For worship environments that are able to support choral performances, there are two main methods used in miking the choir; stand-mounted small diaphragm condenser microphones placed in front of the choir and hanging microphones designed to be suspended from the ceiling. Small diaphragm condenser mics are highly sensitive and can be used to capture musical instruments in both relatively close or distant environments.

There are a variety of recording techniques available when placing condenser mics in front of the choir. While you will have to experiment a bit to see what works best in your particular situation, here are some basic guidelines to help you get started:

  • Place your mics correctly (see the "3 to 1" rule below)
  • Use the least number of microphones necessary
  • Make sure the choir sings naturally and not "at" the mics
  • Don't over amplify the choir
  • Make sure unused microphones are off

The 3 To 1 Rule

When you use individual microphones on a group of instruments or vocalists this rule states that the microphones should be at least three times as far apart as they are from the source. For example, a microphone five feet away from the direct source would be 15 feet apart from the next microphone. This method improves clarity by reducing the chance of multiple microphones picking up the same sound source. If you have the space, you'll want to divide your choir or instruments into sections that are covered by a single microphone. Just remember, when miking an area, the fewer mics the better, and keep away from air ducts, speakers or any other noise sources that could negatively affect your clarity.

 

 

If you have the space, you'll want to divide your choir or instruments into sections that are covered by a single microphone. Just remember, when miking an area, the fewer mics the better, and keep away from air ducts, speakers or any other noise sources that could negatively affect your clarity. The microphones represented in the image above can either be on mic stands or hung, depending on which works best for you.

Audix Microphones has a very informative video series on how to mic a choir:

 

Next: Miking The Musicians


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