The recent Ten Grands Seattle, an annual charity event held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, featured 10 grand pianos and 10 concert pianists playing a variety of classical, jazz, boogie woogie, R&B and modern pieces simultaneously, as soloists and in various combinations.
The combination of Steinway and Yamaha grand pianos for the event were outfitted with matched pairs of C-Lol-47 microphones from 3 Zigma, a division of ADK Microphones.
The 3 Zigma C-Lol-47 is a large-diaphragm condenser design, with a cardioid pattern that is more directional in nature, capable of delivering very “robust” sound when used close to the source.
Ira Seigel, sound mixer for the event, states, “I’ve used my LOL-47s on every Steinway and Yamaha grand piano (and others) that I’ve worked with over the past three years—at least 175 pianos—and the results have been completely satisfying. With minimal EQ, the mics give a very natural, open sound to the entire range of the piano.
“For these tours,” Seigel continues, “I use the piano lid in both the tall-stick and short-stick position (usually not completely closed), with the mics mounted near the hammers around two Cs below middle C and one C above middle C. The mics give a lot of isolation from other stage sounds and plenty of gain before feedback in the band’s monitors. I’ve tried a lot of other mics, and these simply work best.”
Participating musicians included Ten Grands founder and artistic director Michael Allen Harrison of Portland, OR, and nine other world-class pianists from Washington, Oregon and Canada: Yelena Balabanova, Tom Grant, JJ Guo, Michael Kaeshammer, David Lanz, William Chapman Nyaho, Mac Potts, Barbara Roberts and Janice Scroggins.
“3 Zigma mics have also been on tour with Wynton Marsalis for nearly four years, and can be heard on recordings by Chick Corea, Marty Stuart, as well as all of the soloists at Jazz at Lincoln Center,” notes Larry Villella, founder of both 3 Zigma and ADK. “The whole purpose behind the design was to create a live microphone with a technology suitable for world-class recording, as well as sound reinforcement.
“The concept of wide dynamic range, low self-noise and rugged construction for the myriad uses in live venues was the purpose behind these mics.”
Mark Anderson, audio manager of Benaroya Hall, adds, “While I wasn’t mixing, I was doing a lot of listening, as it was the debut of our new d&b audiotechnik (loudspeaker arrays), and I was very pleased with the sound of the pianos throughout the evening.”
Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, is renowned for the tonal balance of its acoustics, designed by Dr. Cyril M. Harris. “What a perfect showcase for the Steinway and Yamaha grand pianos and the 3 Zigma microphones,” Villella concludes.
In 2013, a new chapter for the event opened with presenting partner Seattle Symphony: proceeds will support an array of education programs of the symphony and other community organizations.