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recording choir....120 people. Condenser Microphones
Old 5th February 2003
  #1
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

recording choir....120 people.

We got a call for a possible choir recording....120 bodies. We've done small (18 or so) gospel/band dates but nothin approaching this size.
We'll probably t.o. this to another company that has experience in this size project so as not to shoot ourselves in the foot. But just for grins suppose we were to take this one on, suggestions on the approach, micing?


It would be in a hall suited to that type of performance, (symphony etc.)

We've got 24 channels available, and don't own any mics specificaly geared for this type of work.
8ch of Millenia, and 16 ch of other nice stereo pre's.

I suppose it could be approached as a live to two track. Havn't got that far with the potential client.

Steve, do you have any pics of this kind of set up? Suggestions on Mic's we should own for this kind of project in the future? (we're also in need of audience mic suggestions)

Btw, the remote work has been on hold while we build our new mini- mothership studio..but I've been lurking all along here on your forum.

rollz
Old 6th February 2003
  #2
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

please?
Old 6th February 2003
  #3
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Remoteness's Avatar
Hey buddy,

I didn't forget about you. Just been super busy with gigs and stuff. I've been only responding to the simple stuff. I hope to get to this sometime today. I'll even draw a diagram for you....


Hanging in there.

Oh, when's the gig?
Old 7th February 2003
  #4
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bjornson's Avatar
 

I don't claim to be a replacement for steve,
But my list of questions would include ....
1) Is there any accompaniment?
2) Are there soloists?
3) Is there time to tef the room?
4) Are the singers grouped by section or intermixed?
5) Any way to hang mics?
6) What style and shape are the risers?
I tend to use a decca tree setup with additional omnis in the rooms sweet spots and printed to daxx with a live 2 mix burned to cd for the client.
The answers to these questions should help you dial in your gear choices and mic position options. Good luck and keep us posted
Sounds like a cool gig!
Old 7th February 2003
  #5
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Roland's Avatar
I'm not a replacement for Steve, but I'll land in my two pence worth anyhow.

If the hall is as you say accoustically good and assuming no soloists or accomp, I wouldplace four mics across the front. Two as a stereo pair, (Crossed pair, ORTF, Spaced omni's Mid and side, etc. Even Decca Tree if you prefer! Your choice of technique) and a further two outriggers. These would probably be placed 8-12ft off the ground and 6-12ft back depending how the group was set up and the accousticsthe outriggers would be probably 10-15ft from the centre pair.

If soloists are involved I would spot them, and if there was a piano accomp I would spot that too.

If its an organ accomp I would try and position the choir relative to the organ and probably just use the mains.

With mic amps, I would try to stick to transformerless models like the Millenea and if you can get a decent area to monitor in I would normally be quite happy to track directly to two tracks, however now I record to Pyramix so I don't bother at the session trying to perfect the balance

As for mics, I would choose from things like Schoeps, Sennheiser's, Neuman, Akg, DPA etc.

Good luck!

Regards


Roland
Old 7th February 2003
  #6
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by bjornson
I don't claim to be a replacement for steve,
But my list of questions would include ....
1) Is there any accompaniment?
2) Are there soloists?
3) Is there time to tef the room?
4) Are the singers grouped by section or intermixed?
5) Any way to hang mics?
6) What style and shape are the risers?
I tend to use a decca tree setup with additional omnis in the rooms sweet spots and printed to daxx with a live 2 mix burned to cd for the client.
The answers to these questions should help you dial in your gear choices and mic position options. Good luck and keep us posted
Sounds like a cool gig!
thanks so much for the reply.
so many of the above questions can't be answered 'till they find a venue, but i'm assuming it'll be one of the 2 or3 performance centers in San diego county....pretty roomy symnphony hall's. My partner ( who owns the mobile truck) had very little info to go on. Just the first advance call "can you record a large choir?"

I'll try to dig up some more details today.
I've read about the Decca tree configuration but never done it. The pics i've seen show some big $$ mics for that config. What would be some of the options?

I'm sure we'd have at least 4 hours to set-up for the gig.
Quote:
Hey buddy,

I didn't forget about you. Just been super busy with gigs and stuff. I've been only responding to the simple stuff. I will get to this today sometime. I'll even draw a diagram for you....


Hanging in there.

Oh, when's the gig?
thanks steve, I'll find out more today.
Old 13th February 2003
  #7
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Craig,

All the replies were spot on! Thanks for covering my back guys.

There are many ways to approach this kind of recording. Here is how I usually do it. (Part one)

I couldn't find any cool pictures so here's a quick drawing of my dual mic stand combo.

This is my favorite approach to choir mic'ing. I like to add 1 or 2 of these combos to each section.

I usually ask the choir director to place his (her) best singers by the mid boom mics. The large boom mics pickup the entire section. I then blend each combo as per my ear. If applicable, the soloist would be miked individually.

When recording choirs, my first choice for mics are Milab VIP50s. I love the sound of the mics on choir. They work well for me.

The audience mics we use include MKH416s, TLM103s, C414BULSs to name a few.
It really depends on what kind of room we're in and what we need to do to get around the sound system and such.
Attached Thumbnails
recording choir....120 people.-choirmic570f.jpg  
Old 13th February 2003
  #8
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Remoteness's Avatar
Here's another way to do it...

Part two:

This is very close to the way we set up and recorded the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir for their Madison Square Garden TV special and home video a bunch of years ago.

The green figures are the individual members of the choir.

The red figures are the straight stands with extension tubes.
The mics are at least 12" above their heads.
Multiple stands should be used per section for this kind of mic'ing.

And the blue figures are the very large boom stands over each section.
One or two mics can be used per very large stand.
If necessary, we use stereo bars to accomplish this task.
Attached Thumbnails
recording choir....120 people.-choirmic569f.jpg  
Old 18th February 2003
  #9
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Remoteness's Avatar
Hey Craig,

Bump...

I know it isn't the prettiest drawing I ever made, but I thought it would get a response from you...

Does it make any sense to you? Or is the picture too bad to see what I was trying to convey?
Old 18th February 2003
  #10
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

Sorry Steve I guess the reply slipped by in my email and the "view unread messages " sometimes misses for me....Thanks alot everyone for the help.
we've got the TlM 103's and the 414's so I think we'll guinea pig a smaller choir at a local church that I sometimes work for and try a couple different things before we commit to the bigger choir.

would still love to see any live pics.....

anyone using the Schure KSM44's for live recording? I've got a one and it see's little use in the studio, I'm thinking of selling.

thanks,
Old 15th August 2003
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Hey did you ever record the large choir ?

I'd like to hear how it worked out.
Old 15th August 2003
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

just another option...

if you are laying down multiple tracks, approach the gig so that you have a flexible mixdown strategy.

try breaking the choir down into it's sections, and then try placing a well positioned stereo pair. perhaps even a M/S config to give even more flexibilty, yet if the choir is wide something like a well placed ORTF could really shine.

Depending on how you mix, you could always start your painting off with the stereo pair, time allign the other mics and blend them to taste (and phase)...

best of luck...
Old 15th August 2003
  #13
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The original posts in this thread are from before I joined up, but I'll offer my 2 cents just the same


I do a lot of classical choral recording here in LA... I have a perpetual fight with the directors between wanting to hear a completely reverberant sound with no imaging and a sound where you can actually hear the diction of the choir.

When I record just an acapella choir (or choir accomp. by piano), I usually place either 3 omnis across the front of the ensemble a couple feet over the heads of the highest row facing down towards their mouth or my stereo mic with omnis out on the flanks (wides). My stereo mic is an AKG 426 (usually in Blumlein for such a gig) and my omnis are B&K 4006s.

If an orchestra is involved, things change a bit.... I will record in one of a couple ways-

1- 3 omnis on the choir (good for choirs up over 100 people), Stereo mic in front of a small orchestra. Spots as necessary, usually for soloists...

2- If the orchestra is large, I use 2 omnis on the choir and the stereo mic with 2 wides on the orchestra.... If I can get ahold of them, I like using 3 Schoeps CMC6MK21s on the choir as well. These are probably my favorite choir mics for use with an ensemble...

I've also done variants on all of the above as the room dictates...

--Ben
Old 15th August 2003
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Yes this thread is from a few months back. I found it when I did a search on 'choir.' I was just curios if cajonezzz ever did the job and how it worked out.

But hey since I got the thread started again maybe I can learn something here.

Benjamin I've read your posts before and clearly you know what you're doing, but the techniques you mention here raise some questions.

How do you deal with phase on the 3 omnis ? Or when you're using the stereo mic and omnis on the sides ?

Have you ever tried the SF-12 or QTC-1s ?

I'm interested in recording an acapella choir and I have no experience doing something like this.
Old 15th August 2003
  #15
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smoothmoniker's Avatar
 

funny story ...


we were tracking a choir on a remote session to orchestral tracks already laid down. For monitoring, we had rented a local area AM transmitter, and had everyone bring a walkman ... broadcast the monitor mix, they each pick it up, have their own volume control, etc.

Well, the tracking was during the Angels vs Giants world series, and we were in Anaheim ... bad planning. Whenever we started preroll to take a pass, you would hear 50 guys all tuned to ESPN radio, listening to the game instead of the monitor mix, thinking no one would know.

Everytime another run was scored, they would yell, then look around guiltily at the recording team. Fun times.

-sm
Old 15th August 2003
  #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by HEDDcase
How do you deal with phase on the 3 omnis ? Or when you're using the stereo mic and omnis on the sides ?
Never really a problem... Spaced omnis don't fold to mono quite as well as a coincident pair, but it isn't too much of an issue...

I usually set up my pannings so that all the big stuff is only Left, Center or Right. The only things that may get a bit of a partial panning are the soloists... When you think about it, in a classical ensemble, you are capturing the big picture- partial pannings have a tendency to get lost. You vary your image size by the spacings of your microphones....

Sometimes if the orchestra is playing something massive, I'll spread the flanks out a bit further. If there is a chamber orchestra with smaller repertoire that needs a more specific image, then I'll bring the flanks in a bit. Sometimes if I can't get enough "dig" on my winds and I can't use spots, I'll move my center mic from a Blumlein pickup to a mid-side pickup. If I put a hypercardiod in the center and tilt the mic so that it aims right at the woods, I can get a great pickup. A M-S center mic with a fig-8 in the center can get that dig into the ensemble but also provide ambience from a room...

I also didn't mention Decca tree in my first post. For orchestra and choir, a decca tree can sound amazing. Since I can't usually get M50s, I'll use Schoeps MK21s which are a similar pickup and therefore work quite well...

When I do my recordings, I tend to use the "rules" as guidelines only... I modify my setup in whatever way is required to make the ensemble sound the way I want it to...

Quote:
Have you ever tried the SF-12 or QTC-1s ?
I've used the predecessor to the SF-12 that was actually made by Speiden, but I haven't used either of those mics in particular...

I like my 426 stereo mic because it has a warm and somewhat mellow sound that works seemingly on everything and everywhere. The fact that it has 9 patterns for each capsule and a rotation of 270 degrees on one and 45 degrees on the other makes it very versatile...

--Ben
Old 15th August 2003
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Thanks Ben, I appreciate the info.

I understand that it's 3 omni's, why not use the 4006s ?
Old 15th August 2003
  #18
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gordo's Avatar
 

Craig:

I did a 70 piece choir with 20 piece orchestra last Christmas. It was quite a challenge logistically as we only had 3 hours to set up ijncluding risers, all the singers and orchestra, and me setting up sound gear around it all with minimal help.

I used 3 Rode NTK's up high overhead, with a Shure VP-88 stereo mike in front of the conductor, and a pair of Sennheiser 416's as spot mikes for the male voices since there aren't a lot of male voices in this particular choir.

Since I had such limited time I ended up with a bunch of PCC 160's on the floor in the various sections of the orchestra.

It ended up sounding great! I did end up running out of time before I ran out of gear.

Next time: more set up time and more qualified assistance.

All the Best,
Rick
Old 16th August 2003
  #19
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Quote:
I understand that it's 3 omni's, why not use the 4006s ?
Well, a Decca tree is sort of 3 omnis... Technically, it uses 3 Neumann M50s which are pressure-gradient Omnis. The polar pattern of them is such that the lower frequencies are omni, but as you go higher in frequency, it becomes more directional. Omnis such as 4006s are too "omni" for that to work. That is why I like the MK21 cap Schoeps. M50s are awesome, but nobody can afford them.

Other popular mics include B&Ks with balls on the ends, Schoeps omnis with the balls (221B's with the balls on the ends sound pretty cool, too...). There are other manufacturers that make mics with similar pickup patterns as the M50.

I also use 2 of the 4006s as wides with a Decca tree to get a bit larger sound. I only have 4 B&Ks so I need to put them where they'll get the best use.

--Ben
Old 16th August 2003
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Once again, thanks Ben.

I did a little more research on the Decca tree approach, now I get it.
Old 4th July 2006
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
joseph's Avatar
Guys...I Found this thread when I'm searching for CHOIR.
I'm newbie in remote recording session, I have client who wants to make a CHOIR record.
We discuss and have some option : Record per section in Studio or we find a church with best acoustic and record 40-60 (could be more) choir.

There will be accompanion/backing track which we record before, it's band+orchestra arrangement (sampling). So the choir will sing along with the backing track thru monitor (Mackie/RCF Active floor Monitor)

The possible mic available (and easy to rent) are AKG414BULS.

There also soloist part but, we also plan to overdub later. Or it's better to record it live too?

The goal is record it with the room ambence (but not too much)

I'm gonna using Mac + 002R and hope my friend will rent me milenia media 8Channel and lavry 8 AD.

1. What's the best position of the choir, since we can arrange it
2. Mic Placement and Method
3. Floor Monitor Placement, shoul I use more than 2? Place it like SideFill or just in front of the choir?
4. If the soloist recorded live, what spot mic better? LDC, Dynamic (Shure SM58 etc) ?

Thanks Guys
Old 4th July 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
joseph's Avatar
The Project Leader just inform me that the project will have:

16 Sopranos
16 Altos
12 Tenors
12 bass

Please... I need advice
Old 4th July 2006
  #23
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

Just a few thoughts

Usually, a "real" orchestra sits in front of the choir, so the singers are probably used to that setup. That would result in setting up the monitors in front of the choir too. Maybe three or four, though.
I'd definitely go for a main pair plus spot mics. The main pair probably figure-eights since they have the best rejection when placed above the monitors. I prefer spaced setups since they sound more spacious, but many people here who love Blumlein.
Probably four spot mics, one for each section. The Schoeps MK21 wide cardioid would be great for that, but with 414s you can experiment with the patterns.
For the soloist: it depends on the style. If it's rather pop-like, some LDC or (for live-ish sound) handheld SM58 can do fine. If it's rather classical (or "natural"), go for bigger distance (1 metre or something) and ideally SDC.
Old 4th July 2006
  #24
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

Blumlen is always my first choice with Choirs(well, anything really, provided that it works ), I enhance the blumlein array with spot cards or hyper cardiods normally. I also have great results with a jecklin disc as the main array, with the same sort of accent mics...For a soloist mic, It varies depending on the voice. Some voices dont work well with SDCs, some dont work with LDCs..it totally depends. I use my u87 quite a bit in that capacity.
Old 5th July 2006
  #25
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joseph
The Project Leader just inform me that the project will have:

16 Sopranos
16 Altos
12 Tenors
12 bass

Please... I need advice

WOW, you need more male voices. Seriously, my first reaction, depending on the content (are you recording existing choir music, like Bach, Hayden, Beethoven or Mozart? Or brand new compositions?) the ratio of screeching harpy female soprano/contralto to the male couterparts may overwhelm the focus of the piece.

The monitoring situation has the potential to be a problem depending on the composition, arrangements and style of miking for the choir. You don't want to capture the monitor feed, but you DO want the choir. You're better off putting the monitor in the ear of the conductor, unless the choir is having problems retaining proper pitch. But with a PA style monitor, MUCH less is better.

Hope these thoughts help!

best,

Jim
Old 5th July 2006
  #26
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joseph's Avatar
Thx jim, I'll inform the choir leader.

So I found u guys here advice Blumlein for the main mic and spot mic for every voices.

So I call friends of mine and I got :
2 x KM184
4 x 414BULS
1 Big Boom Stand
DIY Stereo Bar (ORTF/XY)
DIY "Blumlein" Mic Asesoris
2 x Shure SM81
2 x Rode NT3
MIDAS Venice 16 chn
Digi 002R with Mac Mini
2 x Mackie Active Floor Monitor
16 Sopran
16 Alto
12 Tenor
12 bass
Music Track/backing Track in my computer for playback (pop style, sampling orchestra)

If I'm using Blumlein and Spotting Mics, since I only have 1 mic for 1 group voice, where do I have to put the spotiing mic?

Do I have locate the bass voice behind the other voices or make them beside tenor voices for best "pop" mix style record?

For Pop Style : Blumlein (414) or ORTF (KM184) in main mic?
Old 5th July 2006
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
joseph's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch
Usually, a "real" orchestra sits in front of the choir, so the singers are probably used to that setup. That would result in setting up the monitors in front of the choir too. Maybe three or four, though.
it's open my mind...thx pkautzsch
Quote:
I'd definitely go for a main pair plus spot mics. The main pair probably figure-eights since they have the best rejection when placed above the monitors.
Oh, I thought SuperCardioid is the best rejection. Thx for the info.

Quote:
I prefer spaced setups since they sound more spacious, but many people here who love Blumlein.
Probably four spot mics, one for each section. The Schoeps MK21 wide cardioid would be great for that, but with 414s you can experiment with the patterns.
yeah I'll fight with 414s.
Quote:
For the soloist: it depends on the style. If it's rather pop-like, some LDC or (for live-ish sound) handheld SM58 can do fine. If it's rather classical (or "natural"), go for bigger distance (1 metre or something) and ideally SDC.
Thx bro, I'll try it
Old 5th July 2006
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
joseph's Avatar


The Church that we will use for remote record the choir.
We'will use the half circle of the space.
Old 5th July 2006
  #29
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

practical

You mean those round seat rows near the wall?
That can make things easy: two stereo pairs (one for each half), and then swap the sides of one pair: Miking 1-2 3-4 panning 1+4L - 2+3R. Take care not to have any source outside the 90° angle when using Blumlein, or you'll encounter weird phase issues.
You might use the 184s as a spaced room pair, especially when having REALLY low monitor levels.
Old 5th July 2006
  #30
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

theoretical

Quote:
Oh, I thought SuperCardioid is the best rejection.
We have to differentiate between direct/reverb ratio and off-axis rejection.
Super-cardioid does pick up less reverb than all other patterns, ie can be placed farther away from a source to get the same direct/reverb ratio.
Still, it's off-axis rejection is only something like 25 dB at the angle with strongest rejection. A figure-eight, on the other hand, does not pick up ANY sound coming from 90° (or 270°).When placing the monitors exactly in this null of the mics, no direct sound from the monitors will be recorded. It does however pick up more reverb from behind and will give the same direct/reverb ratio as a cardioid.
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