Help! Remote location recording of a 100 piece choir and accompanying band
I need some advice on recording a 100 piece choir with an accompanying band in a church. The microphones I have available to me include:
4x Audio Technica AT4050
2x Audio Technica AE3000
10x AKG C451
2x AKG C414
2x Shure KSM27
1x SE Electronics SE2200a MKii Multi Pattern (Mine)
My Original plan was to use an M/S Microphone placement (using the 2 AKG C414s) as the main recording and then the SE2200a as a soloist mic.
(also, any advice on where to position the 2 AKG C414's in the M/S stereo configuration in relation to the choir would be a great help!)
This plan was fine until i got told there was an accompanying band to play with the choir! Now, I have a few questions...
1) Presuming the band has 1 acoustic guitar, 1 electric guitar, 1 electric bass guitar and a drum kit, how much would this affect the recording that i will get from the M/S Stereo configuration. Would the spillage from the drumkit /amps render this recording technique useless? (I will be micing the drumkit/instrument separately as well)
2) If so, what other recording techniques would you suggest for recording this set-up?
The choir will be a primary school choir of 100 people.
There may also be a choir of around 40 people that may also have a band - Will the same rules apply for micing this configuration in comparison to the 100 piece choir?
As it is an on-location recording, all the mics will be patched into an allen & heath ZED 428 for use of those preamps, then using the direct outs into 2x Zoom R16's. This will give me 16 channels of multitrack audio.
ANY advice will be appreciated, thanks for taking your time to read all this!
Well this sounds challenging, but fun! A lot depends on factors you did not mention. First, is this a live concert, so that the sound of amps etc. need to be loud enough for an audience to hear them? Second, what is the general setup (a drawing would be helpful) and how much flexibility do you have in moving pieces around?
In general I would try to minimize bleed into the orchestra mics from the band, so I would be looking to take advantage of polar patterns. Without any additional information, I would be hesitant to use MS as you will capture a lot of room sound, including drums. It may be better to use something more focused on the orchestra, like an ORTF array moved in relatively close, perhaps with cardioid outriggers.
First of all, thanks so much for your reply! I agree, a 100 piece choir does sound challenging and a little over whelming right now!
First, is this a live concert, so that the sound of amps etc. need to be loud enough for an audience to hear them?
So far as i know, this will not be a live concert so the amps would only have to be loud enough so the choir can stay in time/key etc.
what is the general setup (a drawing would be helpful) and how much flexibility do you have in moving pieces around?
All i know about the setup is that the choir will be a primary school (probably) so they will not have sectioned it out apart from possibly girls/boys.
I can attach pictures of possible micing technique placements if you could give advice on these
This was my original idea:
-for the soloist mic, i decided to use the Audio Technica AT4050
-for the outriggers, i also decided to use the AT4050's. (would it be better to use the AKG C451's?-they are the SDC's)
-for the M/S Config, i decided on using the 2 AKG C414's (they are the ULS version)
I would be hesitant to use MS as you will capture a lot of room sound, including drums. It may be better to use something more focused on the orchestra, like an ORTF array moved in relatively close, perhaps with cardioid outriggers.
This is a great suggestion, thanks! I didnt think the ambiance from the drums would be much of a problem, but thinking about it, i can see how the ORTF arrangement could be much more beneficial!
Is this the kind of idea you had with the ORTF Setup?
What mics would you suggest out of the mics i have available?
Would you use the C414's for the ORFT Setup?
As for flexibility on moving things around, I would image that i would be able to move the band around to where i need them...but not so much the choir because they are younger!
Thanks for helping me out here!
p.s. appologies for the awkwardly sized pics-just zoom out a little on your browser
p.p.s I hope you can make some sense out of the pics & they are not to scale/centered etc..
If you can move the band that is helpful. Of course not knowing exactly how wide the choir will be or how the room sounds, all anyone can do it get you started what is hopefully a good direction. After that you'll need to use your ears and of course take into account the needs of the conductor and performers (e.g., who needs to see who? who needs to hear what?).
I would try either ORTF or NOS as a main array roughly where you drew it. The outriggers are typically placed in the line with the main array, not in front of it as you drew it.. You only need them if you find the main array is not capturing the sides of the choir, which I suspect will be the case with 100 voices. Ideally all 4 mics will be the same, which limits your options. I own 4050s and know they will work, but the C451s may be better (I am not familiar with them, but in general I prefer SDCs for this kind of thing). You'll have to experiment if you have time, or just pick one and go with it if you don't.
Another completely different option would to put up several of the C451s in a row, fairly close to the choir, to cover the entire choir. This may be a better option but again no one can say until you get there and listen.
As for the band, I would set the band up behind the main array, as far as you can without getting into issues of not being able to see the conductor or the choir not hearing them clearly. This will put them in the nulls of the choir mics, or as close as you can get, and reduce how much the choir mics pick up. You could have the band facing toward the choir so they can see the back of the conductor. Keep amps just loud enough to keep the choir on key. Either a 4050 or C414 will be great for an overhead. I'd keep it mono unless you have a big kit. DI the bass, and put up whatever LDC mics are left on the guitar amps and kick. Depending on the style you may want snare and tom mics, but the OH should capture most or all of what you need.
Once again, thanks a lot for your input! I like the idea of using the ORTF as the main array, roughly how close to the choir would you suggest as a starting point for this method?
Also, if I were to use the outriggers, would I angle them slightly outwards, or just keep them pointing straight forward?
How would you go about with mixing this? e.g. panning the outriggers hard right and left and keep the ORTF setup slighty more in the centre of the mix or are there no set rules (as there are for the M/S configuration)?
Another question I have (seeing as i don't have any experience with the ORTF setup) is, are the angles and spacing crucial? e.g. do i have to take my protractor with me!? :P
Another question I have regarding the choir is, how would I manage the solo mic in the mix? i.e. If I have the solo mic closer to the choir, it will evidently pick up more of one particular section of the choir, but how would i control this in the mix? Would I have to keep automating it so it is only on when it is being sung into?
As for the band, I like the idea of keeping the kit in mono, one less thing to worry about in the mixdown! & I will definitely try to get as much separation as possible!
Please don't take offense t this, but think I misunderstood your experience level based on your first post. I thought you had a better understanding of classical style recording. From your last post it seems you are just starting out with this kind of thing. Nothing working with that - we all start somewhere! But I have to tell you jumping right into a gig like this without any experience with some more simple gigs might be a very frustrating experience. I, nor anyone else, can guide you on mic placement beyond a few basic ideas. It all comes down to the room, the performers setup, and using your ears. You seriously may want to consider hiring someone with more experience and tagging along to help and learn.
Assuming you still want to take this on, do some searches on ORTF and NOS techniques and see what you can learn. In general, a decent starting point is often right behind the conductor with mics parallel to the ground and high enough to "see" the back row of the choir (often around 9-11 ft up). For outriggers, you probably want them the same height as the main array and aimed straight at the choir, not angled. But again there are no hard rules here. Your goal with the outriggers is to capture parts that the main array does not to get a good balance. Only your ears can tell you that.
ORTF is usually mixed hard panned left and right. Outriggers too. But I have deviated from this general rule many times.
For the solo mic, I would try setting it off to the side of the choir if that is acceptable musically. Put the choir in the null of the solo mic. Figure eight may help. I would not typically bring solo mics in and out of a mix within a song as it usually is very audible. But under the right circumstances it may be ok.