Getting Close To The Candle: Recording a Choir's "Warmth"

Recording choirs is an art.

Frankly anyone can run a microphone or two out and capture a sound, the number of Smartphone recorded performances on Youtube is testament to that.

But very few actually capture the “warmth” of a choir’s performance: The “zeitgeist”, the “je ne sais quoi”. Call it what you will.

Capturing that elusive sound is what I call “getting close to the candle”.

You know that feeling, and the look, when you get so close to a candle you feel an even warmth coming off it?
Its light is so bright it seems to radiate rainbow colours in the tip of the flame. It fills your whole view as the flame slowly moves in the air. 

Now I’ve seen website forum questions enquiring as to “The best microphones to record a choir with”.
The answer is both simple and complex at the same time: It’s the one that sounds right for the job.
So how do you get that elusive sound? That “warmth”?

Candle Flame

Well there is nothing inherently “secret” about it: No ceremonial passing down of knowledge from Master to Apprentice. But skill, experience and (sometimes) a bit of luck do play their part.
For the recording engineer, that is something that is only gained through time, application and product know-how.
But watch a cable burning, feel its heat and listen to some choral music.

If the engineer has captured the warmth of the choir’s performance, you will understand what I mean by “getting close to the candle”.

Pure Sound Recording Services is an arm of AV Resilience. It offers location recording and CD production services to choirs and classical musicians.

Please call Iain Betson on 07966 239391 or email to discuss your recording project.

Iain Betson