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Set up for recording an Acapella group

zbish

Hey guys!
So I've been reading around on forums and different websites about recording acapella groups, but most of it is in studios and one at a time, so I thought I would make a post and try to get some opinions on my situation. All advice is very much appreciated.
I have been asked to go help record my old High School acapella group in a couple days. It's a group of about 20, and we will be recording in a house while they are on a retreat. It will be a one day thing and they want to record the songs from the year so that they each have them on a CD and the teacher has them for future years as an example. They aren't looking for studio quality with editing or anything. For the most part they want to capture it as if they are performing live. So I guess what I'm looking for is the best way to mic them and get this all to work. My idea right now is to have them all in a half circle around an MXL R144 (to pick up the group sound), and have each of the parts (Bass, Tenor, Soprano, & Alto) standing with each other with a Audio-technica U853A area mic for each part (that way I can control the levels a little also, like if I need to add more bass or something). Then I was thinking I could have the soloist and the vp standing in front of the half circle and mics, so they can all still hear each other but have them both sharing a Blue Bluebird? Or the soloist and vp could each have a Shure SM58, but I feel like that would sound weird to have them directly on mics while the rest of the group is on areas. But maybe I am wrong and that's what would be best?
I have to be able to set up and take down relatively quick, and the acoustics of the room probably wont be too great. So, I guess after all that rambling - if you were able to understand what I had pictured, do you think that will work? Or how would you do it? I will have to use a mixer and balance all the levels as it goes and have it just as one input into my macbook (Its a 12 input mixer) or I have a 2 input interface I could use also. Mics available are 5 Audio-technica U853A area mics, a blue bluebird, a MXL R144, 6 Shure SM58's, some other cheaper condenser mic, and a drum kit mic set. So any other ideas with what I have that would work better is awesome too. Really just any advice you can give me would be great.
Thanks so much guys!
April 16, 2014 @08:52pm
TimOBrien

The 144 ribbon has a figure-8 pattern, so instead of a half-circle, you'd be better with
half on one side and half on the other side in a full circle. This is a common way to record
horn groups, too. With the group surrounding the mic, it might block off some of the
room acoustics, too.
This also allows the performers to look at and 'key' off each other. Gets a better performance.
April 17, 2014 @02:34pm