96 kbps. If you don't want the effects you could buy a zoom record to SD card box in a pocket for about $200, but a guy on organforum said his zoom, the 1/8 phone jacks all broke off the PC board.  We're discussing recording organs, see chat forum of organforum.com now, which includes links to old relevant discussions.   A guy in Europe thought the Nagra lino pocket recorder to SD4 cards was more the things pros use, ie durable, but who knows?