Backstage Choir - Tech Specs
I put together a few technical notes to accompany Andy’s recent post about the backstage choir setup… These specs will make a great deal more sense if you check it out first below.
The basic setup uses (2) AT-4050’s to pick up the singers studio-style. Since this setup is in the middle of a busy backstage area, we use a couple of SE Electronics reflection filters to give a bit of focus and directionality to what the mic is hearing. There are plenty of old drum shields floating around too that have further helped isolate some of the unwanted background noise.
For monitoring I send 1 mono mix down to (2) Rolls headphone amps. This gives each singer a volume attenuator and a set of studio headphones that offer a bit of isolation to what they’re hearing.
We’ve also supplied a 40” monitor with the video program feed so they can keep their bearings of what’s going on out front—this is quite important so they can stay connected with the other parts of a service.
This isn’t a real pretty setup but it’s extremely flexible, is easy for the stage crew to setup and strike while remaining quite functional—everything is already something we had on hand and using road-cases for tables and such is perfectly acceptable for a backstage area (or my office).
I’ll second what Andy said about getting a full sound—I still have to be careful with how I use this in the mix so it doesn’t take over or sound contrived but it’s an effective and creative way to bulk up the “bigness” of the vocal sound.
Even though this is far from conventional or standard to how one would normally mic or utilize a small choir or ensemble—it bodes well that there really are no rules in creating good audio. Achieving success by adapting to a situation based on factors like content or set design can send you in a completely different direction. We’ve had a love/hate relationship with the sound of a properly mic’d choir for quite some time—strictly from a mix standpoint, our house mix precludes a choir from being very effective in the house—this process has allowed us to revisit some of the same sounds while going a different direction.
You can hear this setup in action on both of the weekend service videos below: