Home Training & Advice Studio Services About CMT   Recording Secrets For The Small Studio

The 'Recording Secrets' Library Of Microphone Positions:
Acoustic Upright Piano

The following audio examples were recorded with pianist Jon Whitten using the Yamaha upright piano in the Colin Hill Recital Room at Cambridge's Hills Road Sixth Form College. The microphones used were Rode NT55 small-diaphragm condenser mics, kindly loaned by UK distributor Source Distribution, which were preamplified via the mic preamps of a Tascam DM3200 digital mixer and recorded digitally without any signal processing. Many thanks to the college's Director of Music, Jonathan Sanders, for the use of the recital room and its adjoining control room, and also to Dan Jeffries and Tom Adams for their assistance with the sessions.


Fund new CMT resources via Patreon!

MULTIMIC SETUP 1

This microphone setup used three stereo pairs of Rode NT55 microphones: one pair in a coincident crossed-pair configuration using cardioid capsules; and the other two pairs in spaced-pair configurations using omnidirectional capsules. The piano was recorded by all mics simultaneously.

  • Panels On: Without removing any of the instrument's panels, its lid was opened and the mics were placed in horizontal line inside the piano above the hammers, as shown in the diagram. In addition, we also recorded two additional passes with the mics raised 20cm and 100cm above the instrument respectively to showcase the effects of increasing the miking distance.


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.)

Mic Distance Polar
Pattern
Position/Angle
Inside 20cm 100cm
A WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Cardioid XY stereo pair (mutual angle 120 degrees) angled downward, a little to the bass-register side of the centre of the instrument
B WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Omni Spaced stereo pair (spacing 50cm) angled downward and roughly centred on the instrument
C WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Omni Spaced stereo pair (spacing 100cm) angled downward and roughly centred on the instrument


MULTIMIC SETUP 2

This microphone setup used three spaced stereo pairs of Rode NT55 microphones, all with their omnidirectional capsules fitted. The piano was recorded by all mics simultaneously.

  • Panels Off: Both the over-keyboard and under-keyboard front panels of the instrument were removed for these audio files. Three separate recording passes were recorded, to showcase the effects of increasing the miking distance: 20cm, 50cm (as shown in the diagram), and 100cm.


(For a higher-resolution image, click here.)

Mic Distance Polar
Pattern
Position/Angle
20cm 50cm 100cm
A WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Omni Spaced stereo pair (spacing 80cm) with the mics placed either side of the pianist's head, angled horizontally towards the over-keyboard strings
B WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Omni Spaced stereo pair (spacing 80cm) with the mics placed either side of the piano stool, angled horizontally towards the under-keyboard strings
C WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
WAV/MP3
Omni Spaced stereo pair (spacing 80cm) with the mics placed at the back of the piano, angled horizontally towards the soundboard


FURTHER READING

  • To read (and hear) more about recording upright piano, check out this Sound On Sound magazine article, to which the above audio examples directly relate.

Sign up for the monthly Small-studio Secrets News mail to get info on my latest free recording and mixing resources!

Fund new CMT resources via Patreon!

Spotted a broken link? Need more audio examples or other resources? Get in touch!