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Recording choirs and instruments

Hi All,
I am thinking about my 4th recording with my choir and would like advice from you.
I have been listening to samples from a number of recording companies here in the UK.  The ones I like
  • don't sound claustrophobic (very close to the choir)
  • aren't too far away (all building and no detail)
For acappella music I have got a couple that look excellent - well recorded but all have something that I find odd (this may be just me).  In the piano accompanied music; They clearly have miked the piano separately from the choir (as is usual) but all sound like the piano was in another room - it just sounds odd to me.
Obviously you all can't hear what I'm talking about but I would appreciate any reflections or advice you might have on recording choir and piano.
Best wishes
Replies (2): Threaded | Chronological
on October 25, 2013 1:14pm
I don't think I can say anything that you don't already know, Mark, but my (also UK) view is that
  • A good recording company does not have its own sound. It will know a range of effective ways to record a choir, with or without accompaniment, and will be able to deliver the effect that you want (rather than the effect that their most lucrative customer likes).
  • With that in mind, give the recordists an example of the sound that you favour before they do the recording, and they'll set up their mics accordingly.
  • They'll also let you be involved in the editing/mixing stages that happen in the studio after recording, to ensure that the sound is how you like it.
  • It's worth spending money on a good space to record in, unless your usual venue is acoustically excellent AND FREE OF EXTERNAL NOISE. Background noises of outside traffic, doors, creaking floors, wind and weather, birds, etc. are tolerated and ignored in a concert, but they can ruin a recording and make your sessions run hours over time with retakes. (Apologies! That really does get into teaching-grandmothers-to-suck-eggs territory.)
  • Your best recording company is probably a small local firm of two or three people with a van and some good equipment, and a small studio. Ask for recommendations from the musicians in your area. The nationally advertised companies are probably more expensive, and almost certainly won't give you the same level of personal attention.
That last point is the important one. I like pro-am recordists.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on October 26, 2013 8:46am
Thanks for this John; this is good advice.  I think I am guilty of not having  being assertive enough in the past.  I tend to work from a position of "you are the professional - I have hired you, get on with it" which isn't always the right response.
Grateful for these words
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