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Sound Advice

Miking Pianos by George Semkiw

“When I mic a piano I use omnidirectional mics (Neumann KM56) and place them in the middle of the keyboard (1st mic closer to the bass strings, 2nd mic 1 1/2 feet away towards the higher strings; you may have to put some sponge around the mic stand to absorb vibrations after closing the lid and close the lid totally. This gives me a very present piano sound which is not muddy – usually associated with cardioid microphones. When the lid is closed, it helps me keep the leakage (incoming leakage from other instruments) down to a minimum and still allows me to get a full present piano sound. If the piano has soft actioned hammers, place mics closer to hammers; if the piano has a hard actioned hammer sesponse, place mics further away from hammers.

Placement of mics should be with individual taste in mind and how the piano actually sounds.”

George Semkiw – producer/engineer, Lou Reed, Harry Belafonte, Johnnie Lovesin, The Satallites.

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