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Help in recording a choir

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by skinnysteel, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    Hi all this is Lars From Sweden I need some pro-info about recording a choir on spot at a church
    I was thinking of bringing my control24/Prootols equipment to the church but i haven´t done any church recordings before so i need some help with: what mics to pick, placement is there any special equipment i need accept the Protools/Control24/ApogeeA/D-D/A.well thanks for taking your time reding this.

    Lars Stahl
    Blue Steel Productions
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I need more info to be able to even venture an educated guess as to what to do. Post a diagram of the session and include all elements, accompaniment etc ...... Fats
  3. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    Hi Fats ! bye the way i am waiting for your reply on my email , did you get it ?
    ok i am recording a choir its about 30 persons in it 10 top row 10 second 10 first,both females and male singers, as far as i know now it´s no instruments involved just vocals.its an old church and hmm am not shure how to do the diagram though.i just need to know the basic of normal mic placement, type of mics that would sound the best for the job and easiest way to do it.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Is the choir going to be standing on risers? ....... Fats
  5. garysjo

    garysjo Active Member

    Use a couple of decent quality condensors (preferably matched pair) in XY or ORTF about 9-12 ft in the air behind the conductor. Has worked great for me. Decent mic pres obviously help as well. i'm a bit partial to XY , as the phase relationship is right on every time. Still gives me good stereo separation as well. YMMV Get some info from the director about the program prior to the performance. I've had situations where there are solos or solo ensembles within choral pieces where the talent steps to the front either left or right. In those cases, I use a spot mic and delay to match the stereo set.
  6. garysjo

    garysjo Active Member

    Just another thought. if there is Piano accompaniment, you should not need to mic the piano, but i have found it nice to do so in some cases when there was a quality piano. It gives you a bit more presence. Of course if you are going for the the traditional esoteric, minimalist classical thing, scratch the piano and spot mics and just go with the stereo pair. Regarding pres, I use a Ramsa DA-7 into Logic and more recently Cubase SX. The DA-7 pres & A/D's are very good sounding. The boards small enough to carry around as well. Best of luck and let us know how you make out!!
  7. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    Thank you all for sharing your info ! Fats i am actually not sure if they will use something to stand on but i think so! (right now they are looking over my Prise :) .

    Garysjo,Thanks so you think its good to use a match pair of U87 ? would that be a good idea? i heard about some small mics to "hand down the roof" dont remember the name but they were soposed to be "choir mics" lookt small as hell though haha . well thanks and ill tell you all how it goes , if you have some more ideas that could be good to know i hope to hear about it !
    varmly thanks-Lars Ståhl.
  8. sign

    sign Guest

    Lars, I like a very realistic stereo image and that's why I prefer an ORTF pair of small diaphragm high quality condensers over an XY pair.

    Like garysjo says, 9-12 feet high behind the conductor is a good place to start.

    If the room sounds good you should consider an MS pair.

    Peace, Han
  9. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    "an ORTF pair.XY pair.an MS pair."

    i may sound like a dork now but could you explain these names more closely I know the ORTF and the XY but the MS sounds kinda new to me hmm
  10. sign

    sign Guest

    Sorry Lars, we should know that sounds like magic to you. :)
    You can find it all on the DPA site under "microphone university"


    Hope this helps.

    Peace, Han
  11. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    THANKS hahaha
  12. garysjo

    garysjo Active Member

    I'm starting to feel a connection with my heritage with you guys posting! My paternal grandparents were Swedish immigrants. I usually lurk here more than anything else. I would agree with Han on using high quality small condensers. Classical recording techniques would usually dictate that. XY vs. ORTF is a subjective matter. I've found that I get plenty of stereo separation with XY, although if the group is small you may not get the separation you desire...YMMV Another thing to consider is sight lines. If you are recording a live concert, ORTF gets a wee bit more obtrusive from the audience perspective, of course we don't care about them do we :) I think Scoepps and B & K (now DPA) small diaphragms get a lot of use amongst folks that do a lot of this work. They are expensive, however. I've also seen guys using large diaphragm stereo mics as well. I used a Neumann RSM 190 or 191, I dont remember which number. It is actually a stereo shotgun mic. It was pretty cool, had selectable patterns. XY from 60 to 120 degrees and MS. It was a bit too hyped in the high end for my taste though and extremely sensitive to ambient noise. It's cool to pick the sound of the hall, if it's a good one, but when you are hearing too much of the audience turning the pages in their programs and breathing, it's kind of a drag. I'm sure a matched pair of U87's would be wonderful. Believe it or not I recently used a matched pair of Studio Project C3's and it sounded quite nice. If you are going XY with large diaphragm mics it's a little tricky to mount them. I've found the best way is to put one on top of the other, with the top mic mounted upside down. You then rotate them so the capsules are 90 degrees to each other. you are then as close as you can get to a true XY pattern which is much easier to obtain with a small diagphragm. I do this with one heavy-duty stand with mic mounts that extend off the main stand.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    This is a bit unconventional but what I would do is...Use 3 FET large diaphragms
    (4033's, U87's TLM 103's) set to cardioid, in front - left, center and right. Be sure to check phaseing. I would add 2 additional spot mics at the sides of the choir - left and right, aimed at the choir between the second and third rows. Once again be sure to check phasing with the 3 main mics. I have used this configuration successfully in the past on choirs. You may get everything you need from the front 3 mics but if you need a little extra from the back row you can pull it out from the side mics. ....... Fats
  14. sign

    sign Guest

    Guys, as always, YMMV :) I've done a lot of "testing" in order to find out which mics and placement gives what sound, and more important why?
    (Fats, what's the difference between "which" and "what"?) :D

    A couple of the choirs were huge, 80+ persons, some small a capella, some with grand piano or church organ, even one with a rockband :eek: and one with a small symphony orchestra.
    There was a very limited budged and also because of the bad room (with audience) I decided to record directly to DAT with an ORTF pair, some 12 feet high behind the conductor.

    All the choirs were really happy with the sound. A number of them said the sound was much better than the CD recordings they did in other places, most with multitrack recording.

    Lars buddy, you'll have to find the "sweet spot" for your mics. A while ago I was in an old church where a choir was planning to make a CD recording and they were rehearsing there.
    There was a kind of wooden bridge near the roof some 50 feet high (15 meters Lars) and I climbed up there to find out how the sound was up there.
    One word: amazing!!

    Find your sweet spot Lars, and tell us how you did after you've finished! :c:
  15. skinnysteel

    skinnysteel Guest

    First of all i have to say -its unreal to see the difference between Sweden and USA ,Here if i would ask someone in the business how come this how come that they would go -well read a book,dont have time etc maybe its the weather and snow hahaha so thanks for all your help and time i am so glad to see there´s still people with heart! Ok after saying this, question spot mics U87 or similar ? question 2: sweet spot if it sound good to my ears lets say 15 meters up will it sound good on tape putting the mics there ? i meen reflections from roofwall etc , you all have to forgive me for asking some of these questions but i am not used to record this way more used to record in the studio and even there i am more of a beginner even though the equipment is great and like the woman saud to the man its not the size of the mic that does it its the person using it that makes the difference hahaha i am an artist but i love to do recording aswell. also garysjo-have you ever been here in Sweden since your roots goes back here.
  16. route909

    route909 Guest

    Hey, I´m also a swede, dealing with choir music :) .

    I recorded my choir in june this year and I chose X/Y micing with a pair of Røde NT1000s directly into the soundcard (Waveterminal 2496) from the preamp outputs. I´m also singing in the choir, so I had to set the mics up, adjust the sound AND warm up with the other singers ;) .

    I´m going to record another concert in about two weeks and probably use the same technique, but raise the mics a bit (I had very short mic stands back then), to get a better balance between the girls and boys.

    Here´s a link to the entire concert in mp3 format if you wanna hear how it sounds:


    The server is online during my awake hours.
    E-mail me or respond here if you want details about the recording/mastering or singing process.
  17. Jeff Damon

    Jeff Damon Guest

    Hey Bro, I'm sure it's too late to help out on your gig, but the sweet spot you asked about can be duplicated with accurate small diaphram condensers,OMNI's, placed where you hear the magic. usually this is some complimentary mathamatical node that is ridiculous to try explaining, it just...IS. Once the stereo pair of omni's(I use Earthworks QTC-1's) are in place, (the location already mentioned about behind conductor,roughly 9-12 ft in air is usually a good starting point) just hit record. :c:
  18. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Yep, us New Hampshire boys love our Earthworks mics. I have yet to find a bad mic setup for choir using the Earthworks omni's.

    I just recorded a choir last night using a spaced pair (due to site lines) , I have to say it was the best sounding recording I have done on location. I used 2 Earthworks TC30ks into a Digi MBox into an Apple Ti Book.

    this was the first time I didn't drag a big mic pre out of the rack and I was really impressed.


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