How To Record Piano With the N8

Audio Samples and Techniques Using the AEA N8

The N8 is an ideal mic to capture the sound of your piano because of its open and natural tonality. Its detailed top-end, extended low end, and figure-of-8 polar pattern make it the perfect companion for capturing the sound of your instrument within the context of a room.

Blumlein Technique on Grand Piano

A highly effective technique for recording grand piano involves the NUVO Stereo Kit, which comprises two N8s in Blumlein configuration. Position this array between 1 and 3 feet from the right side of the piano, perched over the frame, and with the center of the array pointed at middle C. This method yields a wide stereo spread with terrific natural tonality. To lessen the N8’s considerable proximity effect and to gain more room tonality, pull the array away from the frame.

Blumlein Technique on Upright Piano

On upright, there are two common positions to place a Blumlein array. One is to position it behind and above the played pointing towards the hammers. This will give you an eerily similar sound to what the performer is hearing.

Another recommended position is behind the piano from at least 1.5 feet away and 6 inches above the ground. This will give you less hammer sound but the tonality of the piano captured can be astonishing.

Ribbon Mics
ORTF Configuration

Another close-miking technique is to place two N8s in ORTF outside of the grand piano. Positioning the N8s on the NUVO Stereo Kit is a simple way to easily align the mics and keep them in phase. The distance an angle of the mics should be similar to Blumlein configuration, but this perspective gives you more flexibility to arrange them.

On an upright piano, a recommended position is to place the microphones behind the piano from at least 1 foot away and 6 inches above the ground. The spacing and distance of the two mics is dependent on the stereo image you are trying to capture. This general position will give you less hammer sound and a beautiful tonality.

Ribbon Mics
Distant Miking

Much of a piano’s sound comes from the room it inhabits, so accurately capturing that room sound is vital in achieving a comprehensive piano tonality. Keep this in mind as you experiment with the vast spatial range of the N8 and its great capacity for far-field applications. The N8 delivers an astonishingly balanced treble/bass ratio from as far as 20 feet away.

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