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How to Record Piano (Yamaha C7 Grand Piano)

Transcript
Hi, it’s Warren Huart here. Hope you’re doing marvelously well.

I’m going to be talking to you today about recording a Yamaha C7. This particular Yamaha C7 is located at Harmony Studios in West Hollywood, and this is the C7 that was used on Someone Like You by Adele. It was recorded here at the studio. The mics that I’m going to be showing you that we used are the mics that were on that recording.

So Dan Wilson played piano here, and behind us, there’s a vocal booth where Adele sang. So please subscribe below. If you go to the link below and click on the producelikeapro.com, you can sign up for the email list and you will get an expanded version of this video talking about another couple of ways of recording pianos.

So please check it out, and go to the link and watch some more stuff. There’s also some more stuff on drums, and drum editing, and all kinds of fun things.

Okay, so here’s the positioning of the mics. These are actually a pair of U87s. They’re a matched pair of U87s that was bought as a pair. These are the mics that we used on the Adele song, Someone Like You. So why not just to hear them again?

Now, the U87 on the left here is hovering over the high strings. Basically to the middle and slightly to the left. The U87 on the right here is hovering mainly over the low strings, and the way I pan it when you’re listening is the left hand is over to the left hand side, and the right hand is on to the right hand side.

Now, that might seem logical, because even if we’re watching a piano player play, it’s — you know, if it’s facing you, you still imagine the way you sit when you play the piano. I would say almost every time I’ve heard a piano in a mix, it’s always been low notes on the left hand side, and high notes on the high, because so many of us have sat at a piano, so we know how it feels.

Now, with drums, it’s not always like that, because most people’s experience is not ever playing drums. It’s more witnessing it on stage, so with most drummers, not all, but most drummers being right handed, if you’re watching a drummer, you would imagine the hi-hat to be on the right hand side.

So usually, unless a drummer is mixing, you’ll imagine that you’ll hear the drums with the hi-hat on the right, and then the toms going from right to left as they go from rack to floor.

Okay, let’s get in close and have a look at this mic placement.

This is set to cardioid at the moment, and that will sort of pick up this area here. The same with the other microphone, will pick up probably this kind of area around it, which is easily enough what we want to do here.

Now, often, I will set both of these mics in omni. That gives you a much more airy sound of the whole piano, and of course we’ll get more of the frame and the string sustain, etcetera. To be honest, in classical recordings they often do that. They’ll bring the mics back a little further and put them into omni.

This gives us a good wide left to right.

Now, don’t be afraid to move the mics around a little bit to make sure that the phase is good. Good phase alignment, because you don’t want the middle to be cancelled out. But this is pretty typical of what we do.

Great, I hope you enjoyed the video. There’s a plethora of different ways of recording piano. This is just the beginning. Please leave some comments below. Please go to producelikeapro.com and sign up for the email list, and you’ll get the expanded version of the video talking about other ways to mic a piano.

We’re also going to be talking about micing uprights. The same upright that’s in here in the studio, which has also been on a million different records as well. So please leave me some comments and give me any feedback you’d like. Anything else you want to see in terms of recording, and I’d love to get to that, and thank you ever so much for watching.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.
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