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Tips for recording a piano

posted on #1
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Joined: 14.02.18
Hey friends,

a question from user snuffles and an answer from mdm in https://www.wikiloops.com/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=2909#post_21149 brought me to the idea of discussing piano recordings a bit.

I agree with mdm in that recording a real piano isn't an easy job, I've worked in real world studios when I was younger (both as a musician but also a technician), and I know that miking a really good and well-tuned piano is always a question of taste, context, and life-time learning. Maybe we have any pianists around here who are using real stringed instruments, and not digital and pre-sampled or modelled ones? Thanks in advance if you'd like to share some experience for the rest of us.

For using digital pianos, I first took the cost-free XLN Audio Addictive Keys Studio Grand which I've got together with my Focusrite interface, which is, I think, a Steinway in some recording studio in Norway. I'm no pianist, but my daughter used it on "my" most successful track here so far:

[wl]150134[/wl]

But since then, Zuleikha opened her own account here, and she also re-recorded the same song using a freely available virtual piano (played on her Yamaha Arius), and that one's called "Salamander Grand", sampled in thirds and 16 velocity layers, and it's a Yamaha C5 grand piano, see, read, and hear https://rytmenpinne.wordpress.com/sounds-and-such/salamander-grandpiano/ and https://sfzinstruments.github.io/pianos/salamander where you also have download links for it. Just compared them again lately, and we all liked that Salamander one better for the example I played. But here is Zuleikha's re-recorded track of the one above:

[wl]170022[/wl]

I also tried modelled ones like Pianotec, liked it a lot, but like I said, I'm not the piano player in the family... ;)

So, I'd be glad for further input on this, and maybe it would also help other users like snuffles?

Thanks in advance,
and cheers,
Wolfgang
posted on #2
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Posts: 62
Joined: 30.01.21
Sampled pianos have become so good now we have the computing power that I think unless you have a beautiful space, expensive microphones and a quality well tuned piano, real pianos are so difficult to capture they are rapidly becoming a thing of the past?

Sorry I can't help with recording a real one. If it were me, sadly (because I do love real instruments) I'd be looking at a good keyboard and VST.

Zuleikha's re-record sounds fantastic. :)
Edited by zedders on April 09 2022 23:08
posted on #3
User Avatar Supporter
Posts: 40
Joined: 10.02.21
wjl wrote:
Hey friends,

a question from user snuffles and an answer from mdm in https://www.wikiloops.com/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=2909#post_21149 brought me to the idea of discussing piano recordings a bit.

I agree with mdm in that recording a real piano isn't an easy job, I've worked in real world studios when I was younger (both as a musician but also a technician), and I know that miking a really good and well-tuned piano is always a question of taste, context, and life-time learning. Maybe we have any pianists around here who are using real stringed instruments, and not digital and pre-sampled or modelled ones? Thanks in advance if you'd like to share some experience for the rest of us.

For using digital pianos, I first took the cost-free XLN Audio Addictive Keys Studio Grand which I've got together with my Focusrite interface, which is, I think, a Steinway in some recording studio in Norway. I'm no pianist, but my daughter used it on "my" most successful track here so far:

[wl]150134[/wl]

But since then, Zuleikha opened her own account here, and she also re-recorded the same song using a freely available virtual piano (played on her Yamaha Arius), and that one's called "Salamander Grand", sampled in thirds and 16 velocity layers, and it's a Yamaha C5 grand piano, see, read, and hear https://rytmenpinne.wordpress.com/sounds-and-such/salamander-grandpiano/ and https://sfzinstruments.github.io/pianos/salamander where you also have download links for it. Just compared them again lately, and we all liked that Salamander one better for the example I played. But here is Zuleikha's re-recorded track of the one above:

[wl]170022[/wl]

I also tried modelled ones like Pianotec, liked it a lot, but like I said, I'm not the piano player in the family... ;)

So, I'd be glad for further input on this, and maybe it would also help other users like snuffles?

Thanks in advance,
and cheers,
Wolfgang


Your daughter plays beautifully Wolfgang!
posted on #4
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Posts: 40
Joined: 10.02.21
This is an excellent source of information on recording an upright piano.

https://reverb.com/news/how-to-record-an-upright-piano-a-look-at-5-distinc-micing-techniques/#:~:text=%20How%20to%20Record%20an%20Upright%20Piano%3A%20A,Lid%20Off%2C%20Mics%20Pointed%20at%20Hammers.%20More%20
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