We met Nicolas van Poucke at the very start of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. A young, brilliant pianist who wanted to record a collection of Schumann’s works for solo piano (and perhaps more) with us, used this time to get reacquainted with some works he had been playing for a long while: Carnaval Op.9, Fantasiestücke Op.12, and Arabeske Op.18. Since Nicolas’ favourite piano in the Netherlands is the Steinway Model D-274 Concert Grand at the Westvest church in Schiedam, we set up shop there, with a very minimalist setup to be able to capture everything as purely as possible. But first, this immaculate piano got the premium treatment from one of the best piano technicians in the world, Charles Rademaker. Charles Rademakers, piano technician, tuning and working the Steinway Model D to absolute perfection. It was absolutely amazing having Charles there permanently, as he tuned the piano to each piece, and even each movement. This way, softer, more lyrical movements got a more resonant character, whereas some of the typical Schumanesque heavy-hitters got a bit more of a bite to them. Equipment used As said before, we used a very simple setup. For the entire thing, we used just five microphones, all DPA d:dicate 4006A omnidirectional mics. They were set up in our OOA technique, and for the stereo mix we use only the left and right mic. That’s it! These mics were connected to the Merging ADCs by Furutech custom microphone cables, ensuring a perfectly clear signal path. One of the five DPA d:dicate 4006A mics in use for this recording. I’m noticing with each new recording, I’m getting more and more of a minimalist setup; only using spot mics when absolutely and utterly necessary. This helps out the clarity and precision in sound by a huge margin; when two microphone signals are mixed, some transient/phase distortion might occur. But when using just one microphone per output channel, you get none of this distortion at all! The two days of recording just absolutely flew by, and we hope you’ll enjoy the recording that came from it. Next up, editing/mastering, and then planning for Volume 2! Nicolas van Poucke behind the piano.