Astar Studios First Unity Hire Customer -
Tuesday, 4th September 2012
When it comes to recording piano for jazz ensembles, producer Andy Ross knows a thing or two - after all, he recorded the highly acclaimed Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Golden’ by the Kit Downes Trio and has produced all five albums in the ‘Yamaha New Jazz Sessions’ CD series that has shifted 80,000 copies from the cover of the UK’s best selling jazz magazine, ‘Jazzwise’, since its inception.
Andy owns Astar Studios, based in Heywood, Lancashire where the live room acoustics are among the very best in the UK and when recording jazz where musicians need to play together and interact, rather than track their performance, one of the biggest challenges that has caused Andy many a sleepless night has been to minimise sound spill from other instruments onto the piano.
Andy explains, “Although we have the facility to hire in any piano to suit a specific project, for recording small jazz ensembles I really like Yamaha’s C3 Grand and it was the piano we used for ‘Golden’. In fact Yamaha pianos are my preferred choice every time. So having the opportunity to record a fantastic piano with some of the most talented pianists in the country it’s important to capture the true sound characteristics of the piano and performer.
In the past, despite extensively using screens and baffles, it has been very difficult to bring spill down to an acceptable level and although I have plenty of post production tools at my disposal, there is ultimately a compromise to settle for. So when I heard about the Earthworks PM40 and read the reviews I wondered if this was the solution I was looking for and instructed my studio manager to locate one. This lead us to the great guys at Unity Audio from whom we hired a PM40 for this year’s Yamaha New Jazz Sessions recordings and boy are we impressed. Set up was simple – no more awkward positioning of mic stands or the need to use the old school trick of covering the piano with a duvet. The Earthworks PM40 with its unique design allows for the piano lid to be closed completely and once shut, the amount of spill was minimal.
Andy said ,'The fantastic tone of the Yamaha C3 Grand was beautifully captured by the PM40, it did everything I could have hoped for and more. Even closing the lid on the piano which can often affect the quality of the sound when recording, did not happen here at all. I just wish I had known about this mic sooner.
So on reflection if anyone is looking to record a piano, take Andy's advice and look no further than the Earthworks PM40. Andy would like to thank Unity Audio for there great service and for introducing him to his new best friend the Earthworks PM40.