Piano Sound

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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I listened briefly to a short part of the Vikingur Olaffsson recoding of Debussy and Rameau on DGG. Typical sound for that label: close up, clean, a bit too bright, bass weak, some but not quite enough room sound. This was the Qobuz 24/192 version heard via Roon. I briefly compared the Tidal MQA version, but found it substantially less clean, if a bit less bright and a bit warmer. Nothing here to give old Reference Recordings CD piano sound any kind of run for the money (e.g., Nojima playing Liszt or Ravel).

The perspective IS "wrong" in that there are extreme stereo effects (as with most piano recordings, even on RR). There is no concert perspective, even the pianist's seat, which gives this kind of stereo effect from even a 9-foot concert grand piano. It is all manufactured by putting microphones close to treble and bass strings. You might hear something like this if you take the lid off the piano and listen from the pianist's seat or the other end of the piano case so that high and bass strings are widely separated left and right, but I think you'd actually have to lean over the piano case to get this much left/right stereo effect.

Whether you like it or not, this sort of perspective is "wrong" in terms of live piano sound as heard in most any venue from any seat. I agree it can seem "intimate" and can be enjoyable since the sound is dissected in such a way that you hear greater detail. It is what we are used to in piano recordings and is thus not as off-putting as it might otherwise be.

Very few stereo piano recordings are actually miked in such a way as to sound like what one would hear from a concert grand piano in a good hall from a typical audience seat, at least where the piano is the solo instrument. A few such recordings were made Direct-to-Disc by Sheffield Lab with Lincoln Mayorga playing back in the 1970s. Here is one: https://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Mayo...ga+sheffield+lab+brahms&qid=1629826490&sr=8-3
 
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Addicted to hifi

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I listened briefly to a short part of the Vikingur Olaffsson recoding of Debussy and Rameau on DGG. Typical sound for that label: close up, clean, a bit too bright, bass weak, some but not quite enough room sound. This was the Qobuz 24/192 version heard via Roon. I briefly compared the Tidal MQA version, but found it substantially less clean, if a bit less bright and a bit warmer. Nothing here to give old Reference Recordings CD piano sound any kind of run for the money (e.g., Nojima playing Liszt or Ravel).

The perspective IS "wrong" in that there are extreme stereo effects (as with most piano recordings, even on RR). There is no concert perspective, even the pianist's seat, which gives this kind of stereo effect from even a 9-foot concert grand piano. It is all manufactured by putting microphones close to treble and bass strings. You might hear something like this if you take the lid off the piano and listen from the pianist's seat or the other end of the piano case so that high and bass strings are widely separated left and right, but I think you'd actually have to lean over the piano case to get this much left/right stereo effect.

Whether you like it or not, this sort of perspective is "wrong" in terms of live piano sound as heard in most any venue from any seat. I agree it can seem "intimate" and can be enjoyable since the sound is dissected in such a way that you hear greater detail. It is what we are used to in piano recordings and is thus not as off-putting as it might otherwise be.

Very few stereo piano recordings are actually miked in such a way as to sound like what one would hear from a concert grand piano in a good hall from a typical audience seat, at least where the piano is the solo instrument. A few such recordings were made Direct-to-Disc by Sheffield Lab with Lincoln Mayorga playing back in the 1970s. Here is one: https://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Mayo...ga+sheffield+lab+brahms&qid=1629826490&sr=8-3
agree and the early Sheffield labs did a excellent job. These lps are still of reference quality.
 

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