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AB omni pair: max width for solo piano re Richard King ?
Old 7th January 2022
  #1
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🎧 10 years
AB omni pair: max width for solo piano re Richard King ?

If you've read Richard King's book "Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles" :

https://www.amazon.com/Recording-Orc.../dp/1138854549

...you'll be aware of his guidelines for setting up an AB omni pair for solo grand piano (typically Steinway D9 or similar) in a large hall. It involves some lid hinge to mic measurements to place the mic pair roughly central along the piano's forward facing width, ...with the resulting placement being approx 45 degrees angled towards the player, and facing into the curve of the piano.

Or...both (parallel) mics are broadly pointed at the the lid-hinge closest to the player, is another way to describe it...

This puts the centre of the stand about 4 feet from the front lip of the instrument

Mic height varies according to the hall capacity ...between 1.85- 2m/ 6'1"- 6'6

The AB bar width remains constant irrespective of hall size: 34" or 85 cms

So it's reasonably prescriptive, while accounting for hall/room size up to 750+ capacity in some of the adjustment parameters.

When I've used this it has resulted in imaging that retains a good balance between instrument clarity and hall ambience, but also produces an overly wide (bordering on 'hole in the middle') stereo picture.

Clearly it's at the other end of the spectrum from the 9-12" width of the Decca Tail pair, despite ending up much closer to the instrument than the Decca's typical stand location.

In the Dunkerley et al book it explains the narrowed AB width as being aimed towards a 'realistically narrowed' stereo image width, while King doesn't address this aspect

Has anyone used Richard King's recommended dimensions....what were your findings ?
Old 7th January 2022
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I would imagine a nice compromise would be King's spacing, but with the pan-ins recommended by Decca for the 3' 'two-mic' tree.

I did it once with string quartet, and while still unrealistically wide, it was quite impressive. I'd never do ~3' without panning in, on anything.

As with any 'out front' placement, getting a good tonal balance on the instrument is trickier than the tail placement.
Old 7th January 2022 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Formulas and rules for mic placement are not absolute and can never really be relied on, as the acoustic, repertoire, hall size and shape and audience size all conspire to corrupt the formula. Monitoring is the only solution.
Indeed, and a lot of Richard King's recommendations are in the nature of "QuickStart/ templates" to get beginners into the ballpark at least.

So the main area of interest in creating this thread was his remaining with the 34"/85cm width, as a constant parameter (actually the supporting text recommends a range of 80-90cm)....and wondering whether that's a typically used width by folks here, when recording so close to the piano ?

King also adds "Although a relatively wide spacing will result in an image with slightly reduced stability, the instrument will be presented with substantial impact and even energy throughout the range of the instrument", as well as advocating the same potential 'optimal arc' of placement anywhere between hammers and tail that Decca suggest...so he's also a strong advocate of trial and error
Old 7th January 2022 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
As with any 'out front' placement, getting a good tonal balance on the instrument is trickier than the tail placement.
...or the head placement: Nice Jazz Piano Recording in an old Radio Studio
Old 8th January 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Indeed, and a lot of Richard King's recommendations are in the nature of "QuickStart/ templates" to get beginners into the ballpark at least.

So the main area of interest in creating this thread was his remaining with the 34"/85cm width, as a constant parameter (actually the supporting text recommends a range of 80-90cm)....and wondering whether that's a typically used width by folks here, when recording so close to the piano ?

King also adds "Although a relatively wide spacing will result in an image with slightly reduced stability, the instrument will be presented with substantial impact and even energy throughout the range of the instrument", as well as advocating the same potential 'optimal arc' of placement anywhere between hammers and tail that Decca suggest...so he's also a strong advocate of trial and error
With this 80-90 cm spacing is there a potential benefit in placing a third microphone, maybe a cardioid even closer, in order to bring up a little the center? Just to make a guess….probably a dumb idea.
Old 8th January 2022 | Show parent
  #6
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpa ➡️
With this 80-90 cm spacing is there a potential benefit in placing a third microphone, maybe a cardioid even closer, in order to bring up a little the center? Just to make a guess….probably a dumb idea.
Not a dumb idea at all, at least not conceptually. If you look at how a lot of the old Philips engineers recorded piano, 3 evenly spaced omnis was a fundamental element, though in their setups the L and R mics were spaced around 8-9’ (240-270cm).

Mark Donahue in a different thread a couple weeks ago gave a good tip on how to employ and balance such a 3-mic setup (albeit on orchestra), looking through the threads in the last couple weeks should turn it up, if you’re interested. I think adding a mic between a 3’ AB you’d need so little of it before the image became overly mono that it’d hardly be worth adding. But I think you’re on the right track in how you’re conceptualizing the application and modification of mic techniques. Might as well give such a setup a shot if you have a chance!
Old 9th January 2022
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Indeed the 3 mic LCR approach is recommended and explained in section 5.7.1 of the recent Dunkerley et al Decca book, as a method employed when the mics necessarily have to be located very close to the piano, for any reason.

They are shown as gathered around the curve of the piano, their span (left to right) occupying about 1/3 of the instrument's length in a shallow arc following the piano's curve.

The centre mic is suggested as being able to alter the middle voicing of the piano of up to +/- 4dB with respect to the l/r mics
Old 9th January 2022
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I'm sure everyone has seen this, but in case not -

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/...stic-ensembles
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