How To Mix Piano: 5 Great Steps To Nail The Piano Mix!

How To Mix Piano: 5 Great Steps To Nail The Piano Mix!

Introduction

Mixing the piano correctly might be a difficult job. An excellent tone for piano is essential for the music. Particularly, if it’s the primary instrument.

Whether or not you record real or virtual piano, the method is sort of exactly the same. Real piano requires extra methods similar to mic placement, room, and so forth. A virtual piano is handier.

In this article, you’ll be taught what it takes to mix piano. How and where it must be in the entire mix, easy methods to use EQ and compressor accurately, and different useful tips.

1. Enhance the Good Tone

As always, the perfect practice for getting good EQ settings is to make use of a bandpass filter and sweep across the frequency spectrum to seek out all the problem frequencies and cut them out or boost where needed.

After the frequency clean-up, it’s time to spice up the nice frequencies. You might want to improve the juice of the piano. Simply discover the place it sounds perfect and boost it. However, don’t overdo it. About 2-3dB should be sufficient.

The best method to enhance piano frequencies is to create a slim EQ band and swipe it throughout the frequency range. As soon as you discover the good-sounding spot, make the band wider and enhance it to about 3dB. If it’s too loud, decrease the decibels.

There are perhaps a few good spots for piano. You might want to discover as many good-sounding frequencies and improve them. But additionally don’t neglect to leave space for different instruments.

If different tracks sound good in the identical range, you’ll want to choose which one is extra essential and boost it. For instance, if the guitar occupies the identical frequency as the piano and the guitar is the primary instrument, boost the guitar and cut the piano.

The objective is to spice up the frequencies of extra important tracks. It might be piano, guitar, or some other instrument. All of it will depend on individual songs.

Piano EQ Chart

2. Compressing the Piano

Whenever you choose a compressor for a piano you need to select one which won’t mess up with the timbre of the sound. The piano must sound as pure as possible.

If the piano is playing chords then a compressor with a quick attack and a medium to long release will mostly work nice. If it’s percussive like a solo for instance, then you’ll have to use a quick attack with a quick to medium release. Relying on the dynamic range but a ratio of 4:1 or much less should work.

Simply add enough compression to tame out all of the loud peaks without messing up with the tone/timbre of the sound. Don’t make the piano distort through the use of an attack that’s too quick, let the transients go in 1st then let the compression kick in step by step and fade out clean without creating a pumping effect.

3. Panning

The physical linearity of the acoustic piano is by nature a stereo instrument. This suggests that the higher-pitched notes favor the right channel and the lower bass notes favor the left. Many producers prefer to at least considerably preserve this pure picture when mixing piano.

In the event you’re mixing a stereo recording of piano and there are different instruments within the mix, it’s in all probability best to mix the left channel hard left and the right channel hard right. This leaves room within the center for more essential instruments like vocals. A warning although, it might make your reverb stand out, so take into account revisiting your reverb stage.

In case you’re utilizing the piano as the main instrument, say with simply vocals and bass, then you could wish to try panning the 2 stereo channels 10% right and left, to maintain an extra central sound.

The piano is without doubt one of the richest and most diverse instruments to record. It might probably embody a seemingly limitless range of tones and aesthetics. When a piano is recorded and mixed nicely, it has the ability to emotionally transfer listeners like a few different instruments have the power to.

By sticking to those tips for mixing piano, you’ll be able to better your possibilities of making a superb and moving piano mix for any context.

4. Reverb on a Piano

Including a tasteful amount of reverb in a piano will assist it to sound lush and full. Whereas many piano VSTs embody inbuilt reverbs, we typically do not advocate utilizing these. First, they are usually worse than standalone reverb plugins. However, even the nice ones lack the extent of control you’ll need.

Second, when you’re trying to mix piano with different instruments, it’s going to sound unnatural and synthetic if the piano has one reverb on it, whereas the opposite instruments exist in a separate room.

The precise reverb settings you will need to use for the piano will rely on two things: the style of music and the tempo and sparseness of the arrangement. Certain genres, like classical, may call for utilizing a bigger reverb, like a “hall.” Slow, sparse songs may call for denser, longer reverbs.

We like to recommend utilizing reverbs as send effects, versus insert effects. In that approach, a number of instruments can share the identical reverb, as if they have been all recorded in the same room. For the perfect sending pianos, we wish to use two reverbs on two different send channels.

First, we like to add some plate reverb to the piano. A plate reverb on the piano will make it sound bigger, even at longer decay settings, without getting too muddy. Often the piano is the one instrument we are going to send to this plate. However you’ll have a number of variations of the piano, so a send FX shall be extra efficient than a bunch

Second, on a separate send channel, we wish to create a room or hall reverb. This must be designed to create a way of space and air. It may be longer, but much less dense. You may need to send quite a lot of totally different devices right here, but you don’t need it too loud.

How to Mix Piano Reverb

5. Masking

The last step for giving some realism to a piano part is to cover the components that you can’t make work. This may increasingly sound like cheating, however, it’s truly benefiting from a pure mixing phenomenon often known as masking. As a fast overview, masking refers to when an instrument or sound turns obscured by one other sound that shares a frequency range with it.

It can both seemingly disappear within the mix or grow to be unintelligible. We don’t need to conceal the piano part completely (in any other case what’s the purpose of getting it), however, we will benefit from the arrangement of our track to suggest realism and pressure the listener to concentrate on one of the best components of the sound.

Recording Your Piano

Plenty of elements can affect the way in which the piano sounds, and it relies largely on how the piano was recorded. In the event you’ve recorded the piano in a big room, there’s going to be much more reverb, and the sound will be likely to have a distance or long-hall vibe to it. Smaller rooms are likely to have a warmer sound.

Microphone placement is another important part of recording a piano, and even the particular type of microphone is going to influence the way in which it sounds within the final product.

One other factor when recording a piano is where it’s truly sitting in the room. For example, a piano set in the middle of the room will sound much different from a piano recorded within the corner of the room. Pianos recorded within the corner are likely to have much more bass.

Piano in Recording Studio
Bosendorfer Grand Piano in BG Studio 1

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where Does the Piano Sit In A Mix?

A: It’s usually advisable to set the piano around 200 Hz when utilizing plenty of bass or kick drum in your mix. Preserving it in your mix behind vocals and acoustic guitars, chances are you’ll try to dip it behind vocals and guitars, you may need to dip the piano around 6dB in the 2000 Hz to 3000 Hz range.

Q: What Sounds Go Nicely With Piano?

A: We perceive you may ask, “How do you learn the very best instruments that work nicely with the piano?” But in your mind the violin, saxophone, and cello are perfect. There are additionally oboes and trombones, each of that is utilized in such music. A lot of these instruments could be performed in a different way due to how difficult they’re to learn.

Q: How Do You Eq A Muddy Piano?

A: Adjusting the piano’s audio is essential for a muddy sound. Set your piano’s sound to 300Hz, which should eliminate it. In instances when a piano is too thin, think about boosting it around 100Hz to 250Hz to add some roundness. In instances that the piano is just too bright, think about lowering it around 15kHz to 20kHz through a High Shelf EQ.

Q: Where Should The Piano Be In The Mix?

A: Whereas it isn’t all the time possible to play the piano with the remainder of your mix if you wish to hold the piano still behind vocals, behind a guitar, and back over vocals, strive to drop it to about 6000 Hz or lower. In a track with a solo piano, it makes extra sense to use low EQ in order to get essentially the most out of the piano.

Q: How Do You Mix A Piano?

A: You should utilize your total collection of microphones whilst you’re on a trip. As you play, pay attention to the refined adjustments in volume that your piano is making. Now you can balance your piano on the volume of your piano bus once it has made the sound and you find the perfect spot.

Conclusion

There you have it, all the things you may need to learn about mixing piano. From EQ decisions, from compressor set to getting that good shimmery reverb. Plus a few questions were answered that you might be wondering about.

In fact, that is actually only a starting reference. Each tune is going to be totally different and call for distinctive approaches to make it sound its best. Hopefully, these methods will show you how to shortly bring your piano sounds to life, then you’ll be able to apply your own abilities and tastes to essentially customize your sound!

In case you are having any questions in regards to how to mix piano, please let us know in the comment section below and we will be more than happy to answer you!

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