Recording a quartet

I would like some suggestions. I’m recording 4 singers (bas, tenor, alto, soprano). They will be performing in what I think is an accoustically nice room with a neat reverb. How would I go about micing them?
I have several AKG and Sennheiser dynamic mics available, as well as a condensor mic mounted at the roof. I’d like to capture some of the room ambience, so I figured it’s probably not the best to just mike all 4 of them straight up.

Additional problem is that I can only record 3 signals at the time. I could mix outboard if necessary, but knowing myself it’s probably safer to just record from 3 mics. How would you set it up?

If you’ve got 3 omni’s you could use the Decca Tree method, otherwise I’d go for some kind of stereo pair with Cardiods.


If the room is nice and they are good singers that sing together a lot (they know how loud to sing in relation to each other) I would try spaced omni, or an omni/cardioid/or M-S setup near near with a room mic or 2.

I just recorded a group of 6 yesterday with a 1 cardioid about the width of the group away in front of them and with an omni room mic 7 or 8’ in the air further back.

I’m kinda feeling spaced omnis closer but not on top of them with a room mic if the room is good.

Get a feel of what the recording is for and what you want it to sound like then set up to record a way to sound like you want it to. Hear the stereo image before you place the mics. (That is where I derive my recording setups from since there isn’t any rules unless you have a bad room or something you have to “work” with)

Also, Always with multi-micing: Phase reverse and check, move the mic… phase reverse and check… listen…

Thanks guys :slight_smile:

Like I said, I have some dynamic mics, no condensors (other than the one in the roof).
I figured a stereo pair would probably be my best bet, together with the roof mic.

So the stereo pair, where would you place them? (not really interested in math here, just like to know what works :sunglasses: )

@Tom: They are good singers but have never sang together before, so that’s a little tricky.
Spaced omnis closer: This means simply putting 2 mics on a stand ~1 m in front of each duo?

Omnis meaning omni directional microphones :smiley:

I don’t know what mics you have and I am heading out in a few minutes… Post what mics you have and I am sure you will get some great suggestions. I’ll try to pop back on when I hop out of the shower. (not that you really needed to know that!)

Thanks, went off to bed instead, hope you don’t mind :sunglasses: Timezones etc.
Anyway, exact models of the AKG’s I don’t know, but I’m guessing they’re D5’s.
The Sennheisers are E815S’s.

I also have a Behringer Ultravoice (I know), and an old electret mic I forgot the make off.
It doesn’t have to be professional, just like to know how to get the best out of the available tools :slight_smile:

Recording will be through my Terratec Audio interface and pre-amps, but I could also use the channel strips on a Behringer ultralive mixer at the location. There is a hardware dual channel compressor there, but I’m not sure I’ll be allowed to rewire it (Not even sure how to access it), so I’ll only be able to use that in the signal chain for the roof condensor, which is part of the existing setup.

Thanks for the input so far, was hoping you would get involved Tom :smiley:

I would consider (due to the mics you have) setting up either 2 or 4 dynamic mics in front of each singer 6"ish if four or 12"ish if 2 (shared) in front of each singer then use the Condenser on a high stand further in front and highish up for room.

Remembering to check placement for sound and phase issues.

Thanks mate. What do you mean with shared?

2 mics 4 singers 2 singers per mic (shared)

…(: singer
…(: singer

Ah right, ok thanks, that’s what I thought.
So this is the final setup:

…(: singer1
…(: singer2
…(: singer3
…(: singer4

-edit- blah, the forum deletes all my spaces :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, that middle mic is placed further away from the singers.

Yeah, given you have three inputs, two dynamics and one condenser.

I put the dots in because of the deletion of spaces :cry:

Remember the 3 to 1 rule “Two microphones, intended to pick up two sound sources must be placed apart at least three times the distance that either microphone is from it’s intended sound source.”

Oh and also

If your condenser cant do omni.

To capture an equal amount of room ambiance, a cardioid microphone must be placed twice as far from a source as an omnidirectional pattern microphone.

Ok, that’s interesting. I thought you could do stereo recordings with 2 mics pretty much on top of eachother, facing in a different direction. I’ll keep it in mind though.

Yes you can but thats different if you think about it!

Ah yes, you’re right, I didn’t read you right. Ok thanks, I should be able to go from here :slight_smile: