There are many well tested ways to record and capture great piano sounds but there may be another approach that might suit a particular track but having time to experiment is always an issue. On sessions where a quick and guaranteed piano sound is needed we often end up going for a good tried and trusted technique.
It’s nice to have time to step back and think about different approaches that might offer additional variety to draw upon when the situation demands. On a recent piano recording workshop with several engineers it was impressive how the same piano with the same player can sound so different with a varied range of techniques, each sounding good but maybe one might suit a particular track and so on. So, it’s always good to have a bunch of techniques ‘in a bag’ that you can reach for speedily knowing what to expect.
This is why it’s great to have the time in a lovely studio such as Ten 87 in Tottenham, London. And have access to their Yamaha baby grand. Their piano sounds great and Rob and the team at the studio kindly let us have time in the studio for a morning so that could experiment with a method he had been interested in trying for some time. This video documents the experimentation but edited out the previous attempt at using a pair of Coles over the soundboard.
Studio assistant engineer, and seriously impressive musician, Amelia Lawn, helped set up and played some improvised piano for us so that we could compare the mic setups documented in this video.
The video hopefully demonstrates an alternative style of recording that might prove useful on the right session. It might also trigger some experimentation and if you have an interesting way of recording piano and would like to be involved, please let us know so we can visit you.
A big thank you to Rob and everyone at Ten 87 Studios for giving us access, Amelia Lawn for not only helping set the session up but being a brilliant musician and thank you to Danny Trachtenberg for taking time out and making this feature possible.
Ten 87’s website https://ten87.studio