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Old September 6th, 2015, 03:12 PM   #61
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

+1 on renting this time. Your out of time to make an educated purchase decision. We could all debate the "which one is best" thing for another 100 posts and still not reach a consensus. At one point you were considering two Shure instrument mics. Not the best choice for this job and a very poor investment for future use.

Throwing money into a high end purchase is not the solution. They have even told you how to do it with what you have. I don't see any reason why you will not be able to pull this off to a reasonable level of quality. You have the rehearsal to get the bugs out. That means everything. And don't worry about the small size of your lavs, that is the least of considerations. And choir people are used to small capsules hanging over them anyway.

You have at least four recorders I know of. Place them strategically around the room as suggested. Make your direct recording of the choir and you will be able to come up with an acceptable mix.

Also, if you plan on using the X/Y mic on the H5 as another backup recording it can't be literally in your hands at that point, it is very sensitive to handling noise, you need it mounted on a tripod in front of you. It has a 1/4 20 lug for that. You will be able to make adjustments and not make noise that way.

Good Luck Craig!

Steve
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Old September 6th, 2015, 03:14 PM   #62
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig McKenna View Post
Here's a proper recording of the venue, which I think has been completed by a broadcasting company:
They put that choir up behind the altar in a rather smaller space. That is the traditional "cathedral placement" where they have two rows of choristers facing each other. Do you think that is their intent?

Notice in the video at 3:25 what appears to be a Schoeps Colette-series microphone head mounted on the end of an extension tube.

Microphone Capsules - SCHOEPS.de
Colette Tubes - SCHOEPS.de

That is VERY CLOSE micing. I have to believe that it is a "spot mic" for a soloist rather than the general chorus pickup. OTOH, at 4:20 we hear some unusually loud page-turning noises which suggests quite close mic placement.

I have loved that Berlioz "Shepherd's Farewell" since I sang it back 42 years ago with a small choir.
http://www.rcrowley.com/scholacantor...20Farewell.mp3
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Old September 6th, 2015, 04:08 PM   #63
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
+1 on renting this time. Your out of time to make an educated purchase decision. We could all debate the "which one is best" thing for another 100 posts and still not reach a consensus. At one point you were considering two Shure instrument mics. Not the best choice for this job and a very poor investment for future use.

Throwing money into a high end purchase is not the solution. They have even told you how to do it with what you have. I don't see any reason why you will not be able to pull this off to a reasonable level of quality. You have the rehearsal to get the bugs out. That means everything. And don't worry about the small size of your lavs, that is the least of considerations. And choir people are used to small capsules hanging over them anyway.

You have at least four recorders I know of. Place them strategically around the room as suggested. Make your direct recording of the choir and you will be able to come up with an acceptable mix.

Also, if you plan on using the X/Y mic on the H5 as another backup recording it can't be literally in your hands at that point, it is very sensitive to handling noise, you need it mounted on a tripod in front of you. It has a 1/4 20 lug for that. You will be able to make adjustments and not make noise that way.

Good Luck Craig!

Steve
Hmmm OK! I was advised on the Sennheiser 8040 and 40-P48 though, and they look like good investments?

Cheers Steve!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
They put that choir up behind the altar in a rather smaller space. That is the traditional "cathedral placement" where they have two rows of choristers facing each other. Do you think that is their intent?
Thankfully not. Their intent is to place themselves in a semi-circle, which I believe will be with two rows of 8. It's not going to be like the film itself, but it is a good example of what the room is like and how the audio will sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Notice in the video at 3:25 what appears to be a Schoeps Colette-series microphone head mounted on the end of an extension tube.

Microphone Capsules - SCHOEPS.de
Colette Tubes - SCHOEPS.de

That is VERY CLOSE micing. I have to believe that it is a "spot mic" for a soloist rather than the general chorus pickup. OTOH, at 4:20 we hear some unusually loud page-turning noises which suggests quite close mic placement.

I have loved that Berlioz "Shepherd's Farewell" since I sang it back 42 years ago with a small choir.
http://www.rcrowley.com/scholacantor...20Farewell.mp3
Man, that's some impressive investigatory work, Richard! Thanks! I don't believe that I will be expected to unravel such a recording, nor would I expect the audio to be anywhere near this level as is obvious at this moment.

Thanks for all your help, though!

I guess what it's come down to are the following options:

1. Keep my gear, use 11Ds on the position described on the light stand.

2. Buy a Rode NT4, use an 11D as a back up.

3. Buy a Sennheiser MKH 8040 and use the 11D as a back up.

4. Try to find a way to converse with a rental company tomorrow, even though I am working and won't find an easy way to access a phone. Then hope that I can get a mic delivered that is optimal for the recording at hand. I dislike this option, as I'd like to have a cordioid mic in my arsenal.

What would everyone do in my position?
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Old September 6th, 2015, 04:54 PM   #64
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Those cardioids are usually used in pairs so you would buy 2 of the MKH 8040s. But before I spent that much money I would rent either a pair of those or a pair of MKH40s which are going to have a similar sound. Then I would buy only if I knew I was going to have plenty of opportunities to put them to work. I'm looking at it more from a business perspective and try to be conservative with capital.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 05:04 PM   #65
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

That's a no! Wouldn't one work just as well in the proposed way???

I realise that renting would be right from a business perspective, but I'm struggling to rent as I cannot contact a company tomorrow until late afternoon, and by then, it may be too late.

Maybe the NT4 and 11D is the way to go!
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Old September 6th, 2015, 05:11 PM   #66
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

"I want a cardiod mic in my kit"

Then I would save a thousand dollars and buy two Shure SM57s for $99.00 each

I know you really like the idea of spending for top shelf mics. But if you know the history of the SM57 & SM58 you would realize they are not really $99.00 mics. Everyone needs them in there kit. As I said before, you could hand one to Mick Jagger or Bono and they would not scoff at it. Virtually every big name in rock n roll has used a SM58. And you can find them at any local music store.

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Old September 6th, 2015, 05:14 PM   #67
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
"I want a cardiod mic in my kit"

Then I would save a thousand dollars and buy two Shure SM57s for $99.00 each

I know you really like the idea of spending for top shelf mics. But if you know the history of the SM57 & SM58 you would realize they are not really $99.00 mics. Everyone needs them in there kit. As I said before, you could hand one to Mick Jagger or Bono and they would not scoff at it. Virtually every big name in rock n roll has used a SM58. And you can find them at any local music store.

Steve

What about getting three of them, using a H6 to monitor all three in a left right and centre configuration?

Sounds like a plan! If this is better than the NT4 solution! :-)
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Old September 6th, 2015, 06:31 PM   #68
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Craig,

It might be worth trying but I don't want to send there. Those mics are work horses but far from perfect for this application. With a H6 you would be asking too much from the consumer pre amps. To get your sensitivity up high enough you would be introducing noise. They are vocal mics but designed to handle high SPL levels. I would want some other guys to chime in like Richard and Rick to see if they are a viable option at your distance? At some point you are going to need to invest in a high quality mixer with pre amps that can drive sensitivity up without noise. A $1,200.00 mic going into a consumer pre amp will still be noisy and not save you. This is about signal flow, not just mics.

You have the big guns of this audio forum helping you out here if they are still on this. Far better advice than I can give.

Steve
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Old September 6th, 2015, 06:53 PM   #69
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Craig,

Church "audio engineers" are often a member of the congregation that volunteer or get nominal pay for his services. My guess is he is paid something at that place and they are not even willing to contribute that. But....that is not your local corner church. Somewhere in that building is an equipment room filled with everything you need. Did you ask your contact if she will make their resources available to you? Behind door number one sits a gold mine....

Steve
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Old September 6th, 2015, 09:31 PM   #70
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
I would save a thousand dollars and buy two Shure SM57s for $99.00 eachSteve
Yes, I would use them to record Jagger or Bono. But I would never use them to record a choir in this situation.

I once got a VERY last-minute call to record a piano and string quintet. I had a portable recorder and phones in the car, but did not have time to drive back to get good mics. I recorded the performance with a pair of SM57s which I had in the car (left over from a PA gig). It was one of the worst recordings I ever made .. and that includes some pretty bad ones I made when I was still in high school. IMHO 57s are definitely not the right mic for this job.)
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Old September 6th, 2015, 09:57 PM   #71
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

I can hardly think of a worse microphone to use for that kind of recording than a Shure SM57/58. If you are a head-banging, heavy-metal rocker then the SM mics are the standard of the industry. But for this kind of distant, acoustic genre, nobody would use one of those old clunkers.
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Old September 7th, 2015, 12:04 AM   #72
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Listen to them, except the old clunker part, they still have a place in every general purpose kit, even today IMHO. But very true not for this gig ;-)

Craig, I don't think anyone will dispute this (but hey, you never know) When it comes to audio, I think in terms of signal flow. Again (we went here before) I think you are trying to compensate for a difficult situation by believing throwing a lot of money into a quality mic will fix a problem. Microphones come in so many types so you can find one with the characteristics to suite the job. Characteristics is more important than the price tag, within reason.

Basic signal flow in this case goes like this: Mic (analog) generates signal, a very low level electrical signal, cable, the path of the signal, H5 or H6, signal processing and recording device, serves as mixer/recorder in this case, mixer part is pre amp, gain/volume processing stage, then codec, A/D processing, analog to digital file processing. So even in your very simple mic to SD card process several things happen to the signal.

A signal processed by a cheap pre amp will be a poor quality signal even if it comes from a very expensive mic of the wrong type. Mics do not necessarily go up in sensitivity with price. Sensitivity is a character of type, not price.You need the right mic for this job. You have asked that question repeatedly. My vote would be the Rode NT4. But again, I am a hack compared to the other guys here providing advice!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old September 7th, 2015, 01:00 AM   #73
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Any other votes for an NT4?

Thanks everyone.
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Old September 7th, 2015, 02:00 AM   #74
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

Five pages of responses all pretty well saying the same thing.

Recording in a cathedral for something that can be released as a professional sounding CD is not a beginners task. In fact, the recording equipment is not that much of an issue, but where is the monitoring location? Mic placement is EVERYTHING! Most people who do this kind of thing for recording or broadcast will find a vestry, or other space where they can set up speakers, and the use radios to guide the person near the choir to move the mics in/out, up/down, toe in or out. You can guarantee the best place is the worst place for video. For broadcast, the common method, for programmes like BBC songs of praise is to mime (sorry, lip-sync). If the performance needs recording in site, then it's done in the usual ugly style, then mics are removed and the video shot to playback. Venues that have live broadcasting often have flying points installed so you can fly the cluster on 3mm aircraft cable, opening up the floor, but this is sophisticated stuff.

Reverb time and reflections can completely mess up a recording, so the recordists need decent time with the choir to find the right locations for them and the mics. You cannot guess this. It's crazy. In fact, a few years ago I was involved in a UK exam where college kids needed to record poppy studio stuff AND natural recording techniques. They managed studio stuff well, and the church and cathedral stuff was dire! Usually a complete mess, because multiple arrival times and paths wreck clarity when you get it wrong.


You need monitoring and somebody skilled to get it set the recording kit set up, and time- lots of it.

If I were doing this I'd want three evenings with everyone, a decent and understanding choir master, and good management, because just getting a choir to not make any noise for six seconds after the last note is amazingly difficult, wrecking perfect takes. If visuals are critical they MUST be lip-synced. You cannot listen critically to the music, ready to stop it if you are also watching a screen.

My advice is that you are being unrealistic for a first attempt at audio of this nature. It's very complex stuff if you want clarity. Easy to get mud!
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Old September 7th, 2015, 02:25 AM   #75
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Re: Urgent Help: Advice Recording a Choir (16 Members) in a Cathedral 9 Second Echo

I presume the budget for the whole video is the 500 you mentioned and as it is a promo I would be keeping it simple.

OK you can record the choir and the NT4 would be fine but you will need to place it about 8 feet in front of the choir and it will be in shot but that may be fine for a promo. Personally I would just rig my Sony ECM- MS-957 mic and record it to my minidisc / marantz recorder or feed it to two tracks of my camera.

Another alternative is to just buy one of those small Zoom or Tascam recorders with built in mic's and place it on a mic stand central and 8 feet from the choir. You have 500 here so we are not talking about a Radio 3 production so they get what they are given. You will also need to sync up the stereo audio with your camera mic scratch track but this way at least you can just set the recorder running and concentrate on the visuals. Record a rehearsal and listen to what is the best place to have the mic/recorder. You will also need to set the levels but this should be possible in rehearsal too and you will need to have the low cut filter on if it has one or add one in the edit to stop external traffic rumble.

You will need to monitor what you are recording and as Paul has said the critical element is actually getting a useable audio track that reflects the quality of their performance. That also includes the end as everyone needs to be quiet as the reverb tails off but hey this is a promo so will the end actually feature?

We did Opera Singer Jessie Norman at Durham Cathedral many years ago for Highway and as the reverb was tailing off someone came in through the door and it slammed shut, she refused to do another take so we had to stitch some reverb on in post.

One other way round this is to just record the choir visually with a scratch audio track and then when the final CD is produced cut the pictures to the sound track that is on the CD.

We used to do this all the time at Tyne Tees on The Tube and we did a Tina Turner video this way as she was in the studio recording the theme to Mad Max Thunderdome months before the film or CD was released so all we did was then manually piece together the visuals to match the final music track.

I would guess the choir will generally sing the pieces at roughly the same speed but you will bve amazed how clever editing can cover a multitude of lip syncing and besides there are 16 of them so not all of them will be in perfect lip sync.

Besides you may be able to get a better promo by being arty with the pictures and on most promo's lip sync is not the primary critical visual element as some artists just want to look good for their public.
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