This CD features 2 contrasting grand pianos: a Yamaha “C7” and a 9′ Steinway “D.” You want it dark? You’ve got a Steinway. You want it bright? You’ve got a Yamaha. Each piano was recorded in stereo at mezzo forte and fortissimo dynamic levels. The Yamaha is indeed a bright instrument, however it is VERY rich sounding. The mezzo forte bank is very smooth and warm in nature. It works beautifully on a classical or new age piece of music. The fortissimo bank is very bright and could cut through a brick wall in a mix, great for rockers. “Both pianos were recorded into a GRACE DESIGN microphone preamp (handmade in Boulder, CO). The Grace preamp is extremely uncolored and clear as a bell.
The Steinway D is another beast altogether. The adjectives I’ll use to describe its sound are mature, sophisticated, round, silky and dark, with a very beautiful high end. Jazz great Art Lande played it, and he preferred it over the Yamaha. But, I’ve had other players say they preferred the Yamaha. This piano was recorded at FTM studios in Denver, Colorado.
The Yamaha was recorded with AKG 414’s in a figure 8 pattern. This recording pattern helps bring out the sound of the room (which sounds great with all wood floors). You won’t need to slap a bunch of reverb on this piano to make it stand on its own in a solo setting; however, there is not so much room sound that you cannot add some reverb if so desired. The Steinway recording is a little drier than the Yamaha but not a great deal. This piano was recorded with a pair of large diaphram Neuman microphones to accentuate the warm, silky sound of the instrument.