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  1. #1

    Shotgun bombed. Maybe a Shure SM58?

    Last night I recorded a barbershop chorus in a room with a lot of hard surfaces. I used an Audio-technica AT4073a shotgun mic aimed at the center of the chorus from about 15 feet away. I recorded through a mix-pre (my field pre-amp) to tone down the volume, but the results were poor. The center of the chorus, where the lead singers stand, was too dominant.

    I have my trusty old Shure SM58 and an wondering if that will give me a better response and more balanced sound.

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    I don't have much experience with that particular shotgun mic but that really should have done the trick for you. The SM58 is only good for hand held, close to mouth, I wouldn't use it as a boom.

    Were you using headphones when you were using the boom? From that distance, you really need to hear what you're picking up rather than trusting your hearing in the environment.
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  3. #3
    The whole point of a shotgun mike is to spotlight a small area, so no wonder you had trouble.

    A little reverberation isn't a bad thing. A standard cardioid mic on a stand, five to eight feet in front of the chorus, will put the chorus "on mike" enough to work. You can use an SM58, but be aware that this mic is deliberately designed to color the sound. If you're just making a recording once in a while, for the heck of it, you might use the SM58 and try to enhance the sound using tone controls when playing back. If you're serious, get a decent battery-powered condenser mic.

    You are recording in mono? What are you using the recording for? It would be nice to know what level of results you're trying to get and how far you are willing to go in pursuit of them.

  4. #4
    I forgot that the Shure is a mono mic. I'm trying to record some snatches of song from a chorus to use in a local TV commercial. Actually, my partner thought the sound I got with AT shotgun was not all that bad. I'm probably a little nervous about this as this is my first time attempting to record a large group. But I am thinking I should either back the shotgun off a little more than the 15 feet I had it at before. Also, I'm thinking of backing this up by rigging up two cardioid mics. They're Sony lavalier mics (ECM-44s) that I've used for over ten years. They've always given me good sound for dialogue. What do you guys think of this plan? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Recording for TV is a whole 'nother can of worms. The main problem is that most people still listen to TV in mono. If you use just a spaced stereo pair of mics, those who listen to mono will hear a "comb filter" effect for singers in the middle. So, question is: will the sound track be mono or stereo as it's played over the TV channel?

    If mono, record in mono.

    If stereo, see if you can get the soloists off to one side a bit. Otherwise mono listeners may hear a comb filter effect.

    ECM44s are omnidirectional, so you'll pick up lots of reverb. Try suspending the mics above and in front of the choir, fairly close. If that means some singers are far more distant than others, have them stand in an arc.

    If the shotgun is a stereo mic, you won't have comb filter problems because the right and left mics are approximately in the same place. Maybe try again with the mic more distant from the singers. You could also try rearranging the choir so they sit/stand in a deep but narrow pattern.

    And, as SC358 says, use headphones. Recording without them is like driving with your eyes closed and then opening them when you stop to see if you got where you wanted to go.

  6. #6
    Condenser Mic with an Omni pattern (or two). That's all you need. Placement may still highlight the center a bit (if it's closer to the mic) but It'll give the most 'honest' interpretation


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