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Recording Setup for High School Choir
Old 10th November 2021 | Show parent
  #31
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks ➡️
... [snip]...
If the microphones cannot be placed where they need to be for whatever reason, then I suggest you invest your time and effort in some other more productive direction. You have a polite "out" by just telling them that setup restraints inherent to the room aren't working as well as desired.
The recordings I'm doing now for the high school, in their theatre (which is their theatre for plays), have expectations in check. I volunteered to do this, and this is a casual relationship. This is giving me, a novice in field recording, some experience and may give them a few recordings for their library and for possible use with future slide shows. Hopefully when we record in a church in the future better recordings will be possible.
Old 10th November 2021 | Show parent
  #32
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S ➡️
The recordings I'm doing now for the high school, in their theatre (which is their theatre for plays), do not have high expectations. I volunteered to do this, and this is a casual relationship. This is giving me, a novice in field recording, some experience and may give them a few recordings for their library and for possible use with future slide shows. Hopefully when we record in a church in the future better recordings will be possible.
hm...

i don't know the circumstances, but i can't quite understand the attitude:

regardless of the circumstances, i always do everything i can to achieve the best possible results - i'm also prepared to give up the whole thing if someone stands in the way of these efforts....

anyway, recording in a church could increase the requirements for the recording even more: i would try to eliminate the difficulties beforehand!
Old 10th November 2021 | Show parent
  #33
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S ➡️
Thanks for listening and giving me some feedback. I can get closer, but in order to keep the mic stand behind the director I can't get as close as half the distance. Due to the space (high school theatre with fixed bleachers) I don't have options for repositioning the choir.
Sounds like a job for hypercardioids, if you can get your hands on a pair (or rent/borrow). About 16" apart - parallel. This will greatly reduce floor and side wall reflections, making the mics sound a lot closer - but will be quite dry and need added reverb, or ambience mics.
Old 11th November 2021
  #34
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🎧 10 years
Critical Distance, the area where the source sound predominates the ambience.
This is vital for detail.
Old 11th November 2021
  #35
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for posting Chuck - whenever folks take the time and trouble to post WAVs with their threads it's win-win for everyone on Gearspace in my book.

Those kids sound really good - obviously a well-coached outfit. (Notwithstanding one or two slightly overbearing sopranos, which is not unusual at this level/age of singing.)

My sense was the cardioid mix felt slightly too close while the omni mix felt slightly too distant.

I'm sure there's a 'Goldilocks' balance in there somewhere!

I think overall I also preferred the slightly more rounded/naturally damped HF of the omnis, but so much of this is down to personal taste and what sonic concept one might be going for with such a recording.

Knowing you have a pair of Gefell M296s there (probably my favourite mics!) I'm not sure I wouldn't first try to capture the whole choir with a pair of those - it's not like there are hundreds of singers in this group so you don't have a whole wide stage to cover. With the right choir arrangement (spacing, heights etc) and the right distance in that auditorium I think that pair could probably do a great job on their own. (Obviously this would be for a bespoke recording session - trying to record them at a live event with an audience is a whole different kettle of fish.)

That said, the MKH8040s in ORTF could also be just the ticket in that auditorium.

Then again... if you could move the recording session to another auditorium – which would depend on the type of repertoire, of course – but if it was mostly worship music like this piece then the choir would sound amazing with a bit more natural reverb in a larger space.

Choices, choices!

PS There's a light or some other electrical fixture buzzing in the right channel - I'm sure you've caught it.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 11th November 2021 at 05:31 PM..
Old 12th November 2021 | Show parent
  #36
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
...[snip]...
My sense was the cardioid mix felt slightly too close while the omni mix felt slightly too distant.

I'm sure there's a 'Goldilocks' balance in there somewhere!

I think overall I also preferred the slightly more rounded/naturally damped HF of the omnis, but so much of this is down to personal taste and what sonic concept one might be going for with such a recording.

Knowing you have a pair of Gefell M296s there (probably my favourite mics!) I'm not sure I wouldn't first try to capture the whole choir with a pair of those - it's not like there are hundreds of singers in this group so you don't have a whole wide stage to cover. With the right choir arrangement (spacing, heights etc) and the right distance in that auditorium I think that pair could probably do a great job on their own.
...[snip]...
Thanks for listening and for your comments.

I feel similar to you regarding the test recordings I posted (shoot for something in between the two test recordings). I'd also like to end up using only, or primarily, the Gefell omnis versus the Senn cardioids.

We recorded three songs yesterday afternoon. I did move the mic stand about 3' closer. Recorded 3 pairs of mics, so I'll option for A-B Straus Paket array, Boojum / Norman array, A-B omni, A-B cardioid, or near-coincident DIN.

I'll post some wav files of that later.
Old 12th November 2021 | Show parent
  #37
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Sounds like a job for hypercardioids, if you can get your hands on a pair (or rent/borrow). About 16" apart - parallel. This will greatly reduce floor and side wall reflections, making the mics sound a lot closer - but will be quite dry and need added reverb, or ambience mics.
I will keep this in mind for the future, but had no time to get hypercardioids before I recorded the choir this time. I’m also trying to get a good capture using what I have.
Thanks for listening and for the suggestion.
Old 5th December 2021 | Show parent
  #38
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🎧 5 years
Here's a link to the 3 recordings of the high school choir:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArPFBNX3leKCg0Lp...OmhWX?e=KEllrZ


I had 3 pairs of mics on the same bar, an omni/cardioid Straus Paket in A-B, and a near-coincident DIN pair.

For Ave Maria and Oculi Omnium I used the Straus Paket A-B, primarily using the omnis and the cardioids were 10dB lower. A little bit of compression on the peaks and a medium hall reverb.

For Creator Alme Siderum I used the Omni A-B pair as the primary, with the DIN pair 6dB down. A large hall reverb was used.

Comments appreciated. Thanks!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #39
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🎧 10 years
I'm seeking advice for a similar upcoming secondary school choir recording, around 100 voices in SATB configuration...with accompaniment from a small band: amplified double bass, drumkit/percussion and electronic keyboard/piano.

The venue ...see photo... is a new (less than 2 year old) multipurpose theatre, with bleachers (fold-up seat) seating going down to a single level floor-stage. I'm not expecting a great acoustic..nothing at all like an old stone church, for example. As long as the choir can hear themselves and each other to deliver good singing, I can deal with their overall sound later in the mix.

If the raked seating proves unsuitable for the choir to stand within, we'll be using riser blocks on the stage area ...to create the necessary raised tiers of standing heights for the singers.

There's an in-house flown PA facing out to the audience seating, but while I'm tempted to amplify the 3 piece band (or at least the double bass and piano) the PA speakers won't be aimed at the singers...so they'd be hearing an 180 degree off-axis (and quite dull) sound through the house system.

So my main dilemma is not the choir as such...I'm able to adapt miking to whichever part of the auditorium they need to be placed in...but more so the competing needs of the choir to hear the musicians clearly, yet not have the band overpower the choir...and to allow me to differentiate band from choir when I come to mix it all later.

Should I aim to have the band in front of, to the side or behind the choir...amplified via small instrument amps or through the house PA...and how to get enough mix isolation between band and choir ?

I'm envisaging a band area-miking scenario...maybe a single NOS or ORTF pair for them, and get them to internally balance levels via their instrument amps against the drums/perc ?

Then locate them in front of the choir, probably close to the 1st row of seating...and put the band in the rear null zone of the main choir/spot mics (with the choir in the rear null of the band's ORTF pair). With low enough playing levels that should give enough differentiation between the 2 'forces' ?

Thanks for your advice, if you've already faced something like this, and obtained a satisfactory result !
Attached Thumbnails
Recording Setup for High School Choir-auditorium.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 07:53 AM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #40
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
have the band in front of the choir (or else you get too much sound from the band into the choir mics); use combos/powered speakers for 'spot amplification', di's plus directional mics to pick up the band. ditch the 'main' mics and use directional mics on the different registers of the choir (which you may want to amplify); add ambis to taste.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #41
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
have the band in front of the choir (or else you get too much sound from the band into the choir mics); use combos/powered speakers for 'spot amplification', di's plus directional mics to pick up the band. ditch the 'main' mics and use directional mics on the different registers of the choir (which you may want to amplify); add ambis to taste.
Yes that's what Im thinking also...use the rejection of the rear of directional mics to provide some isolation...and use combo amps to remove the 'hall filling' nature of the house PA completely, and go for a tighter, more controlled band sound via smaller instrument amps.

Was also considering using the null zones of Fig8 ribbon mics, to factor in some leakage-minimization here somewhere...but there's going to be reflected sound too, which will creep into the rear of those mics, and perhaps reduce their isolation potential ?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #42
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Yes that's what Im thinking also...use the rejection of the rear of directional mics to provide some isolation...and use combo amps to remove the 'hall filling' nature of the house PA completely, and go for a tighter, more controlled band sound via smaller instrument amps.

Was also considering using the null zones of Fig8 ribbon mics, to factor in some leakage-minimization here somewhere...but there's going to be reflected sound too, which will creep into the rear of those mics, and perhaps reduce their isolation potential ?
Fig 8 mics can be useful because of the side rejection and especially in larger spaces the rear lobe pickup effect can be reduced by tilting the front down so that the rear lobe is pointing at a distant wall, ceiling, wall-ceiling or corner.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #43
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Yes that's what Im thinking also...use the rejection of the rear of directional mics to provide some isolation...and use combo amps to remove the 'hall filling' nature of the house PA completely, and go for a tighter, more controlled band sound via smaller instrument amps.

Was also considering using the null zones of Fig8 ribbon mics, to factor in some leakage-minimization here somewhere...but there's going to be reflected sound too, which will creep into the rear of those mics, and perhaps reduce their isolation potential ?
i don't have much if any use for fig8's except for m/s or double m/s (or occasionally on a horn section) - not sure about your situation but in case you'd want or need to amplify the choir, i suspect fig8's may not work...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie ➡️
Fig 8 mics can be useful because of the side rejection and especially in larger spaces the rear lobe pickup effect can be reduced by tilting the front down so that the rear lobe is pointing at a distant wall, ceiling, wall-ceiling or corner.
Good idea...thanks for the tip !
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
i don't have much if any use for fig8's except for m/s or double m/s (or occasionally on a horn section) - not sure about your situation but in case you'd want or need to amplify the choir, i suspect fig8's may not work...
No amplification needed as it's a recording session not a concert...but maybe m/s could work as a main pair if the band is behind the mic(s)...as there would be reasonable rear rejection (with a cardioid mid ) ?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #46
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
No amplification needed as it's a recording session not a concert...but maybe m/s could work as a main pair if the band is behind the mic(s)...as there would be reasonable rear rejection (with a cardioid mid ) ?
Then why did you say you’re tempted to amplify the 3 piece band? I wouldn’t, if you don’t have to.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I'm seeking advice for a similar upcoming secondary school choir recording, around 100 voices in SATB configuration...with accompaniment from a small band: amplified double bass, drumkit/percussion and electronic keyboard/piano.

The venue ...see photo... is a new (less than 2 year old) multipurpose theatre, with bleachers (fold-up seat) seating going down to a single level floor-stage. I'm not expecting a great acoustic..nothing at all like an old stone church, for example. As long as the choir can hear themselves and each other to deliver good singing, I can deal with their overall sound later in the mix.

If the raked seating proves unsuitable for the choir to stand within, we'll be using riser blocks on the stage area ...to create the necessary raised tiers of standing heights for the singers.

There's an in-house flown PA facing out to the audience seating, but while I'm tempted to amplify the 3 piece band (or at least the double bass and piano) the PA speakers won't be aimed at the singers...so they'd be hearing an 180 degree off-axis (and quite dull) sound through the house system.

So my main dilemma is not the choir as such...I'm able to adapt miking to whichever part of the auditorium they need to be placed in...but more so the competing needs of the choir to hear the musicians clearly, yet not have the band overpower the choir...and to allow me to differentiate band from choir when I come to mix it all later.

Should I aim to have the band in front of, to the side or behind the choir...amplified via small instrument amps or through the house PA...and how to get enough mix isolation between band and choir ?

I'm envisaging a band area-miking scenario...maybe a single NOS or ORTF pair for them, and get them to internally balance levels via their instrument amps against the drums/perc ?

Then locate them in front of the choir, probably close to the 1st row of seating...and put the band in the rear null zone of the main choir/spot mics (with the choir in the rear null of the band's ORTF pair). With low enough playing levels that should give enough differentiation between the 2 'forces' ?

Thanks for your advice, if you've already faced something like this, and obtained a satisfactory result !
My advice is based on recording of live oratorio concerts in a 700 seat church with orchestra in front and choir behind.
Some of this is basic but I include it for the benefit of those with less experience.
In order for the choir to hear the band you could try a pair of PA
speakers (one on either front corner of the choir) angled in, with hi-pass (only mids and highs left which is only what’s needed for the choir to follow the band and any remaining bass frequencies would diffract around sides of the speaker and into the choir
mics) and run the speakers at lowest level needed by the choir but not so low as to sing softer so they can hear them. If you use Blumlein for choir pickup you will be helped by the speakers being in the out of phase regions which will help to reduce bleed. Parallel spaced fig 8’s or hypercardiods may also be useful for choir micing due to side rejection of the speakers.
Also if the Blumlein or spaced fig 8’s/ hypercardiods are tilted down then the band in front of the choir and facing away from the choir will be in the side-rejection region of the choir mics.
Since this is a recording and there’s no PA and if you have the mics and channels available you might also consider a “main pair” as possible soundscape for the overall sound and use the band “ spots”/instrument amp volume level
and choir mics as balancing elements as needed.
I’m recommending Blumlein because of the “reach” and side (bottom) rejection so the height can be used more effectively to alter the band to choir balance. Height changes would have much less effect in changing the balance if you were using omni’s. If the acoustics are bad then you will need to rely mostly on the band “spots” and choir mics and the “Main pair” might be useful just for ambience.
If the acoustics are good then you can rely on the “main pair” and use the band “spots” and choir mics just enough to balance things (with the individual elements panned to the same location as in the “main pair”).
Regardless of the method-mix with ambience or
main pair with spots, it would best to adjust the instrument amp volume in the room to try and achieve a reasonable balance as heard in the room and in the main pair.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #48
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Then why did you say you’re tempted to amplify the 3 piece band? I wouldn’t, if you don’t have to.
I was intending to do so only to the extent that the choir wouldn't be able to hear them if they weren't amplified...esp. double bass and electronic piano. I certainly intend keeping any amplification to a minimum, to avoid spill into choir mics, and use the stereo 'section/spot' miking of the band to lift their presence (only as much as required) in the recording mix
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #49
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie ➡️
My advice is based on recording of live oratorio concerts in a 700 seat church with orchestra in front and choir behind...............
Regardless of the method-mix with ambience or
main pair with spots, it would best to adjust the instrument amp volume in the room to try and achieve a reasonable balance as heard in the room and in the main pair.
Thank you for summarizing the 'panoramic overview' of the multiple factors to consider...I'll make a dot point listing of them for the location recording checklist, during set-up/soundcheck. Much appreciated Folkie !

BTW...I'm wondering which would give the better side rejection as main pair (Faulkner phased array 8" parallel VR2 active ribbons... or the same mics in Blumlein), if I'm forced to put the band to one side of the choir, rather than directly ahead of them ?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #50
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie ➡️
If you use Blumlein for choir pickup you will be helped by the speakers being in the out of phase regions which will help to reduce bleed.
I'm curious about this. Do you find that sources in the 'forbidden zones' of a Blumlein array are noticeably attenuated? I'd have thought they were just out of phase in the L/R channels, so only attenuated if the signal is heard in mono. In stereo I'd expect them to stick out of the edges of the mix in that way out-of-phase signals do.

To the advice already given I would add that it is vital to record a DI output from the keyboard and, if possible, the bass. Miking up a digital piano through a loudspeaker sounds terrible in my experience.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #51
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1 Review written
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
No amplification needed as it's a recording session not a concert...but maybe m/s could work as a main pair if the band is behind the mic(s)...as there would be reasonable rear rejection (with a cardioid mid ) ?
sorry i missed out on that fact that this isn't a concert...

in case electronical/amplified instruments are involved, i mostly opt a very 'robust' approach which would allow to ditch the mains but of course with enough gear/tracks/time, a few more mics cannot hurt.

i'm always using a cardioid for the center channel of m/s and i rather add another rear-facing cardioid for double m/s than using an omni: i just dont like (too) much ambient sound baked into my mains (and even less in my spot mics) but then, i'm also always using at least one pair of ambis...

ime a pair of wedges with a bit of piano should do the trick for the choir; still, using the pa (exclusively for the choir) might help the singers - you'd have to adjust mains and ambis though, kinda tricky/catch-22.

(oh, and to largely cancel piano in the choir mics, you can re-record the monitor mix with the choir mics still in place after the choir is gone and use polarity flip on the re-recorded tracks... - never perfect but it can help to minimize monitor spill)


p.s. i wouldn't use blumlein in all but some long, narrow churches and i certainly wouldn't put a band on the side of the lumlein array: you might get decent attenuation but the different distance to various spots will badly affect the overall soundstage; i much prefer a cocentric setup, with the loudest source center downstage (or then 'hidden' behind gobos etc. center upstage).

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 04:43 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller ➡️
I'm curious about this. Do you find that sources in the 'forbidden zones' of a Blumlein array are noticeably attenuated? I'd have thought they were just out of phase in the L/R channels, so only attenuated if the signal is heard in mono. In stereo I'd expect them to stick out of the edges of the mix in that way out-of-phase signals do.

To the advice already given I would add that it is vital to record a DI output from the keyboard and, if possible, the bass. Miking up a digital piano through a loudspeaker sounds terrible in my experience.
Yes I do find there's attenuation on the left and right sides of a Blumlein pattern and especially in the lower frequencies which can diffract around and be picked up by all four lobes.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #53
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller ➡️
To the advice already given I would add that it is vital to record a DI output from the keyboard and, if possible, the bass. Miking up a digital piano through a loudspeaker sounds terrible in my experience.
Yes I'm definitely going to do this...the DI in's will effectively become spots and there'll be a NOS or XY pair on the trio also, to give it a 'small ensemble' coherence
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