Until the home piano was overtaken by the home stereo (and now the home studio), it stood as one of the most complex, engaging and rewarding musical devices ever made. Get to know more about their care and construction in this installment of Studio Skillset.
A good recording engineer should know at least a bit about the form and function of all instruments. To that end, we’ve explored drum tuning and guitar setups in prior segments of Studio Skillset, and today we turn to the care, repair, and selection of a good studio piano.
Many studios get by without having an acoustic piano at all these days; And there are certainly times when sample-based software pianos can sound nearly as good as the real thing – or perhaps even better, in the case of a rickety old spinet.
But beyond the inimitable sound of a truly great instrument, there’s something about the tactile and immersive link to our music that a real piano provides. A piano in a room can be a great motivator – even for one-finger piano dabblers. And now with the advent of integrated MIDI outputs like those found in Yamaha’s Silent Piano system, an acoustic piano can also double as the ideal digital interface.
A true concert grand can cost about as much as the best mixing boards out there, and may be overkill for most studios. But for many mid-level rooms and hobbyists, a good recording piano can be well within reach. Often, a decent piano for the studio can be bought or rebuilt for a price comparable to a channel or two of boutique microphone preamps.