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Hi All,

So I have recently decided to tackle getting my recording rig set up and have had good luck with my new mics, tube pre-amp, and software. I realized I was mixing until it sounded perfect on my monitors, only to realize it sounded overdriven and muddy in my car and on friends' computers. So I have recently started playing with the EQ, but I am still a novice and know very little about audio engineering or recording. Below is a link to an original piece I've written (not the best performance, mind you) but I want to get opinions about miking and how it's mixed to see if I can get better insight and maybe a few "ah ha!" moments from some things those of you with more experience might take for granted. How does it sound on YOUR equipment? Thanks!

Equipment Used:

-Se5 Condenser Mics (Matched pair, one sitting above the rim at tail tip, and one 12" from treble bridge)

-ART MPA Pro II Tube Preamp

-Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Interface

-PreSonus Studio One 2.6 for Windows

As an aside, is there a recording/mastering/mixing subforum on PW and did I miss it?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2433619/Markarian%20-%20Ripples%20in%20the%20Harbor%20EQ1.mp3

Last edited by Markarian; 06/15/15 04:18 AM.

2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Matriarch | ASM Hydrasynth 49 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 10 Rev4 | Yamaha ModX 61
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Sounds very nice.

Can i ask what piano do you play?

And what position do you put on your mics?


This is my first to recording:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb.../all/My_recording_devices:ZOOM_Q8+R.html

Last edited by S.H.Lee; 06/15/15 06:52 AM.
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The balance seems too far towards the middle and bass and not enough towards the treble, at least that is how it sounds. The treble is getting overpowered.

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I recommend considering mic placement before taking on EQ (other than, maybe, a bit of noise reduction). It's amazing what a difference mic placement makes.

Please post a picture of your mic setup at the piano.




Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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I Make Music that Lifts People Up & Brings Them Together
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Originally Posted by S.H.Lee
Sounds very nice.

Can i ask what piano do you play?

And what position do you put on your mics?


This is my first to recording:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb.../all/My_recording_devices:ZOOM_Q8+R.html


I kind of thought it was implied from the sig, but maybe I wasn't specific enough regarding placement, so here's a picture:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gilc28w0svty6v3/IMG_20150615_094713.jpg?dl=0

Thanks again, everyone!


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Your mic placement is the problem.

Hence why I keep posting those two links as a starting point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee18DH8j_hc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PsszZCwRCs


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From iPad through my ancient (1993) NHT bookshelf speakers, which are about like studio monitors (via Nuforce Air DAC with a SKAA dongle) the treble sound is fine. But these speakers are a bit tight, bright and clinical.

Your piano sounds terrific, nice composition. Did you resolve your voicing/hearing/volume concerns?


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+1 what Hakki wrote.
Mic placement is at least part of the problem.

There are two different techniques covered in the videos to which he provides links: one is a "coincident" stereo pair in X-Y configuration which requires cardioid pattern mics. Yours are OK for this, and are shown mounted that way in a review here:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul14/articles/se5.htm

The 2nd video shows a configuration similar to what you were trying to do, but done properly (no criticism intended; those guys are professionals; you are just getting started...).

WHICH of the configurations sounds better is, IMHO, a matter of taste.

I would suggest your next steps would be to set up the mics in both configurations, make a short recording (so you can play as identically from one time to the next) as possible, post the results. At that point we can get into EQ, noise reduction, etc.

PS - I found a booklet here: http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/Download/~/media/PDF/Download/grandpiano.pdf to be extremely helpful. The DPA mics cost way more than your SE-5s, and the sound would be different in any configuration, but the placement ideas can be useful for you with your own mics.


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

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Hey,
Thanks so much for this post!
I'm planning to start home recording my Mason BB, and those tips and material will be of great help, for sure. I live in Brazil and will get my mics personally in USA next month, so through here I can learn in advance, and do my own job next month.
I've been also learning a lot with S.H.Lee posts in the latter weeks, and now this new post from Markarian. Both with generous help from more experienced PianoForum folks.
Thanks to everyone. This community is the best!



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Thanks for all the replies, everyone!

Dwaldi, thank you for the kind words on my piece. The voicing problems were in large party to a sinus infection! My eustacian tubes were not opening and closing properly so I was getting bad hyperacusis and the piano sounded harsh and tinny. When my sinuses aren't acting up, the piano is loud, yes, but not unbearable or unpleasant. I have a lot of standing waves in my room, I think and have added more acoustic material. Short of building a wall, I think this is as good as it's going to get. Incidentally, I tried rotating the piano around to several different configurations and didn't notice a dramatic improvement (holy crap that was a chore, my back still hurts, even though I had a friend help me).

Seeker, no offense taken. I have NO IDEA what I'm doing and am just going off of pictures and what I read.

The main complaint I have is clipping and the sound being too boomy/muddy/overdriven on anything that aren't very high-end speakers. In frustration, I took my Surface into my car to mix on my car stereo, which was definitely an enlightening experience.

I can only mic so far away due to a nearby wall and picking up incident noises around the house from the open office loft upstairs, where a fan is running and my other half is often clicking a mouse or tapping at a keyboard. Plus I want that meaty, crystalline attack and I don't feel like I'm getting it with some of these recordings. I feel like my signal chain has a factor that's too "hot," but I'm not sure where it is. confused

I welcome all further input, this has been fantastic.

Last edited by Markarian; 06/15/15 02:38 PM.

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If you'll be playing tracks in the car, while it's moving, you pretty well _must_ use compression!

The dynamic range of a piano is quite wide. If you don't compress, and "ff" is nicely loud (well over ambient noise), "pp" will be well _below_ ambient noise -- inaudible.

You might also need to EQ the bass down, quite a bit. There's a lot of sound power in those low frequencies. Your mics will pick it up (condensers have really nice, flat low-frequency response), but small loudspeakers are unable to reproduce it. They try, though, and they distort badly when they fail. And the sound becomes "muddy", from IM distortion.

Using a stereo pair of crossed cardioid mics avoids some phasing problems (cancellation of bass frequencies) that you might have with separated mics. That sounds like a good idea, to me.

. Charles


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Somewhere in the PW forums, there's a "sticky" on recording pianos. Seek, and ye shall find.

. Charles


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Originally Posted by Hakki
Your mic placement is the problem.

Hence why I keep posting those two links as a starting point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee18DH8j_hc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PsszZCwRCs


Those are good


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Charles Cohen is right--you must use some compression. And don't become over-reliant on EQ. Even the best EQ plug-ins won't fix a bad sound. You know the old saying "Garbage in, garbage out"? Well, it applies to recording in a big way. Make sure that the dry signal sounds good to begin with. Then use EQ to tweak it.

As well, acoustically treat your recording space! People often think that just having a quiet space is enough, but it isn't. You have to treat the room to control sound wave reflections and bass build-up. In the end, room treatment will make just as much difference as mic placement does, so don't skimp out on that part.

Have fun!

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i'm no audio expert, so take this with a grain of salt.

i see you're using Studio One DAW -- me too. i'm using a pair of AKG 420 mics and Presonus Audiobox 22 VSL to convert the signal. no pre-amps, no EQ, no other fancy stuff; i just don't have the time for all that and practicing the piano as well.

after much experimentation i'm fairly pleased with my recordings. because i'm not using a pre-amp i'm applying a compression patch in Studio One, to bring out the bass (i'd like more actually, but again think that involves another level of effort). the only other patch is 'recital hall' reverb. my mics are in ORTF configuration, and i see that Abbey Road Studios does the same (plus a bunch of ambient mics):

https://www.facebook.com/YamahaPian...4190/909453739120322/?type=1&fref=nf

a normal EQ curve to bring out the bottom and top would be ideal, without affecting the natural sound of the piano. keep in mind most folks are listening on sub-par speakers and cheap headphones.

click my signature link to get a sense of my record quality.


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