Which Mics would you buy for this Pianobook Project?


#1

I know this is a very ‘open ended’ post but I am about to embark on sampling quite a few pianos in my local area for this project. As a live piano/keyboard player, mic specs have never really interested me. I sing into whatever is put in front of me!! Usually a Shure SM58.

I have 1x SM58. To record my piano I need 2 microphones. Will another SM58 cut it? If not, what would you get? Budget?? Around £400 for the pair.

Recommendations please.


#2

So you could get another SM58 or even an SM57 (which Christian rates highly for general use) and use those as a pair.

Most the time you will find however that people tend to use condenser microphones for piano recording. An obvious consideration there is to make sure your interface has phantom power as most condensers need this.

For Family Piano I used a pair of Sontronics STC-1 which I borrowed from a friend. I think the results came out very nicely (especially after noise reduction - using RX7). They would be in budget and if you don’t mind a slight scratch or imperfect printing then you might be able to pick up a pair for about £200 from their b-stock.

Another option might be a pair of Aston Origins, which would come in about £400. I’ve heard very go things about Aston Mics. Personally I’m waiting until I have budget to get the Aston Spirits (about £300 each), which are multi-pattern, but the cardiod pattern of the Origins would be pretty good for a piano.

I’d love to hear what mics other people used when recording their pianos.


#3

Stephen,

I have an Apogee audio interface so well covered there. I think I may take a punt on a pair of STC-1 as they won’t break the bank and your piano recording using them sounds lovely to me. Having read up a little on them, they also seem good on brass instruments. My daughter plays Sax and Flute so I can sample her playing too :+1: Pianosaxyflute pad anyone??

I use RX7 a lot so I will be able to put that to work as well.


#4

I’ve created a thread with some of the mics others have used https://piano.community/t/microphones-used-for-pianobook/188


#5

At that budget, a pair of Line Audio CM3s are worth a look. Well regarded as punching well above their weight class, so to speak, and sound nearly as good as Schoeps MK21, Sennheiser MKH 8040, etc


#6

I wonder if anyone from this community would be able to lend you some mics. You’d be welcome to borrow my SM58 and Røde NT1 but I’m in Scotland. Maybe there’s someone nearer you that could help out.

I think Christian said in a pianobook video that he might travel to people himself to sample their pianos but I’m not sure if that offer is still open.


#7

Perfectly timed video from Paul


#8

Aston Starlights might be another to add to the list.

I’ve not heard any examples of pairs on piano though. I imagine they’re probably decent too, they’re about 400-500 quid on ebay.


#9

I’m a big mic snob generally, but wanted to try finding a decent stereo condenser on the cheap that I could bring places without worrying about it so much. I found this mic that’s been absolutely incredible called the Superlux S502. Only runs about $260 and is perfect for recording upright piano or honestly anything you’d need in stereo. Pair it with the right pre and it’s killer. It’s based on a $4000 (I think Schoeps?) ORTF mic. Very low noise as well.


#10

Also when I bought mine last year they also said out of stock on the website. I’m guessing they special order these every time or something, but it came pretty quickly honestly. This will sound so much better imo than two 57’s or 58’s and barely costs more than doing that.


#11

For the maybe less hardcore user, might I suggest the mic I recently purchased? The Zoom H2N.
Answer to the question, “What’s the best mic for field recording?” was “The mic you have with you.” and becoming intrigued by the whole sampling process, I was ready to buy something just to get started. And because I don’t need another expensive hobby, it needed to be affordable.
So far, I am very happy with it.
I will wait until I’m sure this is not a temporary fling with a new idea before investing in more traditional equipment.
Final thought about audio quality: just as all mics are not created equal, so too the skill of the recording engineer.
That, plus the editing care and attention will affect the perceived quality of the resulting pianos more than anything, I think.
: )


#12

As mentioned elsewhere, this website audiotestkitchen.com will let you compare lots of different mics including the Aston Origin, Aston Spirit, and Sontronics STC-2.

They have 300 mics from $80 to $10,000