I know this is a long question but I'm looking for manufacturers recommendations for mike selection (& usage if you have time) for both live performances and recordings for barbershop quartets (a cappella male voices). Live performance micing is always difficult as we need to capture the full natural voice with all the overtones. The locations can be small rooms, large auditoriums, convention centers, or outdoor venues (these can be noisy, windy, whatever). Most quartets need monitors and in-ear monitors are not possible. Feedback becomes a major issue as to the high mike levels (we sing 3 feet away from the mics.) Excerpts from the current guidelines that we are currently using are outlined below (the full guidelines are downloadable from the societies webpage: www.spebsqsa.com) I'm just trying to keep the recommended list up to date. I thank you for any assistance you can give. We have never published a list of recommended mics or techniques for recording (although there is an article in this months on-line harmonizer.) I'm really looking for verification of the mike info we are currently using.
Microphone and Sound System Guidelines
Written by Glen Glancy and Bill Lightner
Edited by Doug Maddox
This document establishes a common source of microphone and sound system guidelines for the members of the Society.
We reccomend small diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones, which are suitable for use with both quartets and choruses. We do not recommend large diaphragm condenser microphones – the choice for vocal recording – for SPEBSQSA events. When floor monitor speakers are used at the singing position, the typical loss of pattern control at low frequencies in these microphones results in feedback.
In simple terminology, the monitors cannot be loud enough to be of benefit to the performers before the sound from the monitors is picked up by the microphones and re-amplified, causing what is known as feedback. Small diaphragm microphones provide better low frequency pattern control and therefore can be used successfully with floor monitor speakers.
Quartet Microphone Setup
A pair of the same microphones should be mounted to a single mic stand using a device called a 3stereo bar.2 A stereo bar is a simple flat bar that attaches at the center of a standard mic stand and has a slug at each end for attaching a standard mic clip to the bar. Microphones attached in such a manner can then be aimed by adjusting the clips to point the capsules in relationship to the performers.
Choosing a Mic Stand
If the stage is a permanent one, we recommend an Atlas Soundolier MS25 stand with a boom attachment. This is a heavy-duty stand with a tripod-shaped heavyweight cast iron base. It is capable of supporting the microphones on a boom without additional weights to hold the stand in place. The boom attachment places the vertical portion of the stand out of the way of hand gestures by the performers. Straw hats, canes, and other props have a knack for finding their way against a mic stand.
If the stage is a temporary one, we recommend an Atlas Soundolier BS36 stand placed on the solid floor in front of the stage, weighted if necessary, and extended to place the microphones on a boom at stage height. You have seen this method used for the past several years at Internationals. It keeps the stage noises caused by performer movement from being picked up mechanically through the stand.
Aligning the Microphones
The microphones should be at mid-chest height for a 3standard2 six-foot barbershop singer or higher. The microphones should be adjusted so the capsules are at the same point in space, perfectly aligned vertically with one atop the other, and as close as possible without the microphone bodies touching each other (Figure A). Since you can actually see the capsules on most of the m
A superb document! Well written and scientifically correct.
We suggest the following Shure mics, and offer a few other items.
Mic selections from Shure:
Effective outdoor windscreen for SM81, SM94, PG81:
Alternative to a stereo bar: Shure A27M