Choir and organ mic installation question



I have been tasked with coming up with the best installation possible for choir microphones at our church. We have about a 40 voice choir that stands directly in front of the main organ pipes and in between two organ lofts, and occasionally will have an orchestra in front of them. The choir director would like to have some permanent mics in stalled in order to sweeten the choir against the orchestra/organ. I'm looking for advice on the best placement and type of mic.
Most of what I have read has suggested XY, ORTF, or AB pairs, however I won't be able to hang microphones directly in the center of the choir, because it would fall in front of the church's cross (which I would receive complaints about regularly). I'm wondering about the viability of doing standard spaced cardiods, and which way to angle them to reject as much organ/orchestra as possible, so the choir is picked up. Ideally it would also be a viable source for recordings (although i understand I can't get the best of everything).
I have looked at the Earthworks choir mics, which look amazing, but maybe that would create more problems than help. Another thing to think about is that they are essentially walled in on 3 sides because of the organ loft. Those walls are brick, everything else is wood, including pews they sit in.


Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2005
I have done lots of sound gigs in "traditional" churches as the sound mixer. Typically, this involves a United Methodist church that has a contemporary rock band at the early service (which is what I'm hired for) and then a later "traditional" service that I have to stay and do to collect my check (LOL!!). The scenario you described is typical of the traditional services I run into:
the organ ranks flanking the choir, lots of brick and wood. "Oh, da howwa, da howwa!" Let's at least hope that the organist doesn't have a "lead foot"!
I can't emphasize his enough: Get that area treated acoustically. Can't see the room, and I'm no acoustician, but if you don't treat that area where the choir and the organ ranks are, you are doomed. No matter how good the mics are (and there are some really nice ones from many manufacturers), they can't discern between the overpowering organ blasting away and the choir, and all that cacauphony bouncing around in that chamber turns to muck. The organ gets into everything. Heck, during a contemporary service the drums get into everything, and one church I do has nice Audix Microbooms (4 of them) pointed right at the choir. Get the room treated. First.