Miking a Grand Piano: December 2016 Question of the Month

Shure Notes® email newsletter subscribers submit their burning audio questions every month, and we pick one to publish in the email and here. This month, we focus on miking a grand piano.

Jeff in Pennsylvania asked about piano miking:

I am currently using two boundary mics affixed to the underside of the grand piano lid at our church. Is this the best approach? It’s intended as a permanent installation. The mics go directly to the mixing board.

Shure product support answered:

There are several ways to mic a grand piano for live sound reinforcement, but the method you have chosen is considered one of the best and works just as well for an upright piano. You don’t mention what boundary mics you’re using, but we recommend a cardioid condenser like the BETA® 91A.

Depending on the sound you want to achieve, you can place the boundary mics on the underside of the lid for a bright, well-balanced sound; on top of the closed lid for a strong attack, or above the soundboard for a full, natural sound. An elegant solution for this last technique is a mounting bar that positions the microphone above the soundboard and works with the lid open or closed. The Marizio Microphone Mount is one that we’ve seen.

To hear how different Shure mics sound on a piano, check out our Mic Listening Lab’s piano microphone sound samples. And remember: there’s no one right way to mic anything. Your ears will tell you which one’s right for you.

More resources:

For additional piano miking techniques, check out page 24 of our booklet Microphone Techniques for Live Sound Reinforcement. You’ll find a convenient one-page list there.

You can also search “piano miking” in the Shure FAQs, where you’ll see a variety of approaches that you might consider depending on your application (recording or live sound) and environment.

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Allison Wolcott

Allison Wolcott

Allison Wolcott started singing at Shure and now sings wherever they'll let her. She wishes she were Brandi Carlile, Neko Case, and Johnny Cash all rolled up in a voice box. Her favorite mic is the BETA®87A. Interviews with product developers and general Shure news are her beat.

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