Recording Piano


Pianos are often recorded in stereo.  This produces an illusion as if you had your head inside the lid and heard the left-right sound pan as the player played the upper and lower keys.  Digital pianos offer even better and more spectacular illusions of your-head-in-the-lid.  And how often do we do this?  (The answer is left as an excercise...).

Mostly, we hear pianos in mono and its interaction with the ambiance in stereo.

We were happy to use the Yamaha grand at the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, MA for some informal recording, thanks to Director Phil Knutsen.  This is a "bright" piano, voiced for note-definition in live performances.  What follows are imperfect informal performances shooting for  full use of the instrument's range; try to use all the notes and then some lower blocked out chords  and do the same (or similar) passage for the RM1 positions shown.The recordings show different tone changes for differing locations of the mic but seem to get the whole instrument's output.  We like position 3 best, but you can hear it and decide for yourself.  Plus, the other test here is using the bidirectional pattern to get a quick but useful singer/player recording.  Like most recordings here, we used the DW Fearn preamp, RME front end, etc.


Here's the first position for the mic:

...and here's the recording at that position:


Second position photo, about 3 feet away from the open lid:

Recording at the second position:


Third position for the mic, facing down inside the lid:


Recording at the third position:


The first position is close to the setup for the voice and piano recording.  It was actually vertical and closer to the piano end of the keyboard.  For an artist, the "no look pass" is press "record", sit down and play how you hear it; arrange it for the song.  

Here, the performer was instructed to arrange his performance so he could hear the voice and piano at the right levels for the song clip.  Just a short bridge and chorus from "Tokyo".  A full production of this song can be heard on Big Red Sun's album "I'll Stop For A Dollar"  (  

Here's the recording:


And here's a video to go with the audio.  Again, the audio is direct from the RM1.