Very directional mic recommendations (or techniques with them I suppose)

What's Hot
thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 7113
edited March 2021 in Making Music
Hi all

Did a live stream thing last night (only a couple of songs as part of a charity Christmas event) playing piano (sound check video below just for fun) and it was nice, good fun. However I encountered some annoyances getting it all ready. One of which was my mics picking up the mechanical clunking of my keyboard keys, which was incredibly annoying. Some of it is my keyboard having really loud keys and being a bit flimsy (i'm working on that, probably looking to purchase something with quieter keys although I don't think I'll get something that sounds as nice for my budget) but from my other thread which turned into a bit of a rant from me, it seemed the suggestion was that I needed to get a more directional mic.

I tried my TC Helicon MP75 (which is super-cardioid dynamic), a Marantz Pro MPM-1000 (cardioid condenser), and a Shure PG58 (caridoid dynamic, I think similar to SM58). I used the Shure in the end but in honesty they all sounded the same, with the same problem. I used a sort of clip on screen thing on the mic to try and reduce it, stuffed with acoustic foam between the mic and the shield thing, but that didn't really make any difference. 

So what mics should I be looking at considering none of the above worked? Somebody suggested the Rode Procaster but that seems to have the same pickup pattern (cardioid) so I'm not sure why it would be better? I'm a low rent kind of guy but please share all ideas and prices because if I get anywhere with performing on the piano at any point, it could be worth a bigger investment.

Or is there a better way to set it up to help? It's different than playing guitar and singing at the same time because the mic literally needs to be above the keyboard which seemed to not help. When I recorded stuff before that was me playing acoustic and singing there was no issue, it's literally just for piano.

Just a bit lost and confused because there are (and always have been) loads of piano playing singers, and I've googled as much as I can and I can't seem to do anything differently. I'm just a bit concerned that I go out and buy a new keyboard and have exactly the same problem, or only a slight reduction.

Here's my soundcheck example from last night (I didn't perform this song but it's a good warm up song for the voice and checking levels etc:


Thank you in advance
www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
«1

Comments

  • Sounding good.

    You could probably get away with just turning everything up a bit and drown it out more.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Sounding good.

    You could probably get away with just turning everything up a bit and drown it out more.
    If I turn the piano volume up I have to turn the vocal gain up also, which makes the clunking louder.
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • You could also try EQing it out a bit.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8225
    The vocal does sound a fair bit louder than the keys to be fair... you could get away with turning the volume up on the keyboard... or turn the mic down and boost the whole overall mixed volume...

    I suspect if you turn the mic gain down it will stop picking up the key clicks
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • poopot said:
    The vocal does sound a fair bit louder than the keys to be fair... you could get away with turning the volume up on the keyboard... or turn the mic down and boost the whole overall mixed volume...

    I suspect if you turn the mic gain down it will stop picking up the key clicks
    Yeah my balance wasn't quite right on that so turned the keys up on the actual performance. Also it recorded the two inputs panned Left and Right because it was the windows camera app and I couldnt change it to mono. The mix is better in Mono (as it was via zoom).

    If I turn the mic gain down it's too quiet on the computer. So I turn the gain up on the interface, and bang the clunks are back

    You could also try EQing it out a bit.
    I tried finding what frequency it was when I was messing about with recordings of it at but the only freq that cuts it down also affected my vocals, It wasn't a bassy sound. I did give away a rack eq unit thing before for free, which seems a mistake in hindsight if that could have worked. Again I'm wary of purchasing an EQ unit only to find it doesn't help or causes other problems, as it did with the DAW plug in
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • The eq that comes with reaper is very good. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • The eq that comes with reaper is very good. 
    It's for live performing I need this. For recording it's no issue as I just record separately
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • LastMantraLastMantra Frets: 2096
    edited December 2020
    Imo the vocal sounds good. I don't think spending money on mics is the answer. 

    You might be hearing it more than anyone else 
    You're ears can do weird things.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Despite the vocals mic being ridiculously high in the mix I didn't find the key noise detrimental to the performance in any way. As I suspected in your last thread though you are singing quite quietly. If you could project more you could then turn the mic gain down and get the same apparent vocal volume with less background noise. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 7113
    edited December 2020
    Imo the vocal sounds good. I don't think spending money on mics is the answer. 

    You might be hearing it more than anyone else 
    But ultimately, it's what I hear that I care about, not what other people hear. If they happen to like it and can't hear the clunking, then I can't be held responsible for their poor ears/taste 

    If it's this loud when played quietly, it's going to be worse at volume
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • LastMantraLastMantra Frets: 2096
    edited December 2020
    Sounding good.

    You could probably get away with just turning everything up a bit and drown it out more.
    If I turn the piano volume up I have to turn the vocal gain up also, which makes the clunking louder.

    Yeah sorry, as poopot says, vocal gain down, everything up. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 7113
    edited December 2020
    Despite the vocals mic being ridiculously high in the mix I didn't find the key noise detrimental to the performance in any way. As I suspected in your last thread though you are singing quite quietly. If you could project more you could then turn the mic gain down and get the same apparent vocal volume with less background noise. 
    I'd set the volume on the keyboard wrong, it was only a sound check to make sure my computer hadn't decided to crap out again on the day of the performance. The piano input was louder after listening back to that. Also I find when it's in mono rather than the bizarre fully L&R panning of the video it sounds better balanced. But I was playing really softly and the playback volume is obviously lower than it would be when playing in public. So the noise would be louder when amplified, or if I played anything that required me play with any dynamics whatsoever

    Re my singing, my louder voice isn't very nice and I don't like it. That's why I sing quietly and with my mouth quite closed
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Sounding good.

    You could probably get away with just turning everything up a bit and drown it out more.
    If I turn the piano volume up I have to turn the vocal gain up also, which makes the clunking louder.

    Yeah sorry, as poopot says, vocal gain down, everything up. 
    But then it's too quiet on the laptop? Or mixer
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Imo the vocal sounds good. I don't think spending money on mics is the answer. 

    You might be hearing it more than anyone else 
    But ultimately, it's what I hear that I care about, not what other people hear. If they happen to like it and can't hear the clunking, then I can't be held responsible for their poor ears/taste 

    If it's this loud when played quietly, it's going to be worse at volume

     :) fair enough. 

    Turning the keyboard up shouldn't make the clunking louder?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Imo the vocal sounds good. I don't think spending money on mics is the answer. 

    You might be hearing it more than anyone else 
    But ultimately, it's what I hear that I care about, not what other people hear. If they happen to like it and can't hear the clunking, then I can't be held responsible for their poor ears/taste 

    If it's this loud when played quietly, it's going to be worse at volume

     :) fair enough. 

    Turning the keyboard up shouldn't make the clunking louder?
    Sorry not sure what you mean?

    I mean if the output of my vocals and keyboard were amplified, the clunks would be really loud through a PA for example and much more apparent
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Despite the vocals mic being ridiculously high in the mix I didn't find the key noise detrimental to the performance in any way. As I suspected in your last thread though you are singing quite quietly. If you could project more you could then turn the mic gain down and get the same apparent vocal volume with less background noise. 
    I'd set the volume on the keyboard wrong, it was only a sound check to make sure my computer hadn't decided to crap out again on the day of the performance. The piano input was louder after listening back to that. Also I find when it's in mono rather than the bizarre fully L&R panning of the video it sounds better balanced. But I was playing really softly and the playback volume is obviously lower than it would be when playing in public. So the noise would be louder when amplified, or if I played anything that required me play with any dynamics whatsoever

    Re my singing, my louder voice isn't very nice and I don't like it. That's why I sing quietly and with my mouth quite closed
    You don't need to belt, but some forward placement would definitely help and would retain the softer character. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • I just mean if you're reducing the mic gain to give a better balance then you can increase everything a bit. So in relation to the keys the clunking will be quieter. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • What about the keyboard could you try some sort of cushioning under the keys?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 1425
    Maybe I'm deaf but I don't notice any keyboard clunking in that video, and I'm listening on good headphones.

    If you are desperate to get rid of it, the best mic would be one with a figure-8 polar pattern. But they can bring issues of their own. Personally I wouldn't worry.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • I just mean if you're reducing the mic gain to give a better balance then you can increase everything a bit. So in relation to the keys the clunking will be quieter. 
    I'm a bit thick, forgive me - I don't really understand what you mean here? If I reduce the mic gain it's too quiet. If I increase it on the fx unit or the interface, the clunking returns
    www.pianomatt.co.uk - Wedding and Event Pianist in the West Midlands
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
Sign In or Register to comment.