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Getting Choir Over The Band
Old 2nd December 2016
  #1
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Getting Choir Over The Band

In a particular setup, I'm having issues getting the choir loud enough to compete with the band. GBF issues no matter how much I ring the choir mics. I'm using a pair of matched cardiod condensers. Just too much bleed and too distant sounding.

I'm thinking about trying some shotguns. Has anyone had success with this? if so, what mics did you use?

Thanks in advance!
Old 2nd December 2016
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
In a particular setup, I'm having issues getting the choir loud enough to compete with the band. GBF issues no matter how much I ring the choir mics. I'm using a pair of matched cardiod condensers. Just too much bleed and too distant sounding.

I'm thinking about trying some shotguns. Has anyone had success with this? if so, what mics did you use?

Thanks in advance!
You're thinking backwards. You (or the director) need the band UNDER the choir.
Who's accompanying who here?

That said, the cardinal rule of Gain Before Feedback applies:

LOUDEST SOUND AT THE MIC WINS

Shotguns will not be any help. In fact, there are NO magic mics.

The standard way to produce such events successfully is to have one mic per singer and worked as closely as possible. The other way to do it is to have the director do their d***** job and get the band under control. It is not the technicians job to compensate for an impossible situation or an inept director.

Tell 'em I said so...
Old 2nd December 2016
  #3
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Thanks for the reply. This is actually a very contemporary "rock" band at a large church. The choir is just an occasional addition. The volume of the band on stage is actually pretty controlled (v drums, IEMs, isolated amps, etc.). I still can't get the choir over the low 90s decibel level out front without feedback. It's a 10-20 person choir, so individual mics are not doable. The choir area is a bit live, and that isn't going to change because of a wall needed for video.

Long and short is that I'm adding a small choir to a rock band and they need to compete. They don't want the band to sound softer/less impactful.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #4
Gear Addict
 

My first thought was to turn down the band, but Wyllys covered that in a way better than I could have.

The other thing that comes to mind is I think you mentioned feedback, although it's not clear. You mentioned GBF issues and ringing. So I figure you're not able to get enough gain on the choir mics before the monitors start to feedback, even though you are notching out some of the feedback frequencies with a parametric EQ or AFS.

So where are the monitors in relation to the microphones?

I wouldn't go to shotguns. I would keep the cardioids, but make sure the monitors were at the back of them and not to the side. Or I would switch to super or hyper cardioid if the monitors had to be off axis.

There's lots of ways to get the angles working to your favor. If you have floor monitors, hang hypercardioids from above or put them on tall mic stands so they're pointed down at the choir slightly (10 or 15 degrees off horizontal is enough).

If you're working with cardioids, they will probably work best if they're coaxial, with the monitor and mic on the same axis.

Also consider reflections. Is there a wall behind the choir?
Old 2nd December 2016
  #5
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It sounds like there's a wall behind the choir and you can't treat it for the sake of the projector video. So you've got to get the monitors under control so they're not reflecting off that wall into the choir mics.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #6
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The choir has a floor wedge, but none of the choir mics are coming back through it. All they get is a very small amount of direct drums (v drums) and keyboard. The feedback is coming from the room. As I mentioned, the space is fairly live where they are located. It's a large drywalled area behind them used for video projection.

So:

1. Stage volume is controlled.
2. Acoustic space where the choir is located is fairly live and isn't going to change. The room is treated.
3. The mics are not fed back through ANY monitors.
4. I've tried to ring them out with only a small increase of GBF.
5. I'm miking them as close as possible without starting to hear individuals.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #7
Sometimes placement of the choir can help with this issue. Are they behind the band? Is it possible to move them somewhere towards the front? If not, I would look at monitor placement options (if they have them) or more dynamic mics placed close to pairs of singers.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
Thanks for the reply. This is actually a very contemporary "rock" band at a large church. The choir is just an occasional addition. The volume of the band on stage is actually pretty controlled (v drums, IEMs, isolated amps, etc.). I still can't get the choir over the low 90s decibel level out front without feedback. It's a 10-20 person choir, so individual mics are not doable. The choir area is a bit live, and that isn't going to change because of a wall needed for video.

Long and short is that I'm adding a small choir to a rock band and they need to compete. They don't want the band to sound softer/less impactful.
Without some kind of close miking you're s****ed. End of story.

How many spare channels do you have at the mix console? Do you understand and apply the principles of complementary EQ when building the mix?
Old 2nd December 2016
  #9
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Not enough channels to mic every 2-3 singers. Nor the desire to set that up every time it's needed. I know that shotguns are not usually used for something like this (I'm actually a very experienced engineer). Just wondering if anyone has tried it. I saw someone mic a sax once with a shotgun in a live situation, and I laughed. Then I heard the result, and opened my mind to the idea.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
It's a 10-20 person choir, so individual mics are not doable.
A non-sequitur in my world. 10-20 individuals is very doable!? 100+ is a different story. Even on a budget you can do better than any shotgun or other "magic" mic solution; Dirt cheap chinese vocal mics into either dirt cheap digital mixer or old second analog - preferably with a bunch of compressors (old Behringers comps are virtually free), so you can compress each individual mic to even the whole thing out.

Individual mics is the only thing that's really going to make a difference in your situation.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
Not enough channels to mic every 2-3 singers. Nor the desire to set that up every time it's needed. I know that shotguns are not usually used for something like this (I'm actually a very experienced engineer). Just wondering if anyone has tried it. I saw someone mic a sax once with a shotgun in a live situation, and I laughed. Then I heard the result, and opened my mind to the idea.
If you don't want to take the trouble to do it right, that's you're decision. There are no short-cuts here...and a sax (single point source) and a a choir are NOT comparable. If you're a "very experienced engineer" you should know this unless your experience is just studio stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Boots View Post
A non-sequitur in my world. 10-20 individuals is very doable!? 100+ is a different story. Even on a budget you can do better than any shotgun or other "magic" mic solution; Dirt cheap chinese vocal mics into either dirt cheap digital mixer or old second analog - preferably with a bunch of compressors (old Behringers comps are virtually free), so you can compress each individual mic to even the whole thing out.

Individual mics is the only thing that's really going to make a difference in your situation.
Good solution. Ten GLS 58 clones for $200, a drop snake and a used $100 sub-mixer and you're in business. No mic stands needed for hand-held/shared use.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #12
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Though I appreciate your input, you're taking me in the wrong direction. FYI, I did a google search, and I'm not the first to think of this. There are many examples. Here is one. Skip down to the part with Rockin Robin Productions. Tips for Miking a Show Choir - Productions Magazine

Miking every two people would lose the choral sound. I would just have a bunch of backup singers. I know this from EXPERIENCE.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #13
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Turns out that there is even a thread on Gearslutz. Guess I should have checked that first.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...mic-choir.html
Old 2nd December 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
Turns out that there is even a thread on Gearslutz. Guess I should have checked that first.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...mic-choir.html
Yes, but his situation is entirely different than yours. He was not dealing with a high noise level from a contemporary praise band, just a choir.

Nobody's being hard on you here. It's just that this situation comes up over and over with the same recommendations and the same reluctance to accept reality and work out a compromise.

Using multiple close mics does not mean you have to lose the "choir" sound. Here's a link to a Christmas concert in the town in Norway where I used to live. Note the 1 : 1 ratio of mics to singers and the "choir" sound:

https://youtu.be/iqJ6ZjrzJTk
Old 2nd December 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
Turns out that there is even a thread on Gearslutz. Guess I should have checked that first.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...mic-choir.html
Do you know if any of the solutions mentioned in that thread worked? Just seemed like a lot of people throwing out model numbers of microphones they probably never used before and without knowing where the monitors and FOH loudspeakers in relationship to the mic position.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #16
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Actually, the article I posted the link to talks specifically about using a shotgun capsule to minimize loud instruments on stage. It claims that it's affective even when it's a show choir (i.e., moving around). Besides, that's not my real issue. The real issue is that the space that the choir is located in is too live, and also that condenser mics are sensitive enough to pick up the room which is large and almost a theater-in-the-round situation. In addition, I'm pretty much out of channels on a Midas console. I'm not about to sum a bunch of cheap microphones into a cheap mixer and use Behringer compressors.

Sam, I messaged the person who started that other thread to see what the results were. I'll let you know if/when I hear from them. Again, this seems unconventional, but it appears that some people have had success with it.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #17
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What condensers are being used for the choir and what's their placement in relationship to the choir?
Old 2nd December 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
Actually, the article I posted the link to talks specifically about using a shotgun capsule to minimize loud instruments on stage. It claims that it's affective even when it's a show choir (i.e., moving around). Besides, that's not my real issue. The real issue is that the space that the choir is located in is too live, and also that condenser mics are sensitive enough to pick up the room which is large and almost a theater-in-the-round situation. In addition, I'm pretty much out of channels on a Midas console. I'm not about to sum a bunch of cheap microphones into a cheap mixer and use Behringer compressors.

Sam, I messaged the person who started that other thread to see what the results were. I'll let you know if/when I hear from them. Again, this seems unconventional, but it appears that some people have had success with it.
So use decent mics and a decent sub-mixer. And ditch the compressors...
Old 2nd December 2016
  #19
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I may end up there, but I'm interested to see if the shotgun works first. Again, thanks for the input.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #20
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Good professional quality shotgun mics are expensive. An industry standard like Sennheiser MKH 416 goes for $999. If you go that route it will cost you and it may not work. As you say, the problem is the room. The shotgun will pick up less of the room but may still feed back. Very difficult to place a close miced rock band and a room miced choir side by side. If you watched that Kennedy Center Led Zeppelin tribute all the main choir have individual mics.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #21
KEL
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Shotgun mics can improve sound rejection from the sides but they are worse from the back and not so good at LF rejection. If the problem isn't bleed but gain before feedback on the mains, it's doubtful the shotgun will help. If the feedback is low end in nature, again, doubtful about that solution. But, why not try it.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #22
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You may be correct, but since Sweetwater has a 30 day return policy, I'm going to try it. I have an AT shotgun mic (835) that I may experiment with, though I suspect a couple would be needed at least. I don't need a lot more gain. Just another 5db or so.
Old 2nd December 2016
  #23
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Good. Give 'em a try. In the meantime, if you could fill out the information provided, someone may have a trick or two to optimize what you have. Here's a list:

Room size, L/W/H. Wall, ceiling and floor composition.

Room shape and layout including speaker positions, mounting, aiming, brand and model. System DSP/processing.

Monitors and positioning. # of mixes and content of mixes.

Seating area.

Console make, model. Any outboard, make, model, purpose.

Total # of inputs along with type. All live sound inputs. All A/V inputs.

SPL requirements.

If it's not too much trouble to fill out the list you'll get more than just guesstimates.

Some of us are really good at this...
Old 3rd December 2016
  #24
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How does a room feedback? You mean the FoH speakers?
Old 3rd December 2016
  #25
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Yes, the feedback is from the reflections in the room from FOH. There is no choir in the monitors. It's a 50x25 wood stage with a 50x25 drywall surface upstage for large video projection. I've treated the area with clouds, but that's all there is on the stage. The rest of the room is treated, but it's an 800 seat venue that wraps the sides of the stage, and some of the reflections make their way back to the stage area. Enough to cause feedback in the choir condenser mics before I can get them above the band.
Old 3rd December 2016
  #26
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If it's really that back wall that's the problem (doubtful but possible) you could install an acoustically transparent screen on which to project and put as much sound treatment as needed between the screen and the reflective surface.
Old 3rd December 2016
  #27
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How many microphones are you using and what frequency (or frequencies) are giving trouble? Have you tried the microphones in different locations...down low just above the heads of the choir for example?

Have you tried other and more microphones with a different pickup pattern, like four (or six) Hyper-Cardioids strategically placed over different sections of the choir instead of just one or two microphones aimed in the vicinity of the choir?

It is very telling that nobody here thinks your idea of using a shotgun mic will work...I too have serious doubts and wouldn't get married to this solution if I were you.
Old 3rd December 2016
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpapatonis View Post
I'm not about to sum a bunch of cheap microphones into a cheap mixer and use Behringer compressors.
"I'd rather use a really expensive hammer than a cheap saw to cut the piece of wood in half"...?
Old 3rd December 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
How many microphones are you using and what frequency (or frequencies) are giving trouble? Have you tried the microphones in different locations...down low just above the heads of the choir for example?

Have you tried other and more microphones with a different pickup pattern, like four (or six) Hyper-Cardioids strategically placed over different sections of the choir instead of just one or two microphones aimed in the vicinity of the choir?

It is very telling that nobody here thinks your idea of using a shotgun mic will work...I too have serious doubts and wouldn't get married to this solution if I were you.
I've tried moving cardioid mics right next to sections. There are a host of frequencies that ring. One of the mics I may try is a Rode NTG-1 which is a shotgun with a super cardioid pattern. If I can get one section to pop, I'll try to add more. It's pretty much just what you're suggesting.
Old 3rd December 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Boots View Post
"I'd rather use a really expensive hammer than a cheap saw to cut the piece of wood in half"...?
You can 'cut' wood with a hammer?
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