7 Best microphones for piano recordings

Piano covers on YouTube have become a separate industry with high competition level. Nowadays it is probably possible to find a cover for every single song. Some of them become almost as much popular as the original versions. To be honest, many of them sound better than the originals. However, some sound worse.

What is more, the piano ballads are known and loved by many people. If you are a professional singer and write your own songs then it is much easier to create a new sing by just plying in on the piano. Lots of young artists became recognized by prominent music labels because of it.

The piano music itself has been keeping its positions throughout the centuries. Starting with the greatest composers and musicians, such as Mozart or Bach, ending with modern pianists, such as Brian Crain. The audience is still enjoying the beautiful melodies that the piano can bring to us.

Through piano music, it is possible to express the full range of emotions – doesn’t matter if it’s sadness, love, joy, hate and so on. It can be used as a separate track to listen in your free time to enjoy or as the background music to accelerate the concentration.

Thus, it is crucial that your microphone can absorb and record all the sounds when you play the piano. It’s a special type of microphone with augmented sensitivity. There are different options for different types of budgets and you can find the one that suits you and record your small (and big) masterpieces.

Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone, Cardioid

And the first mic on our list is the product of the legendary brand Neumann. Neumann is widely known in the musical world by its superior quality, everlasting reliability and irreplaceable clarity of the sound. The Neumann TLM 102 is a compact, large-diaphragm studio microphone that offers legendary Neumann sound at an affordable price. Usually, these microphones are used in professional studios so the prices are really higher.

pianomic1The mic has the maximum sound pressure of 144 dB which is the best option for recording piano. Now you can record various compositions and stay authentic and creative with your sound since TLM 102’s very fast transient response allows capturing even quieter instruments.

The microphone is also excellent for recording vocals along with the piano background: a slight boost above 6 kHz provides for the brightest recording of the voice in the overall mix. Up to 6 kHz, the frequency response is extremely linear, ensuring minimal coloration and a clearly defined bass range.

The frequency range of the mic is 20 Hz – 20 kHz, the sensitivity is 11 mV/Pa. The item itself is compact thus it is always convenient to adjust it nearby your piano and record. The mic can be placed anywhere. The reliability and lasting value of this product make is one of the main choices by professional musicians and artists for their studio sessions and live concerts.

This particular item is recommended for home recordings and studio projects. The equivalent noise level, CCIR is 21 dB and the maximum output voltage is 13 dBu.

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TONOR Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Another great mic of a studio-quality for your piano recordings. The prominent feature of it is that it has the gold-plated large-diaphragm condenser cartridge which brings the mic the ability to capture an extremely wide range of high and low frequencies.

pianomic2 This way you will be able to record the compositions of different complexity and no sound will be lost during the recording process. With the smooth 20Hz-20KHz frequency response, low distortion, you will get the best sound quality possible. For instruments recording, these are very powerful characteristics.

The sampling rate is 192kHz/24Bit. With this advanced microphone chip, you can pick up a wider range of nuances so your instrument is recorded properly (and your voice as well).

This microphone also has a 100 cm suspension microphone stand that is made of thick, high-quality all-metal material, sturdy and durable. 3 bracing pieces make the bearing capacity more outstanding and the stability stronger. It also comes with a professional metal shock mount, a more durable structure, that can prolong the life of your microphone and remove unwanted low-frequency rumble.

Since it is a USB microphone you can easily connect it to your computer or laptop and place it nearby the piano. With USB 2.0 data port, TC-2030 microphone is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and in most cases, you don’t need any additional drivers to start recording.

Another great bonus here is that the microphone comes with a 2-year warranty which is rare for microphones (usually they come with only 1-year warranty). During the last 5 years of sales, the mic has collected more than 10000 positive reviews from buyers. This brand truly strives to meet the expectations of the consumers.

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Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

You will be surprised how natural all the sounds, recorded with the usage of this microphone, sound. Because the mic has a flat, wide-range frequency response the quality is maintained at a high level, allowing you to record instruments, vocals, and speech.

graphic display of response setting comes together with a graphic display of response setting. Another known problem for those who have already tried to record instruments or vocals is that the abundance of monitors around can provoke an electromagnetic hum. In this case, the mic has an improved rejection of such hums so you can stop worrying about it.

pianomic3Mechanical noise transmission is isolated with the help of the internal air suspension. The highly effective pop filter eliminates the need for any add-on protection against explosive breath sounds, in cases when you are recording vocals along with your piano (or it eliminates the plosive sounds from instruments as well).

What is more important, the mic has a captive stand nut what makes it easy to adjust it for any position and record sound from your piano at different locations. For example, if you are filming a YouTube cover then you will need to set the microphone in another way than when you are just doing the recording for the studio.

The frequency range is 50 – 20000 Hz. It is a dynamic microphone which means it also works well for the recordings made in big rooms and halls.

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ZINGYOU BM-8000 Professional Studio Condenser Microphone

Now let’s look at a little cheaper option for those who would like to get good quality for a reasonable price. No pressure, because you always have to make sure that the investment is going to pay itself back. In this case, it is a professional recording kit with a lot of essential elements for successful recordings in the set.

pianomic4The kit includes a condenser microphone, adjustable suspension scissor arm stand, table mounting clamp, metal shock mount, pop filter, 3.5mm male to XLR female cable, sound card and microphone adapter and instruction. Thus you will be able to record any music from your piano since it is easy to adjust a mic to it and enjoy your craft.

The microphone is designed in the way that it is extremely sensitive in the front and least sensitive in the back. It provides better sound isolation and makes you more protected from unwanted external sounds. It is an alternative to omnidirectional mics that catch the sound from all the sides, so those who don’t like them can choose this item.

It is beneficial for a variety of different applications, starting with recording your vocals and ending with recording piano sounds. For instance, if you are recording a track in a room with a big echo effect, with the omnidirectional microphone you will probably capture a lot of extra sounds. It features a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) which means less distortion to be caused by the process of recording. What is more, a unique 2-layer protection system prevents unwanted pop noises which stops various plosive sounds from getting into your final record.

The microphone can be connected with all kinds of operational systems, both Windows and iOS. The frequency response of the mic is 30Hz-18kHz, the max SPL is 135dB, the signal to Noise Ratio is 76dB.

Sometimes when you play the piano too intensively it can cause the shaking of the microphone thus distorting the quality of the record. In this case, the mic comes together with the metallic shock mount which prevents the mic from any useless motion and keeps it in place so it doesn’t collect the sounds you don’t want to hear on your recording.

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Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone

Take a closer look at this item since it’s one of the Amazon bestsellers. On one hand, the mic possesses good technical features and match the parameter price/quality. On the other hand, the price is so affordable that some people would have questions. So is it a really good mic or just a hyped item by a case? Let’s take a closer look.

So this is a USB microphone with 5.9-Foot USB Cable included that allows you to connect immediately to a PC or a laptop and start your recordings. It is compatible with Windows and iOS.

The construction of the microphone is made of metal and thus it is quite reliable allowing you to place and adjust the mic to the places which are convenient to you when you are recording. The item comes with a tripod, so you don’t have to worry about acquiring an additional one.

pianomic5An additional volume knob on the microphone provides better output and a higher sensibility what makes it easier to recognize the sounds of the instrument. By regulating the knob, you can make the volume of recording higher, for instance, if you are recording a cover singing along with the piano or lower when you recording the piano itself.

Even though the price is not high, the microphone has gained popularity as a durable microphone, according to the buyers’ reviews. The quality of the recording is claimed to be more than decent; it is crispy clear without any technical noises.

In some cases, the mic can require additional drivers to install on your computer. And even though most reviews are positive there are still some complains that it didn’t work. So pay more attention if it’s going to be able to connect this mic to your phone.

In general, getting a good recording microphone for your piano for such a low price is a bargain itself. In case you are looking for something to start with or you need an additional microphone you can always purchase this one without wasting great sums of money.

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Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone

A side-address condenser microphone which is connected to your PC via USB port. The construction is made of metal to guarantee you reliable and durable performance since it is an investment. If you decide to use this mic for your home studio recording that is the best way to use it since it is so easy to place it anywhere.

pianomic6The controls are built-in so besides regular settings made via the software on your computer you can also change the volume and output of the mic by manual control. It is also possible to plug in the headphone into the mic to hear yourself better during the recordings.

The item also has a high-quality AD convertor with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate. Low-mass diaphragm provides excellent frequency response. What is also convenient, that the microphone comes in the package with the tripod which has a customizable height, a USB cable, and a pivoting, threaded stand mount.

Background noises will not be heard while you are recording. On the other hand, the mic is quite sensitive which enables it to collect all the sounds when you are playing the instrument. The price is higher than the previous mic had – but the gear has the higher rank as well.

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MXL 990/991 Recording Condenser Microphone

This is an item of an average price and the last one on our list, but never the least. This mic promises to pick up every sound you make, doesn’t matter if it’s your voice or piano. This is a microphone kit that actually includes two microphones.

The 990 offers a silky, sweet high end and a tight solid bass which can be useful for recording more dramatic compositions or just to record the music in a more contemporary style. However, especially for the instrumental recordings, the 991 is a perfect one.

This microphone has a 22mm capsule with a gold-sputtered diaphragm and a fixed cardioid pickup pattern. Since condenser mics are highly sensitive you need to first pay attention to the room or studio where you are going to record and only then decide if it suits you. So stay attentive while recording with gear like this.

pianomic7Another advice here that working with 991 mics which are designed especially for instrumental recordings – is to experiment with its placement. You never know where the microphone is going to pick up the best sound.

In the package coming together with this microphone, you will find  MXL MT-001 hard mount microphone stand adapter, a rugged carrying case, and the MXL H-03 hard mount microphone stand adapter.

The frequency rate of the 1st mic is 30 Hz–20 kHz, of the second one, is 30Hz – 18 kHz. The sensitivity is 15 mV/Pa for both. The Max SPL for 0.5% THD is 130 dB and 137dB eloquently.

Phantom power is the 48V power is required here. It’s usually supplied by a mixer, preamp, or audio interface and carried through standard XLR cables. So for recording different cover and piano ballads with the voice you better use 990 mics and for recording the instrument, only you can use 991 items. Together they make a good kit for those who often record both types but don’t want to splurge on two different microphones in terms of they might not sound equal and not justify their quality. In this case, the quality of sound is going to be the same. What is more, it is convenient to make projects with them since you can always mix the sound without any problems.

FAQ for buyers of microphones for piano recordings

Which type of mic is the best for piano recordings?

Condenser microphone. The best choice is the set of two microphones placed symmetrically a little bit above the piano strings.

Where should I place a microphone while recording? 

Everything depends on your piano size. If you have a regular synthesizer, then you can place the mic on it using the tripod or use the microphone mount stand to fix it above the piano so the sound is captured better. If you have a regular piano or even a grand piano then it is better to place the microphone closer to the strings of the instrument since the sound comes from there. In case you are recording the voice and the music at the same time it is better to keep the mic closer to where you are, otherwise, you risk not to be heard. Or the mic must be highly sensitive and better omnidirectional.

How do I switch the mic while recording? 

It is not easy, since most of the microphones are usually connected to a PC, but you can’t place the piano too close to it. You can always buy additional cables which will allow you to move your mic to wider distances.

How to record a piano at home? 

The bigger the room the better. Once again, place the microphone close to the strings. You can even use 2 microphones for better sound recording.

Do I need any special equipment for piano recordings?

In most cases – no. Just when choosing a microphone pay attention if it is suitable for live instruments recording. Most of the times the manufacturer mentions it in the description.

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