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Help for Choir Recording
Old 10th August 2019
  #31
Lives for gear
Thanks for your advice and suggestions. It is much appreciated. I will try that. If I can get two more Coles 4038s then I will do that. If not then I will do as you suggested with the U87s, KM184s and Coles.
Old 10th August 2019
  #32
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I'll make sure I don't use phantom power on the Coles.
Old 10th August 2019
  #33
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
I'll make sure I don't use phantom power on the Coles.
Very fragile ribbon elements apparently...this also applies when carrying them, using windsock when moving, avoid air blasts etc...but regular users of the 4038 will be able to advise if that's truth, or just urban myth ?
Old 10th August 2019
  #34
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
Thanks for your advice and suggestions. It is much appreciated. I will try that. If I can get two more Coles 4038s then I will do that. If not then I will do as you suggested with the U87s, KM184s and Coles.
I'm guessing the Coles will be perfect, but regular users of the mic (Plush....others ?) might advise that they could be a tad too dark ....out of my experience zone.
Old 10th August 2019
  #35
Lives for gear
I guess I can only try the Coles and see how they are. The choir is superb (and has been on the website of one of the most famous bands of all time doing one of their long songs) and I just want to give the choir the best possible product I can as I am honoured (as so excited) to be involved and the intention is the work will be ongoing for several years (as they want to record every single hymn in their hymn book) as well as doing their own compositions. Sadly the church we are using is only used once per month for services (a tiny congregation of 8-10 people attend) on Sunday morning and the inside is going to be arranged and set up permanently for this project.
Old 10th August 2019
  #36
Lives for gear
Sounds like an exciting project, and all the more reason to get a high quality, productive workflow established early...so you can deliver a consistent result and forget about the gear...and focus on the music itself !

That's why I emphasise the validity and importance of those short experiments, to get the variables locked down to something that satisfies everyone from the outset...which flows on to enhanced confidence on everyone's part
Old 10th August 2019
  #37
Lives for gear
Here is the church.
Attached Thumbnails
Help for Choir Recording-unknown-1.jpeg   Help for Choir Recording-unknown.jpeg  
Old 10th August 2019
  #38
Lives for gear
I am planning on using the Grace m108 as the mic settings can be saved and recalled instantly (for consistency over time) and because it is very clean.

Experimenting on the ideal setup will be the key. I don't mind forking out for 2 more Coles if it is going to enhance the final product. I am also going to get a new card 8 x 8 mkII card for my symphony chassis so as to capture the best possible A to D sound quality I can with my gear. One chassis has 2 8x8 mkI cards and the other chassis has the 2 x 6 SE card (which is superb) that I will use for the microphones behind the conductor.
Old 10th August 2019
  #39
Lives for gear
 

from an aesthetic point of view, i still think there is not much of a point to record all registers separately: results will be quite different due to the lack of interaction and bleed from the mic's, but also phrasing, articulation and even putch: intonation for some singers is more difficult when wearing headphones...
plus the project becomes very time consuming. also, in such a church (or small chapel i'd say), i'm not sure i'd want to use fig8's. how to blend mains (and maybe ambis: to feed the efx device) of isolated recordings remains a problem and results in a high track count...
in any case, i'd make sure there is at least one very good version of the whole choir with all mics in the right positions (i'd put four sdc's on the choir, an ldc on the guitar, use a stereo main pair and maybe an ambient pair far back in the room) - could be interesting to compare results then...
my personal view is that things are over-ambitious for all the wrong reasons: just make a nice recording of the entire choir including any instruments - ain't that difficult actually and shouldn't take that long...


if recording sections on their own i'd put them into their original positions and use a stereo spot; i'd also have them double their parts...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 10th August 2019 at 10:39 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 10th August 2019
  #40
Lives for gear
Finally, as a crucial adjunct to help you make informed mic placement decisions in the church, you should really devote some funds to very good, trustworthy monitoring on location there...either speakers or headphones, depending on your current usage and familiarity.

If you can access a smallish, quiet room closely-adjacent to the main church space, and have sufficiently long mic cables to reach inside that room, that's the ideal space to monitor the live mic feed in.

You can't really do this well in the same space as the singers, especially if using high quality open-backed headphones (eg Sennheiser HD 600 or 800 or that ilk/calibre....and certainly not with monitor speakers either !

You may need to incorporate some portable room treatment materials (such as corner bass traps, absorbent material, textured acoustic foam etc) in your budget for the monitoring room, if using speakers... as bare walls, floors and ceilings in such a place gives rise to a false picture of what's being recorded (this is why many opt for headphones instead !)

Whatever you chose to monitor on, they should be of sufficient clarity and low distortion to provide you with the nuances necessary to make assured mic placement and mic preamp gain adjustments...since these decisions will become indelibly 'watermarked' onto those recordings ...for both spot (section) and main-pair stereo mics.
Old 10th August 2019
  #41
Gear Head
 

Alternative to headphones & cue-mixes

https://tapeop.com/tutorials/52/phase-reversal/

Given that you're going to overdub the choral parts, you might be able to incorporate this technique. I've used it a number of times with pretty good success.
Old 11th August 2019
  #42
Lives for gear
These are all great suggestions. All are worthy of experimentation given the length and importance of the project.

I will start out with getting good mic placements to capture the whole choir (using the 4 spot mics, etc).

There is a separate room which I was going to put my console and speakers in.
The addition of bass traps can be done in the monitoring room. This will help with getting the ideal mic placement.

It may be that the 4 spot microphones will pick up enough of the section being recorded by each mic (to the satisfaction of the choir master/conductor) without too much bleed thus avoiding the need for the additional recordings of each separate section later. However, if the sections need to be recorded separately then I may either: (a) have the singers wear good headphones (like the HD600s); or (b) playback the bed track using monitors and record the sections separately following the advice in the TapeOp article to cancel monitor leakage (where headphones are not being used).
Old 11th August 2019
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by srscpa View Post
https://tapeop.com/tutorials/52/phase-reversal/

Given that you're going to overdub the choral parts, you might be able to incorporate this technique. I've used it a number of times with pretty good success.
That's very cool thanks for sharing.
Old 15th August 2019
  #44
Lives for gear
It was recently suggested to me by the dealer I have used for the past 20 years that 4 omni microphones (Neumann KM183s or DPAs which are more expensive) would be ideal for the spot miking of the 4 sections of the choir. Just wondering how important it is to have the same mics and models for the parts as opposed to different mics for the high (Coles 4038s) and low sections (U87ais).
Old 15th August 2019
  #45
Lives for gear
I suggested the combination as I thought the 87's and the Coles were the only contenders you had. The U87's have a bit of a reputation (nowadays) for stridency and accentuation of HF's ...so they could have been more useful for the tenors and basses, while the Coles reportedly has the ability to smooth off the HF's of soprano voices...so it was more with the aim of getting symbiotic/sympathetic pairing of mic characteristics to voices...

However I'd encourage you to experiment assiduously in the recording location at any and every opportunity you get, at rehearsals there...so you can take home and critically audition 2-3 minute 'needle drops' of different mic/singer combinations as well as heights, distances, angling of mics etc etc.

Grab as many of those dealer mics (that you might potentially buy later) on loan for these rehearsals...and make a pact with yourself to not sit still for one second during these...you should be constantly flitting back and forth between headphone monitoring and mic stands: listening, raising/ lowering, changing angles/ distances, writing stuff down (or talking into a voice memo on your phone), swapping mics.

You're not going there to sit down and enjoy yourself, you're there to mine those few hours for the maximum informative value you can extract from all this frantic but purposeful movement. Their voices will fade after some time, and you want to get the maximum amount of valuable high grade singing as you can...and this is well before the recording sessions even begin !

Your 20+ years dealer wants to make a sale..ok, invite him along to be part of the experimental team at the rehearsals...he can be measuring distances, writing down notes, swapping mics for you, listening on 'phones and giving his input...make him work for his sales !

Think of yourself as John McGiver as the pimp in "Midnight Cowboy" : 'I'm gonna use ya..I'm gonna run you ragged !' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTUX5il1fyE

The same mics for all 4 sections ?
Sure, why not...but only if your experiments tell you so, when you hear the rehearsal playbacks !
Old 15th August 2019
  #46
Lives for gear
 

nothing wrong with combining different mic's - i would however NOT use fig8's together with other patterns nor would i use fig8's or omnis unless the room sounds very good!

check out line audio and b9audio (or get a modular mic system from akg or schoeps).
Old 15th August 2019
  #47
Lives for gear
I am so grateful for all the advice provided in this forum.
The Line Audio microphone looks like exceptional value for money. It can't hurt getting 4 of them as I need to build up my microphone collection. Even if they are not selected for final use on this project they will probably come in handy for other jobs. They may well be the best mics for this job.
I will heed the advice and will definitely not be sitting around while the choir is rehearsing. I will be moving around the whole time (not being too distractive) in search of the best possible recorded sound (positioning microphones, experimenting with different microphones and combinations, listening through monitors in the control room and headphones, checking levels, etc) while the choir is rehearsing.

Last edited by waldie wave; 15th August 2019 at 02:15 PM..
Old 15th August 2019
  #48
Lives for gear
Yes, I'd very much endorse getting a bunch of Line Audio OM-1 omnis and CM4 cardioids...either would make good spots in this scenario...and will stand you in good stead for future recordings too.

You can see a pair of CM3 (virtually identical to the CM4, newly released) in this situation (links below) being used as an XY pair shared between 2 singers at a concert I recorded recently ...

https://vimeo.com/343559297/2e7509adfb
https://vimeo.com/344212466/6130d1ff95
https://vimeo.com/344936964/04f1ac6848

I should've added, to take numerous photos to supplement your written/spoken notes and measurements...so when you're back home and listening to the experiments on studio monitors, you can cross reference this data to your 'gut feeling' responses to headphones listening at the rehearsals.

If there's a high degree of correlation between the studio monitor and headphones-on-location impressions, it will give you confidence that the latter are supplying you with valid aural cues at the sessions !

If not, and you trust your studio monitors...then you need to seek out headphones which are a better match with them, or else take your monitors out on location with you (but expect to need room treatment if you do so...better quality, trustworthy (ie translatable) headphones are easier to carry and use) ! After your microphones are sorted, your on-location monitoring tools are the next link in the chain to give your attention and expenditure to.

Last edited by studer58; 15th August 2019 at 04:05 PM..
Old 15th August 2019
  #49
Lives for gear
Beautiful recordings. Absolutely magnificent audio quality. I love the detail and balance. I emailed Line Audio and received a prompt reply from Roger there. He recommended the new CM4s for the job. So I think I will get 4 of them. Will look at getting other mics from him later. Seems a much better investment than 4 Neumann KM 183s/5s. Certainly a lot cheaper and there is excellent feedback on the Line Audio microphones.

I was actually thinking of using my phone to take photos of the various mic positions and mic combinations etc so I can remember and later reproduce where they were (and making notes and recording the different set ups and referencing the mics to the audio to listen to as well) so I don't lose track and get overwhelmed and confused later.

The headphones I have are AKG 240 Mk II. I am used to them and they do translate well to speakers. The mixes seem fine on the studio monitors, home stereo and car stereo. Of course, it is an interactive process of tweaking certain aspects to get the best possible final mix.

What microphones did you use for the instruments and congregation?

Last edited by waldie wave; 15th August 2019 at 09:56 PM..
Old 15th August 2019
  #50
Lives for gear
I have just e-mailed Roger back to buy 4 x CM4s.
Old 15th August 2019
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
Beautiful recordings. Absolutely magnificent. I love the detail and balance. I emailed Line Audio and received a prompt reply from Roger there. He recommended the new CM4s for the job. So I think I will get 4 of them and some CM1s. Possibly even some CM3s as well. Seems a much better investment than 4 Neumann KM 183s/5s. Certainly a lot cheaper and there is excellent feedback on the Line Audio microphones.

I was actually thinking of using my phone to take photos of the various mic positions and mic combinations etc so I can remember and later reproduce where they were (and making notes and recording the different set ups and referencing the mics to the audio to listen to as well) so I don't lose track and get overwhelmed and confused later.

The headphones I have are AKG 240 Mk II.
good choice regarding mics! now don't worry too much regarding photos, gain settings, position markings etc.: even if you set up things exactly the same, things will never sound the same! - which is good: it's about music, emotions, expression, interaction, joy etc. it would be terrible if everything would be the same every time the choir gets together!

and regarding mic positioning, imo there is not much of a point of endlessly moving gear: even if you found mic positions which work well, chances are that you'll get a different impression on a next song - so make an educated guess and go for it! do not wear out singers! be ready before they are! don't let them wait for you to be ready...
Old 16th August 2019
  #52
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
good choice regarding mics! now don't worry too much regarding photos, gain settings, position markings etc.: even if you set up things exactly the same, things will never sound the same! - which is good: it's about music, emotions, expression, interaction, joy etc. it would be terrible if everything would be the same every time the choir gets together!

and regarding mic positioning, imo there is not much of a point of endlessly moving gear: even if you found mic positions which work well, chances are that you'll get a different impression on a next song - so make an educated guess and go for it! do not wear out singers! be ready before they are! don't let them wait for you to be ready...
so your modus operandum is basically naive and unplanned guesswork....I'm pleased it works for you ? Maybe when you have vast experience it's ok...but the OP is dealing with 16 voices in a familiar location, how "unrepeatable" is that from session to session...with no audience ? If you want consistent results from session to session...consistent setup is a pathway to achieve that !

However....vive le difference !
Old 16th August 2019
  #53
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
so your modus operandum is basically naive and unplanned guesswork....I'm pleased it works for you ? Maybe when you have vast experience it's ok...but the OP is dealing with 16 voices in a familiar location, how "unrepeatable" is that from session to session...with no audience ? If you want consistent results from session to session...consistent setup is a pathway to achieve that !

However....vive le difference !
i was suggesting the op makes an EDUCATED guess...

really, there are only limited ways how mics work so you better cover the basics before you hit record! and possibly better learn to accept that even when doing things seemingly the very same way, you will not get the same results! ever tried doing a manual 'recall' on an analog desk with some outboard? ever measured how a change in temperatue and humidity changes the spectral balance? will the singers wear the same cloths everytime they rehearse/record, stay within inches and do not move?! certainly not!

but yes, experience does help to get the music onto the tracks within a reasonable amount of time and with good results while running around and moving gear does not - the latter imo is heavily overrated!
Old 16th August 2019
  #54
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
You can see a pair of CM3 (virtually identical to the CM4, newly released) in this situation (links below) being used as an XY pair shared between 2 singers at a concert I recorded recently ...

https://vimeo.com/343559297/2e7509adfb
https://vimeo.com/344212466/6130d1ff95
https://vimeo.com/344936964/04f1ac6848
More details, please, were the CM3s your stereo spot pickup for the singers, with a main pair out in the room as well as the LDC by the cello?

How many mics over all in this recording?
Old 17th August 2019
  #55
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
More details, please, were the CM3s your stereo spot pickup for the singers, with a main pair out in the room as well as the LDC by the cello?

How many mics over all in this recording?
yep high main KM183 pair AB (you can see it sometimes on the longer pulled back shots) above typical conductor spot, LDC on the cello and CM3 XY for voices
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