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grand piano in a poor space?

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Anonymous
June 18, 2005 10:54:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.

More about : grand piano poor space

Anonymous
June 19, 2005 1:22:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

i'm a serious pianist myself, keenly aware of it's sound. think about
mid-side recording with a figure-8 and a cardioid. i find that people
who know what they're doing can pull off extraordinary piano recordings
using that technique.

As a guess, I'd take the lid off (as in unbolt it with a screwdriver
and store it somewhere), aim the cardioid down from above, and have the
figure 8 up there too. if you get the null right, you'll cancel out
the ceiling, and get a nice length run for both sides of the figure 8
to capture down the 22' space.

home depot sells granite squares that are 1 foot by one foot, they come
in packs of 8 or 10. you could get a few 8 packs and build a temporary
stone floor area around the piano if you need to liven up the area a
bit.

but you might not need that. the cardiod will capture bright sound
from having a direct sightline into the piano guts, and then the figure
8 will pick up the ambience from the room.

i am batman.
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 1:23:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

it doesn't get better than a bosendorfer by the way!
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Anonymous
June 19, 2005 2:17:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jnorman34@comcast.net> wrote:
>a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
>owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
>living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
>sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
>DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
>the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
>other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.

Rent a better hall and use the piano there. It'll cost some money, and
you'll probably need to call a piano tech in, but you'll be a lot happier
with the end result.

If you absolutely _have_ to spot a piano for this sort of thing, use fake
reverb. If you're careful you can delay the onset of the reverb so that
it picks up as the short room reflections die out. You still won't get
natural tone with the mikes up so close, but you can get a surprisingly
natural room decay.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 7:49:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

the hall rental is a great idea, but if that cant happen experiment with
micing techinque. Close mic to eliminate the room, but try a few things!


"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:D 92kkk$8gm$1@panix2.panix.com...
> <jnorman34@comcast.net> wrote:
>>a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
>>owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
>>living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
>>sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
>>DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
>>the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
>>other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.
>
> Rent a better hall and use the piano there. It'll cost some money, and
> you'll probably need to call a piano tech in, but you'll be a lot happier
> with the end result.
>
> If you absolutely _have_ to spot a piano for this sort of thing, use fake
> reverb. If you're careful you can delay the onset of the reverb so that
> it picks up as the short room reflections die out. You still won't get
> natural tone with the mikes up so close, but you can get a surprisingly
> natural room decay.
> --scott
> --
> "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 11:09:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 18 Jun 2005 18:54:40 -0700, jnorman34@comcast.net wrote:

>a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
>owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
>living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
>sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
>DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
>the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
>other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.

Reading through all the good stuff already posted makes me wonder
if treating the existing room wouldn't be the most practical
solution. Maybe a serious, but temporary, ceiling deadening
with a sub-ceiling "flown" on supports from the floor, and an
over-floor as already suggested.

It might only be necessary to deaden the ceiling (and possibly
the walls) within about 10 feet of the instrument and microphones.
That'd give about 20 milliseconds; might be enough.

The pianist may hate it, and this matters, or may love it.
Making her a part of the process might help to tip the scales,
but I'm already *way* out of my league several paragraphs back.

Please keep the newsgroup updated with progress reports; it's
certainly an issue of great general interest.

Good fortune,

Chris Hornbeck
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 11:38:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jnorman34@comcast.net wrote:

> a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her.

Hmmm ...

> she owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano,

Expect two tunings after moving it and two tunings after moving it back
if the rent a hall option is used, especially if this is a rarely
disturbed and thus also rarely tuned instrument. She may like you more
afterwards if you do not move the piano too much around now that its
frame as "at peace with itself" than if you start moving it too much and
it then needs frequent tunings until it settles again.

Rolling a piano 3 feet over carpet can be enough to cause a problem, I
have recorded a concert where the piano tuner was still tuning when I
arrived for setup, so it was freshly tuned and it is a frequently tuned
instrument, so there should be no mechanism settling to worry about. It
got rolled to the side because it would not be needed until after the
intermission. The pianist looked very surprised as she struck the first
chord, as did quite a few other people and then just played, there was
nothing else to do. Rolling over carpet unavoidably warps the frame
slightly, and things had happened, it was no longer in tune over its
entire range. The carpet on stage, thick btw. ... well, the location
_is_ very reverberant by design, it has probably shown itself to be
necessary.

I have also experienced a possibly rarely tuned school concert grand, a
rare Hornung & Moeller full size concert grand as I recall it,
completely loose the freshly made tuning when the pianist played the
first bar of Griegs piano concerto. A bit of cellphone frenzy and the
tuner was back and tuned it again and stayed for the duration of the
concert.

It is because of this experience with a rarely tuned instrument that I
suggest double tunings after each move. It could be best for the
recording to move the piano, and best for the piano not to. Because of
this I suggest going a long way to try to make the recording work where
it is, but I may be as overconcerned in this as I am probably
underconcerned in other matters.

> but it is in her dinky living room in a small house - maybe
> 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling, sheetrock walls, carpet floor.

What you do not get with that room is the piano's reaction to the sound
of the hall. I would try a pair of cardioids on a stand near the second
leg on the short side, lid full open, aiming along a line parallel with
the lid and some three inches below it. I understand the genre to be
classical, in which case the lid acoustics are a part of the sound.
Jazz, rock, contemporary ... perhaps try without the lid.

Fake room will need to be applied, so what matters is which parts of the
living room that will contradict a fake room by providing a too close
reflection: the ceiling. Action must be taken to make it reasonably
non-reflective above the mics, and not having reflections from the wall
on the "open side" (players right) also makes a lot of sense.

<dark horse concept, may quite probably fail>

Back in 1984 I did some piano recordings in a living room with Sony
510. Booring, so I tried playing the after tape signal over the decent
stereo (Luxman, Bovox) in the room. Artisticly it was nothing special,
just my girlfriend and her daughter playing 4 hand, but it did provide a
useful feeling of larger room, also to the players and by implication to
the piano. The room in question was however twangy from flutter echo,
and it didn't no less twangy from being enhanced. I miked the standup
piano with a MD421 through the small open lid at the low end and a MD413
at the high end, both aimed "inwards".

</dark horse concept, may quite probably fail>

> i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
> DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of
> 4006s out in the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend
> to taste when mixing. any other ideas i should consider
> for this project? thanks.

I think the approach should be cardioid and that "rear" and "upper"
borders of the room should have reflection prevention added, at least
near the piano to provide credible "stage box" acostics.

It may be advantageous to have a "less close" mic pair to add the fake
room to instead of adding to the main pair. I would want to prevent
ceiling as well as floor reflections around the secondary mic stand. To
benefit from this concept the recording axis has to be in the long
direction of the room.

Preventing (rear, possibly also front) and ceiling reflections and
having the axis in the short direction of the room may be better because
the sidewall reflecctions will then arrive later. "Rear" and "front" are
as seen by the mics, which means that "front" is behind the sound
source.

Just some sunday morning ramblings while I wait for the coffee to take
effect ...


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

-
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
* The Vienna Copyright convention applies *
*******************************************
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 12:51:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Chris Hornbeck <chrishornbeckremovethis@att.net> wrote:
>On 18 Jun 2005 18:54:40 -0700, jnorman34@comcast.net wrote:
>
>>a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
>>owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
>>living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
>>sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
>>DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
>>the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
>>other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.
>
>Reading through all the good stuff already posted makes me wonder
>if treating the existing room wouldn't be the most practical
>solution. Maybe a serious, but temporary, ceiling deadening
>with a sub-ceiling "flown" on supports from the floor, and an
>over-floor as already suggested.

All you can do is get rid of the bad reflections. You still can't add
any good ones.

And you _need_ those good reflections to blend all the different piano
sounds that come out in different directions into one sound.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 2:10:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

JN,

> it is in her dinky living room in a small house <

As Leo said, if you deaden the area around the piano you can avoid sticking
microphones up against the strings and sound board which has its own set of
problems. But I'd avoid thin materials like drapes and blankets because they
don't absorb to a low enough frequency. You need something more substantial
to absorb down to, let's say, 300 Hz.

I also agree with g.a.p. about covering carpet with something more
reflective. But you don't need granite slabs! Home Depot sells Masonite
pre-cut into 2 by 4 foot panels. Put those under the piano with the shiny
side up.

--Ethan
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 3:32:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

genericaudioperson@hotmail.com wrote:
> it doesn't get better than a bosendorfer by the way!
>


Better for what? Depends on the sound you need. Bosendorfers are great,
but there are plenty of other great pianos. Some that may sound much
better in this particular room.
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 9:00:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sun, 19 Jun 2005 03:54:40 +0200, jnorman34 wrote:

> a friend wants me to make a CD of classical solo piano for her. she
> owns a wonderful bosendorfer 7'4" grand piano, but it is in her dinky
> living room in a small house - maybe 22'x 11' at most, with 8' ceiling,
> sheetrock walls, carpet floor. i am thinking of a close-spaced pair of
> DPA 4061s right up inside the piano, and a spaced pair of 4006s out in
> the room (about 6 feet out), and then blend to taste when mixing. any
> other ideas i should consider for this project? thanks.

The best result you will get with 2 microphones real close to or in the
piano. Don't use extra mic's to get some of the room. You don't want this
room in your recording and you don't want the nasty effects of two mic's
recording the same instrument in the same channel.
You will have to add some artificial reverb.

The result will be limitted. If you want to record a piano, your mic's
should be at least some feet from the instrument. That is not possible in
that room.

--
Chel van Gennip
Visit Serg van Gennip's site http://www.serg.vangennip.com
Anonymous
June 20, 2005 3:05:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I had some surprisingly good results recording a concert grand piano in
a NY apartment. The owner of the piano was a collector that rented her
instruments to many artists that recorded in the halls in the NYC area.
The artist I was recording could not afford the hall and moving/tuning
costs so we did it in the apartment. One recording was done with a pair
of Sanken CU-44x cardioid microphones and the other with a pair of
Sennheiser MKH-40 cardioids. There was definately no need for room
mics. The results were quite good. My working distance was 4-5 feet
diagonally out from the soundboard. The instrument was a NY Steinway
concert grand with a gorgeous tone. The NY steinways are generally less
bright than the Hamburg variety.

My recording teacher (from a class I took at Juilliard), Tom Frost,
recorded a couple CD's of Vladimir Horowitz in his living room at home
(an apartment in NYC). He used Sonex to cover the windows and treat the
room. He also used a pair of Schoeps MK2 omni microphones with a Sony
TCD-D10 with custom apogee filters.

So, it certainly can be done with decent results. I would keep the
recording chain simple, possibly treat the space with some carefully
placed sound absorbtion materials, and then place some robust sounding
microphones in a spot that smoothly captures the the frequency range of
the instrument. Some Bosendorfers are rather bright sounding and this
could be an issue with your microphone selection. I should also mention
that I have had much more difficulty getting good results from smaller
instruments such as the Steinway B (@7 feet)

Best of luck,

Mike
!