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Recording chamber choir using Zoom H6 plus x
Old 26th June 2021
  #1
Gear Head
 
Recording chamber choir using Zoom H6 plus x

A cappella classical choir, 24-32 mixed voices, most often in churches w/quite a bit of reverb. I am part of the choir myself, so I might offer to record some concerts to document them for ourselves, but won't have much time to monitor/adjust mic positions etc. Normally, we set up in not quite a half circle, women first row, men second row. During Corona, we are more scattered over the room with 2m distance between each singer.

What I have:
Zoom H6, 4x XLR in (phantom power), multitrack option.
Additional x/y or m/s capsule on the device, or two more XLR in (no phantom power).
Mics: 2x AT4050 (switchable pattern)
2x Beyer MC930 (cardioid SDC)
Might be able to borrow a set of Shure KSM141 (switchable SDC)
Various dynamics: with the add'l XLRs, I could use one to record announcements, or...?


What setup(s) would you try?
Before, I used a Zoom H2 which sounded alright, but you can always have have more detail (articulation) as well as stereo width/depth.
For the best result I might have to give up the idea of singing and recording the same concert, but for now let's say I want to do both.
Old 26th June 2021
  #2
Lives for gear
 
surflounge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
suggest you record in mono with omni mics. Plenty of mono recordings have been made with many microphones. A general rule is that if the distance between mics is more than 3x the distance from the mic to the source, you'll be OK. Comb filtering to a severe extent (which is what people are worrying about when they say "phase issues") requires that the signals be of the same amplitude -- if there is some level difference, even a few dB, the cancellation becomes much less. So, use as many mics as it takes to have them reasonably close to the sound sources. Nothing magic with 2 or 3 or 4. Using mics close to the sound source is also a way to get rid of "bad room" sound. It's a lot more work to make it sound good in mono because you have to place each signal in the mix to give the dimension you want, without the benefit of the left-right depth that you get with stereo.
Old 27th June 2021 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
i'd use four cardioids horizontally spaced across the choir to get maximum width and the built-in mics at a bit larger distance in x/y - that said, i much prefer m/s with a pair of flankers and - depending on repertoire and the desired results - if the registers are separated...
Old 27th June 2021 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
i'd use four cardioids horizontally spaced across the choir to get maximum width and the built-in mics at a bit larger distance in x/y - that said, i much prefer m/s with a pair of flankers and - depending on repertoire and the desired results - if the registers are separated...
I forget where i've seen a "double "m/s technique description but i remember it was used for a large halfish circle choir. The 2 pairs where aimed at different sections and i really forgot the decoded mix pattern, but i seem to recall there was some hard panning of the pairs ?? I bring it up because of the larger spread (2m) between singers .....

Ray
Old 28th June 2021 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayS ➡️
I forget where i've seen a double m/s technique description but i remember it was used for a large halfish circle choir. The 2 pairs where aimed at different sections and i really forgot the decoded mix pattern, but i seem to recall there was some hard panning of the pairs ?? I bring it up because of the larger spread (2m) between singers .....

Ray
'double m/s' in my world refers to a much different technique: it consists of a coincident trio of mics, a cardioid facing forward, a fig8 facing sidewards and another cardioid facing backwards (see infos on the schoeps site) and has become my favoured technique for most things surround.

if using a conventional m/s, i favour a single pair and i'm adding a pair of flankers/'outriggers' if the centrally positioned m/s pair cannot pick up the entire ensemble; this doesn't lead to any issues in terms of panning either...

...but whatever does the trick.

[for the mid, i'm using a cardioid pattern; flankers depend on room but mostly wide cardioid, cardioid or hypercardioid - for ambient sound, i prefer using a separate pair (often in wide a/b) at some distance; often omnis but depending on position/room/noise, pretty much any technique/pattern gets used, including shotguns - the further away, the wider the spacing (to prevent the ambient sound from collapsing to mono)]

___


my comments are based on the idea of mixings things back in the studio, not on trying to capture a balanced and mostly 'finished' mix on location - sorry if this is not the op's intention...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 28th June 2021 at 10:50 AM.. Reason: info added and wording
Old 28th June 2021 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayS ➡️
I forget where i've seen a double m/s technique description but i remember it was used for a large halfish circle choir. The 2 pairs where aimed at different sections and i really forgot the decoded mix pattern, but i seem to recall there was some hard panning of the pairs ?? I bring it up because of the larger spread (2m) between singers .....

Ray
For now, let's forget the Corona placement, too difficult, since the singer are all at different distances from front to back as well.
So for two rows, four closer mics would make sense to get the articulation and width, and then a main pair in the center, a bit further back, for unity and depth? I think this is pretty common. How would you go about if you don't have four equal mics, see above?

The built in x/y mics to my ear sound closer to the MC930 than to the 4050 (larger diaphragm).

Would anybody use the 4050 in Omni, say for A/B? The "outrigger" concept I am not as familar with yet, would this make any sense here?
Old 28th June 2021 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
Ah! found the link : although it's a tad more involved then i remembered and as such perhaps irrelevant to the OP's original question..hopefully it's ok to re-link this info...

The "Practical Research" File, of Mike Skeet - Paper No.2

SURROUND FROM SPACED M&S PAIRS OF MICS



A slight drift from ‘true coincident’ miking, a useful ‘specialist’ stereo miking system, is the use of two spaced apart M&S pairs of mics. Suppose you have a medium to large choir, and they cannot be arranged in a suitable semi circle for the use of a single stereo pair of mics, there is an alternative, which can also be used for 5.0 Surround!



For the stereo you arrange the pair at around one third spacing in front of the straight line of the choir, at a distance suitable to the acoustics and balance etc. Very importantly, you angle each pair inwards to point at the front centre of the width of the choir.



For the stereo, both pairs are decoded in the usual way, and the decoded signals mixed directly together. The variable width, available in each pair, needs to be appropriately set. The left hand pick up of the left hand placed pair, along with the right hand pick up of right hand place pair, will reproduce the choir’s stereo delivery very evenly across the soundstage, far better than having many pan potted mics spread across the front of the choir.



The bonus is that 5.0 Surround is available! With the four laid down raw signals you can separately decode them and then assign them to the Surround feeds as follows. Feed the left of left placed pair to the Front Left, the right of the right placed pair to the Front Right, then there are a couple of alternative ways of feeding the Rear Ls and Rs.



Due to the necessary angling in to the centre front of the choir, you could perhaps choose the right of the left place pair for the Rear Rs and then the left of the right place pair for the Rear Ls. The opposite of that could be tried and a decision as to the best made! The Centre feed is obtained by summing the two Mid mics of the rigs, as they are conveniently pointing at the Centre of the choir.


IT's from this paper which contains valuable/interesting information http://www.saturn-sound.com/Curio's/...r%20no%202.htm


Ray





Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
'double m/s' in my world refers to a much different technique: it consists of a coincident trio of mics, a cardioid facing forward, a fig8 facing sidewards and another cardioid facing backwards (see infos on the schoeps site) and has become my favoured technique for most things surround.

if using a conventional m/s, i favour a single pair and i'm adding a pair of flankers/'outriggers' if the centrally positioned m/s pair cannot pick up the entire ensemble; this doesn't lead to any issues in terms of panning either...

...but whatever does the trick.

[for the mid, i'm using a cardioid pattern; flankers depend on room but mostly wide cardioid, cardioid or hypercardioid - for ambient sound, i prefer using a separate pair (often in wide a/b) at some distance; often omnis but depending on position/room/noise, pretty much any technique/pattern gets used, including shotguns - the further away, the wider the spacing (to prevent the ambient sound from collapsing to mono)]

___


my comments are based on the idea of mixings things back in the studio, not on trying to capture a balanced and mostly 'finished' mix on location - sorry if this is not the op's intention...
Old 28th June 2021 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayS ➡️
Ah! found the link : although it's a tad more involved then i remembered and as such perhaps irrelevant to the OP's original question..hopefully it's ok to re-link this info...

The "Practical Research" File, of Mike Skeet - Paper No.2

SURROUND FROM SPACED M&S PAIRS OF MICS



A slight drift from ‘true coincident’ miking, a useful ‘specialist’ stereo miking system, is the use of two spaced apart M&S pairs of mics. Suppose you have a medium to large choir, and they cannot be arranged in a suitable semi circle for the use of a single stereo pair of mics, there is an alternative, which can also be used for 5.0 Surround!



For the stereo you arrange the pair at around one third spacing in front of the straight line of the choir, at a distance suitable to the acoustics and balance etc. Very importantly, you angle each pair inwards to point at the front centre of the width of the choir.



For the stereo, both pairs are decoded in the usual way, and the decoded signals mixed directly together. The variable width, available in each pair, needs to be appropriately set. The left hand pick up of the left hand placed pair, along with the right hand pick up of right hand place pair, will reproduce the choir’s stereo delivery very evenly across the soundstage, far better than having many pan potted mics spread across the front of the choir.



The bonus is that 5.0 Surround is available! With the four laid down raw signals you can separately decode them and then assign them to the Surround feeds as follows. Feed the left of left placed pair to the Front Left, the right of the right placed pair to the Front Right, then there are a couple of alternative ways of feeding the Rear Ls and Rs.



Due to the necessary angling in to the centre front of the choir, you could perhaps choose the right of the left place pair for the Rear Rs and then the left of the right place pair for the Rear Ls. The opposite of that could be tried and a decision as to the best made! The Centre feed is obtained by summing the two Mid mics of the rigs, as they are conveniently pointing at the Centre of the choir.


IT's from this paper which contains valuable/interesting information http://www.saturn-sound.com/Curio's/...r%20no%202.htm


Ray
there are massive differences between this dual m/s and schoeps' double m/s approach... - not sure i'd like the results of the former but thx for posting: i might give it a try should the opportunity arise!
Old 23rd October 2022 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
New concerts are coming up. How would you go about recording a concert for documentation, maybe webpage (not an official recording/cd production)?

A cappella mixed choir, half circle, men in the back row. Reverberant church setting. In the upcoming concerts, some pieces use organ (in the back of the church, doesn't make things easier).

By now, I can choose between:
Shure KSM141 x2 (omni/cardioid)
Audiotechnica AT4050 x2 (adjustable pattern)
Beyer MC930 x2 (cardioid)
Zoom H6 internal x/y or MS capsules.

H6 internal recording to SD.

edit: What about ditching the H6 and using a bigger interface for...
KSM141 in cardioid as ORTF main (pretty bright)
MC930 spot mics near the center (to catch some sibilance)
AT4050 closer as well but further out L and R, in Omni ?
Old 24th October 2022
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The most universaly good for documentation : one pair of cardio in ORTF setup just behind and above the director.
I prefer the MC930 than the KSM141 in cardio. But all are good. No experience of the 4050.

One other pair for the organ just in front of the organ. The KSM141 in omni should be ok for the organ but depending of the church, this pair could introduce too much reverb for the choir. And there will be the delay between the organ and the choir to manage and it's not only a recording problem !

I will have a choir + organ concert with the same disposition to record in november. To make the recording simpler (I sing also) I will put only one pair of omni OM1 witch are very omnidirectional to capture the choir and the organ. The KSM141 are more directionnal in the high.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm ➡️
The most universaly good for documentation : one pair of cardio in ORTF setup just behind and above the director.
I prefer the MC930 than the KSM141 in cardio. But all are good. No experience of the 4050.

One other pair for the organ just in front of the organ. The KSM141 in omni should be ok for the organ but depending of the church, this pair could introduce too much reverb for the choir. And there will be the delay between the organ and the choir to manage and it's not only a recording problem !

I will have a choir + organ concert with the same disposition to record in november. To make the recording simpler (I sing also) I will put only one pair of omni OM1 witch are very omnidirectional to capture the choir and the organ. The KSM141 are more directionnal in the high.
Thanks for the tip. In the end I kept it simple and used the xy pair of the H6 quite close just behind th/above the conductor, with a spaced omni pair of KSM141 further back, to record the organ but also to be able to adjust the ambient choir sound. Quite happy with the results.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seb1977 ➡️
Thanks for the tip. In the end I kept it simple and used the xy pair of the H6 quite close just behind th/above the conductor, with a spaced omni pair of KSM141 further back, to record the organ but also to be able to adjust the ambient choir sound. Quite happy with the results.
Appreciate all feedback: https://on.soundcloud.com/6bML4

The spaced AB pair was pretty far apart; I am just starting out with this technique. Is there a hole in the middle?
In some higher/louder choir parts I might imagine distortion, not sure if this is the H6 mics into A/D?
Apart from that, what about the balance of direct sound (xy) vs. ambience (AB) ? Edit: Based on Mathieu's comment below, I increased the volume of the ambient AB pair.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
This is a track from the second concert, same chamber choir, different church/organ, a hymn with wide dynamic range.
I used the same mics; in the picture accompanying the track you can see the setup of the xy Zoom and one of the AB Shure Omnis. How does it sound to you? Would you put the omnis closer together, or change something else?
https://on.soundcloud.com/6yFCg
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Nice choir and music !
But I hear too much the sound of all these included xy cardio pair. The voices are too edgy and lack roundness.
I would probably have done the contrary : AB 141 omni behind the conuctor and the xy in the back to add just a little clarity to the organ.

Here is what can be done only with one pair of OM1. The choir is in the choir of the church and the organ at the opposite.
Attached Files

Fauré OM1.mp3 (4.14 MB, 15 views)


Last edited by mathieujm; 1 week ago at 11:50 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm ➡️
Nice choir and music !
But I hear too much the sound of all these included xy cardio pair. The voices are too edgy and lack roundness.
Thanks! Agree the sound of the front xy pair is a bit close/analytical (mics of course matter, too).
Here's an a cappella piece from the second concert, in the more reverberant church, with the same mix as above:
https://on.soundcloud.com/McYWv
I tried another mix with more of the ambient AB pair. The sound became more rounded, but maybe a bit too ambient.
https://on.soundcloud.com/WmZdU

Next time, I might try a pair at an in-between distance (ORTF?). I could even record all three pairs and decide later. The "problem" is I also sing in the choir, so I don't have much time to listen and adjust positions during rehearsal.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
Based on Mathieu's comment (thanks again!) I went back to the first concert, in the less reverberant church, and reduced the volume of the close XY pair resp. increased the volume of the ambient AB pair, for a rounder sound.
edit: I also delayed the close pair in relation to the distant AB. Getting better...
https://on.soundcloud.com/6bML4
Old 3 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I prefer a lot this mix even if i always listen to the XY mics but you can't suppress them.
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