How to Record a Piano
To record the piano most engineers use a large condenser mic like, you guessed it a Neumann U87 or AKG 414. Pianos are usually recorded in stereo to capture the full rich sound but can be recorded with a single mic in a pinch. If you use two mics use the same model mic if possible to help to blend the sound. One of the simplest and most common setups is to place one mic 6 inches over the bass register strings and another at the upper register strings at an equal height. If the attack is too strong try raising the mics to give a more full rich sound.
As always use your ears as usual to get the exact right sound before you record. If the song is recorded mostly in the center of the piano then you may want to move the mics a little closer together but don't get them too close because of phase problems. When in doubt remember the three to one rule of three times the distance between microphones as from the source of the sound so if they are 10 inches above the keys then they should be at least 30 inches apart. Remember to leave a little head room in your preamp setting to make sure the signal does not get overloaded on louder parts.
Recording a keyboard or synthesizer is easier then recording a piano. Just plug it into your midi or instrument line input and make sure you don't let the signal overload. Add a little compression if you like especially for bass lines but other than that it is pretty strait forward. If you are getting an overly sterile sound try bussing the signal out to a set of stereo speakers or amps and mic them up a few feet back with large diaphragm condensers to add a little room ambience to the sound. Also if the keyboard has speakers you can mic them up also to the same effect. Another trick is to use a tube amp or guitar amp to add a bit of warmth to the sound. Experimentation here will usually pay off allowing for the creation of some pretty unique sounds.
Tips and Tricks - Already set up and you just need tips and tricks to make your recording sound better.
Drums - If you need help or tips on recording acoustic drums then this is the place to check out.
Acoustic Guitars - If you want help recording an acoustic guitar then check out this page.
Bass - Need help capturing that electric bass we offer a few options for you here.
Vocals - Vocals can make or break a project. Get some nice tips for recording vocals here.
Electric Guitars - If you want help recording a electric guitar then check out this page.
Mixing - Need help mixing those tracks to get the right sound from your mix. We can help here.
Equalization or Eq - Do you have a basic overall level and the tracks panned where you want them. Then check out our tips on Equalization or Eq.
Adding Audio effects - If you have the levels where you want them and have added Eq its time to add some plug-ins or effects like reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, and other effects to help that final mix shine.
Mastering - Need help mastering your songs. Get the low down here.
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