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Recording church choir in a bad room
Old 16th November 2009
  #1
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npulsipher's Avatar
Question Recording church choir in a bad room

I'm doing a favor for some old friends of mine and doing a live recording of their church choir. The only thing is the room they will be recording in has the worst acoustics ever. I don't know much about acoustics but I do know that for some reason the walls send back this awful, muffled, half echo that makes it sound like you recorded it under water. (The other weird thing is if you're sitting in the audience it sounds half decent. It feels very closed but it's still ok)

So my question is, is there any kind of setup for a choir where you get no room noise? Since everything seems to sound normal in the audience would it make sense just to put the mics down with them? (also seems like a bad idea with everybody getting the flu recently.)

Thanks in advance.
Old 16th November 2009
  #2
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boojum's Avatar
From my meager knowledge I would suggest cardioids quite close, an ORTF if you have the room. Otherwise an XY or MS. Omnis would pick up way too much of the room unless they are very close.

How large is the stage; how large is the room?
Old 16th November 2009
  #3
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npulsipher's Avatar
The stage is pretty small. There are two rows of choir seats, the piano and the organ, another row of fixed chairs, then there is only about a 3 foot wide walkway between the front row of chairs and the pulpit.

The whole room is only about 25' wide and and maybe 50' long.

I was thinking of trying to boom the cardioids in ortf from behind the back row of choir seats and then get them in as close as possible. What I'm hoping is that if I get them in close enough that I won't have to turn the gain up very much and that will hopefully keep most of the room out of the mix.


Will this work?
Old 16th November 2009
  #4
Any prayer of hanging some curtains up on the walls or doing anything to treat the obnoxiousness of the room sound?

I didn't think so... well, dynamic mics are pretty good at "missing" everything that's not right front and center infront of them, in the opposite way that condensers "reach out" and take in everything.

In a desperate situation, I might set up a bank of i5's right a few feet out from the front row... although true happiness would obviously lie in doing the recording anyplace else.
Old 16th November 2009
  #5
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npulsipher's Avatar
Ha ha! Yeah moving ANYWHERE else would be the best. I don't have a lot of experience with dynamic mics. How many would I need for a 20 voice choir? Do you have to crank the gain up pretty high when the sound source isn't up close?
Old 16th November 2009
  #6
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jnorman's Avatar
mic them as an ensemble - do not try to individually mic them, that is a nightmare. i have used moving blankets hung about here and there in terrible spaces, and they can work wonders and are very cheap. booj is right - use an ORTF pair fairly close and slightly above. good luck.
Old 16th November 2009
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by npulsipher View Post
Ha ha! Yeah moving ANYWHERE else would be the best. I don't have a lot of experience with dynamic mics. How many would I need for a 20 voice choir? Do you have to crank the gain up pretty high when the sound source isn't up close?
20 voices doesn't sound as huge as some groups-- if you had maybe four i5's, spaced evenly, that might do it, and yes you'd need to crank the bejesus out of them.

What a shame, though, the whole point of choral singing is to fill the room and rafters, and the nice blending you get as they echo around... if you could get them in a tight arc with an ORTF pair, that would be easier/more reliable. But I don't envy you when after the fact they ask you why they don't sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Old 17th November 2009
  #8
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npulsipher's Avatar
Yeah putting them in an arc would be really helpful but the chairs are fixed.

As far as them complaining that they don't sound like THe Mormon Tabernacle choir, I think they know they aren't that good
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