Paul Cantrell Piano Technique

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The credit for this worthy technique is due to Paul Cantrell. Place a large diaphragm cardioid mic (like the Sterling Audio ST66) at the “hip” of the piano. It should be peering inside the lid, which will be open only a few inches. Next, place a small diaphragm cardioid condenser mic (such as the Applied Microphone Technology M40) on the back of the music desk pointed over top of the bass strings and to the far end of the piano. The M40 will pick up the bass sounds while the ST66 will contribute a brighter element to the sound. Note that the slightly opened lid is a critical part of this technique.

Mic the sound holes
Do you see those neat looking holes in the brass plate inside the piano? Stick your ear near them and you will find that they focus some interesting tones. Take advantage of this by placing a small square of foam next to the hole of your choosing and then tape a small diaphragm condenser mic on the foam.
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As non-sexy as it may seem, our reality sometimes involves miking up a small upright piano. Using an A B set of mics on the back of a piano can yield surprisingly good results.

Mike an upright from the top
This is the technique that usually comes to mind when we think of miking an upright piano. Open the lid all the way and position one mic over the bass region and the other mic over the treble region. Just like with the same technique on a grand piano, watch out for a sonic “hole” in the mid frequencies. You are likely to get a lot of percussiveness from the hammers in this position.

Remove upright panels to get more space
Most of the panels on an upright piano can be easily removed without the use of a hacksaw. Just be sure to politely ask the owner’s permission before beginning your de-construction project. With panels removed, more stand-off distance is available for your
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