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What would YOU do...?

Okay, so this isn't exactly a challenging gig coming up by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm throwing this out there anyway.

Here's the deal - I'm doing a session next weekend with a chamber chorus (approx 25-30 members) which will be either:

A capella
voice and piano (7' church grand piano - I don't know the brand or the quality, but I have been assured it is good and well-tuned)
voice, piano and clarinet
voice, piano and cello

Occassionally there will be vocal soloists during occassional pieces. The venue is a good (as in good acoustics and no excessive background noise and out in the country...) church with high ceilings and plenty of wood.

So, given the gear that I will have available, I'm curious to see what others might do.

Gear Available: (quantity available listed in parenthesis beside the item. If no quantity listed, assume quantity 1)

Mics -

Schoeps CMC64 (2)
Schoeps CMC62s (2)
Gefell M296 (2)
Royer SF12
AKG C390B Omni (2)
Soundelux U195
Beyer M130
Beyer M160
RØDE NT5 (2)
AT 4040
Audix M1290 omni (2)
Audix i5 (3)
AT 3528 (2)
Oktava MC012 cardioid
Oktava MKL 2500 Tube/Cardioid
Neumann TLM 103
Shure Beta 52
Sennheiser E604

Microphone Preamplifiers:

DAV Broadhurst Gardens #2 (4 channels)
Summit 2BA-221 (2)
Langevin DVC
Aphex 107
Mackie 1202 MS
Mackie Onyx 800R
Grace 101 (possibly 2)


Lynx Aurora 8 (8 channels)
Mackie 800R (8 channels - can come in via line-level)

The setup will be relatively straight forward - standard standing positions for all of the singers and the conductor and piano center and to the left of the conductor. Instrumentalists - I can position them wherever I'd like as this is a session and not a concert.

One note - I will NOT be using the SF12 on the chorus as a main mic, so factor that into the equation.

I already pretty much have my mind made up on how I'm going to do it, but this is one of those things where, if someone comes up with an idea that blows my mind, I'll do it. But, in any case, it should be interesting to see how others would do this recording.



Thomas W. Bethel Wed, 05/03/2006 - 05:27
I would use the best microphones I could for the job at hand. That is what a professional would do and I assume you are a professional at what you do. Not really being there or knowing what the sound is like in the church it is really hard to comment. Also everyone has their favorite microphones, the ones they use all the time and the reason they use them is because the deliver the sound you are looking for. My favorites are my AKG blueline cardioids which I use all the time. You have an impressive microphone collection so you obviously know what each one is good for and which ones you have grown to like in various situations. Use the best. position them carefully and you will get a good recording.


Cucco Wed, 05/03/2006 - 08:50
saemskin wrote: kidding, of course.
That just seemed remarkably humourous to me. Picturing the situation, that is.

Yeah, kinda funny to me too, especially if you were to meet some of these folks...

Tom -

I already have an idea what I'm going to do. The purpose of my posing it to others was simply to see what approaches others might take. It's one of those things where, there are so many options, you could skin this cat 50 different ways. I'm just interested to read what ways you or others might skin it. Kind of like an education if you will. Perhpaps someone might come and read how Dave S would do it and say "Ahhh, that's the way for me." Then they would look at mine and say..."What an a$$-clown...I would never record a chorus that way..."

I got the idea from a magazine (Recording or EM or something...) where they had a few of their staff editors talk about how they would mic up a certain group with a certain set of equipment. It was kinda cool how they all got the job done with completely different mind sets.

Personally, here's what I'm gonna do....

Schoeps CMC 62s AB pair over the main chorus (it's not very wide or big, so a simple AB pair should suffice). I'll space them probably on the order of 18 to 20 cm and aim them directly forward (if any angle, maybe 10 degrees or so off center axis). As for distance, that will depend entirely on the sound of the church.

The Gefells (since they are a bit more directional) will be going a tad back in the hall. They will still help provide some directional cue, but mainly they're there as the "overall" mics with a lot of ambience factored in.

All of those will go through my DAV.

The piano will probably get the MS treatment with either the SF 12 (baffled with a piece of foam behind the rear lobe) or the M130/M160 combo. The main reason is - I'll pick up plenty of piano with all of the over heads. There's really no avoiding that. The MS will help isolate the piano and allow me to control it seperately. If I use the Royer, I will go into the Mackie as I can adjust the resistance up to 2400 ohms (and the Royers need that much). If I go Beyer, I will probably use the Aphex. The two work quite well together.

The choir will get spot mic'ed with the two AKG C390Bs in omni. These will break the choir into thirds as they're standing and will only be used to bring a little bit of clarity and ONLY if needed. If I wind up muting those channels at all times, no problem...

The cello will get the U195 (quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite mics on many sources - strings, kick drum (sounds FRIGGIN amazing on kick drum), every other percussion source I've found, piano, brass, woodwinds, most voices (deep throaty voices need not apply - they'll sound a tad too dark and big). I will run it through the Langevin.

The clarinet will get either one lobe of the Royer or the M130 (whichever I don't use on the piano). I would use the 130 as I find it a tad smoother than the 160 on brighter instruments like the clarinet.

Solo vox will be tricky. I could use the Schoeps CMC64, the Rode K2 (in omni - it's a tad too bright otherwise), the Oktava tube (a quite decent mic despite its questionable heritage) or maybe even whatever ribbon I may have left.

It will likely go through the other channel of the Langevin.

So...that's how I'm going to skin that cat. In any case, it will be fun and interesting.