ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles  (Read 1096 times)

Chris Sieggen

  • Church and H.O.W. Forums
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« on: August 10, 2017, 07:53:08 am »

Just recently completed a Yamaha baby grand mic set up for my church. It is an amalgamation of ideas culled from this forum and others, plus some ideas of my own. It seems to be a subject with a wide variety of applications, solutions and budgets. I thought I'd share what I came up with and the thought process behind it.

The need(s) -- The Yamaha baby grand piano is used in a wide variety of situations; for medium/high volume contemporary worship with wedge monitoring, traditional worship with choir and soloists, occasional jazz concerts, recitals and holiday events. It is a MIDI piano, so it gets used as an acoustic instrument during contemporary worship with MIDI pads either from a MOTIF rack or a computer sound library our keyboard volunteers bring with them. Our FOH console is a Yamaha LS9-32 and we have a decent mic selection, but for years the piano was amplified using an Accusonics contact mic. Either due to age or improper installation, its presentation was thin, pretty lifeless and had a constant low end rumble that could only be cured with extreme high pass filtering.

We've wanted to mic the piano properly for years and with a small donation, I was able to upgrade, but had to get a little creative with mic and clip selection to keep it within budget.

The thought process -- Ideally, I wanted to be able to go with large diaphragm mics, be able to close the lid and clip them in a way that did not require permanent C clamps or excessive gaff tape (we have parishioners who might frown upon the use of tape). I've had experience in pop/rock contexts where small diaphragms and PZM's work great and have a nice bright "bite" to them, but I also wanted the ability to give a warmer, more neutral presentation for the traditional/jazz/recital applications with out major adjustments. Our budget was $500.00 total.

In a perfect world, I thought I might be able to snag a used 414 and use it towards the front near the hammers and combine it with a Sennheiser 906 dynamic (or similar) pointed into one of the frame's vents for the low end. The idea is to find cardioid side-address mics that would allow enough clearance for the lid to close.

I've had pretty good luck finding gently used/close to new mics that seem to get purchased for home recording and  due to either upgrades or people giving up the hobby, can be had for cheap and in mint condition. Rode NT5's seem to be my favorite deals and I've snagged a bunch over the years for cheap. I use them in a wide variety of applications.

I was not able to find a good enough deal on a 414 (or a 906 for that matter) but quite a few used 214's were readily available and since we would be closing the lid most of the time, the need for multi patterns wouldn't be a priority.

What I ultimately did -- With some work, I was able to purchase two used but mint 214's on Reverb for $450.00. They were from separate auctions, so they are not a matched pair. I knew I wouldn't be able to use the AKG shock mount as they are too bulky, so I wanted to find mounts and clips that had some semblance of shock mounting. We use the K&M 24030 drum clips a lot on our drum sets so I experimented by flipping the mount where the mic clip attaches so it might clear the lid of the piano and give me enough room to place the 214 over the strings without touching. Plus, the clip clamps very well to the frame of the Yamaha providing what seemed to be enough torque to hold a larger mic. They also have enough rubber grommets to have some shock mount properties. So I ordered a pair of 24030's and additional K&M 23510 mic bar in case I needed additional length for placement. Lastly, I ordered Rode's mic clips as they are also rubberized and have a stiff enough grip to hold the 214's weight.

Installation and real world application -- Thankfully my experiments and measurements worked out pretty well. The 24030 clip, Rode mic clip and side address nature of the first 214 fit rather nicely, mounted somewhat to the side and angled a bit to point the pickup pattern towards the hammers. It does not touch the strings, is far enough away from the sound board to not favor one particular range of the piano, and aside from the lid gently touching the clip and lowering the mic by about half a centimeter when closed, the set up makes no permanent physical contact with the piano. The K&M clip holds extremely well and I have no worries that it will stay put, so long as no one slams the lid shut on the piano (which no one should do anyways, right?) I engage the HPF on the 214 and put a couple of extra wire ties around the mic shaft and the clip, just to make sure it doesn't come out of the clip.

The second 214 took a bit of work to find the best placement. I originally tried the frame vent hole and this was a relatively easy place to attempt. Frankly, it didn't bring anything out of the piano the first 214 didn't already do, so I went looking for a better place to pickup the the lower fundamentals. While having some of our piano players play, I stuck my head under the lid, moved around until I found the spot where the soundboard has the deepest fundamentals. I found where the bass strings cross over the treble/mid strings is the sweet spot. Unfortunately, this is the spot where there is the least amount of clearance. I tried the second 214 over this spot, but once the lid closed and like the other clip, pushed the mic down about a half a centimeter, a couple of the bass strings, when struck fortissimo would rattle against the mic. DANG!!! Because it sounded REALLY good there. So, not quite as good but certainly usable, I moved the mic off to the far side between the frame and the side of the piano, but not too close to the edge where the spikier mid frequencies tend to come out. I had to add half of the 23510 to extend the mic further up so that I could clamp to the skinnier part of the frame. Plenty of clearance there.

To clean things up and allow the ability to unplug and remove the mics quickly and easily if needed, I wire tied a couple of shorty Neutrik old school right angle XLR cables to the clips I and made a 20' dual balanced "snake" using broadcast balanced cable. Its color coded and is plenty skinny enough to unobtrusively stick out the lid and sides without crimping.

I engage the HPF on the first 214 (there really wasn't any low end fundamentals coming through anyway) and leave the second 214 flat. Since the first 214 is angled and the second is a little lower, I was pretty sure I'd run into some phase issues. Thankfully, the phase issue actually works in my favor. For the contemporary setting, when they are electronically out of phase with each other (I reverse the phase on the first 214 at the console), it accentuates some of the mid/highs and hammer sounds...perfect for helping it to sit in a dense "pop" mix. With them electronically in phase with each other, its a very nice natural presentation (even with the lid closed), rich and warm, with a slight dip in the mid/highs. Didn't plan that, but it was a nice surprise and means I can EQ for the context by simply working with the phase. Not surprisingly, it sounds even more natural with the lid at half or full stick. With a couple of tight Q notch filters added on each channel to nuke some problematic frequencies, we get pretty high gain before feedback without getting too radical.

After living with it for a few Sundays I've been pretty happy and have received positive feedback from band members and audience. Satisfied enough that I'm not planning on making any changes or adjustments for a while. I want to live in it and see how it goes. I am excited to try to open the lid and maybe by flipping the K&M clips up for a recital or recording. The rejection from the rear of the 214 may not be a positive attribute for the 214's use as an overhead, room or vocal mic, but for this application, it works well. I was able to get pretty high db's, while competing against bass and guitar amps, loud vocals and acoustic guitars in floor wedges. The dual 214 close mic'd, lid closed scenario provided a respectable amount of rejection, I haven't felt the need to add a gate to lower the bleed and noise floor when not playing.

Pros and Cons -- I am liking the fuller and more robust midrange presentation the larger diaphragm mics are providing. Just today, I had positive comments on how the piano had a nice "weight" to it. The 214's natural top end peak helps bring some of the hammer sound out, too. Its a pretty clean set up and easy to dismantle if the need ever arises. It did sit in the mix rather well and the dynamic presentation is much improved over the old contact mic. The mics are not small, so its not as elegant a set up as say the DPA or Earthworks, but its not horrible either and was much less expensive. In retrospect, the K&M 23720 table clamps or a similar "C clamp" style might have been a better option and allowed for a bit more clearance, but I am always concerned about C clamp mechanisms rattling and marring the frame.

When it was all said and done, final cost was $545.00 and a days work installing and tweaking. Not too bad.

Chris Sieggen
Logged

Kyle Waters

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 50
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 11:37:45 pm »

I was in the same boat as you.  We were using vibration pick-ups on our grand piano with unsatisfactory results.   I tried using some Audio Technica u873's, that I had on hand, placing them underneath with OK results.  Still wasn't satisfied. I ended up purchasing some Shure beta 98's with a clamp mount.  So far I'm pretty satisfied. I have really been shying away from condenser mics lately.  If I could figure out a way to mount some Heil pr30's under the lid I would. I've been impressed with everything I've put a PR30 in front of, including our choir. 
Logged

Tim Weaver

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1888
  • College Station, Texas
    • Daniela Weaver Photography
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 12:24:11 am »

I like a 91 on the pillow and a d6 in the hole.


Wait, what are we talking about?
Logged
Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Bill McKelvey

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 03:08:00 am »

I was in the same boat as you.  We were using vibration pick-ups on our grand piano with unsatisfactory results.   I tried using some Audio Technica u873's, that I had on hand, placing them underneath with OK results.  Still wasn't satisfied. I ended up purchasing some Shure beta 98's with a clamp mount.  So far I'm pretty satisfied. I have really been shying away from condenser mics lately.  If I could figure out a way to mount some Heil pr30's under the lid I would. I've been impressed with everything I've put a PR30 in front of, including our choir.
I use Piano Mount with my PR31BW and it works great. It allows you to close the lid if needed.
Logged

Kyle Waters

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 50
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 03:14:32 am »

I use Piano Mount with my PR31BW and it works great. It allows you to close the lid if needed.

Do you mic high and low, or do you just use 1 mic?   I would love to see your setup.
Logged

Sammy Barr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 08:46:58 am »

I have had very good luck with the piano mount listed above.  you can easily move the microphones around and experiment for best placement.  You can move them closer to the hammers for a more articulate sound or further away for more warmth.  The C214 would work great and allow you to close the lid.  I have had great results with Audix Micro D.
Logged

Chris Sieggen

  • Church and H.O.W. Forums
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 11:14:01 am »

I use Piano Mount with my PR31BW and it works great. It allows you to close the lid if needed.

Ooooohhh! That looks slick. Wish I had known about it. Might have to add that to next year's budget. Nice and clean.
Logged

Bill McKelvey

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 07:17:55 pm »

Do you mic high and low, or do you just use 1 mic?   I would love to see your setup.
I use hi/low set up. My set up looks similar to the picture on the Piano Mount web site. I have used just one on a 6' (baby) grand. Two were interfering with each other. Not enough separation.
Logged

Robert Weaver

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 02:08:34 am »

Just recently completed a Yamaha baby grand mic set up for my church. It is an amalgamation of ideas culled from this forum and others, plus some ideas of my own. It seems to be a subject with a wide variety of applications, solutions and budgets. I thought I'd share what I came up with and the thought process behind it.

The need(s) -- The Yamaha baby grand piano is used in a wide variety of situations; for medium/high volume contemporary worship with wedge monitoring, traditional worship with choir and soloists, occasional jazz concerts, recitals and holiday events. It is a MIDI piano, so it gets used as an acoustic instrument during contemporary worship with MIDI pads either from a MOTIF rack or a computer sound library our keyboard volunteers bring with them. Our FOH console is a Yamaha LS9-32 and we have a decent mic selection, but for years the piano was amplified using an Accusonics contact mic. Either due to age or improper installation, its presentation was thin, pretty lifeless and had a constant low end rumble that could only be cured with extreme high pass filtering.

We've wanted to mic the piano properly for years and with a small donation, I was able to upgrade, but had to get a little creative with mic and clip selection to keep it within budget.

The thought process -- Ideally, I wanted to be able to go with large diaphragm mics, be able to close the lid and clip them in a way that did not require permanent C clamps or excessive gaff tape (we have parishioners who might frown upon the use of tape). I've had experience in pop/rock contexts where small diaphragms and PZM's work great and have a nice bright "bite" to them, but I also wanted the ability to give a warmer, more neutral presentation for the traditional/jazz/recital applications with out major adjustments. Our budget was $500.00 total.

In a perfect world, I thought I might be able to snag a used 414 and use it towards the front near the hammers and combine it with a Sennheiser 906 dynamic (or similar) pointed into one of the frame's vents for the low end. The idea is to find cardioid side-address mics that would allow enough clearance for the lid to close.

I've had pretty good luck finding gently used/close to new mics that seem to get purchased for home recording and  due to either upgrades or people giving up the hobby, can be had for cheap and in mint condition. Rode NT5's seem to be my favorite deals and I've snagged a bunch over the years for cheap. I use them in a wide variety of applications.

I was not able to find a good enough deal on a 414 (or a 906 for that matter) but quite a few used 214's were readily available and since we would be closing the lid most of the time, the need for multi patterns wouldn't be a priority.

What I ultimately did -- With some work, I was able to purchase two used but mint 214's on Reverb for $450.00. They were from separate auctions, so they are not a matched pair. I knew I wouldn't be able to use the AKG shock mount as they are too bulky, so I wanted to find mounts and clips that had some semblance of shock mounting. We use the K&M 24030 drum clips a lot on our drum sets so I experimented by flipping the mount where the mic clip attaches so it might clear the lid of the piano and give me enough room to place the 214 over the strings without touching. Plus, the clip clamps very well to the frame of the Yamaha providing what seemed to be enough torque to hold a larger mic. They also have enough rubber grommets to have some shock mount properties. So I ordered a pair of 24030's and additional K&M 23510 mic bar in case I needed additional length for placement. Lastly, I ordered Rode's mic clips as they are also rubberized and have a stiff enough grip to hold the 214's weight.

Installation and real world application -- Thankfully my experiments and measurements worked out pretty well. The 24030 clip, Rode mic clip and side address nature of the first 214 fit rather nicely, mounted somewhat to the side and angled a bit to point the pickup pattern towards the hammers. It does not touch the strings, is far enough away from the sound board to not favor one particular range of the piano, and aside from the lid gently touching the clip and lowering the mic by about half a centimeter when closed, the set up makes no permanent physical contact with the piano. The K&M clip holds extremely well and I have no worries that it will stay put, so long as no one slams the lid shut on the piano (which no one should do anyways, right?) I engage the HPF on the 214 and put a couple of extra wire ties around the mic shaft and the clip, just to make sure it doesn't come out of the clip.

The second 214 took a bit of work to find the best placement. I originally tried the frame vent hole and this was a relatively easy place to attempt. Frankly, it didn't bring anything out of the piano the first 214 didn't already do, so I went looking for a better place to pickup the the lower fundamentals. While having some of our piano players play, I stuck my head under the lid, moved around until I found the spot where the soundboard has the deepest fundamentals. I found where the bass strings cross over the treble/mid strings is the sweet spot. Unfortunately, this is the spot where there is the least amount of clearance. I tried the second 214 over this spot, but once the lid closed and like the other clip, pushed the mic down about a half a centimeter, a couple of the bass strings, when struck fortissimo would rattle against the mic. DANG!!! Because it sounded REALLY good there. So, not quite as good but certainly usable, I moved the mic off to the far side between the frame and the side of the piano, but not too close to the edge where the spikier mid frequencies tend to come out. I had to add half of the 23510 to extend the mic further up so that I could clamp to the skinnier part of the frame. Plenty of clearance there.

To clean things up and allow the ability to unplug and remove the mics quickly and easily if needed, I wire tied a couple of shorty Neutrik old school right angle XLR cables to the clips I and made a 20' dual balanced "snake" using broadcast balanced cable. Its color coded and is plenty skinny enough to unobtrusively stick out the lid and sides without crimping.

I engage the HPF on the first 214 (there really wasn't any low end fundamentals coming through anyway) and leave the second 214 flat. Since the first 214 is angled and the second is a little lower, I was pretty sure I'd run into some phase issues. Thankfully, the phase issue actually works in my favor. For the contemporary setting, when they are electronically out of phase with each other (I reverse the phase on the first 214 at the console), it accentuates some of the mid/highs and hammer sounds...perfect for helping it to sit in a dense "pop" mix. With them electronically in phase with each other, its a very nice natural presentation (even with the lid closed), rich and warm, with a slight dip in the mid/highs. Didn't plan that, but it was a nice surprise and means I can EQ for the context by simply working with the phase. Not surprisingly, it sounds even more natural with the lid at half or full stick. With a couple of tight Q notch filters added on each channel to nuke some problematic frequencies, we get pretty high gain before feedback without getting too radical.

After living with it for a few Sundays I've been pretty happy and have received positive feedback from band members and audience. Satisfied enough that I'm not planning on making any changes or adjustments for a while. I want to live in it and see how it goes. I am excited to try to open the lid and maybe by flipping the K&M clips up for a recital or recording. The rejection from the rear of the 214 may not be a positive attribute for the 214's use as an overhead, room or vocal mic, but for this application, it works well. I was able to get pretty high db's, while competing against bass and guitar amps, loud vocals and acoustic guitars in floor wedges. The dual 214 close mic'd, lid closed scenario provided a respectable amount of rejection, I haven't felt the need to add a gate to lower the bleed and noise floor when not playing.

Pros and Cons -- I am liking the fuller and more robust midrange presentation the larger diaphragm mics are providing. Just today, I had positive comments on how the piano had a nice "weight" to it. The 214's natural top end peak helps bring some of the hammer sound out, too. Its a pretty clean set up and easy to dismantle if the need ever arises. It did sit in the mix rather well and the dynamic presentation is much improved over the old contact mic. The mics are not small, so its not as elegant a set up as say the DPA or Earthworks, but its not horrible either and was much less expensive. In retrospect, the K&M 23720 table clamps or a similar "C clamp" style might have been a better option and allowed for a bit more clearance, but I am always concerned about C clamp mechanisms rattling and marring the frame.

When it was all said and done, final cost was $545.00 and a days work installing and tweaking. Not too bad.

Chris Sieggen

Earthworks PM40 is an excellent choice as well.  It is priced at $1500, but the setup is pretty easy.  It sounds great also especially for congregational styles.  Its also an excellent choice if you go half stick or fully closed or near a noisy stage. It works wonders on a Steinway D!
Logged

Leonard Mirizio

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
Re: Church Baby Grand Mic'ing for multiple styles
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 12:49:50 pm »

I installed the pianomount.com mount with 2 Shure PGA181's in a refurbished Howard grand. Low/mid, and high. Total cost $400. There was only one channel available so I "y"d the 2 mics and it sounded awesome. Closed Lid, dumped out a little 400hz, and it was well isolated, and sounded natural. Trap kit and bass amp right behind the Piano player.
 Another site with a concerned budget we used 2 Audio Technica AT2020's about the same price. Great mics when your on a budget.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.033 seconds with 16 queries.