Running sound at church can be like running sound for a variety show. You never know what will next come your way. Today, you walk into the church and find out a singing quartet is on the roster. Their only request: only one microphone for all four of the singers. Let’s investigate your options.
A quartet can share one of two types of microphones; large diaphragm or small diaphragm condensers. The choice between the two microphones comes down to the type of monitoring they use.
There are three types of monitoring a quartet can use;
- Self monitoring: they listen to each other’s voices and harmonize accordingly.
- Floor monitoring: floor wedges which would be close in their spread to the boom stand microphone.
- In-ear monitoring: in ear monitoring which would limit stage volume to their voices.
Self Monitoring / In-ear Monitoring
In the case of no floor monitors, you can use large-diaphragm studio condenser microphones with a cardioid polar pattern. They will pick up the sounds you need without worry of feedback if you had floor monitors. They also have a fairly flat frequency response and therefore the natural range of frequencies in the quartet can shine through.
- Audio Technica 4033
- Shure KSM44
- Audio Technica-4050ST
In the case of floor monitors, it’s time for a stereo-pair of small diaphragm microphones. You’ll want cardioid microphones. Two microphones are needed to make up for the size of the diaphragm. The good news is you can use them with floor monitors with little worry of feedback.
- Audio Technica 4051b
- Rode NT5
Quartets who share one microphone should know they need to form a half-circle around the microphone so they are all close enough to the microphone. I find that a bit of tape on the floor for where they should place their toes is a great way to solidify the setup, during practice, so that when they walk on stage, they know exactly where to stand.
If you have a quartet that is singing for the first time, gently instruct them to form that half-circle and then mark those spots with tape.
The sound of a quartet can bring a feeling of great joy to the congregation. Using these microphone setups and suggestions, you should find it easy to get that great sound out of the audio system.
Question: What have you used for singers sharing a microphone?