Better Way to Mic a Show Choir?

Chris Chapman

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Location
Greenville, Michigan, United States
Hey gang,

New to this site and it looks great. Hope someone can give me some advice on a better mic setup for a show choir.

Our show choir runs about 24-30 students who sing and dance on dance risers beneath an acoustic shell onstage. Hanging from the shell are 6 Shure MX202 Drop mics. Whenever I'm recording their performances I'm always fighting monitor masking in the recording. (Lots of monitor level onstage masks vocals.) Any hints on a better way to mic this group?

The Choral Director likes LOTS of onstage monitor level so this is a tough one. In my record mix I have the track isolated on a seperate master to mix with the Drops, but I just can't get a clean vocal that I like.

Thanks,

Chris Chapman
TD, Greenville Performing Arts Center
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
I am a bit confused are the microphones just for recording or for sound reinforcement? If they are only for recording then move them into the FOH and balance the monitor levels to what you would have for public concert.

Are the monitor speakers facing away from the hanging mikes if not do it this will reduce the pickup.

Also you need to tell the choir director that he can't have it both ways and that you can only do so much. If he does not listen just do your best and give him the best recording you can. It is not your fault if the CD won't help you.

Something else you could try is using boundary microphones placed on the platforms instead of the hanging. Place them on foam so they don't pickup the dancers feet. Make sure the monitors are behind the microphones so they are off axis and won't pickup as much.

Hope this helps.
 

jbeutt

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Location
Berkeley, Ca
can you first describe the orientation better? Are you dropping straight down? Where are the monitors in relation to your microphone.

Of course, the other question is which capsule are you using with the 202s?
 

Chris Chapman

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Location
Greenville, Michigan, United States
cutlunch said:
I am a bit confused are the microphones just for recording or for sound reinforcement? If they are only for recording then move them into the FOH and balance the monitor levels to what you would have for public concert.

Are the monitor speakers facing away from the hanging mikes if not do it this will reduce the pickup.
The mics are dual use. I'm running 2 mixes out of the 24 channel board we are using. A House mix and a recording mix. Monitors are facing away from drops.
 

Chris Chapman

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Location
Greenville, Michigan, United States
jbeutt said:
can you first describe the orientation better? Are you dropping straight down? Where are the monitors in relation to your microphone.

Of course, the other question is which capsule are you using with the 202s?

3 Rows of dance risers. (32 feet wide, 12 feet deep with an additional 12 feet of stage floor in front.) 2 Rows of 3 MX202 (SuperCardiod capsule) spaced roughly 12 feet apart from each mic. 8 feet above the deck, mic angles at roughly 45 degrees to pic up vocal from that angle.

The second row of 202's is about 12' upstage from the downstage row.

2 Rows of Monitors. Primary monitor line is downstage of the downstage mic line and the upstage monitor line is upstage of the upstage line of 202s.

So we are getting seperation and no monitor is facing into a mic pickup.

Hope that helps to clear up the setup.

I've tried foam mounting PCC's but the number of students dancing and the type of moves they do still sounds like a cattle herd.

-Chris
 

Peter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Location
MA, USA
I would have to agree on the micing from the audience. If that isnt really an option, I would try using some VERY carteroid mics (mics that only pick up from one side) and putting them between the monitors and the singers. It MAY be better as you will have the mics only directly picking up the singing and indirectly picking up the monitors. This idea really hinges on you having good mics that have strong enough pickup patterns.
 

jbeutt

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Location
Berkeley, Ca
One solution that may sound odd would be to use cardioid rather than supercardioid elements. Assuming these are standard wedge monitors, you could be getting pickup in that 180 degree lobe from top bounce either off your ceiling or that shell.

If however, there's enough stage volume the only thing that will fix your problem is getting the mics physically closer to the source. Your monitors are certainly bouncing off that shell and in that case polar patterns don't matter much. There is no practical audio trickery that will distinguish one of two equally loud sounds.
 

soundman1024

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Denver
Are these recording for you or is it for the choir director? If its just for you this won't work, but if its for the director and they're wanting a better recording tell them the stage volume needs to go down to attain that. At that point the director must decide what is most important, and you do what they say. Obviously trying to get a better recording without going to that is the best method.

Also anything that can be done to the the mics more in the space the performers are singing towards helps.
 

MircleWorker

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2006
Location
Grand Rapids, MI , USA
Hey Chris,

I know this is an old post but I wanted to put in my nickels worth. If you can get your mics downstage of the monitors so they are not over them, but not too far downstage so you will not get your PA in the mix.

I would recommend separate set of recording mics more out in the house, one you get a natural re-verb of the room. And second a set of mics for sound reinforcement. But you might run into a "phasing" issue or a slight delay effect if the mics are too close to your PA.

I use two AKG 414s, and Two shure KSM 32 for the recording. I hang them about 18 feet off the deck and 25 feet away from the Choir. About the same setup for band and orchestra.

If I have to mic a choir I use six AT853a, I hang them, or use micstands, about 12' away and try to be about 3' above the top row singer's heads.

Side note, I'm lucky that my Choir director here hates mics so I never have to reinforce the choirs with microphones. I just have to record them nicely.

I know it is hard for monitors onstage with a shell, I read somewhere about sound getting redirected off the shell. When you dial out the frequencies to eliminate the feedback, you lose the tone quality of the recording.

I guess I got Off Track, if your choirs are not loud enough for the microphones to hear them then you might have to be honest with the director about the monitors being too loud. I do have this problem with Elementary Choirs who mostly sing with a tracks or canned music. I just tell the Director that I can't have the Monitors that loud.
 

JSFox

Active Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Location
The Tundra
Make a couple of 'Y' mic cables with the mics out of phase. Use identical mics with one aimed at the choir and one at the monitor on each Y. You'll have to play with the distance a bit, but you should be able to successfully attenuate the monitors with little impact on the choir.
 

SHARYNF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Question still is what capsule are you using on the Shures
what mixer are you using?

the monitors are always facing the rear of the Shures?

if you can provide that might have some suggestions
Thanks
Sharyn
 

PhantomD

Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Location
Brisbane, Australia
To avoid phase problems use less mics.

I find I get a lot more gain-before-feedback using less microphones to reinforce a choir - and I just throw in a vocal reverb over the top. Beauty!

The rules are (thankyou Shure):
1) Use the least amount of mics possible (I would've thought they'd want to sell more)
2) The minimum spacing between each microphone is three times the distance between each mic and the choir. Do not use any more mics than that.
 

TimmyP1955

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Location
Indianapolis
.......
2 Rows of Monitors. Primary monitor line is downstage of the downstage mic line and the upstage monitor line is upstage of the upstage line of 202s.
-Chris
I'd say that you first need to work on the monitoring. Unless the upstage row of monitors is delayed to match the arrival time of the downstage row, there's likely a lot of confusing time cues. Even then, it only works for some of the singers, as most will still be getting multiple arrivals. Go to a single cluster DSC. This may solve some of the "need" for high monitor levels as well.
 

SHARYNF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Couple of points

the rule of mic separation is just a guideline, and really is mainly for mics be used as part of a mono feed. A very well respected technique for classic type of performances is what is called a Decca tree. http://mixonline.com/recording/applications/audio_decca_tree/

I have used versions of this for a wide variety of setups.

I would doubt that the issue with the dual rows of monitors is a DELAY issue, but certainly could be a phase issue. If the choir is using a band shell a series of monitors across in front of the stage should be just fine. NOW if you want to reduce the feedback possibility in the pick up mics, you can slightly delay the monitor feed, 2-5 ms assuming you have a digital delay and that will typically work quite well. Most of the time for a choir that is not needed since the level of monitor on stage should not need to compete or be at a very high level.

Sharyn
 

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