Upright 4-Mic Experiment

Yamaha C108 Upright Piano recorded in a living room with vintage mics in its slightly out-of-tune glory and imperfection....

The story

For this instrument I sampled our Yamaha C108, which is now over 30 years old.
It’s in our living room and is played by all family members every day.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it hasn’t seen a piano tuner for a long time.
The C7 key has also been broken for years – miraculously it works again in its virtual existence.

My wife bought it as a new piano when she was still a pupil. She has saved five D-Marks every month since first grade for several years.
At some point, her grandmother and her parents said that she could be proud of having saved so much and that they would give the rest.

RECORDING DETAILS

For the recording I was lucky to borrow rare and outstanding equipment:

For the player position (stereo) I used two Neumann TLM 170i (cardioid).
This mic position is supplemented (in mono) by an original Neumann M49 (tube, 1950s).
A Neumann USM 69 was used as a Blumlein pair for the room signal.
And finally a Neumann U269C (tube, 1960s) was placed directly in front of the soundboard next to the pedals.

Noise was removed from all recordings (where needed), but no EQ adjustments were made.

POSTPRODUCTION UPRIGHT 4-MIC EXPERIMENTAL

For this bonus Instrument I used the monoliths of the original recordings and transformed them into something new.
Each mic received a treatment with an individual set of effects.
It’s fun to play around with different mixes of this 4 signals.
To save spaceI, I only created a Kontakt version with compressed samples.

CREDITS

I recorded all signals using Christian Henson’s monolith system. Thank you Christian for Pianobook!

Without Stephen Tallamy I would not have been able to finish the instrument in this form!
Thank you for your endless patience with all my questions and ideas, Stephen!

Many thanks also to Hanjo Gäbler for his encouraging and very helpful feedback.

FORMAT

Kontakt 6 (full version) (pre-assigned to CC 14 – 21 for the knobs on a Komplete Kontrol keyboard)
Decent Sampler (1.0.4 or above for multi-mic support, and four separate instruments, one for each mic) (https://www.decentsamples.com/product/decent-sampler-plugin/)
SFZ (experimental support)

Thomas Schimmack (December 2020 – May 2021)

Reviews

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Perfectly detuned

    I've always loved the sound of slightly out-of-tune piano, so it's probably no surprise I liked this sample pack as well. The quality is great, the piano feels responsive, and I like the tonal possibilites of the four mics. The experimental version is well... experimental, in the best possible way, though I would liked to have seen a filter. Nothing one can't add externally though! Fantastic, suits my tastes very well.

    Kelmeri13 October 2021
  • Unique pianos, with good attention to detail

    Really loved both of these version of the samples, I think Experimental was my favourite of the two, the instrument worked a lot better with a bit of a grainy quality, but the clean version was also quite nice. I did keep having a consistent problem with the Experiment version, where anytime I stopped my playback, the volume knob reset to 50%. Also another comment to make is that soft notes are very soft, while loud notes sound more natural, it made playing the instrument a bit weird, but that's easy enough to fix in post by changing the velocity.

    Murph Elyria12 October 2021
  • A Lo-Fi Hip Hop Classic - Tell Frank Ocean

    The Experiment version is nice but the additional Experimental instrument is just lovely. Oozing woozy lo-fi R'n'B goodness, perfect for introverted soul geniuses and Hip-Hop outsiders. Hours of fun on a rainy afternoon.

    Consterdine12 October 2021