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How to record a small church choir and piano?

chbanks

Hey guys,
So in a few weeks one of the choirs at my church is planning to have a recording session. I will be recording them, but I need some ideas as far as mic placement goes. We have 4 pro 37's at our disposal along with a variety of dynamic microphones and a few lower end small diaphragm condensers. Then choir is only 6 members and we'll have a piano that needs to get in the mix as well. Please, any thoughts on how to set up the group and have good mic placement? Thanks!
April 9, 2013 @09:37pm
JoeS

Will you be recording in the main church hall / chapel itself?
What type of room reaction is there involved? (ie room not really tuned - crazy reverb slapback)
If the room sounds good to begin with - use it to your advantage - natrual reverb, etc.
In this case - I'd go with a basic stero pair on the choir (small condensers as a good example), possibly with one of those mic-stand mounted filters to control the room just ever so slightly - such as the "sE Electronics Reflexion Filter X "
And at least one decent condenser (large cap if only using one) on the piano.
Placement is always subjective. But for more room sound, more distance (choir = 3-6 feet? use your ears) For more articulation / clarity on piano - closer in.
Bleed over on the mics will occur in this most basic of setup, so phase cancelation during mixdown will need to be addressed.
Thats a start anyway.
Peace,
JoeS
April 13, 2013 @04:27pm
Jim Tavegia

Hopfully it is a grand, and I would recommend a pair of omni mics 8-10" above the dampers at C2 and C6, panned hard left and right. You can adjust that spread to say 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock if you like that better.
Also inspect the piano for mechanical noises from the pedals and tighten up the piano bench to stop creaks.
I would use a pair of uni mics in ortf in front of the choir about 7 feet from the floor with the back of the mics toward the piano and the choir facing the piano...if this is at all possible.
Work on getting the piano sound to your liking. Then have the choir sing an acapella piece to get their sound and spread to your liking.
You will then have to work at a proper balance between the piano and choir. A touch of reverb will work well on both, but not too much.
October 14, 2013 @09:42pm
JamesPalermo

Hopfully it is a grand, and I would recommend a pair of omni mics 8-10" above the dampers at C2 and C6, panned hard left and right. You can adjust that spread to say 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock if you like that better.
Also inspect the piano for mechanical noises from the pedals and tighten up the piano bench to stop creaks.
I would use a pair of uni mics in ortf in front of the choir about 7 feet from the floor with the back of the mics toward the piano and the choir facing the piano...if this is at all possible.
Work on getting the piano sound to your liking. Then have the choir sing an acapella piece to get their sound and spread to your liking.
You will then have to work at a proper balance between the piano and choir. A touch of reverb will work well on both, but not too much.

I would ignore all of this. It is a silly amount of specificity.
Arrange the group: Only must-do is to point the piano so the lid opens into the room, not right into a wall. With cardioid mics, you might want to try having them form a gentle U shape so every singer's voice is shooting right into the pickup pattern.
Set up a simple XY of your liking with two of the 37's and point them at the choir. Too much room noise, move closer. Too dry? Move 'em back. Hearing shoes shuffle? Lower the mics, point 'em up. Or try raising them up so you can angle down without foot noise. Note: don't be afraid to tell the vocalists to huddle in closer or spread out a bit. Soloist not cutting through? Hand 'em an SM58, mix it in as needed. Budget 45 minutes to set this rig up.
Piano? Since this is a choral recording we can cheat -- it doesn't have to be perfect. Have someone play octaves/chords up and down the keys while you wave a 37 around like a lunatic while you monitor the sound through your MDR-7506's. Move around the piano; inside, outside, over the dampers, go nuts. Find a nice spot, and see if an XY array there works. If not, try waving the second one around like a lunatic until it works nicely with the first. Budget 20 minutes for this -- most of the time will be setting up mic booms.
I like to take two SM57's and shove them in soundholes to close mic the soundboard. They're basically just-in-case mics, but sometimes will save the day, you'd be surprised. Budget 2 minutes for this.
If you have a large diaphragm condenser, I'd just find a nice spot to put that at and call it a day. Example:

Basically, follow the basics of mic placement and figure the rest out as you go along. Best way to learn the best way for you to record best.
February 4, 2014 @12:38pm