Audio Solutions Question of the Week: Do You Have Any Tips for Using Audio-Technica Mics with a Holiday Choir?

Do you have any tips for using Audio-Technica microphones with a Holiday Choir?

Recording a holiday choir with Audio-Technica microphones.

Answer: Certainly. The holidays are rapidly approaching and the Audio-Technica Audio Solutions Department is happy to supply some helpful tips for microphone selection, setup, and operation when miking a choir. Houses of worship may already have hanging microphones such as the U853R installed and ready to use. Other situations may require a setup that is portable for use in different configurations and applications. As always with audio, each situation is different and there is no one “right way” to accomplish your goal. But by following helpful tips and experimenting, you’ll be well on your way to capturing great audio from choirs.

There are plenty of options when choosing microphones for recording purposes only. But selecting microphones for sound reinforcement is a trickier business, since you’ll be amplifying the sound. The largest obstacles you’ll need to avoid are feedback and acoustic phase interference. It is important to consider these problems when selecting and setting up your microphones.

Audio-Technica MicrophonesIf you don’t already have them, selecting appropriate microphones will be your first step. Small-diaphragm condenser microphones are popular choir microphone choices, as are the AE5100 and the U853R. These microphones are often used on stands out in front of the choir. (The U853R microphone is traditionally considered a “hanging microphone,” but it includes the AT8438 stand adapter.)

Microphone placement is key to a successful setup. Finding the perfect spot for good gain before feedback and good blend, while not obstructing the view of the choir can take time, experimentation, and patience. This is why sound technicians are often heavily caffeinated. Following the fundamental audio “tricks” such as the “3:1 Rule” (distance between microphones should be at least three times the distance between the mics and the closest performer) should be considered as well to help create the best possible situation. Remember to take your time and keep on experimenting.

Once everything is set up and the sound systems have been tuned properly to avoid common feedback frequency issues, you may begin your sound check with the choir. Choir microphones work well for enhancing the sound; they’re not magic wands. Microphones can only “hear” what is put in front of them, and if a choir is singing too softly, increasing the gain of the microphones is not the best solution. However, solving such issues should include discussions with the choir director or performers, as we all need to be reminded now and then. If a microphone is receiving a good, strong signal, it may be used to help with articulation and presence in larger spaces. Again, experimenting can be done with additional close microphones (such as handheld microphones) that are used by key performers to supplement the choir sound.

For further questions on which Audio-Technica microphone may work best for your choir miking applications, contact our Audio Solutions Department.

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