Producing Grand Piano
The grand piano is the most acoustically complex instrument to record, with its great dynamic range and wide musical range. From classical, jazz to pop music it lends itself very well to recording. There are numerous miking and processing techniques you may utilize depending on the desired effect you are looking for. Grand pianos vary in size from 7'-9'6" with the larger pianos sounding bigger due to the size of the resonating sound board. Achieving the precise tonal characteristics can be challenging yet will prove to be very satisfying when achieved.
One thing to acknowledge is that the same grand piano with the same miking set-up will most likely sound very different with another player even if they are playing the same musical piece. How a player strikes the keys and uses the sustain pedal are just some of the personal performing characteristics that define many different styles and sounds. With hard hammers and close miking you may get transients that meter too slowly to read and you'll have to use your ears to identify them. The mechanics of the piano can inhibit a good pick-up with the extraneous noises from the pedal, hammers and resonating buzzes. The acoustic ambient characteristics associated with the recording environment also influence the sound you are striving for.
With pop piano (Alicia Keys, Elton John), we tend to prefer a close pick-up. This allows for good clarity, minimal ambient influences. As we move into jazz-pop (Norah Jones, Dianna Krall) we discover that the grand piano sound starts to play a bigger role in a production and needs to be treated accordingly and isolation from the live singing is a factor. With jazz improvisation (Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett) the use of the piano harmonically and sonically are greater and miking set-ups are more challenging and need to be very accurate. Last but not least is classical piano where certain rules are applied for achieving an excellent pick-up...