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Eliminate Sustain Pedal Thump? (Read 2152 times)

Offline fohman

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Eliminate Sustain Pedal Thump?
« on: August 25, 2015, 04:38:14 PM »
Hello all,

I am a live sound engineer and recording artist, and I need to figure out a way to eliminate the thumping sound which gets picked up by microphones whenever the sustain pedal on a grand piano is released quickly.  The problem is that all 88 dampers come crashing down on the strings to mute them, but in doing so cause a "thump" both in the strings themselves (which is picked up by devices such as a Helpinstill style microphone) and also in the body of the piano itself (which is picked up by conventional mics, especially when placed up close).  Is there some way, or some device, which can slow the dampers down just before they land on the strings, much like a jumper pulling a parachute before landing?  Something that would not change the characteristic of the pedal action too much as to disturb the player and the overall sound? 

I have also considered a device which temporarily mutes the audio from the microphone at the moment of the pedal release (not the whole signal, but only the low-frequency range where the thump mainly resides), but a direct mechanical fix is more preferable as the piano sound can remain unprocessed after the microphone. 


Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Eliminate Sustain Pedal Thump?
«Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 08:40:02 AM »
I think you need to post this question in a forum filled with recording people to address it properly from that end of the picture.  Some of the processor forums, and recording sites like Mixcraft, Ableton, Garage Band ( off the top of my head and there undoubtedly are engineer forums as well). With digital this is very easy incidentally, it's all about how much of that sound you want to dial in !! It's a natural occurrence on Grand Pianos, a certain degree of it is mixed in the sound we hear. Especially so on lift off to fully open strings. Just that act of pushing down the damper pedal will leave a certain resonance coming off the strings without ever touching a key, it shouldn't be over stated but it should be present to some degree. And yes, the drop back onto the strings can be real annoying.

How hard are the damper felts ? Softening them can help ( a lot) but don't make them too fuzzy or they will pluck the strings when lifting off. A properly regulated piano with good damper felts can go a long way toward lessening this sound you speak of.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Eliminate Sustain Pedal Thump?
«Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 01:17:07 PM »
I might look at the pianist you are recording too - ouch!