Ask the expert – Mic recommendations for a choir

Ask the expert – Mic recommendations for a choir

We tackled a question on mic recommendations for groups of singers a while back. This question is particularly pertinent in the run up to Christmas with festive choirs.

Sara Chambers from Alaska emails with a supplementary question:

“Hello!  Thank you for your good work!  I appreciated the article “Ask the Expert – mic recommendations for groups of singers” on September 6.  However, the choral mic’ing solution didn’t address a “deep” choir, where the male voices may be a few tiers higher than the women, and therefore too far from the mic to be heard.  (Our choir is about 15 people and sits on three riser levels.)

What choral mic solution would you (or Tim Horton) recommend in that situation?  We are currently facing the issue and would love some help.”

Tim Horton, Project Manager at SFL Group, replies:

If the choir really is that small – 15 people, three tiers, five people per tier, then the same technique I recommended before applies. A pair of mics at the front in front of the second and fourth people in the rows. (Not the SM58 in the photo though!) The voices will naturally blend together. Let the vocalists do the work, not the mics. You shouldn’t be looking to redress the imbalance of choir levels by mic’ing each section – it’s impossible in the live environment.

Even if it is bigger and it’s 15 people per tier on three tiers (45 total) the technique remains. We do a gig with a choir of 200+ who are spread across 6-8 tiers, 30-odd people wide, and there are 6 mics on the front 3-4 rows, with a further 6 mics in front of the back 3-4 rows. This 200+ choir was just part of a large gospel group, with a (loud) 12-piece band, 8 BVs and lead vocals. The advantage of huge choirs is that you don’t need huge numbers of mics. There’s enough of a critical mass for just a few mics to pickup appropriately.