So I’ve just unboxed and finished road testing my new Earthworks PM40 mic system. I’ve longed for the ability to record the grand piano in our home studio. Mic’ing a grand piano well can be a challenge for even experienced audio engineers. Not only do you need to have great mics, their placement greatly contributes to the quality of the sound. In a home studio environment this can be a daunting or near impossible task.
Earlier this year I happened to hear a demo of the PM40 system at NAMM 2012 and was floored by how good it sounded. After researching these mics and communicating with the company, we finally ended up buying one for our studio. Not only does it sound incredible, but you don’t need to be an audio engineer to install and use one! There is virtually no bleed from peripheral sounds outside of the piano and recordings can be done with the piano lid open or completely closed. I like that it is made in the USA (Earthworks is located in Milford, NH) and for a neat freak like me, the minimalist set up allows for boom and cable-free clutter with the visual focus remaining on my grand. In this video I show what I did to install this in my Estonia L190 grand piano.
Here, I road test the mics by playing my composition “One Of Us”. I recorded the Estonia at full stick, completely dry. The recording was done with Cakewalk SONAR X1 with no EQ or effects applied.
The audio was recorded at 24 bit, 96 KHz to capture the full resolution of these high definition mics. Though this video is high definition, there could be some audio quality loss due to YouTube compression. Here are links to the original stereo audio file as well a couple of others from my earlier CD’s for comparison. These are all raw stereo wave files with no effects or EQ applied.
– One Of Us – Estonia L-190 at full stick, miced with PM-40, 24 bit/96KHz.
– One Of Us (from CD) – Steinway-D at full stick, X/Y mic configuration, 24 bit/96KHz.
– A New Leaf – Kawai closed lid, under lid close micing, 16 bit/44.1KHz.
I would be happy to hear any comments you may have about the sound of these recordings. Thanks to Noel Borthwick for filming and recording this. And to the great folks at Earthworks for an amazing product that will enable me to create and record more music than ever – with ease, and at high quality right here in my studio!