Home Recording/recording music


I was thinking about recording myself playing piano or maybe also record band playing by just using an external microphone made for cellphones.
Where should one put the mic in order o get the best sound? How can one decide where to put it?
In a live performance one can get a different sound depening on where you are in the room where the music is playing. And the band members would obviously hear he music at their own instrument. I guess the drummer will hear it from a drummer's perspective as he sits at the drums.
Do you have any great tips?

Hello Hank-

Thank you for the question. If I am being honest with you, you are asking for me to distill the true art of music recording into a few tips. Where to place the microphone is a complex equation. The only real "tip", is that you should move the microphone while listening to the playback until you put it in a spot that sounds good. The first equation is; tone of instrument + spot in room = tonality of sound. Where the piano is in the room will drastically change the timbre of the source audio. After that, placement of microphone is a combination of distance from instrument to allow sound to propagate, distance from source depending on how much "ambience" or room tone you want in the recording, distance from the instrument depending on how much bass response you desire in the recording (proximity effect), direction of microphone capsule like an eyeball for sound, type of microphone imparting its own sonic character, and then instinct.

The most important thing to do is listen. Plug one ear, and move around the room until you hear the sound you want on your record. Then put headphones on, and move the mic while the player plays, and listen to what the recording sounds like while you slide the mic around that general location. Remember that a mix is a combination of sounds, and how they stack is important. If you have a thick rich bass, then maybe don't get too much bass in the piano. You want your sounds to be complimentary. Think about stacking ranges like you would on a piano.

Best of luck to you!!!!!


Home Recording

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can answer questions about; Recording Theory and hardware, advanced music theory and application, songwriting, industry level audio production / mixing / mastering, copyright, publishing, recording hardware and software, and musical instruction.


As a Producer and Composer, I have music featured in over 100 MTV / VH1 / E! network shows, and several international feature films. As a full time audio engineer, producer, and songwriter I have worked with industry greats, mentored up and coming artists, and have dedicated my life to music and music education. My production tutorial series is available online at http://www.groove3.com/str/from-drop-to-top.html is featured alongside Grammy award winning engineers and has received critical acclaim internationally.

Authorized Pro Tools Users Forum - "DUC" duc.digidesign.com Music Tech Magazine (future publications)

I am a certified Pro Tools operator, Music Theory and Audio Engineering degree holder from M.I. Hollywood, and authorized trainer of several applications.

Past/Present Clients

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.