Ribbon Mic Techniques for the Piano

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When recording a piano with a ribbon microphone, you're always going to want to remember a few important tips and tricks. Find out about ribbon mic techniques for the piano with help from an experienced audio producer in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Sound & Audio Mixing
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Video Transcript

Hey, this is Aaron Wolpin with AWOL Audio Productions here at the Track Recording Studio in Dallas, Texas and I'm going to show you how to use ribbon mics for piano. A couple different techniques here. These are Royer 121 ribbon microphones. The front of them have a little Royer symbol. I don't know if you can see it there. So that's the front of the mic but these mics do pick up in front and behind them. So we're going to put the first one here. This first set up we're going to do in an X Y position. And I'll show you what that means here. We're going to have one mic facing this way towards the hammers and we're going to have the other one at a 90 degree angle facing the other direction. And these are kind of like how our ears are going to hear it. So set this up here. And what this does is it gives us a good stereo feel to where you can hear some high frequencies in one ear and then the low frequencies in another. And this is really good for making sure we don't have any phase cancellation. That's a really important thing. And in a stereo pair like this you pretty much will not have any phase cancellation. And so that's an X Y configuration. We have one pointed this way, keep in mind it is picking up what's in front of the microphone and what's behind it. The little room sound that we have here. And we have the other one pointing in this direction, getting some of the thicker strings. That way also picking up some sound from over here. And that's an X Y configuration with ribbon mics on a piano. Lets hear how that sounds. So here we've moved from the X Y configuration spaced pair. What I've got here is I've got this mic closer to the hammers and the high strings and then this one focused more towards the low strings. So obviously we should hear the brighter sounds and the higher pitches in this mic and the lower sounds in the other. The thing about this set up, unlike the X Y configuration is we have to worry about phase. So it's important to check phase. We also want to make sure that the distance between each mic and the piano is closer than the distance between the microphones themselves. That will help get away from this whole phase cancelling situation. This is how these two space pair mics sound. Again, I'm Aaron Wolpin with AWOL Audio Productions here at The Track Studio and these are some ribbon techniques that you can use on a piano.

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