I would like to record myself playing a piano part on my upright piano at home.

Things of importance:

  • The piano is in a smallish room with very little resonance/reverb going on.

  • I have to hand a Rode NT1 condenser mic and an SM-58 dynamic mic (which I doubt will be useful but I'll mention it anyway). I also have a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder which has XY condenser mics on it.

  • I'm recording using Logic Pro X on a macbook, and I'm interfacing the inputs with a steinberg UR44-C.

I've read online that the best way to record an upright is to open the top and place a condenser mic on either end a few inches above the head height of the player. Would it be possible to do this with the Rode and the H4? Or would the results be too different from both to work together?

If the above fails and I had to use only one mic (the Rode, probably) what would be the best way to do that?

1 Answer 1


There are as many ways to mic a piano as there are sound engineers.

Using what you have, here are some ideas - this is not comprehensive, it's just to get you thinking outside the box.
With all of these, distance from source can make huge differences in the end result.
Your room might sound far more reverberant than you expect once you start miking up. You can partially control how much/little of the room sound you get in the recording by just playing with the mic distances from the piano.
As you don't have a tuned room, this might become a large part of getting the sound right.

BTW, there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting your SM58 in the game. It has a totally different response to the NT, but you shouldn't exclude it out of hand.

  1. Get the piano well away from the wall & point the H4's coincident pair square at the back. I'm not sure if the Zooms have the ability to switch to mid-side processing, but that would be worth a try too.

  2. Open the top & point the Zoom into the gap.

  3. Use the NT1 & 58 as a distant pair. Point each square at the front panel, over your shoulders if you need to. Experiment with width & which goes at right & left.

  4. Think up 3 more 'interesting' configurations. Cross the mics, try different heights, directions, balances between the two; use one near & one far, one inside one outside…
    Don't forget to test to each end of the piano, so you don't end up with thumping bass notes whilst barely being able to hear the top end. Relative proximity will again play a large part in this.

Even a good engineer in a strange room with a strange piano & a cupbord full of mics [s]he's not used to could spend half a day on this. If you're inexperienced, expect to take considerably longer.
Record at least 30s of every setup. Take notes. Come back & listen to them all tomorrow.
Rinse, repeat.

  • 1
    This is disgustingly useful, thank you
    – yerman
    Apr 12, 2021 at 19:57

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