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Recording a chior

Discussion in 'Recording' started by djmac, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. djmac

    djmac Guest

    How do you record a chior when there are only 4 sets of head phones and 15+ people. If i put a monitor in the live room won't i get a reverb/feedback/phase problem? i have 2 overhead AKG "chior" mics but the problem is that they are really sensitive? Any suggestions from the Pro's?!?
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Just a stupid question but WHY does the choir need headphones? Are they recording with something that has already been recorded or are they just singing Accapella and you are recording them.

    Just wondering?
  3. djmac

    djmac Guest

    They are singing along with an intrumental track that they need to hear.
  4. Jimi

    Jimi Guest

    I recently read an article but i can't remember where that was about this very issue.
    It claimed that you could invert the phase on the monitor and then when it was tracked it would cancel its self out do to the fact that it is 180 degrees out of phase.

    I will be trying it as I have job coming up with 2-12 people coming in and tracking to some midi piano I recorded already.
  5. Mundox

    Mundox Guest

    it will only work with a mono recording, i.e one mic. Otherwise you will pick up the sounds from the speakers.
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Not sure where you are located but in most large cities there are places you can rent audio equipment from including headphones and headphone amplifers. Maybe you can rent or borrow enough headphones for all the singers. You need 11 sets of headphones and the headphone amps to drive them (or you could make some breakout boxes with resistors and jacks and drive the whole affair with a power amp.

    Suggest checking the yellow pages under audio equipment rental. Maybe there are also studios near you that you could rent the equipment from. Most studios try to cooperate with fellow studio owners since they may need a favor sometime down the road. We let a couple of our clients borrow headphones and mic stands all the time. They agree to pay for any damages and come to us for their mastering so it works out well.

    Hope this helps.
  7. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    I was going to ask this question also. I don't think the options of headphones is going to work for me. I am going to try using a monitor and work see how that works. After all, when the choir is recorded live they are not completely isolated from the other instruments and that tends to work out fine.
  8. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    A monitor may work fine. Try to keep the volume low and cutting some of the highs and maybe mids out would probably help. I have never recorded a choir but I did observe once. In that situation, the choir was used to following a "Director". The director wore the headphones and directed the choir as he listened to the backing track. When it was played back the choir was slightly "late" so the engineer adjusted the backing track in the timeline to match the choir. It sounded great.
  9. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    I act as engineer and director and do the above (direct w/ headphones) on a regular basis. It's tricky but can work really well. I'd advise giving the director a rough mix to practice with in advance (if possible) it will make everyone's life easier. Advise him/her to really pay attention to the beginning and ending of phrases- that's where most trouble occurs. Small time adjustments are quite easy to fix after the fact in a DAW but if you can do it in real time - do it.
    Another option is to also put headphones on a few "leaders" in each section so they can be in-sync w/ the director who is wearing headphones. It really depends on the style/tempo of the song. But it certainly can be done. We even did full orchestra seperate from 200 voice choir and made it work. The only adjustment was that we added percussion later when we could control their bleed.
    Give yourself enough time and advise the choir to be patient. I'd also strongly advise that you have a set up that allows the choir to hear the takes during the recording process. The biggest problems (especially intonation) are fixed when they hear themselves when they're not singing. Its 2 very different skills and MOST singers (solo or choral) don't have the ability to adjust intonation while singing because it needs to be done before the note is sung.
    Good Luck

  10. Sam DeFranco

    Sam DeFranco Guest

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  11. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    I have recorded MANY choirs, but never this way, but nevertheless, Here is a radical thought - assuming the music of the backing tracks is the same as what will be used for the final product why NOT use the best monitors you can find to play the music to the choir and just make it part of the final "live" recording? It is a bit strange to think about recording already recorded music again, but you gain a better performance from the choir (believe me, the one thing that is foremost on their minds) because they will all be able to hear the music very well.

    Depending on your equipment you can experiment with putting the monitors behind the mics (so the cardioid doesn't pick up the sound so much). Also experiment with the volume.

    I regularly record vocals in the control room using the studio monitors instead of headphones (a much better way to hear pitch). The leakage is usually very minimal.

    I personally think it is worth a try. In the end you will have great vocal tracks with just a hint of BG music. Adding the pre-recorded music to the mix will mostly mask whatever leakage there is.

    Do not worry about the phase thing. I have tried it and it doesn't give you much advantage.

    I am curious about the comment "it only works if you have a mono music source". What happens if you flop the phase on the mic instead of the speakers? Does that not accomplish the same thing?
  12. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Welcome to RO

    That's exactly how we did the 200 voice choir w/ orchestra. I put a few nice JBL studio monitors behind the choir risers. They felt supported and sang out because of it. That masked any problems and the end product was fine.



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