Compression on Audio Piano

Hello everyone,

I am preparing to record my acoustic piano with my CI1 this spring, and I have a question that is probably more a matter of opinion and taste, but I want to see what you guys think. When I go to master my classical (solo) piano music, do you think it’s a good idea to compress it or simply set the CI’s gain knobs like 3/4 of the max and add a limiter on the master bus? With an electronic or rock mix I would definitely compress to add extra volume, but since expression and velocity changes give the piano “color” and “flavor”, I’m not sure how much if at all to compress it. Any opinions?


I am not an expert but my instinct tells me that, on a solo performance on a piano or classical guitar, etc., the need for compression depends alot on the ability of the player to control the dynamics through the performance. Could be other reasons to need it though.

The purist in me says “Leave it alone”

Agreed! One instrument, dynamically performed, nuff said!
I would be more apt to use a limiter if the track was a little strong at peak.

Excellent! This confirms my suspicions that I will need to neglect compression and simply add a limiter to keep the signal from clipping. Oh yeah, and the tricky part, play with expression. :sunglasses:

I truly appreciate all of yall’s input,

Bane, you could try the British school of compression, where the threshold is very low but the ratio is also low resulting in pretty much constant but slight compression. Try is a very slow release but then play with the attack, which might need to be sort of fast.

on an acoustic piano i would focus mainly on mic placement. If you are careful you wouldn’t need limiting either. keep it simple and just record a killer performance.