Pianos are not the easiest of instruments to record.
They produce a very low-frequency sound that is easily recorded but can be muffled by other sounds if the microphone placement isn’t perfect.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best microphones for recording piano; it’ll make your life so much easier and give you better results every single time!
We’ll look at what you need to consider when choosing a microphone for your piano recordings, as well as some specific models that we think will do the trick.
The best mics for piano recording are ones that are designed to bring out the sonic resonance from piano keys and strings.
How to Choose a Microphone to Record Piano
If you want to record your piano, you will need an RCA to XLR cable in order to match a mic of your choice to the input on your audio interface. You might also want a sound-absorbing material like acoustic foam or wool over the area where you record. By placing the phone where it is further away from the instrument, you can catch all of the natural sounds of the instrument.
Two Mic Setup
Here we have a generic recording setup; our two microphones are attached to a recorder and placed in front of the piano keyboard. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing your microphone.
The piano needs to be treated like an orchestra and therefore needs to be recorded in stereo, so that you get maximum value from both channels. If you’re only recording one channel, then you should focus on the best mics for that channel.
Close miking may result in a more focused and accurate recording, but it can produce a comb-filter effect which might give you unwanted background noise. Your best option is to try both close and distant techniques until you find one that works well for your recording.
That all said, it’s hard to know definitively what’s best for your piano without trying both methods.
So this is what we did: we tried recording two separate piano tracks; then using the two mic positions to create a stereo mix.
The best microphones are ones that are designed to bring out the sonic resonance from piano keys and strings.
Because the vibrations on a traditional piano move through one group of overtones at a different speed than another, you want to pick a microphone that’s optimized for capturing sound waves this way.
The mic will also need to be not too close or too far away from the instrument because it can affect how it captures sound waves again.
6 Best Microphones for Recording Piano
1) SHURE SM7B
The Shure SM7B is ideal for both voice and instruments. It’s a much more affordable choice than some of the other options and it also has an enormous diaphragm for capturing the strongest signals. In addition, it offers a high sensitivity to avoid having to crank up the amplification levels when recording – you’ll be able to get great sound without too much extra effort. It also has a cardioid polar pattern which means you’ll be able to use it in almost any recording situation, even if there’s lots of background noise.
2) AKG Pro Audio C414 XLS
The AKG Pro Audio C414 is a stereo condenser microphone which is ideal for capturing piano music. It’s a very modern design, with individual capsules for the left and right sides of the microphone. This means that you’ll be able to record a clear stereo image from your recordings, even over other instruments. The AKG Pro Audio C414 is a bit expensive but produces a surprisingly realistic recording – users say it produces sounds that are very similar to what they hear live. In addition, this is a high-quality mic that can take a beating and not be damaged.
3) Rode NT5
This mic is much like the Apogee Symphony in how it’s designed for piano, but it’s also relatively inexpensive and can be found in lots of studio environments (including home studios). The Rode NT5 has a fairly wide frequency response, which, along with its cardioid polar pattern means that it’ll capture sound waves without having its own characteristics added to the audio recording. In addition, this mic is very durable with a large chassis and an electromagnetic shock protective system.
4. Rode M3
The Rode M3 is perfect for recording piano music because it has a large diaphragm and can be used to record sound from various instruments. It’s also flexible in how you use it, so you won’t have to worry about simply using it on one instrument in particular. This is a dynamic mic, which means that there will be very little background noise when recording, especially on pianos or other instruments with strings.
5. Behringer C-2
The Behringer C-2 Studio Condenser Mic is a relatively inexpensive model that is really great for recording piano. One of the reasons it’s so inexpensive is that it has an extremely reduced frequency response, which means that users can record in the presence of other more obnoxious sounds without having to amplify their own sound to compensate. This mic is also very durable and has rugged housing to protect against wear and tear.
6. AKG Perception 170
AKG Perception 170 Professional Instrumental Microphone is also a very versatile choice for piano recording. It has an omnidirectional (transmit sounds equally from all directions) polar pattern which means it can capture sound waves from various different angles without affecting the quality of the recording. The AKG Perception 170 is another mic to use when you want to accentuate an interesting stereo effect.
Moreover, the AKG Perception 170 offers a very smooth sound reproduction and is able to capture almost everything that is happening on the piano without adding any of its own characteristics to the recording. This means that you’ll get a recording that sounds as close to live music as possible, with the least amount of studio processing involved.
What microphone should I use to record piano?
In order to record piano, you will need a microphone with a high quality. So I would recommend using the Audio Technica AT2020 because it has a high quality for a cheap price. It also comes with preamps and is a cardioid.
What is the best way to record a piano?
When recording piano, you need to position your microphone so that the sound waves emanating from the instrument are directed towards the microphone’s diaphragm. The closer you are, the better you can capture a complete range of frequencies and harmonics in your recording; but too close can make it difficult to keep out unwanted noises.
What is the best way to mic a grand piano?
The best way to mic a grand piano is by using one mic about two feet away from the instrument. In addition, you should fold the mic stand about a foot away from the piano itself. This will give you a lot more height for the microphone and will help to reduce feedback.
Where should a microphone be placed on a piano?
The best place to put a microphone is right in front of the piano. You should be five feet away from the keyboard so that you will capture all different frequencies of the instrument.
Moreover, in order to avoid feedback, make sure you have a microphone stand that is not close to the piano. In addition, you will need a pop filter to prevent plosive sounds from causing distortion.
What is the best way to record with an acoustic piano?
The best way to record using an acoustic piano is by placing a phone about seven feet away from the instrument’s hammers. This is because this will give you all of the natural sound of the piano.