Sunday, April 23, 2006

Week 6 Recording Assignment

For this assignment I chose to record a piano using the Mid Side (M/S) technique with a pair of Neumann U87 mics. The instrument choice was a little lacking in the adventurous side of things considering that we did this exact exercise in class, but I made this choice because:

1) This is my main instrument, and so it's something I want to learn how to mic well.
2) I wanted to prove to myself that I could successfully use this technique before moving onto other Stereo mic techniques.

I prepared the recording space by clapping my hands and listening to the natural reverb. After opening the curtains, the reverb did increase a little, but not a lot. Still, the extra reverb did make enough difference to satisfy my judgement. Next I prepared the piano by putting carpet under the soft pedal to dampen the sound it makes when it is used.

Lastly, before I got into the recording, I tested for the hot spot on the figure 8 mic. I believe it's usually at the front of the mic, but to be sure I did a test anyway. Honestly, I could barely tell the difference (this could have been because of the original position I had the mic), but the difference I did hear confirmed that the hot spot was at the front of the mic.

I proceeded to setup the M/S configuration at the spot I thought I'd get the best piano results. I hit record and played the piano. When I returned to the studio to hear the recording, it sounded as though it had been beaten unconscious (no presence or clear even frequency response), even after I copied and inverted the figure 8 track. I figured it was probably the position of the microphone.

Thankfully Poppi turned up and agreed to play the piano for me whilst I aurally check for the best mic position. My ears told me the best position was inside of the piano lid, close to the sound board, and closer to the treble strings.

The results from moving the mics from their original position were startling. Suddenly all that was missing in the sound revealed itself.

My only gripe with the recording was that the pedal sound still prevailed in the quieter parts, but overall I am satisfied with the results.

Any constructive criticism is well appreciated.


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