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Choir Recording

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by cjguitar, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. cjguitar

    cjguitar Guest

    I'm going to be recording a small choir (15-20 people) in the next few days, and they're going to be singing with a backing track. I'd like any advice on monitoring for them, and micing the choir in a small room of about 15' x 20'.

    [ August 18, 2003, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: cjguitar ]
  2. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    is it posible to separate "naipes"? sopranos from contaltos from tenor from baritones..?
    Any way of getting 15 headphones?
  3. A couple of years ago I recorded a cantata that was sung by a choir to backup tracks. I was using a Roland VS-880 so what I did was to record the backup tracks to the VS and use that for playback during the performance. I figured that way I'd have a direct recording of the backup instead of picking it up from the PA speakers. Then I set up my mics (4) so that I would pick up as little of the PA as possible. In addition to the fixed mics, I had an additional mic for soloists that was passed around from person to person as necessary.

    The performance ran for four nights and I recorded every performance and did a comp of the takes to create the final CD.

    An interesting side note is that one of the soloists had to miss a performance. When I set up for the recording that night, I copied his solo from the previous night to a spare track. I had the sound guy bring up that track in the mix at the point where his solo was and it sounded as though he were right there.
  4. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    I've tried a bunch of these options and it really depended on the style of piece. Ideally, 15 headphones will work if you can drive them. If you don't do this regularly, I doubt that you would have 4 or 5 headphone amps. 2 solutions.
    1. Put a set of monitors behind the singers - they don't need to hear clearly, they just need to stay with the track - right? EQ the hell out of the monitors to minimize mastering problems. Form the choir in an arc and keep the monitor as soft as possible and behind the singers- too much volume just makes singers sing sharp anyway - they need to hear themselves. Encourage them to overbalance the monitor. But...only if they can sing out in tune! (I've trained over 2000 singers in the last 13 years as a high school choral director - trust me on this one) - Problems are bleed and phasing issues but if you minimize volume it can work very well.
    2. Put headphones on 1 or 2 people in each section. The rest will use the "leaders" as their monitor. Many decent choirs work this way intuitively anyway. A great choir doesnt' need "leaders" but most can function pretty well this way. The problem is staying with the click. I would do a few dry runs (keep it in record!) and identify problems spots. Then go for it and hope for the best. :)
  5. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    I forgot to add:
    For my ears, the most natural way to mic a choir is to fly 4 Crown PZM's sitting on a 1' x 1' sheet of wood or plexiglass. I've created a mounting system by attaching the bottom end of a mic clip to an L shaped bracket with a hole in it attached to the 1x1 square and then I can mount the mics on standard boom stands. In a room of your size, I'd put the singers at one end of the 20' and 2 mics at least 10, more like 15+ ft away. And using just 2 should minimize phase problems. But again, depending on the style of music, standing in a circle around an AKG414 also works great with a few leaders in headphones

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