multiple sized condenser mics simultaneously

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I'm a high school choral director, and I need to capture the high sounds of soprano singers all the way down to the lowest notes of my bass singers. I've been using two pencil condensers to record them with for a few years now, but I'd like to know if it's recommended to use a combination of pencil mics for the high frequencies AND large diaphragm condensers to get the low frequencies. I usually place the recording mics toward the back of the auditorium (30 ft away from the choir to get ample reverb. If I use both styles of mics, would I need to change the distance to the sound source?





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You're likely to get slight delays and possibly some phasing artefacts with two different sized condensers. Probably a bit of hit and miss - trial and error - to work out where the best spot for them is in the room you've got. You may not find the change in sound an issue - though the depth of reverb and delay will change it might be something that enhances the sound you're getting and may not need much adjustment.


The other thing to think about, in my opinion, is the bandwidth you have. Do you need a mic that goes from 20Hz to 10kHz? What are the range of vocal frequencies you're trying to record? Or is 80Hz to 2kHz more like the primary bandwidth with harmonics contributing after that.


The point i'm suggesting is that maybe you don't need to combine both mic types. Something like an AKG C414 might be a perfect replacement for the pencil mics providing total frequency coverage and simplifying the phasing and delay issues that may be created. You can buy C414's as a matched pair, meaning the frequency response of the 2 mic's is very close and removes a lot of phasing issues between the mice themselves when recording. You'll find other brands that do similar things, but the C414's seem to be a good "go to" mic at a reasonable price, IMO.


A large diaphragm doesn't necessitate loss of high end for an increase in low end. A good large diaphragm is more sensitivity across the entire vocal range. The C414 XLII has a HF compensation in the capsule frequency response making it well suited for overhead mic placement to cover a large instrumental or vocal group - you'll find similar in other brands. Don't be put off by the bigger diaphragm size... it's really only valve mics that suffer more in the top end. Good condenser mics are very sensitive across a very wide range of frequencies and very well suited to vocal applications.

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I agree with Jester that a good pair of wide-range mics is easier to set up and less prone to phase problems.


Another mic worth checking out that has good low end response (certainly enough for voice) and silky shiny top end is the Audio Technica AT4050. A popular choice for female vocalists as it captures higher registers well, in a full-sized large diaphragm mic.


The AKG C414 Jester recommends is also a beautiful mic, one of my personal favs too.

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