Hello Folks. I am looking for some advice for the singer setup for our portable church situation. This church meets in a gym and uses a different worship team each week. If the number of singers is over 6, we usually set up SM81 condenser mics on boom stands in front of the singers covering 3 singers per mic. The problem is with using monitors. The singers want to hear each other but when the condenser mic inputs are put into the monitors, there can be feedback issues. I would like for the singers to be able to hear themselves. Can we accomplish using condenser mics for singing teams AND use stage monitors with their inputs in the mix? If so, what do we need to consider to pull this off?
Thanks in advance for the advice!
This has nothing to do with them being condenser mics. It is all about SPL at the mic. When you group mic you are moving the mic away from the sound source (singers in this case) and making the singers and the monitor speaker be more equidistant to the mic. You also have singers that are not listening to each other (or can't hear each other because of stage volume) even though they are being miced as an ensemble, and are instead trying to hear each other through the monitors. The loudest sound at the mic wins. If the SPL from the monitors that is reaching the mic is nearly the same as the SPL reaching the mic from the singers then you will have feedback problems. As you approach feedback, even before there is ringing, you begin to significantly altar the tone of the sound.
If you want to group mic the singers they need to be arranged so that they can hear each other without the monitors. At least so that each group can hear and harmonize to the singers within their own group without hearing themselves in the monitors. Then only the other groups are in a given monitor. This would help. It would also help to get mics much closer to singers making the difference in voice level vs. monitor level getting to the mic biased toward voice. One singer per mic or two singers per mic rather than 3 perhaps. With 2 per mic the mic can split each pair of singers.
The monitor to singer arrangement also makes a big difference to what the singers hear vs. what sound gets to the mic. Very few monitors have a pattern that will allow three singers wide to hear an even balance, many can't get two singers wide in their coverage pattern. When the monitor coverage is too narrow the monitor gets turned up to a much higher level in order for the singers to hear what they need to making the feedback problem even more pronounced. A successful solution for you will have to do with arranging people and equipment properly and also with having the necessary amount of each rather than keeping the same arrangement/layout and changing out equipment types.