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Recording a choir and three cellos? Condenser Microphones
Old 13th September 2011
Gear Head
Recording a choir and three cellos?

I have the pleasure of recording a great female choir and three cellos performing live a few weeks from now, but this performance also presents a challenge because of my limited gear. I have a couple of AKG Perception 220's but I'm planning to buy more mics for this recording (and for the future of course).

What would be the best combination of mics? A spaced omni couple for the whole thing would perhaps be easiest, but I would like the option of adjusting the levels of the cellos versus the choir. Also, I'm unfamiliar with the room so I may need to use cardioids to avoid noise or reflections.

Old 13th September 2011
Gear Maniac

Switchable pattern / capsules give you the flexibility.
At a low budget, consider Shure KSM141, Rode NT5/45-O, Oktava MK-012 set, etc...
Audio-technica AT4021/4022 & Beyerdynamic MC930/910 are good but not switchable.

Then use your AKG Perception as spots.
Old 13th September 2011
Lives for gear
richgilb's Avatar

Old 13th September 2011
Gear Head
Claying, thanks for the ideas!

I'm an amateur on a limited budget, so my investment this time will hopefully be limited to 500 euros, give or take a couple of hundred.

I was thinking about the Rode NT-2A which seems like a great overall mic and would give the flexibility of switchable patterns that claying mentions.
Old 13th September 2011
Lives for gear
richgilb's Avatar

Reckon the Rode would do it but the Golden Age FC4 holds its own in big company, has three caps and is really cheap:

recording piano
Old 15th September 2011
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pkautzsch's Avatar

The way with most options (which IMHO is the way to record concerts, as there can be so many surprises during recording) would be to use a main pair with 1 spot for each cello and at least 3 or 4 spots for the choir. All of those would typically be cardioids or hypers, depending on room, musician placement and mic placement options. Remember, in first place it's a concert, so one should keep visuals in mind as well.
I'd probably buy some SDCs with exchangeable caps, like Oktava 012. In the budget range, most are sort of decent (and the difference to more expensive mics will only be obvious if everybody knows what they're doing). I would, however, ONLY use quality stands.
Old 19th September 2011
Gear Head
I ended up buying a matched pair of Røde NT5's and omni caps. One thing I didn't mention is that there will also be a DJ at the concert, filling in between the pieces and actually accompaning one piece via stereo speakers. So it will be a 6-channel recording setup:
- 2x Røde NT5 + omni caps as a spaced pair behind the conductor
- 2x AKG Perception 220 in XY spotting the cellos
- L&R from the DJ's gear
This goes to a M-Audio fast track ultra.

I wonder, should we have a separate mixer for the DJ or would it be sufficient to route the music through the M-Audio to the active speakers? He's using Ableton Live on a Mac.
Old 26th September 2011
Lives for gear
hbphotoav's Avatar

Originally Posted by evinrude View Post
... I wonder, should we have a separate mixer for the DJ or would it be sufficient to route the music through the M-Audio to the active speakers? He's using Ableton Live on a Mac.
I'd be hesitant to compromise a recording gig with a live feed mixed from the same ITB interface. You can get by with a small Mackie, Alesis, or Allen&Heath (the Mackies and A&H can usually be rented if you don't want to part with $150 or so, or can't find one to borrow) to control the level of the support track to the room.

If you need a mix from all your mics and the support tracks for PA, a 8-12 channel mixer and a splitter are looming in your future. While it's possible to track 6-8 inputs while mixing the live feed (I occasionally do it with a Mackie Onyx 1220, 1640 or PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2, backed up to an Alesis HD24) it's never ideal, especially in an acoustic (as opposed to a band) setting. Your attention will necessarily be on the live mix, and the recording may come up short as a result.

Good luck!

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