Stereo Pair Miking a Piano with the Oktava MK-012

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  • November 3, 2015
oktava mk012

Stereo pair miking is fun especially when recording something as dynamic as a piano.

The reason being that the recording engineer has to interact with the instrument and the room to create the best image possible. Stereo imaging is a whole science unto itself and there plenty of info in that across the web. There are some great techniques to experiment with – XY, ORTF or stereo spread to mention but a few.

oktava mk012

In a recent session recording piano, we used a couple of Oktava MK-012s. I really love the way that they handle dynamics. They reproduced a very flat response through different dynamic peaks, which makes them suitable for drum overheads too

It feels very different to a close miking approach because there’s a lot of air in between the sound source and the microphone, allowing for the sound to fully develop. In a way, sounding more natural, as if you were in the room the with the performer.

In a recent piano session, I used a couple of Oktava MK-012s. This pair of mics are relatively unassuming and cool charcoal in colour. Oktava have been making microphones in Russia since 1927 and have honed their design and versatility (the MK-012 comes with interchangeable cardioid, hyper-cardioid and omni-directional capsules, plus a 10 dB pad) over the decades. We bought ours (which are a modded pair) from Michael Joly who’s an absolute legend!

mics for recording piano

I went with a stereo spread in the beginning. I gave the mics a little more air after some initial testing. I really love the way that they handle dynamics. They reproduced a very flat response through different dynamic peaks, which could make them suitable for drum overheads too.

In fact, they could be useful for a whole bunch of different studio applications where clean, accurate sound capturing is required. I’m looking forward to more experiments with these versatile mics.

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Dan Shaw is recording and mixing engineer at Enmore Audio. He also plays bass in Wells and Circle.

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