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  • Piano Pickup

    Hey guys, my church is looking for a pickup for a 9' Baldwin. We want something of high quality. Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    My choice would be a couple of C414's on a piano like that, but it would certainly depend on music style, stage volume etc.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

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    • #3
      I always thought that a boundary field mic attached to the lid (closed) would be a great application, but I've never heard from someone who actually tried it. Maybe even two of 'em for stereo! I have a Shure SM91A laying around gathering dust, but I don't have access to a 9' grand piano to try it on.

      D

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      • #4
        You could always get a whole heap of old guitar pickups and wire them in series. (essentially how the first electric piano was made).

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        • #5
          I've had great luck using a Shure SM81 on a boom mounted above the soundboard at middle C.
          Yeah, now!

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          • #6
            This past weekend I did sound for Lucy Kaplansky. I don't know if anyone has heard of her, I hadn't but she was excellent. She is a folk type singer and did some acoustic guitar songs and some songs with piano. I used a PZM at the back of the piano under the cover with the cover on the low stick to get the sound of the low strings. For the high strings I used a C414 on a boom angled from the side toward the middle about 6 inches above the top front. The sound was excellent and I got many complements on how the piano sounded. I forget what eq I used but you can just use whatever sounds best. I hope this helps.
            -Geoff
            UPAC Sound Equipment Manager
            http://sound.union.rpi.edu

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            • #7
              imho, use the crown pcc-160, it's a boundary mic, i've used it for quite a few applications ranging from micing pianos, drums, and lectern, it's a fantastic mic, highs and lows where u want it.

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              • #8
                Since the PCC is semi-directional (asymmetrically hemispherical to be more exact) it doesn't work as well with the lid closed, since the back entering sound as mechanically combined with the front pattern to get the directional characteristics and the result in a closed lid set-up is not great.

                With the piano at a low stick (or higher) the results improve.
                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                Comment


                • #9
                  My choice is either two SM91's (great for monitors and house), 2-AKG414's. or a great economical all around way to go is the Barcus Berry pickup with preamp, it's very easy to install and sounds great in house and monitors.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by steelyD
                    I always thought that a boundary field mic attached to the lid (closed) would be a great application, but I've never heard from someone who actually tried it. Maybe even two of 'em for stereo! I have a Shure SM91A laying around gathering dust, but I don't have access to a 9' grand piano to try it on.

                    D


                    Relevant Update: Sugarfried posted the link to Shure Microphone Techniques handbook a few days ago and it addresses this very issue.

                    Peace,
                    D
                    Also known as "unworthy" on another network

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by npmixmaster
                      My choice is either two SM91's (great for monitors and house), 2-AKG414's. or a great economical all around way to go is the Barcus Berry pickup with preamp, it's very easy to install and sounds great in house and monitors.


                      The Barcus Berry (and Helpinsteil) work ok for band situations, but for an acoustic setting (say solo or jazz) it would certainly compromise the natural qualities of a 9' Baldwin for sure!
                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        hi folks!

                        i am unearthing this thread because i am in the process of researching the best possible solution for micing a concert steinway. the application is dualfold. primarily it is in a loud rock type ensemble, but there are also solo and classical quartet requirements.

                        i have used the following setups to mixed success:


                        1) two sm57s on the short stick and wide open, with one treble mic aimed toward the hammers 1 ft deep into the piano and as high as possible with respect to the lid, and the bass mic either aimed similarly and 3 feet deep, or under the soundboard on a short boom, as close as possible to the board and tucked into the "V" of the underbracing to help eliminate stage spill.

                        tonal rating: 6.5
                        gain before feedback: 7
                        comments: easy, cheap, but not a very accurate sound and lots of equing required.

                        2) two akg 451 condenser mics in the same placements

                        tonal rating: 8
                        gain before feedback: 5.5
                        comments: mics are easier to damage, require phantom power, requires judicious EQ and still feedback looms, but the sound is pleasing at lower levels.

                        3) two barcus berry 4000xl pickups, one placed in the 3rd soundhole for treble, and another under the bass strings 2 feet deep from the hammers.

                        tonal rating: 5.5
                        gain before feedback: 9
                        comments: simple setup, can be used with the lid closed, best at being heard over the band, but the piezo brittleness and lack or rich low mids/lows fatigues the ears. pickup enclosure rattles and has a shelly sound when cranked. my two systems are currently out of order, raising reliability issues.

                        i keep hearing that akg 414s mounted on a tape bridge across the inner bracings above the strings produce the best results live, but i fear the spill and feedback at the levels we sometimes experience on stage, due to bass, e. gtr, drums, etc...

                        has anyone tried c-ducer CPS-8P systems (cducer.com) or schertler Dyn-GP systems ( shertler.com) before, or are there any other ideas?

                        thanks gang!




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                        • #13
                          The problem here is that for a rock situation, the soundboard itself will pick up vibrations from the band's sound and add that to the piano's tone. It can sound like a muddy overtone that can't be gotten rid of with eq.

                          How about a Yamaha CP-80 or something like that for the rock gig? The other option is a good quality (pro level) electric grand.

                          I like 414's better than 451's for piano, and mic just inside the bridge rather than the middle of the sound board or hammers.
                          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                          Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mentoneman
                            i have used the following setups to mixed success:

                            1) two sm57s on the short stick and wide open, with one treble mic aimed toward the hammers . . ."

                            2) two akg 451 condenser mics in the same placements . . .

                            3) two barcus berry 4000xl pickups, one placed in the 3rd soundhole for treble, and another under the bass strings 2 feet deep from the hammers. . .

                            . . . or are there any other ideas?


                            I've been taught that the structure of a grand piano is such that the open lid functions as a reflector. Both of our main pianists (Peabody graduates at Master's and Doctoral levels in piano and conducting) insist that the most lifelike reproduction comes when a cardioid mic is pointed towards the middle of the soundboard. If using one mic, put it on a boom inside the open piano and point it perpendicular to the lid about two-thirds the distance of the lid's width from the lid. If using two mics (the preferred method) put them in an V configuration with the heads perpendicular to one another. Center them on the lid from inside. We have excellent results with both of these methods using SM-57's, though the two-mic version is best.

                            The Preacher
                            The Preacher

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Preacher Will


                              I've been taught that the structure of a grand piano is such that the open lid functions as a reflector. Both of our main pianists (Peabody graduates at Master's and Doctoral levels in piano and conducting) insist that the most lifelike reproduction comes when a cardioid mic is pointed towards the middle of the soundboard. If using one mic, put it on a boom inside the open piano and point it perpendicular to the lid about two-thirds the distance of the lid's width from the lid. If using two mics (the preferred method) put them in an V configuration with the heads perpendicular to one another. Center them on the lid from inside. We have excellent results with both of these methods using SM-57's, though the two-mic version is best.

                              The Preacher


                              For recording, solo piano and classical perhaps, but add bass, gtr and drums to the stage sound (your question) and the "classical theory" falls apart.
                              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                              Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                              Comment



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