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Recording Choirs, need stands and setup advice

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by audiokid, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The outline:

    I'm recording 14 choirs next month in a mid size, barn style church about 60' high, wood ceiling and 100 ' long. It has a top balcony that will be empty (I think) so I'm assuming there will be no human absorption there, causing some problems if I were to use high omni flanks. The balcony extends out over the main floor about 20%. Most of the main floor is open. I like it.
    Being a barn style, it has some undesirable reverb but its not too bad. The Choirs love singing here so it must sound nice however, I'm going in cold.

    The largest Choir will be 75 people in 4 rows on a stage that is 3' high. I'm thinking from floor to top heads > approx 14' total.
    The choir's will take the entire sides of the stage, however, there will also be a few smaller choirs that I need to be prepared for as well!

    The Church main floor will be full with an Adjudicator. This is no concern for me other than telling you this is a competition of importance and he/she will be in one of the isle's to mark.
    If the Choirs are picked, The recording I make will be sent to the Provincials that could go onto Nationals. This is how they are being judged for the Provincials.

    There will be a Director in front on the floor (floor has some squeaks where the director will be standing).
    I will have approx 5' of room for one good sized stand behind him/her . everyone is expecting my presence and 100% willing to work around my needs.

    I am planning to use 1 Royer SF-24v or 2 R-122 (not sure yet) for this. This will be a Royer Ribbon weekend lol.
    I'm using the Great River MP-2NV for the ribbon mic pre

    I was also hoping to have the new DPA 4011A omni caps here in time for flanks but they aren't released yet. I'm not sure if I have enough coverage or what do you think?

    Recording Choirs is new to me so I need help and idea's.

    I need to order stands today.
    I was looking at the Quikloc but my dealer said they were having trouble with the lock missing and/breaking. I'm thinking Chinese junk effecting them now.

    What do you suggest for stands, mics?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I should note that there will be an upright on the right (floor) to accompany that they want in the recording but are not wanting it to be upfront of course.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well. If it were me, I would set up the SF24 separate from the R122's. Sometimes the Blumlein ribbon will need to be adjusted different than using the R122's as for instance a spaced pair (hint hint). If you get them set correctly you'll really love the imaging of the stereo mic blended slightly with the 122's. I use the Onstage Stands 9600 with an extra boom section to regularly go 16' but if I had the cash to drop I would in an instant go for the Matthews and a 7" Mini Boom (I have six of these posi lock booms). On top of it you can use a big darn mic bar and load up the three mic's or use two stands. In the situation I use a Sabra ST-4 that I've put a larger hex rod into. I offset the rod so that the "center" mic is close to the center and the arm shooting off the other side is longer by enough to balance well.

    Do you have enough high impedance preamp?

    In regards to the ribbons and choir/string quartet etc, I have found myself lowering the array to about 7-9 feet above stage height and less angled than I sometimes use-basically the pattern is perpendicular to the floor with just a stitch of downward cant.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I added a bit more detail to the OP John, (Piano on the floor) see if this still gives you the same advise?

    Also, the 122's are confirmed but the SF-24v isn't until this Wednesday. I wasn't thinking of using both. I was thinking either the SF 24v or 2 R-122's. I would use the Great River MP-2NV for the Royers.
    I have enough preamps for both ribbons, yes! The R-122 sounds great even with RME FF800's. Not my fav pres but R-122's don't need as much boost as say the 101 or 121. Its why I bought the 122's.They do pretty good with more varieties of micpre's
    I will use a Milliennia M-2b for the DPA 4011A, which are the new cardioid's/Omni. I'm wanting to do some experiments with some others I have here for our members info. Like I have the new Audix microbooms that I would love to try as well.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes, I have plenty of preamps.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member


    You could stick the R122's by the piano then or leave them and throw the U87 by the treble end of the piano. That is the end you might or might not want more clarity on. You could also prop the top lid up and drop a sdc into the top end. I'm not sure you'll need any mic on the piano really.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks John,

    So for the center I would go approx 7 to 9' above stage height . If the top head height on the 3rd level reached 9' and the stage height is 3 feet. Where would you put them and how far back? Is there a rule on that?
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    One consideration I would have, is how much time do you get between groups? If there is zero time to reset mic's the safe bet would be to use the R122's in an A-B setup. I would still set the SF24 in center Blumlein because the imaging is likely to be stunning with it if it is in the perfect position. Stick a SDC on the treble end of the piano for a little detail. I still think the lid will have to be propped up or removed. On most institutional verticals the hinge pins can be pulled and the top taken away. If not, there is a prop device used by piano tuners that is not hard at all to fashion with a bit of 1" wide steel plate and a vice. The little tail at the end is important to hook the back of the piano.


    I line mine with felt cloth glued to the steel with hide glue. I have used it not unfrequently for recording school concerts with verticals to get definition. C391's work great for this purpose.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Ribbons should be back almost as far as a condenser array. If there is no audience and simply a judges table then visual isn't really an issue. I would say 10-12' away from the conductor but with choirs it could be a little closer maybe if you had time to experiment. 7-9' high above the stage is plenty since the mic's will be more or less facing directly at the choir. If I were closer it would be a hoot to come up and help out setting up then drink some biers and comment on the performances.

    Are you giving out performance CD's to the conductors after each choir gets done? Cucco used to do that at his festivals on the east coast. I've had to do that a couple of times but usually I am allowed time to go home and work them up.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Its a church with Pews to the front. This is going to be a problem. How do I get back far enough. hmm

    Their will be a crowd. Mostly other Choirs and families involved for this competition. I would think that visual blocking is acceptable because of the importance the CD's going on to the the Provincial etc... if they are accepted. They know why I'm there.

    The CD are not marked and cannot be given out. They are sent to Adjudication in another City where the Provinals are being held. because Choirs are so large, they judge them from the recording. If they win, well its all good. The CD cannot be edited for obvious reasons so my RAW ability is paramount. The SF-24v will definitely be amazing. I'm praying I get them here.
    I'm very excited about this because its going to lead into good things for me.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes, I have time between Choirs. 30 to one hour. But after each Choir, it's all silence for the adjudication. I'm assuming the Adjudicator takes a 10 min break between each one which gives me some time to move things but... Murphy's Law...

    I'm thinking I set it and leave it. Having a few different arrays might be the answer but like you say... The SF-24v ... who needs anything else.

    I'll do the piano as you suggest, thanks!
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have piano mic clamps that I use for my Grand some times.

    These ones:
    scx25piano.jpg 1413-2.jpg
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    There is approx 12 feet from the front row Pew to the stage.

    The mic I hoping to get is the SF-24v not the SF-24 . Check that one out.

  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Either one is going to be great. Heck, I'm using a plain jane SF12 out in live environments so obviously a careful engineer is concerned about the "studio" versus "live" design difference. Just make sure to leave the sock on them until you get done adjusting position of the stand. Anyway, I usually get zero sound check so I always set up two stereo mains unless it's a familiar chamber ensemble in a familiar environment. Sometime in the future seasons I'd like to check out the Shure KSM353 ribbon that they bought out Crowley & Tripp. Now those should be hearty ribbons.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, the youtube clip I posted of the conductor tripping over the stand a month back . OMG! whip lash. I wonder if he lost the ribbon on that.

    Good advice. I'll be standing in the booth with a Crossbow until its back in my arms.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    So back to this distance. If the Choir is approx 17 people wide, how far back will determine if I can cover everyone you think? Do I need flanks?
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Shoulders and room= 32 " x 17 ... approx 45' wide per row
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You won't need flanks. Once you get set for the first choir you'll be golden for the rest. Keep the X of the Blumlein towards the edge of the choir. Definitely not wider than the choir. The choir will likely be in an arc too so a strict shoulder to shoulder measure might not be accurate. Honestly you don't need the piano mic at all except for the inordinate reverb you'll likely have. The piano will be mud in a big reverb room. Less is more when mixing it in though. You're just looking for a bit of detail.
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks. I'm excited and will keep you posted.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Wouldn't that be great!

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