I am Interested in Recording My Piano Recitals. How Can I Go About This?


I wanted to break this otherwise, potentially complex subject into small nuggets of information for you, to make it useful, as well as easy to implement. I am not expecting you to become a professional sound engineer over night, and fortunately, It is not a requirement to achieve great recordings nowadays from your home. The most important ingredient is a basic laptop computer, with software that ranges from the free Audacity program to the more complex, and still well priced Sony Audio Studio Software.

The main difference between the two packages is that the Sony Audio Studio software has more detailed editing functions, preferences for settings and also has the built in function to save audio recordings as an MP3 file, without needing a plugin program. Whilst it could take a few days to learn the Sound Studio software, compared to the easier Audacity program, the features may well make it a viable option for you.

However, the sound quality of both programs is identical, with no degradation either way. The biggest factor here, will be the microphone that you choose.

It is certainly no secret that there are more and more good quality USB microphones that are becoming available, but I have found a particular model, the Audio Technica microphone USB 2020 to be very versatile, for both speech, as well as music (instrument) recording. This way, you can get away with only one model of microphone. As a side note, I am aware you can use multiple mics for the same recording, to get different angles, and tonal qualities of sound, but please note that this is intended for someone starting out, and who just wants a good quality result, without the bells and whistles.

If you want to record both a speech introduction, or conclusion for your recording, I recommend doing several takes, if you only have the one or at best, two mics for a stereo recording, as this way, you can optimally place the mic for each recording type. This means the microphone can be optimally placed above the piano's open top, above the strings, around the middle C area, which is one way, or on each side of the strings area, when using two mics. If you are using a stereo mic model, where the two mic heads are in one enclosure, mount the mic above the centre of the piano. It is best to remove the piano cover, in most cases, for an even distribution of sound.

The mic should be about 20 centimetres away from your mouth, when doing your voice recording, and is at all possible, a pop filter should be fitted to the mic, which is essentially a gauze or 'stocking type' material, that will prevent the rush of air across the mic head, that can cause popping noises, when we say a 'P' or 'D' word. Try this for yourself, and see the result. Say “I am popping a pee shooter at the mic'. If you do not have a pop filter, the 'P's will sound distorted.

I recommend also having your laptop computer as far away from your piano or other instrument as possible, determined by your USB cable length, to reduce the possibility of the computer fan noise getting into the recording. Most laptop computer fans turn on and off automatically, depending on the temperature inside the computer case.

Once you have completed your recording, it is worth tidying up the recording, by editing or removing the bits of 'silent track' before you start playing and after as well.

You can also eliminate any coughing or other erroneous noises the same way. Once you have completed your editing, and are happy with the result, you can then relatively easily save the file as a WAV file or MP3 file, and record that onto a CD. I recommend using the WAV file option, as this is a slightly better quality than an MP3 file, and record that to CD. You then have your completed CD recording of your performance, ready to go.

Are you able to store your piano performances for future listening? Have you been having trouble recording your piano performances, for the long term? Not only can you record your performances, but also gain an enhanced comfort from your playing. To learn more, see the Piano Magic Touch.