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Mic'ing a Choir for Live and Recording - Any tips?


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  • Mic'ing a Choir for Live and Recording - Any tips?

    I run sound (as part of a rota) for my church, and have had ongoing difficulties trying to mic up the choir. It's a small group (10-12 people), and so far I've tried a couple of things using some mics that we had lying around;

    Firstly an old Radio Shack/Crown Pressure Zone mic mounted on a small board positioned on the floor in front of them, but that didn't work particularly well (very low levels, needed loads of gain to hear anything)

    Secondly an AKG C1000 on a stand in front of them. Levels are much better with this, but it's very directional and seems to pick up one or two of the singers and not the rest.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to how best to mic them up - what type of mic to use, and in which position? I have 4 feeds from that side of the church to the desk and plenty of spare channels to play with, just not sure how to go about it.

    Primary need for the micing is to allow them to compete with the Pipe Organ (which is LOUD), but I also use a couple of Aux sends on the desk to record the service so would like to hear them better on the recordings too.

    Another point to note is that feedback can sometimes be an issue... the Choir are behind the Main speakers, but there are a pair of wall-mounted monitors we use to let the folks "onstage" hear what's being sent out front.

    All suggestions/tips welcome.


    Keith / BabyFrank

  • #2
    First off can you run those "monitors" off an aux send? that way you can take the choir mics out of them. Secondly that is a small choir so if you have the channels available could you give them all handhelds? Cause neither of those mics are really made for what you are trying to do.


    • #3
      First off can you run those "monitors" off an aux send? that way you can take the choir mics out of them. Secondly that is a small choir so if you have the channels available could you give them all handhelds? Cause neither of those mics are really made for what you are trying to do.

      Yes - I can take the choir mics out of the monitor mix altogether if required... and when I think about it I should have done that months ago.. Should help with the feedback!

      I don't think they'd go for handhelds... FYI this is not a bunch of dynamic gospel choir type singers... it's mainly older folks who are by and large self-conscious already about being mic'd up without me given them a handheld. I had been thinking of using a pair of mics (rather than just one) on stands (or potentially suspended above them), but I'm not really sure on what type of mic (condenser/electret large/small diaphragm etc.) or on how best to position. I'm open to suggestion and if we need to buy new mics we can...


      • #4
        use a couple LDC condensers. variable pattern is helpful.

        i'd try it out radical spaced pair first and then after establishing a baseline i may try other methods.

        cad M179 comes to mind for an economical choice, quite stellar for $200 bones.

        rode nt1000 also would work but i dont think quite as well. also costs more.
        band status - "its complicated"


        • #5
          Don't put the choir mics in the monitors.
          You could drop more mics in and close mic groups of 2-3. That would get you more signal, but if your choir can't sing and project properly (which I'm guessing is the case), then there isn't going to be much you can do.

          Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones.


          • #6


            • #7
              I'm assuming you would like to accomplish your goal without spending much, if any money, so....

              Depending on how loud you need to amplify the choir, the AKG C1000 should work okay for your needs. I've used one to mic a larger choir and did loose a few folks on the side, but 10 or 12 folks should work okay with that mic.

              Take the mic out of the monitors, roll off some bass (unless there are baritones... in the choir) HPF the mic, whether on the board or on the mic.

              Then put your stronger singers to the sides and the weakers ones on the inside. But only do this if your weaker singers sound good, otherwise let them languish in the Delta Quadrant.

              Good luck.


              • #8
                Why not try a choir mic on a boom stand. Works very well.


                The mic comes with a stand adapter.
                Bill Cronheim
                Entertainment Systems Corporation
                Back stage since 1965
                Equipment specialist since 1973


                • #9
                  How is the choir set up? 1 row, 2 rows on risers, etc.? I've had good luck with many different mic set-ups depending on the room, PA and singing ability of the choir.


                  • #10
                    i've actually been known to use 4 sm57's in an arc array at the request of a choir director. it worked ok, better than i thought it would; a little spotty but it sounded like a choir.
                    band status - "its complicated"


                    • #11
                      Why not use both mics that you have tried? Is there a choir director with a music stand in front of the choir? You could try mounting the mic to the back-side of that/a music stand, which would probably be slightly below waist level of the choir and then put the AKG on a stand and get it above the singers heads, angled towards the back row a bit (if there is a back row...)

                      I'm just throwing out ideas as they come, but I've had some luck with some pretty unconventional combos.
                      Fender Acoustasonic Tele
                      Gretsch 9220 Bobtail resonator
                      Epi Les Paul Custom
                      Garrison G-50-E
                      1984 Martin Shenandoah
                      Stiletto Studio5
                      Upright bass w/pickup
                      Yamaha RBX 260F Fretless 4
                      Essex (SX) B-205
                      And a cool old Kingston Bass that looks good on my wall....
                      Aphex Punch Factor
                      Jekyll & Hyde dual distortion
                      Ibby Toneloc Digital Delay
                      Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III *Red October limited run*


                      • #12
                        At our Church we have a choir of anywhere from 6 to 20 depending on the time of year and interest. We also have a live sounding chancel/stage with an ever changing weekly rearrangement of live band, piano, loud organ or all three.

                        I have two AT boundary mics on the floor that do a pretty decent job of picking up enough of the voices when they know the music well.
                        We also have two wireless SM58's that I'll sometimes position as needed that really help to fill out the sound, especially when the stage is louder. Other times when stage volumes are low the SD condensers come out. The two real hanging choir mics we have hang where the choir no longer sings and I don't have any points to hang them over the chancel....

                        I have also spent a fair amount of time working with the choir director/organist on understanding that the loudest sound at the mic wins no matter how much he would like reality to be different, and I'm constantly urging the choir to group up, sometimes in small groups and sometimes in one larger group and arc around the mics so as to get them equal distance to the mics and let the congregation hear all the work they have put into learning the music. This is actually the work that has had the most effect.

                        15 years on it's still an on going learning experience for all of us.
                        I never put any choir mics in any monitors unless they are close miced which hardly ever happens.

                        Good luck, Winston.


                        • #13
                          The Akg has different polar pattern caps available. That might help the coverage.


                          A&H GL2800 console, BagEnd Crystals over D-18's, 12"and 15" BagEnd and EAW wedges powered and processed by QSC, Klark, BSS, Symetrix, Valley, Sabine, Peavey and BagEnd INFRA.