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Topic: mixing piano

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  1. #1

    mixing piano

    i know this is a bit of a huge subject, but i was hoping to get a little insite on mixing the piano in my song.
    i have in the tune a bass guitar,synth pad,world drum and percussion type loops, a nylon guitar(lead) and the bardstown bosendorfer(rythym).
    i recorded the piano dry.
    i guess my question is if anybody can give me a good starting point(tips, tricks or anything) to make it come out in the mix a little brighter. or if there is a good book on this subject someone can recommend, anything would be of help.

    bob lasnek

  2. #2

    Re: mixing piano

    A huge subject indeed. I don\'t own the bardstown bosendorfer(rythym), but for the East West Steinway B I often use the following EQ-setting in a busy mix:

    140 Hz: Cut everything below
    300 Hz: Cut -5 dB
    1 kHz: Cut honkiness
    6 kHz: Boost 3 dB for presence and clarity

    This setting is recommended by David Gibson who wrote \"The Art of Mixing\", which I find useful.

    I just got the new Bigga Gigga title `Studio Grand 88`, which sounds less warm/muddy & a little thinner/brighter than the East West Steinway B, which should be better for a busy mix.

    So never forget that the above setting may not be appropriate for every piano.

    Experiment!

  3. #3

    Re: mixing piano

    The \'esemble\' you describe will demand a cut at 250-300 hz. I have found you can often \'brigthen\' up a piano in the mix by cutting the mud. I also start mixing with the mentality of \'subtractive\' EQ\'ing first. Then, only then, think about adding EQ. You can start chasing your tail real quick. IMHO

    Rob

  4. #4

    Re: mixing piano

    Doesn\'t it all depend on the sound you want? To bring forward the piano, you might slightly raise the 1 kHz level. If you want the piano to fall away, you\'d reduce it. It\'s the song that counts.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: mixing piano

    Originally posted by Jake Johnson:
    Doesn\'t it all depend on the sound you want? To bring forward the piano, you might slightly raise the 1 kHz level. If you want the piano to fall away, you\'d reduce it. It\'s the song that counts.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Usually a cut works better--it leaves more of the tonality intact, and just removes the frequencies that are problematic. Boosts are much more artifact-prone. That clunk you didn\'t notice before is suddenly shattering glass, etc.

    In most cases, a muddy instrument is competing with something else in the mix and losing the fight. The telltale sign is that you can\'t \"turn it up\" without the previously muddy instrument suddenly taking over the entire soundstage.

  6. #6

    Re: mixing piano

    Hello,
    since this topic is up, I\'d thought I\'d add to the question a little more, if you don\'t mind. I was wondering what your thoughts are on \"panning\" the piano? like decreasing the stereo field to fit in a orcherstra mix better, or mixing two pianos.

    thanks,
    Aaron Dirk
    NGS West

  7. #7

    Re: mixing piano

    In most cases, a muddy instrument is competing with something else in the mix and losing the fight. The telltale sign is that you can\'t \"turn it up\" without the previously muddy instrument suddenly taking over the entire soundstage.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">that may be the problem. the past few days i have been reworking the piano part. i think it was \"competing\" with the acoustic guitar in the mix.

    bob lasnek

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: mixing piano

    Originally posted by ngstime:
    Hello,
    since this topic is up, I\'d thought I\'d add to the question a little more, if you don\'t mind. I was wondering what your thoughts are on \"panning\" the piano? like decreasing the stereo field to fit in a orcherstra mix better, or mixing two pianos.

    thanks,
    Aaron Dirk
    NGS West
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">If I\'m going for a more natural piano + orchestra soundstage, then I\'ll take the piano to near-mono, pull down the bass and extreme highs, and even put some bounce on it with a delayed reverb.

    But if the piano is the lead, especially if it\'s a more pop or commercial sounding piece (often the case in my line of work), I will let it occupy a lot more space.

    The EQ is a vital part of the illusion. You know when it\'s right, because the picture just locks into place. I always try to think of reverb as an imaging tool, not as a \"tone control.\" I guess it could also be somewhat described as a defensive EQ concept. I\'m not looking to change the sound, just to simulate the effect of distance or intervening air.

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