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choral project

I am to record a 50 member male voice choir accompanied by Drums, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 3 violins, Cello and 9ft Steinway Piano in a Church (sometimes with a solo vocal also).

Using Pro Tools LE with Mac PowerBook i have the following Mics and Pres.


AKG414B-ULS, AKG Solidtube, Neumann SKM140 (Cardioid) Stereo Pair, DPA stereo 4006 (Omni) stereo set, Shure Beta 58a x2, Shure SM57


Manley VoxBox Voice Channel, SPL Gold Mike Pre Amp, Millennia HV3D 4 channel mic pre, CraneSong Spider 8 Channel mic pre with ADAT

How can i use that equipment? I suspect i need more mics? Any ideas welcome. Thank you forum readers


Cucco Mon, 07/17/2006 - 11:08
Hey Maestroman -

Welcome to the forum!

I think you could get a very good recording with the mics you have.

Assuming you have a good space to record in, I would do the following -

SKM140s over the chorus in ORTF
4006 as flanks
Spot the strings with the SolidTube
Spot the piano with the 414
Spot the drum with the57
DI the Bass
Spot the acoustic guitar with the beta 58s

I would take as much of that through the Crane Song as possible and relegate the other mics to the Millennia.

Your main and flank mics will pick up so much of the performance, you'll only need to highlight the instruments a little to bring out a little clarity.

Hopefully your chorus can hold their own against such assault and battery as you've described... :wink:


RemyRAD Mon, 07/17/2006 - 11:26
maestroman, I think you have not received any replies to your inquiry since your roster of equipment is already esoteric in nature. I think people find it hard to believe that you do not have a concept of where to start with this type of recording? Here are my observations and recommendations which are probably different from others?

I don't do ProTools but I believe your unit has 8 inputs? Since I've specialized extensively in live of recording, I personally would require more than 8 inputs for a job such as you describe. I would think that 16 inputs minimum would be needed? At least if you want a modern multi-track recording? In that respect, I would use a minimum of 3 to 4 microphones on the drum kit, 2 microphones on the 3 violin's, 1 highlight microphones for the cello, a pair of stereo microphones for the piano, a active DI for the bass guitar, a DI and a microphone for the acoustic guitar, a vocal soloists microphone and at least 3 spaced cardioids or an MS pair with 2 flanking cardioids on the 50 member male choir, not to mention a couple of ambient microphones in the hall.

Now if that is not an option, I would still utilize the DPA pair of the choir with an additional solo vocal microphone. I would then utilize some "zone" microphones for the overall orchestral pickup and pay particular attention to the piano and the bass. The drums should nicely bleed into everything! Look out!

I think your choice of microphones seems fairly obvious, along with your preamplifier's? Your AKG solidtube for your solo vocalist. The DPA's on the choir. 414 on the piano. Beta 58's for the acoustic guitar and bass. The Neumann stereo pair on the violin's and cello. And a beer for yourself.

I hope God knows the thought your putting into this project?
Ms. Remy Ann David

larsfarm Mon, 07/17/2006 - 14:51
RemyRAD wrote: I personally would require more than 8 inputs for a job such as you describe. I would think that 16 inputs minimum would be needed? At least if you want a modern multi-track recording?

For a smaller and perhaps not "modern" setup see (and hear): Pictures and samples.

(smaller) Choir, solo-soprano, two electric guitars, drums, bass, piano (but no strings). I had more mics and tracks up than I used. I placed the band behind the choir, but so they could still see the leader on piano. One guitar player sat beside the choir for visual contact, but had the amp behind the choir. In the end I used ...
- the ORTF pair in front of the choir
- one mic for the solo singer (while she sang)
- line in the piano (added slightly to the choir mics)
and that's it

I had tracks for but did not use
- no use of the mics on the drums
- no use of the extra support on any of the guitars
- no use of the extra support on the bass
- no use of the flank mics
- no edits
- overdubs on any of these tracks. We did add a one bar guitar intro a couple of days later for one of the songs that the lead guitar had forgotten, bit that's not on any of these samples.

So basically these are two track/two mic recordings. They balance themselves. It is in a church, so no reverb added that is the room, no EQ, no compression.

best regards

maestroman Mon, 07/17/2006 - 16:03
Thank you for the warm welcome J. The recording space is great. However drums tend to really spill.

I used the SKM140s over the chorus in XY before, not ORTF. Will try.

You mean 4006 as outriggers ?

I've owned the SolidTube for a while. Have yet to use it.
I have spotted piano with 414 before. Usually fine that its in mono.

I wouldn't mind investing in some more mics if any could be recommended to enhance the arsenal.

The chorus is pretty good. Main issue is keeping the drums down. Believe it or not he is a sensitive player but it still spills.

Thanks Remy.

Yes i know its a lot of high end equipment. I wouldn't say i haven't a concept of where to start.

ProTools 002 has 8 inputs. Crane Song has ADAT out which when connected to the 002 gives a total of 16 inputs.

Not sure i have enough mics for option 1.

And yes the drums do bleed.

Your advice really appreciated. Thank you.

Lars - i enjoyed the samples. Great idea putting band behind choir. The tracks you ended up using were interesting. Isn't it great if 2 mics correctly placed can do most of the work?


pmolsonmus Mon, 07/24/2006 - 22:41
Just a thought, but I've invested in a drum shell for what you are doing as well as for concert balance in live spaces.

They sell for a few hundred bucks or can be rented, but if placed right can really allow a lot more flexibility in your recording. It at least can minimize some of the bleed on the highs coming through the choir mics.

You may need to drop a few OH's behind the shell for the recording but I don't worry too much about the drum sound in a choral recording. Most of your audience wants to hear the choir.

My 2 cents.

pmolsonmus Thu, 07/27/2006 - 05:41
I store it elsewhere, but I believe its clearsonic? Mine is about 5ft high and has 5 sections. I went larger than I probably need for most occasions, but I often throw the bass player behind it as well and the larger size saves me. I do realize (before somebody jumps down my throat) that lower frequencies are far less directional so the bleed is different, but I find that if the drummer can't hear the bass player because he's in a shell then the music suffers anyway.

I think I paid less than $300 for it at Banjo Hut. (GC) This is something I wouldn't order out of a catalog cause it's heavy.