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Acappella Recording Project - Advice ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by egcc, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. egcc

    egcc Guest

    I will be recording an acappella group later this week, in a church building (medium size, but not too bad as far as bright echoes). There will be about 16 singers, 4 or so per section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). I'm planning to have them stand in a rough semicircle in 4 separate groups, maybe 5 feet apart, maybe less. I'm following a basic 3:1 rule as far as spacing between the groups and their mics. Each group will have two mics directly in front of it (may only use one of those tracks, but will have a choice), and then an A-B stacked OMNI pair and/or maybe an ORTF pair for the larger picture. I will be recording with NUENDO, MOTU 2408, Presonus Digimax, ART Pro MPA and Aphex Tubessence Preamps.

    One note on headphones for monitoring - I plan to take one analog out from each section from the digimax and feed a small headphone mixer. The headphone mixer will have a small reverb unit in an effect loop (if needed). For overdubs, I plan to send L/R playback from Nuendo to the headphone mixer as well. This way I don't have to use direct monitoring in NUENDO (avoid those latency issues).

    Any advice or suggestions ?
  2. You are probably using too many microphones. It sounds as though you are almost dismissing the most important microphones that you will be using and that is the stereo pair for the overall pickup.

    If you get these in the right place, you won't need all those other microphones.

    Whatever method you use for the stereo pair, the sound must be excellent from these microphones or your recording will not sound good.

    Having said that, spot microphones can come in handy for certain vocalists that may need to be highlighted for solos, but you will want to delay the the signal from those microphones to align with the stereo pair.
  3. egcc

    egcc Guest

    Thanks. The thought was to have one main mic for each section (even though I was setting up two, I was just going to use whichever one sounded best on each section), and the stereo pair. This would enable me to mix the sections' volumes (if alto is too loud, turn it down, etc.). I agree if they have really worked and practised that the stereo pair would be the main mics, but I'm a little nervous about taking that for granted.
  4. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Do you plan on giving everybody in the chorus a headphone? If so, why?
  5. sign

    sign Guest

    Giving every singer a headphone probably won't work.

    It's very difficult to sing a capella since you don't have the tone of a piano/organ o.e.

    If you use headphones, put only one can on the ear, IMHO you shouldn't use cans at all, it's a-capella isn't it?

  6. egcc

    egcc Guest

    Headphones - No, I don't plan on giving everyone headphones. However, if we do any overdubs, or doubles, we need a way to hear the first take in order to sing along with it, and that's where we might use some headphones.
  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    I pretty much agree with what Richard has written...

    To record a chorus, I would generally have them stand as a group. That way the members would be able to hear each other better and therefor tune much better to each other. As far as the micing goes, I would consider 2 or three mid-field mics to get an overall sound and image. Since you said you have a pretty good room, I'd then take a pair of good omnis and place them far back in the room to capture the ambience. Delay your closer mics so that they are time-aligned with your far pair. Mix to the point where you hear clarity from your close mics and an overall sound from your far. I always take a measuring tape with me on jobs so that I can calculate time delays. Even a 6-8 ms delay can create a much better overall sound.

    Since you are recording acapella, be careful of intonation sliding down from the beginning to end of a song. If you end up doing overdubs and you don't have headphones for every singer, you could end up with some pretty major pitch issues.

    Good luck on your project.


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