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Author Topic: Recording an acapella group  (Read 81 times)

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Offline prepschoolalumniblues

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Recording an acapella group
« on: Yesterday at 04:33:55 PM »
I have the opportunity to record an acapella group this week and I was curious about how others might handle taping this performance. I’ve never recorded a concert that doesn’t have any instruments and I’m not sure how that variation will change my understanding of standard recording setups to use.

There are a few older threads on this topic (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=31372.0, http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=97009.0) but they’re over a decade old and focus on specific mics. Most of the Gearslutz threads focus on studio recording or a significant number of microphones in a multitrack arrangement.

My question is slightly different from those mentioned above: if you were limited to a stereo pair of either cards or omnis (which I am)... how might you approach recording a small unaccompanied choral group? Would you lean towards something directional or not? What kind of height, spacing, and angle would you consider?

I’m excited for the chance to record a very different sonic situation than I’m used to and would value any input you might have.
Mics
Omnis: Church Audio CA-14, Sound Professionals Ear-Hook Ultra Low Noise Binaurals (MS-EHB-2-PREM)
Cards: Sound Professionals ATU853 (SP-CMC-4U) with low-sensitivity mod

Recorder
Marantz PMD620 MKII

Offline voltronic

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Re: Recording an acapella group
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 08:18:46 PM »
Are you "taping" in the sense of recording a PA system like any other amplified show, or are you recording them acoustic, and up close on / near stage? 

In other words, is this a pop-style a cappella group where everyone is individually mic'd up through a PA, or it is an a cappella choir that performs without PA reinforcement?

If it's the first situation, there are many people here who can advise you on the best setup for that.  If it's the second, I can help you.  I am a choral singer and conductor, and recording choirs (without amplification) is what I do all the time.

Other helpful information to get you the best answer would be the size and setup of the group, the types of music being performed, the performance space, and what kind of access you will be granted for placing your recording equipment.
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Offline prepschoolalumniblues

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Re: Recording an acapella group
« Reply #2 on: Today at 12:05:36 AM »
Thank you for your detailed questions!


...is this a pop-style a cappella group where everyone is individually mic'd up through a PA, or it is an a cappella choir that performs without PA reinforcement?

...Other helpful information to get you the best answer would be the size and setup of the group, the types of music being performed, the performance space, and what kind of access you will be granted for placing your recording equipment.


The group is roughly a dozen men and women who will be performing covers of pop songs. My understanding is that they’ll use a microphone (on a stand but can be hand-held) for the soloist but the rest of the group (two rows of sixish performers standing behind the soloist in a bit of an arc-shape) won’t have additional microphones. They’ll also occasionally do a little bit of moving around on stage (not full-on dancing but more than just hand movements).

The performance will take place in a small hall (think town hall, grange hall, church basement kind of space) with a very low stage and folding chairs for the audience. Beer and wine will be for sale so I’m not sure what the audience noise level will be like.

My understanding is that I’ll be able to set up my equipment anywhere as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the performers or audience. I’ve been asked to arrive about an hour before doors open to the public so I’ll have plenty of time to set things up properly. I believe they’re fine with my gear on or near the stage. Ultimately, while they’d love to capture this moment on tape, their primarily priority is to provide a live show, so I’d like to probably err on the side of unobtrusive.

If it’s helpful, here’s a recent video of the group: https://youtu.be/mkX53mFjYWI
Mics
Omnis: Church Audio CA-14, Sound Professionals Ear-Hook Ultra Low Noise Binaurals (MS-EHB-2-PREM)
Cards: Sound Professionals ATU853 (SP-CMC-4U) with low-sensitivity mod

Recorder
Marantz PMD620 MKII

 

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