11/01/15

HOW TO MIC A CHOIR

Guidelines for miking a choir with DPA Microphones.
Keywords: Choir, microphone set-up.
Achieved knowledge: You will achieve knowledge on how to mike this instrument.
 

Amplifying

Amplifying choirs for PA and live applications can be a major challenge. In many cases, the choir is performing against an orchestra with a high stage level. At the same time, stage monitors may be loud, making voice clarity difficult to achieve.

Many live engineers tend to use a lot of spot mics for the choir, sometimes placing handheld mics with each singer. Unfortunately, this increases the channel number and noise, and may introduce the risk of comb filtering, leading to a very unnatural-sounding choir.

Using fewer, but properly placed directional microphones, such as the d:screet™ 4098 Supercardioid Microphone (podium or hanging), is the way to resolve this issue. Place the d:screet™ 4098 either on mic stands or suspend them from the ceiling. Point the capsules to the last row of singers. The directional pick-up pattern will attenuate the sounds to the side and produce a natural balance between the nearest (loudest but attenuated) and the furthest (weakest level, but performing to the microphones most sensitive direction). Follow the 3:1 distance rule, use proper panning—or a combination of the two.
 

The 3:1 Rule

The 3.1 rule deals with minimizing the audible phasing problems when summing a number of microphones to mono. The rule states that the source-to-microphone distance of numerous microphones should be three times the distance between the sound source and the nearest microphone.

Phase peaks and dips from the same sound source occur when panned to the same position at the same level, which will be the case if you’re using more than one microphone. The effect is equivalent to having your ear at two different places at one time!

A rule of thumb for minimizing phasing issues is to have around a 10-dB difference in level between the microphone contributions. The 3:1 distance rule achieves this. Another workaround is to pan microphones in the mix. Due to the nature of panning, this also creates level differences.
 

Recording

One way to produce a choir is by placing several spot microphones in the mix with a pan pot. The high definition and clarity offered by a number of DPA directional microphones d:dicate™ 4011A and d:dicate™2011A or d:dicate™4011C and d:dicate™ 2011C mics will help you do this. The latter two mics are hardly visible, especially when hanged.

Another way to produce natural sound with a choir is through the broad selection of DPA stereo kits. All kits are carefully matched and are available in sturdy cases with a range of optional accessories. Depending on style and acoustics of your recording room, choose one of the following kits:

d:dicate™ ST4011A with RSM Accessory Kit

The d:dicate™ ST4011A’s ORTF stereo technique is ideal as a spot pair for supporting a choir section of an orchestra. The stereo imaging and spread is superb and the small recording angle offers good separation.

d:dicate™ ST4006A with RSM Accessory Kit

Use the AB stereo to ensure the solo recordings of a choir blend in with the timbre of the recording space. DPA’s omnidirectional microphones offer you the most natural reproduction, capturing true room atmosphere.

The d:dicate™ 3532-SP Stereo Kit consists of two d:dicate™ 4041-SP Large Diaphragm Microphones for ultra low noise, high sensitivity AB stereo.

d:dicate™ ST4015A with RSM Accessory Kit

Recording choirs or other acoustic ensembles sometimes requires a compromise between blending in the room reverberation and a more precise localization. The wide cardioids are a good choice if your omnis are too open and your cardioids too isolated. Use an “oversized ORTF” configuration of approximately 40-cm spacing.

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