Kawai UST-7

A Kawai upright recorded with a range of microphones...

The story

This piano was purchased for me around the age of 5 (in 93′), but the story of how it was selected is a bit more interesting. My father walked around to every single piano on the show floor in Austin, TX hitting several keys on each until he found one that had truly ‘distinct’ character. Even between the same models on the floor, this particular model had a timbre that made it stick out.

After another few years, I got busy with school and sports and stopped playing the piano. For another ~20 years, the piano went unplayed at my parents’ house. In 2018, I relocated the piano to my house, but it wasn’t tuned until the mid-2020, when I decided to pick piano back up again as an instrument. Because of how little the piano was played, its sonic character seems to have remained intact.

For recording the piano, I put up sound blankets on each side and recorded it with 6 mics from my podcasting and video kit.
– 1x Sennheiser MKH 8050 ambient spill mic
– 1x Blue Baby Bottle SL center mic
– 2x Samson C02 L/R stereo hammer mics
– 1x Shure SM57 L soundboard
– 1x Electovoice RE20 R soundboard

I recorded all the mics into separate tracks and mixed them down to respective levels in a single file, trying to keep the mix and timbre close to what effect I get at main seating position. True to form for pianobook, I decided to record only 2 velocity layers for this initial pianobook instrument, with mf and f layers being used.


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