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Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934562 01/16/20 03:43 AM
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There's a bunch of questions you should have answers to before you start buying recording hardware. You mention a camera, so you are recording video - how will this video be consumed? If you are uploading videos to youtube or any other internet video site, the difference between 115db S/N ratio and 130db is irrelevant. As is the S/N ratio of whatever recording device/preamp you are using. The audio compression is going to do way more damage to the quality of the audio than anything in the recording signal chain. And let's not even get started on what the speakers most people listen to computer/phone audio on. A couple of small diaphragm condensers of just about any quality will do just fine.

You might care about the tonal colour imparted by a particular mic or preamp - there can certainly be differences that are perfectly audible, but that comes down to personal taste, how the room sounds, how the instrument sounds, and whether the mic adds to or detracts from the sound of the piano. Tonal colour has very little to do with price or 'quality' of a mic. The actual quality of the recorded signal is limited by A/D conversion in your recording device, and then by compression in the internet video stream, both at time of upload and then when transcoded for streaming to a client, and then by the playback D/A conversion and speakers. NONE of the mics in your list are going to be the weak point in that signal chain.

Frankly, paying some attention to acoustics in the room you are doing the recording in will likely reap more dividends in the quality of resulting audio than even the most expensive mics on your list, especially if you aren't close-micing the piano. Save your money or spend it on acoustic treatment unless you are in a room that is already treated.

A zoom recorder with it's built in condenser mics or some affordable external mics, or a couple of affordable mics into a $200 mackie mixer and then direct into the camera will likely sound every bit as good as $3000 of hardware unless you have excellent acoustics and a fair bit of engineering experience and knowledge. Unless a mic has a very strong tonal colour, you are unlikely to be able to differentiate the mics in blind A/B comparisons of the final video (or even the raw audio recording).

Even if you are recording hi-fidelity audio and playing it back locally through a high quality audio signal chain, you'd be unlikely to hear a significant difference in recording quality. The vast majority of people don't have ears capable of differentiating between a $100 mic and a $2000 mic. You might well find that you have a preference in A/B comparisons, but it will be almost entirely subjective and is highly unlikely to correlate with price. The only way to know is to buy them all, do some comparisons, and return the ones you don't like. It is literally impossible to suggest which mics are likely to sound best without knowing the room, the instrument, and your taste.

And don't forget about mic positioning as a factor, either, not to mention mic arrangement. You will probably notice more change by moving a pair of mics by a foot or two or changing the arrangement of a stereo pair than you will notice by simply changing mics.

Last edited by ideasculptor; 01/16/20 03:47 AM.
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Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934594 01/16/20 05:27 AM
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U3piano Offline OP
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Ideasculptor, thanks alot for that!

That is very useful information to think about, and it all does sound quite logical. The plan is indeed to upload my future videos to YouTube, so the compression will hurt the quality. But, wouldn't it be still noticably better if I start with a better (cleaner, because of better equipment) recording before that happens?

Actually now i'm thinking about starting off with cheap mics like Samson C02's or Behringer C2's again, because if I add everything I need up, (camera, mixer, mics, stands, cables) it's quite alot of $$$ to spend at once. I could always upgrade to nt5's (or something else) at some later point.

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934616 01/16/20 06:30 AM
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I agree with ideasculptor that the most important element is the piano itself. How well it is tuned and voiced is very important for a good recording.


Here is recording with Behringer C2s.

https://youtu.be/nTyyKvP4sLA

And another one with Samson C02.

https://youtu.be/UqGFEG8WDrY

Of course impossible to compare, because of different pianos, settings, music etc.

But anyway they might be what you need.

Last edited by Hakki; 01/16/20 06:32 AM.
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934620 01/16/20 06:35 AM
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As far as youtube goes, have a listen to this video. Says he used the Behringer C-2 mics and the price on those is peanuts. You can get a pair for £32.

I've just bought a pair of them because they're about as cheap as you can get and yet still from recordings I've heard sound decent and I've had a personal recommendation from someone who owns them. They said you can get far better mics, but for my purposes and for that price they're really tough to beat as an entry point.

I was looking at standalone interfaces too, but in the end decided to just get a Motu M2 interface (class compliant so works with Linux too). Total cost for 2 mics, interface, 6m cables, two boom mic stands, comes in around £220.

As for how well they'll actually sound with my Piano or how sturdy the cheap stands will be, we'll find out in a few days.

Last edited by Gary001; 01/16/20 06:35 AM.

PW Recitals: LVI, XIX, XIV, XII, XI
Recent Recording: No. 9 - Nana de Mercedes (Javiere Navarette)
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Gary001] #2934638 01/16/20 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary001
but in the end decided to just get a Motu M2 interface


Why did you go for this, rather than the cheaper Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 which is the interface I have seen recommended the most? (although as you see above I've gone for the Blue Yeti initially because the recording I listened to with it was good enough for me - I am still building my backup plan)

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Gary001] #2934652 01/16/20 07:44 AM
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U3piano Offline OP
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I have seen all those videos in my search for microphones.

Originally Posted by Gary001
Says he used the Behringer C-2 mics and the price on those is peanuts. You can get a pair for £32.


Exactly my point, and if I order these at Thomann they even come with a 3 year warranty. The nt5's are €266, I guess it can't hurt to try the Behringers first for a price like that.

Originally Posted by Gary001

As for how well they'll actually sound with my Piano or how sturdy the cheap stands will be, we'll find out in a few days.


If you could post back and let me know, that would be great!

Originally Posted by Hakki

But anyway they might be what you need.


Initially, to save cost, I think so. But, ill still take the decent mixer + line-in on a zoom q4n route like you advised, to keep the signal as clean as possible.

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: ideasculptor] #2934668 01/16/20 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ideasculptor
There's a bunch of questions you should have answers to before you start buying recording hardware. You mention a camera, so you are recording video - how will this video be consumed? If you are uploading videos to youtube or any other internet video site, the difference between 115db S/N ratio and 130db is irrelevant. As is the S/N ratio of whatever recording device/preamp you are using. The audio compression is going to do way more damage to the quality of the audio than anything in the recording signal chain. And let's not even get started on what the speakers most people listen to computer/phone audio on. A couple of small diaphragm condensers of just about any quality will do just fine.

You might care about the tonal colour imparted by a particular mic or preamp - there can certainly be differences that are perfectly audible, but that comes down to personal taste, how the room sounds, how the instrument sounds, and whether the mic adds to or detracts from the sound of the piano. Tonal colour has very little to do with price or 'quality' of a mic. The actual quality of the recorded signal is limited by A/D conversion in your recording device, and then by compression in the internet video stream, both at time of upload and then when transcoded for streaming to a client, and then by the playback D/A conversion and speakers. NONE of the mics in your list are going to be the weak point in that signal chain.

Frankly, paying some attention to acoustics in the room you are doing the recording in will likely reap more dividends in the quality of resulting audio than even the most expensive mics on your list, especially if you aren't close-micing the piano. Save your money or spend it on acoustic treatment unless you are in a room that is already treated.

A zoom recorder with it's built in condenser mics or some affordable external mics, or a couple of affordable mics into a $200 mackie mixer and then direct into the camera will likely sound every bit as good as $3000 of hardware unless you have excellent acoustics and a fair bit of engineering experience and knowledge. Unless a mic has a very strong tonal colour, you are unlikely to be able to differentiate the mics in blind A/B comparisons of the final video (or even the raw audio recording).

Even if you are recording hi-fidelity audio and playing it back locally through a high quality audio signal chain, you'd be unlikely to hear a significant difference in recording quality. The vast majority of people don't have ears capable of differentiating between a $100 mic and a $2000 mic. You might well find that you have a preference in A/B comparisons, but it will be almost entirely subjective and is highly unlikely to correlate with price. The only way to know is to buy them all, do some comparisons, and return the ones you don't like. It is literally impossible to suggest which mics are likely to sound best without knowing the room, the instrument, and your taste.

And don't forget about mic positioning as a factor, either, not to mention mic arrangement. You will probably notice more change by moving a pair of mics by a foot or two or changing the arrangement of a stereo pair than you will notice by simply changing mics.

I was going to say the same thing as well but you say it so much better and in great detail. Plus Hakki is a great pianist and his recordings are fantastic so I didn’t want to contradict anything he says. I included my amateur recording using a $69 Zoom Hn1 so you can get a sense of what even an entry level mic can do. The difference you may hear is more from the mic position than the quality of the mic recording itself. I bought a pair of Behringers C2s as well a few years ago and will test those as well. I was going to say your money might be better spent voicing and regulating your piano and just using a cheap quality mic.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Jethro] #2934680 01/16/20 08:48 AM
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U3piano Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Jethro
I included my amateur recording using a $69 Zoom Hn1 so you can get a sense of what even an entry level mic can do. The difference you may hear is more from the mic position than the quality of the mic recording itself. I bought a pair of Behringers C2s as well a few years ago and will test those as well. I was going to say your money might be better spent voicing and regulating your piano and just using a cheap quality mic.


Somehow I missed that before, thanks for the recording, I think it doesn't sound bad at all! And yes, these Behringers sure are tempting at that price and with raving reviews from alot of people.

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934688 01/16/20 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by U3piano
Originally Posted by Jethro
I included my amateur recording using a $69 Zoom Hn1 so you can get a sense of what even an entry level mic can do. The difference you may hear is more from the mic position than the quality of the mic recording itself. I bought a pair of Behringers C2s as well a few years ago and will test those as well. I was going to say your money might be better spent voicing and regulating your piano and just using a cheap quality mic.


Somehow I missed that before, thanks for the recording, I think it doesn't sound bad at all! And yes, these Behringers sure are tempting at that price and with raving reviews from alot of people.

Yes I liked the Hn1 because audio wise it was an all in one solution, but I have a Samson mixer and those C2s that I never used but once.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Jethro] #2934706 01/16/20 09:32 AM
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C2's published frequency-response graph shows a low-end rolloff below 300Hz, measuring about 4dB/octave. Since sound will decrease by half each 3dB, I am especially curious about the bass/tenor performance of the mic at a distance. At close miking cardioids will boost low end because of proximity effect though.

https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/what-is-the-proximity-effect

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Hakki] #2934709 01/16/20 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
C2's published frequency-response graph shows a low-end rolloff below 300Hz, measuring about 4dB/octave. Since sound will decrease by half each 3dB, I am especially curious about the bass/tenor performance of the mic at a distance. At close miking cardioids will boost low end because of proximity effect though.

https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/what-is-the-proximity-effect

If I can figure out how to set it all up I might do that for you over this weekend or next.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Hakki] #2934715 01/16/20 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
C2's published frequency-response graph shows a low-end rolloff below 300Hz, measuring about 4dB/octave. Since sound will decrease by half each 3dB, I am especially curious about the bass/tenor performance of the mic at a distance. At close miking cardioids will boost low end because of proximity effect though.

https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/what-is-the-proximity-effect

Yes I close mic'd these and even at close mic the bass seemed kind of lacking especially when compared to my Hn1, but if you remember it was my first try with the C-2 and the samson mixer going into an iphone. This time I will record line in directly into the Hn1 from the mixer at close range as well as at a distance.

Last edited by Jethro; 01/16/20 09:57 AM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934731 01/16/20 10:25 AM
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Thanks to all of you, I had a feeling that diminishing returns and especially playback equipment come into play here.

I was looking at recorders around $100. I see that the first blue tooth capable ones are just appearing. I'll wait with my purchase until the first decent one with blue tooth comes to market.

That way I can record and playback straight to my blue tooth speaker.

Thanks again


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: akc42] #2934751 01/16/20 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by akc42
Originally Posted by Gary001
but in the end decided to just get a Motu M2 interface


Why did you go for this, rather than the cheaper Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 which is the interface I have seen recommended the most? (although as you see above I've gone for the Blue Yeti initially because the recording I listened to with it was good enough for me - I am still building my backup plan)


Recommended to me from someone who does a lot of music due to the DAC the Motu M2 uses being high quality. Most of the other reasons are pretty minor. The display for input feedback seems handy, it has an on/off switch which saves having to unplug it from the PC when not in use. Also has independent phantom power so you can run one mic with it and one without, not sure the Scarlett has that?

In the end though, it was due to a personal recommendation from a musician. I expect for my uses I'd be happy with either though smile

Last edited by Gary001; 01/16/20 11:07 AM.

PW Recitals: LVI, XIX, XIV, XII, XI
Recent Recording: No. 9 - Nana de Mercedes (Javiere Navarette)
Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934802 01/16/20 12:22 PM
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The more i search for examples, the more i'm convinced the Behringer C2's are far from bad microphones, even tough they cost nearly nothing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ3Lvh8j3KI&pbjreload=10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv19YXefag8

The youtube account from the piano video has multiple video's recorded with C2's, but, i can't read the chinese text, and i don't know if the sound is altered afterwards in any way, but it do think it sounds great.

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934814 01/16/20 12:36 PM
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Wish we could read descriptions, the other Für Elise where mic positions are tried does not sound good.

https://youtu.be/ETT-JzsQ1e4

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Hakki] #2934849 01/16/20 01:22 PM
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This is a pair of NT5s omnis in a kind of ORTF setup with mics 2m high and 2m away from the piano, located about 30cm before the end of the piano. Recorded with Tascam DR44-WL and 100m of XLR in between.

I'd say it's acceptable.


Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: U3piano] #2934858 01/16/20 01:37 PM
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Video camera? How was the audio added to the video?

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: Hakki] #2934896 01/16/20 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
Video camera? How was the audio added to the video?


I used a free software called kdenlive to synchronize video and audio. Took about 30 minutes for the whole recital, including reading the manual on how to do it.

The sound is pretty good, isn't it?

Re: Microphones to record acoustic piano [Re: OE1FEU] #2934900 01/16/20 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Hakki
Video camera? How was the audio added to the video?


I used a free software called kdenlive to synchronize video and audio. Took about 30 minutes for the whole recital, including reading the manual on how to do it.

The sound is pretty good, isn't it?


Yes it is good.

But I prefer the A-B stereo setup for classical music as defined at dpamicrophones site.

https://www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-university/how-to-mic-a-grand-piano

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