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Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics

Posted By: GC13

Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 12:03 PM

I'd like your thoughts on the differences in the piano sound between these 2 microphones used in this video. I own a Zoom H4n recorder, but I've been thinking about investing in these Rode NT-1a mics for multiple uses including recording acoustic piano. From what I'm hearing, through my quality Klipsch headphone, I'm not hearing much difference. The Rode NT-1a mics may have a little more low end response / clarity. I'm also interested in hearing your thoughts on the best mics (on a budget) and recording techniques.

Please forgive the condition of the piano itself! It's not the best instrument by far. This video just happens to compare the mic/recorder I already have with the ones I'm thinking of purchasing. eek

Posted By: MarkL

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 01:40 PM

Beautiful playing, I think I might give a slight edge to Rode for the sound in the bass, but so close it's hard to call. I'm kind of surprised, those mics cost more than the zoom alone.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 01:48 PM

I have an NT1A and I think it is a nice mic. I use for my piano lessons.
Posted By: KurtZ

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 03:37 PM

I'm listening on a decent but not great pair of desktop studio monitors and the Rodes have more detail and a more open stereo image as well as the more obvious difference in bass.

Kurt
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 04:58 PM

In creating your comparison, the mics are placed in the same basic configuration and location. One of the biggest advantages of using separate mics is a more ideal placement. As a comparison video, you results answer the slightly different question...if the Rodes were configured like a Zoom...? It may be one of the better locations for the Zoom's fixed mics but is it the best configuration for the Rodes?

Once you move the Rodes around, you should get better results, but not a great comparison video.
Posted By: GC13

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 05:11 PM

Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
In creating your comparison, the mics are placed in the same basic configuration and location. One of the biggest advantages of using separate mics is a more ideal placement. As a comparison video, you results answer the slightly different question...if the Rodes were configured like a Zoom...? It may be one of the better locations for the Zoom's fixed mics but is it the best configuration for the Rodes?

Once you move the Rodes around, you should get better results, but not a great comparison video.


I see your point, Sam. That is very true. Just to remove any confusion, it's not my video -- just one I happened to find on line while googling the Rode NT1a's.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 06:37 PM

From the NT1A manual

Quote
To record a piano using a matched pair of NT1As using X/Y stereo technique, the matched microphone should be angled 90 - 110 degrees to each other, over the hammers with one mic aimed towards the lower strings and the other to the higher strings. The gold dots should face the piano.
An effective stereo image can be achieved, with lower frequencies being recorded on the left, and higher frequencies on the right.
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Recording Piano with Zoom H4n vs. Rode NT-1A mics - 03/26/19 09:19 PM

That mic placement should work for the Zoom H4n as well (its mics are at 90 degrees to each other). As long as the recorder's gain is set low enough to avoid distortion, and the mics don't distort -- it's _loud_, underneath the lid! <g>

My experience with my Zoom H4, vs the H4 with Behringer C-2 (inexpensive small-diaphragm condenser mics) was that the C-2's gave clearer sound than the built-in mics.

. . .I'd expect the Rode NT1A to be better than the C-2.

There's lots of material online about recording pianos. The Shure website has an article that gives some alternatives, beyond a a crossed pair. You have the freedom to explore those options, with the Rode's.
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