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The grand piano was an interesting instrument because it's so percussive and has such a wide frequency range. Because it can play just about any role and arrangement, it can be equalized in a lot of different ways. Here are some frequencies to look at when equalizing that piano. The piano can sound a lot different depending how it's miked. If there's one mike that's directly over the middle of the strings, it will sound one way. If that mike is moved out into the room it will sound another way. If it's mike with two mikes in stereo, it's going to sound different yet again. Regardless of how it's miked, there is a couple of frequency bands that make a big difference when it comes to equalizing and the first is the fullness of a piano.
If you want it to sound bigger and little bit closer to you, somewhere between 80 and a 100 Hz or maybe even 110 will give you that fullness. So the first thing we will do is we'll listen to this one without an EQ and have a listen. (Music playing) Now let's boost it. We will start at 100. I am going to boost it more than I ever normally would, but just so you get an idea, now let's play it.
(Music playing) You can hear that especially on the left-hand of the piano, where suddenly it gets a lot bigger and fatter, and let's just experiment little bit with moving the frequency band a little bit and see if it makes a difference. (Music playing) This particular piano seems to like about 100 Hz to make it fuller but depending on the piano and depending on how it was miked, it could be anywhere from 80 up to a 120 or so, but that's the frequency range that you use to make it sound little bit bigger and fatter.
The next frequency band that we look at is a band that will give us the presence so it kind of jumps out of the mix and brightens it up at the same time. This present band is between 2K and 5K and this is little higher actually in that 4 and 5K tends to work little better but on certain pianos, down at 2K works okay as well. So let's do that. Let's go up to above 4. Once again I boost it higher than I normally would just so you can hear, and let's play it. (Music playing) You can hear how much brighter it sounds all of a sudden.
Now once again, you use just enough EQ to make it peek out from the mix and that depends on all the other instruments that are around it. Now in this case, it's just a solo piano, so it will equalize it to make it sound pretty good to our ears. But again, it will always be different depending on if there are guitars in the mix or if there are synthesizers or any other kind of electronic instrument or even acoustic instruments. So there is one other band that you have to be aware of with the piano. And this is around 1k. It's a mid-frequency band.
And if you are not careful with that, if you boost it there you can make it sound like a honky-tonk piano, which is not usually what we are looking for. So let's bring it down to about 1K and have a listen what it sounds like now. (Music playing) You probably heard a little bit of distortion there and that comes from an overload at 1K and 1K tends to do that especially in the digital domain. Once again we are boosting at 70B which is quite a lot.
If we back this off to 3dB, you wouldn't have that and you could still probably hear it. Take a listen. (Music playing) So once again, you hear that 1K. It even distorts there and you can also hear how you get that honky-tonk quality. If you moved that particular band up to 3 or 4K's, certainly it will sound a whole lot better. So remember that the kind of piano and how it was miked means a lot to this final sound, but it gets fullness at about 80 to a 100 Hz and its presence at about 2K to 5K.
Don't boost too much in a mid-range though, because it will give it a honky-tonk quality.
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