We usually do not use microphones in our choir performances. However, we were thinking of doing an upgrade in time for our Annual Choir Concert. We were fine without the microphones, but we realized that having a little bit of amplification will not hurt especially now that there is an expansion project in our Atlanta auditorium.
We started our research on the proper microphone to use and prepare for the electrical requirements for the additional setup that might be required. We did not want to fuss too much about something that we are not very familiar with. So it was fortunate that we did not have to look elsewhere because the parent of one of our choir member is working for a commercial & industrial wiring installation company. He helped us with the electrical planning, and we hired them to do the electrical wiring job for the auditorium. Their service was quick and very professional. If you are in Atlanta, we highly recommend their services.
The next thing we shopped for was a stereo condenser microphone. It was a great buy because it is like getting two mics in one. The two microphones are encased in one mic making setting up easy. This microphone has a good XY pattern and the sound produced will not alter the actual sound of the choir. We also bought an extra mono condenser microphones to supplement when we have outdoor performances. Although we have a lot of microphones, we understand the less is more rule. Using less microphone means we do not have to setup and test a lot of mics. It will also avoid too much feedback. As a rule, a choir of 40 members should not have more than three microphones.
Now the placement. Ideally, the microphone should be placed at least two to three feet away from the choir members so that it can capture the sound of the entire choir and not only the members in front. The height of the microphone should be at least the same as the tallest member of your choir member standing in the back row. No hard rules really, but it is important to set up the microphone in a way that the entire choir voices will be captured.
We also need to consider whether we need to set up a microphone for the accompanying music. Instruments such as a piano do not need to have a separate microphone. The sound of the piano will be loud enough for the choir microphone to pick-up. However, for instruments that require amplification such as an electric guitar or electric organ, you should opt to turn the speakers facing the choir member so that the sound will blend with the voices instead of being isolated.
These are some of the considerations when you decide to use a microphone for your choir. The microphone will only be valuable if used and setup correctly. Make sure to test the microphones during your rehearsal, and not in the main event only, so that you can still make necessary adjustments and see what would work well with your choir.