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Author Topic: Choir micing close to orchestra  (Read 488 times)

Dave.Smith

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Choir micing close to orchestra
« on: December 21, 2017, 11:57:54 am »

Reference attachments.

Our worship leader is into large productions.  We have a ~50 voice choir, ~10 piece brass orchestra, piano, drum kit, and bass guitar amp on stage.  The picture shows the size of our Christmas rehearsal.  The strings & woodwinds on the floor are not present during a normal church service, but the platform is full.

As you can see by the diagram, there is a mere three ft. separating the front row of the choir from the back of the orchestra.  There is sound absorbing baffling at the back of the orchestra, but it is only 4 ft. high.  The back wall behind the choir is a hard surface.  When the orchestra is practicing, I can feel vibrations on the back wall.

My current micing picks up the choir well enough, but there is significant bleed thru from the orchestra.

I have tried Earthworks choir mics in an AB comparison.  No difference in rear rejection.

I am considering adding a second row of mics to capture the third and fourth rows of the choir and also lowering the existing mics to capture just the first and second rows.  This should allow me to lower the gain settings and "hopefully" reduce the orchestra bleed thru.

The pastor is against any sound treatment expense.

Suggestions?
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Taylor Phillips

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 10:57:44 pm »

A group like this should be pretty loud to begin with, so use that to your advantage if you can.  Bleed from the orchestra is certain to happen in this situation, so it's on the conductor to balance out the groups before worrying about the mics.  While there might be an issue with the sound reflecting off of the back wall and into the choir mics, that should not be an issue with 50 people standing in front of it.  Judging by the position of the hanging mics, I don't know if lowering them would do you any good.   There's a possibility it will get them closer to the orchestra as well as the choir and thus cancel out the benefits.  Adding a couple of mics to pic up the rows in the back could do you quite well though, and should give you the opportunity to turn down the mics that are closer to the orchestra. 
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Luke Geis

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 11:46:27 pm »

The loudest signal at the mic will always win no matter what. So as long as the choir can sing their butts off you shouldn't have too much of an issue, but you may find that you have some phase issues with the orchestra if you plan on a multi mic setup.
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 07:01:34 am »

I don't your mic inventory, but I've overcome of this problem by using stand-mounted AKG 414s switched to the 'almost figure-eight' pattern and placing them so that the orchestra is as much in the least sensitive part of the pattern as possible. Yes, you'll have a big lobe pointed opposite from the choir, but in my situation that lobe was aimed high enough above the orchestra so as to not cause a problem.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 07:20:28 am »

so it's on the conductor to balance out the groups before worrying about the mics. 
THIS!
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Jon Dees

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2017, 07:52:41 pm »

Reference attachments.

Our worship leader is into large productions.  We have a ~50 voice choir, ~10 piece brass orchestra, piano, drum kit, and bass guitar amp on stage.  The picture shows the size of our Christmas rehearsal.  The strings & woodwinds on the floor are not present during a normal church service, but the platform is full.

As you can see by the diagram, there is a mere three ft. separating the front row of the choir from the back of the orchestra.  There is sound absorbing baffling at the back of the orchestra, but it is only 4 ft. high.  The back wall behind the choir is a hard surface.  When the orchestra is practicing, I can feel vibrations on the back wall.

My current micing picks up the choir well enough, but there is significant bleed thru from the orchestra.

I have tried Earthworks choir mics in an AB comparison.  No difference in rear rejection.

I am considering adding a second row of mics to capture the third and fourth rows of the choir and also lowering the existing mics to capture just the first and second rows.  This should allow me to lower the gain settings and "hopefully" reduce the orchestra bleed thru.

The pastor is against any sound treatment expense.

Suggestions?

I have found that most hanging mics are too high.

I switched to stand-mounted AKG C480+CK61 x8 for an 80 voice choir in 4 rows. 4 K&M 25200B + clampy things halfway down the stand at about 4' 8" for the front rows. This helped some but didn't solve it. Finally got where i wanted with 3-4 Audix 1250's with 50" or 84" booms as needed depending on the layout. I would try the hypercardioid version in your application.

Sorry for the recommendation to spend more $$, but going from expensive C480's to relatively inexpensive 1250 microboom products was a revelation in isolation and GBF. The first rehearsal with a moderately large choral group with group projection (~40 voices) and 2 mics I got enough gain to hear their breathing on an a capella song.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2017, 08:21:56 pm »

So, why not hang the Audix mics at the height that you want them?  I prefer hanging mics in HOW applications because, in my experience, they will be more consistently placed.

We experimented with some Peavey condensors not long ago- at first they seemed much much better than the Shure hanging mics we had installed-but after tweaking the mics in a blind test ( the people being polled had no idea I was changing mics between song phrases) there was virtually no difference.

My thought with the OP, would be to move the mics back-perhaps even over the front choir row, then move the strongest choir singers to the 2nd or 3rd row.  Likely off axis response on the mics wil pick up the front row almost as well as the back row is being picked up now.  No doubt there are downsides to this- but no up front cost to try.
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Steve Swaffer

Kyle Waters

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Re: Choir micing close to orchestra
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 11:47:40 pm »

I got away from condensers.  They are too sensitive, especially in the high end.  Went with Heil PR30's (large diaphragm dynamics) and have never looked back.  Take a look at them.  Just got through with our Christmas program with a full orchestra, this is our 3rd year with them. Whatever you do, get away from hanging mics. Micing a choir from above puts the rejection end of the microphone in the air pointing to the ceiling. Not helping you much. I'm becoming a Heil fanatic.  Just bought 7 Heil pr20's for utility use. 
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