If you've been following me for any length of time, you know that we've been having great success with our DPA 4098 hanging choir mics. I wrote about them originally right after I received some pre-production models to test and was immediately impressed. At that time, we used them on a small (20 or so) kid's choir that was singing in front of a live band.
We've since deployed two of them over the house for ambient/audience mics for our IEMs (and now the broadcast mix), and again, they work great. Recently, Coast Hills hosted the Capistrano Unified School District's Honor Band and Choir over two nights. Since we bought two more 4098s during our Christmas production, we decided to hang them over the stage for these events.
Our stage is about 70 feet wide and 40 feed deep. We elected to hang them at roughly the 1/3 and 2/3 positions across the width, and pretty far downstage. The choir night was first, and we did underestimate how far downstage they would stand. Still, with the mics pointed toward the back corners of the stage, they did an amazing job picking everyone up. We had them hanging about 8 feet off the stage, which put them about even with the kids who were standing on the upper risers.
The next week when the band rolled in, we used a similar hang, though we came a little further downstage. We also raised them up to about 15 feet above the floor to open the pickup pattern a bit.
For the choir night, we did put the mics in the PA to help the students carry a little better, especially the younger ones (they had an elementary, Jr. High and Sr. High choir that night). All I had to do for feedback mitigation was patch a 1/3 graphic into each channel and knock 2-3 bands down about 4 dB. It took just a minute to ring out and we had all kinds of gain before feedback once they started singing.
For the band, we didn't put them in the PA at all; the bands were plenty loud. We did record them, however, and the tracks sound great. I have a few cuts of the band and one of the choir for you to listen to. I strongly recommend headphones or at least good speakers to really hear what the mics are doing. The detail and overall quality of the sound is impressive, especially with the band.
Once again, DPA has a winner here with the 4098s. At $499 each, they're not cheap, but I'm not sure there's a better mic at that price point (or perhaps even at twice the price). Combine the cost with their incredibly small size (they almost disappeared on the stage) and it's almost a no-brainer.
Listen to the audio file (or right-click to download)
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