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What Is Different About Choir Microphones?

February 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 200

Choirs have been attracting church-goers for centuries, from the medieval choral singers of Europe to the modern-day gospel groups of America. For as great as they sound, they are tricky to properly record, which is why choosing the right choir microphones is an important decision.

First, the recorder needs a mic that is able to handle the dynamics of a church choir. Choral singing can go from soft and gentle to loud and boisterous all within the same song. Choir microphones needs to capture all of this with little noise or distortion, which is why a condensor microphone is the typical choice of professional engineers. Condensors do vary among themselves, so it is important to choose a model with a flat frequency response. That means a mic that will record all the lows and highs equally. Some mics are geared to pick up bass more than treble (or the other way around), but because of the dynamism of a choir, all range of frequencies must be captured properly. While a high-quality condensor mic can cost thousands of dollars, there are plenty of affordable options for those who are on a limited budget, but still want acceptable choir mics.

Another reason that a condensor mic is a good choice for a choir mic is because of its polar pattern. The polar pattern of a microphone refers to the area around the diaphragm where the mic is most sensitive. Microphones with an omni-directional polar pattern record everything around the mic equally, while uni-directional microphones can be aimed at a specific spot. Condensor mics have cardioid patterns, which means they record everything in front of the mic, while rejecting noise from the back. This is perfect for recording choirs, because the microphone is able to absorb the entire choir while blocking out nearly all of the audience noise.

There's also the debate over the number of choir microphones one should when recording. The more expensive choir mics are able to record large groups of singers with only a single microphone. In most cases, however, it is recommended that the engineer use at least two mics for the average choir, in order to ensure equal clarity throughout the vocalists.

Finally, there is microphone placement. For purposes of authenticity, many choirs are recorded live in their place of worship as opposed to the studio. Because of this, choir microphones should not be too conspicuous so as not to disturb the energy between the singers and the church-goers. When using two mics, placing one at left-center, in front of the singers, and one at right-center usually produces satisfactory results. The microphones should also be placed at least 5 feet away from the singers, which not only makes them less conspicuous, but allows them to pick up the reverberation of the church, which is key to capturing the ideal choir sound. The angle at which the choir mics are aimed is just as important. It is best to position each mic at the mouths of the singers, but from above at a slight angle downward. This will pick up the crispness of their voices, while at the same time dodging any heavy breathing, which can cause unwanted noise, referred to as "plosives," in the microphone.

Considering that there are choirs in every town, there is no shortage of opportunities to perfect the skill of recording with choir microphones properly. Just knowing the right mic to use and how to use it can solve most of the problems associated with recording these dynamic and exciting singing groups.

Source: EzineArticles
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