I had recently committed myself to an audio recording at the Manchester Cathedral (Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX.) in December 2012. On the occasion of Christmas, few choirs such as the Manchester Glee and others were performing few carols, most notably a “Carols by Candlelight” performance performed by a 20-25 member Henshaws group. The singing group is associated with a non-profit society known as Henshaws that has been working for 175 years with the visually impaired. Figure 1 depicts the placement of microphones in the venue which assumes a Decca Tree arrangement. Two figure of 8s (Rode NT2A) had been placed at the back to capture the voices of the audience with very little from the choir in the front.
In the middle of the hall, two cardioids had been placed, aiming towards the choir that was also capturing audience in the middle. 2 AKG C214s were positioned directly in front of the stage in XY technique to obtain a wide stereo image of the singing of the choir. For a piano at the right, a Rode NT2A had been employed. It was significantly desired to capture the output of a Soundfield microphone as well but the venue being large and the insufficient size of cables limited some creative goals. The mutitrack recorders used for the recording of the carols were 16 track 2 Focusrite Sapphire Pro 26s. Faced with initial issues with audio software Logic Pro, these had to be quickly resolved by importing files into Adobe Audition in order to continue with the recording. The carols that lasted for two hours included solo and instrumental performances. The recording took an interesting turn when faced with capturing a brass band, halfway through the event as the setup was prearranged only for vocals and piano. Despite limitations, the live musical performance capture turned out a success owing to the resourceful approach towards setup and microphone placement in the venue.This enabled achieving a considerable clear output for which it needs to credit my audio course mate, Robert Baldwin for essential planning and prioritised workflow in all the audio arrangements. The recording of the Carols by Candlelight has been a step forward to learning of adjustments and improvements that could be made in future recordings so as to more closely reflect the initial intentions of recording live events. The experience had also led to the exposure of technical difficulty prone areas that is capable to arise during phases of production and pre-production and to thus get better prepared while tackling similar situations.