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Author Topic: 6' Grand With Lid Off  (Read 8033 times)

Jeff Ekstrand

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6' Grand With Lid Off
« on: November 03, 2008, 05:02:54 pm »

Always up for a challenge:

We're going to remove the lid from our 6' grand in a couple weeks for a cool aesthetic, and I'm actually quite interested to hear how it sounds/how we can make it sound.

Has anyone miced a 6' grand with it's lid removed? Here are the tools I have to work with:

Console: M7/48 (keep in mind for EQ/Dynamics)
Mics:
2 @ KSM137
2 @ Crown PZM
1 @ KSM32
2 @ SM47 (Meh, piano?)
4 @ SM94

I've been thinking about adding a couple more mics to our inventory... one could do so much more with multiple KSM32s. If there is a tool that is highly recommended, and perhaps useful in more applications than just this, feel free to recommend those as well.

I have a few chances to test and mess around before Sunday, November 16.
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Jeff Ekstrand

Technical Director, North Shore Campus
Willow Creek Community Church
Northfield, IL

Kent Thompson

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2008, 06:14:11 pm »

hmm... well it is the opposite of what I would do.

Is this for solo use or with a band?

sm47?
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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008, 06:32:45 pm »

We do it all the time with (2) AUDIX scx-25a and it sounds great. I have also done it with the KSM 32's and they sound great as well. So i geuss put my vote in for buying another 32. BTW II have also done it with one of each and still got pretty good results.
T
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Tom Young

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2008, 07:05:10 pm »

One man's "cool aesthetic" is another's "why ?" and "what about the sound, isn't that more important ?"

Removing the lid means that all leaked/ambient sound gets into the piano. It also means there is no reinforcement from that boundary. The lid, like a choir loft or a concert shell, is designed to reinforce and project the sound outwards.

You cannot use a PZM because there is no boundary to affix it to. PZM's are required to be mounted to a substantial (size) boundary in order to produce good LF response.

Any pair of decent cardioid condensers will pick up the full range of the piano well, provided they are placed intelligently. You need to play with the positions and listen until you get it 'right'.

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Jerrybosun

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 07:52:20 pm »

I use a couple of KSM32 on a grand with gospel music. The piano player insisted on having the lid up or off.  We could never get any volume out of it. With a full 110 piece band/choir it acted like a funnel for stage sounds. the mics picked up more bass guit and regular guit than the piano. Gain before feedback????? NO WAY!
We finally got them to close the lid, By the time you do that (it kinda makes the piano sound like it has cold) and eq the feedback out so you can bring it up to 102 db on stage monitors. It sounds horrible. But they refuse to turn down so I stopped asking after a year.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008, 08:10:44 pm »

Tom Young wrote on Mon, 03 November 2008 19:05

Any pair of decent cardioid condensers will pick up the full range of the piano well, provided they are placed intelligently. You need to play with the positions and listen until you get it 'right'.

It doesn't hurt to stick your head in there and listen to the piano with your ears to decide where you will put the mics. You will certainly get less piano sound vs band with the lid off.

Mac
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2008, 09:14:49 pm »

Tom Young wrote on Tue, 04 November 2008 00:05

One man's "cool aesthetic" is another's "why ?" and "what about the sound, isn't that more important ?"



Hear! Hear!

Quote:


Removing the lid means that all leaked/ambient sound gets into the piano. It also means there is no reinforcement from that boundary. The lid, like a choir loft or a concert shell, is designed to reinforce and project the sound outwards.



Pianos are bound by the usual laws of acoustical reciprocity. Acoustical structures that distribute sound efficiently also funnel sound back to the source point efficiently.

A piano with no lid is not only subject to lots of leakage from the outside, but the lack of lid or a lid on a long stick will increase the amount of spill from the piano into the room.

A piano with a closed lid or at most a short stick and a PZM mic inside is far easier to to mix, both FOH and monitors.
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Robert Sims

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2008, 11:51:52 pm »

My 2 cents
I like an AKG414 in the mid hole of the sound board and cross mic with two cardioids mid scale over the hammers. Experiment with position and phase.

But if you are going for cool, whip this guy out.



index.php/fa/332/0/
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Robert Sims
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Jeff Ekstrand

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2008, 10:25:12 am »

Yeah, I realize the sound repercussions of this decision. It's not going to be a permanent thing, and if it doesn't work, we probably won't do it again. My music guy is totally reasonable, has plenty of studio and live experience. He understands, as well as I do, what this means. To respond to some of the comments:

Quote:

You cannot use a PZM because there is no boundary to affix it to. PZM's are required to be mounted to a substantial (size) boundary in order to produce good LF response.

I currently use one, count it, one PZM resting on the harp of the piano with the lid closed. I typically tape an SM91 (or beta 91 these days) to the lid. This micing technique was actually set up on a weekend I was gone. I thought they were crazy, but gave it a shot and it sounds great. As I can see, the harp and sound-board make a quite expansive boundary as far as instruments are concerned.

Quote:

One man's "cool aesthetic" is another's "why ?" and "what about the sound, isn't that more important ?"

Again, I totally agree that this is potentially compromising our audio quality. My question wasn't, "Is this a good idea?" My question was, "Does anyone have any experience, tips, and tricks for doing this?"

Quote:

Pianos are bound by the usual laws of acoustical reciprocity. Acoustical structures that distribute sound efficiently also funnel sound back to the source point efficiently.

Yes, yes, yes. Those of us who have mixed for 10+ years understand this well, although I rarely think about it in these terms, I think about it more as, "The lid helps contain, isolate, and localize the sound in the piano, making it 100x easier to do this job." The OP states that I'm always up for a challenge.

Please understand, folks, that this isn't about trying to find the right way to do a piano. For as many pianos as I've seen on stages, I've probably seen just as many techniques for micing a piano. I think we'll all agree that there are many correct ways to mic a piano, and it comes down to personal preference. This is about me trying to save time on the "Trial and Error" front by getting ideas ahead of time.

Also, for the record, the music director brought it up very tentatively, and we all exchanged, "I can't believe we're thinking about doing this!" glances for a few seconds.

Part of the fun of this business is changing things up every now and then. I work with the standard band setup every week, regardless of where I am. Electrics with miced amps, a few with direct outs. Bass through either DI or a miced amp. Fully miced drum kits, etc., etc., etc. Given that I'm in the same room three weekends a month, it can get a little monotonous, even when the musos, instruments, and amps change weekly.
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Jeff Ekstrand

Technical Director, North Shore Campus
Willow Creek Community Church
Northfield, IL

Kent Thompson

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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 11:50:18 am »

Wasn't saying don't do it. It's Just that I went another direction after trying many different things in our situation. I might not go that way in another situation.

As far as no boundary for the pzm what about the soundboard beneath the harp under one of the holes? Use some of that poster hanging putty to keep it secure. That would give you a 6 foot boundary.

Other than that I would start with small diaphragm condensers and experiment a little. Try a pair in 45 degree xy about a foot or so above the strings to taste(need a good mic stand for this). With a little more distance the sound will have a chance to develop.

I have tried some large diaphragm condensers with some success but nixed them because they tended to pick up too much room which if its a solo instrument it might be a good thing. The sound quality was superior with the LDC but was less controllable.

Some people like micing closer to the hammers for a sharper sound others like the sound holes for a smoother sound. I have seen at least 2 commercially made piano micing systems place the mics on the harp about 3/4 of the length away from the hammers. Different mics will react differently at the same positions so try more than one mic at each position. I have heard some mic from underneath with one mic and over the top with another(checking for phasing).

I don't expect anyone to spend a ton of money on a mic but Josephson has a SDC that works fantastic on piano. The one I am most curious about at this time is the earthworks piano mic setup but, at 3k is a tidy sum to spend on a piano mic.

There is probably not any stuff here you don't already know. To me this would be a fun journey. I love these kind of experiments. When I bought a new acoustic I spent weeks testing different microphones and placements on it. You may discover some off the wall technique that will server you good with something else or all may fail and you will at least know what won't work Very Happy I don't know that I would save you any time with my suggestions. I might encourage the opposite waste the time trying different things. Most of all have fun doing this.
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Re: 6' Grand With Lid Off
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 11:50:18 am »


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