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Nice recording from ribbon mic
#3052256 12/03/20 12:16 AM
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I've been recording my grand piano with a fixed x/y small diaphragm condensor mic (Rode NT4), but I recently ran across this recording that I think sounds really good. The video says they have not added any compression or EQ, yet the tone is so warm and the bass is so rich. I'd have to EQ my recordings to make them sound like this. And the piano is also a Yamaha, which tend to be bright, so I wonder if this mic is affecting the sound. Finally, it's a ribbon mic, whereas most people I've seen on YouTube use and recommend condensor mics for pianos.

What are your opinions of the sound of this recording?



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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052257 12/03/20 12:20 AM
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It's a nice sound, but it sounds more like a digital piano to me than an acoustic. I don't think I'd want to hear classical repertoire on this set-up.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052367 12/03/20 09:23 AM
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Thanks Bruce. I agree it's a bit syrupy for classical, but I think some classical recordings could benefit from leaning a little more this way. For example, below are Glenn Gould and Marnie Laird's recordings of Brahms' Intermezzo in A Major. Glenn's is a lot drier, but sounds like a lot of classical recordings I've heard. Marnie's seems to have more post-production, and it leans more toward the AEA ribbon mic sound. The thing I like about Marnie's version is you can really hear the bass in her piano. I'm guessing Glenn's piano was at least the size of hers, and should be as punchy in the bass. But Glenn's piano sounds thin.

Maybe it's just my ears, but which sound between these recordings to you prefer for classical, and why?





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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052399 12/03/20 10:46 AM
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It may depends also to how do the people decode the recorded signal and how has been amplified.
In my case with a mac and iphone earphone, I agree with BruceD.
The recent record seems has been mixed and exaggerated on some rockn'roll frequencies, while the Gleen Gould's record is more equally distributed on the whole spectrum.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052404 12/03/20 11:03 AM
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Thanks Zonzi. I agree Glenn's recording is more even. But don't you think it leaves out a lot of the low end that you would hear had you been in the studio?


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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052406 12/03/20 11:04 AM
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Hi Emery.

The Yamaha in the recording you posted did sound nice, and very nice (even with my impaired hearing). However, if I were a gambling man (which I am not :-) I would be willing to bet the recording was indeed filtered with sound editing software, but I could be wrong (hence the gamble :-).

Lately, I've been using my ZOOM H2n stereo recorder, along with my older camcorder for video. It is not easy synchronizing the video file with the audio file in my video editing software, but I also do some minor sound editing/equalizing on the final edit. The H2n audio sounds much better than the audio on the camcorder, but could sound even better with the external mics, which I have not tried.

But my playing is mediocre at best, as well as my pianos, so I'm not looking for a professional quality recording. Just something I can enjoy listening to, and hope that others would too.

Based on your inherent commitment to achieving excellence at anything you do, I'm sure you will figure out the best recording approach, and let us all know what you found. smile

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052411 12/03/20 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks Bruce. I agree it's a bit syrupy for classical, but I think some classical recordings could benefit from leaning a little more this way. For example, below are Glenn Gould and Marnie Laird's recordings of Brahms' Intermezzo in A Major. Glenn's is a lot drier, but sounds like a lot of classical recordings I've heard. Marnie's seems to have more post-production, and it leans more toward the AEA ribbon mic sound. The thing I like about Marnie's version is you can really hear the bass in her piano. I'm guessing Glenn's piano was at least the size of hers, and should be as punchy in the bass. But Glenn's piano sounds thin.

Maybe it's just my ears, but which sound between these recordings to you prefer for classical, and why?
[...]

Emery Wang: Between the two, I certainly prefer the sound from Ms. Laird's recording; it is warmer, it has more overall presence, while Gould's sounds thin, cool and distant. Keep in mind - although I don't know which piano was used in Gould's recording - that he spent a lot of time having his own piano worked on to get the sound he wanted, a sound which, if I remember correctly, was spartan and clinical, more suited towards Baroque repertoire than Romantic. In this recording, the sound is not Brahmsian, to my ears.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052455 12/03/20 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks Zonzi. I agree Glenn's recording is more even. But don't you think it leaves out a lot of the low end that you would hear had you been in the studio?
Absolutely, different configuration, different music, different people. Probably i have some Baroque music bias...

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
zonzi #3052478 12/03/20 02:43 PM
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Fair enough. For me, I want the recorded piano to sound as rich and resonant as it does in person. A little richer and a little more resonant wouldn't hurt either wink


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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052542 12/03/20 05:24 PM
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Everything you ever wanted to know about ribbon microphones:
https://mynewmicrophone.com/the-complete-guide-to-ribbon-microphones-with-mic-examples/
Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052551 12/03/20 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
I've been recording my grand piano with a fixed x/y small diaphragm condensor mic (Rode NT4), but I recently ran across this recording that I think sounds really good. The video says they have not added any compression or EQ, yet the tone is so warm and the bass is so rich. I'd have to EQ my recordings to make them sound like this. And the piano is also a Yamaha, which tend to be bright, so I wonder if this mic is affecting the sound. Finally, it's a ribbon mic, whereas most people I've seen on YouTube use and recommend condensor mics for pianos.

What are your opinions of the sound of this recording?

Me - It's not to my taste.
It sounds like a RECORDING of a piano, not a piano as I hear it when I play it.
As a point of interest, I like the way this piano sounds https://youtu.be/FBRSBaBMTS4?t=80.
I can hear a bit of reverb which MIGHT have been done in post, or could have been achieved with skillful positioning and mixing of multiple microphones.

As to ribbons vs condensers - the go-to recording guy for classical music in our geography uses ribbons on SOME sources including piano. They can sound very good.
My own experience with them is that, used in conjunction with condensers, they can warm up the sound and give it some body.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
I Make Music that Lifts People Up & Brings Them Together
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052555 12/03/20 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the link Beemer. Here's another from AEA explaining why ribbon mics fell out of favor during the tape era, but came back in the digital era. I tend toward darker, warmer sounding pianos, so maybe ribbons will work better for me.

Seeker, I do like the piano sound in the video. However, the recording is a bit too open for me. I prefer the tighter sound you tend to get in some sound studio environments. It's all a matter of taste, I guess!


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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052562 12/03/20 06:18 PM
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To me the sound is shallow and dry on the initial video. It isn’t offensive, though.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052564 12/03/20 06:24 PM
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To my surprise, I find the Gould easier to listen to. It sounds more natural, more breathing room. I wish we could hear the pianists switch pianos. Then we could have a conversation, I suspect.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052568 12/03/20 06:44 PM
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Which do you think sounds more like what you'd expect the piano to sound like live and up close?


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Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052571 12/03/20 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Which do you think sounds more like what you'd expect the piano to sound like live and up close?
Laird’s, certainly. I don’t think that’s how I’d like to receive it, though, at least between these two options.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052572 12/03/20 06:48 PM
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I think the AEA R88 is a great piano mic. I think it's doing a remarkable job considering where the piano is being recorded.

Ribbons can have a unique relationship with the room, as they have a type of figure-8 polar pattern that very few condensers have (most figure-8 condensers are cardioids back to back). You can focus on the piano and also pick up the room without having too much of it. Most directional mics sound unnatural off-axis, but ribbons don't really.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
dhull100 #3052780 12/04/20 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dhull100
To my surprise, I find the Gould easier to listen to. It sounds more natural, more breathing room. I wish we could hear the pianists switch pianos. Then we could have a conversation, I suspect.

Ditto. If I wanted to analyse the piano sound I would go for the other recording, but the more integrated sound of the Gould recording (even though it is a bit thin) is for me much more natural and pleasant for actually listening to the music.

Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Emery Wang #3052888 12/04/20 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks for the link Beemer. Here's another from AEA explaining why ribbon mics fell out of favor during the tape era, but came back in the digital era. I tend toward darker, warmer sounding pianos, so maybe ribbons will work better for me.

Seeker, I do like the piano sound in the video. However, the recording is a bit too open for me. I prefer the tighter sound you tend to get in some sound studio environments. It's all a matter of taste, I guess!
Emery - the ribbon mics that the guy I mentioned uses are a matched pair of Royer R-121 microphones. I also remember that he used a couple of very large, tube pre-amps with them. Sorry I can't remember the maker. The preamps fed into a SoundDesign flash recorder. I don't recall how he adjusted gain on the mics; there might have been some sort of mixer, but I wasn't there to record; I was there to play the accompaniment for another pianist playing a concerto. The recording was extremely life-like, nearly identical to what we heard playing in the room.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
I Make Music that Lifts People Up & Brings Them Together
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Nice recording from ribbon mic
Seeker #3052919 12/04/20 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Seeker
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks for the link Beemer. Here's another from AEA explaining why ribbon mics fell out of favor during the tape era, but came back in the digital era. I tend toward darker, warmer sounding pianos, so maybe ribbons will work better for me.

Seeker, I do like the piano sound in the video. However, the recording is a bit too open for me. I prefer the tighter sound you tend to get in some sound studio environments. It's all a matter of taste, I guess!
Emery - the ribbon mics that the guy I mentioned uses are a matched pair of Royer R-121 microphones. I also remember that he used a couple of very large, tube pre-amps with them. Sorry I can't remember the maker. The preamps fed into a SoundDesign flash recorder. I don't recall how he adjusted gain on the mics; there might have been some sort of mixer, but I wasn't there to record; I was there to play the accompaniment for another pianist playing a concerto. The recording was extremely life-like, nearly identical to what we heard playing in the room.

I have the Royer SF12 stereo ribbon microphone that I use often to record my piano. The SF12 is basically two R-121 in one housing in a 90-degrees stereo configuration.

I have also used it with a rented SoundDevices recorder, nearly identical to the setup you mentioned, to record a community orchestra to satisfying results. In fact, the built-in preamps in the SoundDevices recorder are good enough to use on their own without an outboard preamp.

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