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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #1
The other day while singing in our church choir, I started to wonder how I might be able to improve and enhance the choir's sound if I had the choir mics running through some sort of real-time compressor and/or effects box. This same device might also be used to add some nice effects to our wind orchestra on special occasions.

But I know basically nothing about these devices. The only type I own is my NanoVerb which I usually only use at home. I often use all kinds of effects on our recordings, but this is done with software after the fact. So I need some good advice on something to use in real time during a performance.

Effects I would like would be compression, reverb, chorus, and anything else to make a bunch of weak-voiced singers sound more like a world-class operatic company. Price will always be a concern and I don't want to spend more than a few hundred US dollars. Old and out-dated equipment will be fine if I gives the best bang for the buck. There's a lot of reasonably-priced old stuff on eBay and most our current house system is well over 20 years old anyway.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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It's unlikely to work on a church choir.

The last thing you want in a church is extra reverb. It would be good though if the choir is in a very dead room.

If they have individual mics, then compression may just help if some of them are singing too dynamically but more likely to hinder, as the ones that aren't blending well may also be out of tune (or singing wrong notes) and there's a good reason to not hear them so well!

By this I mean that if I ever have to sing a him, I suddenly go quiet if I don't know a but very well and am likely to be singing wrong notes or out of tune. Compression would make these intentionally quiet bits as loud as the rest. Not good.

There's a lot can be done on recordings, especially with pitch, but not live IMO.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #3
Currently we have three stationary mics hanging from lines and pointed at the choir. Somewhere in 100-years of wiring in the sanctuary attic, these mics seems to get efficiently combined into one feed. And from there, the one cable goes to the mixer in the sound booth. Surprisingly, these mics seem to do a very good job of picking up the choir. This is thanks to the very old traveling gospel guy that used to be choir director long ago. He knew what he was doing.

What I really want is something to put between these mics and the mixer that will make our skimpy choir sound more full. The average age of our 15 to 20-piece choir is about 70. My wife and I are considered the young kids.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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What I really want is something to put between these mics and the mixer that will make our skimpy choir sound more full. The average age of our 15 to 20-piece choir is about 70. My wife and I are considered the young kids.
The main electronic effect I can think of that will do that is a chorus effect. It will of course add some artificiality. Because of the levels, it would need to be added after the desk input, or after the mic preamp, though I think there are now effects boxes that will take mic input doirectly, but you'd need to check that will work. If they are old mics, the impedance may be an issue.

A corus basically takes a signal and adds it to itself with a short delay and some detuning. You can't just add the same signal together or ot won't sound like more people, but a chorus effect is usually adding the signal tuned up and the signal tuned down, with a bit of modulation possible. This will make the choir sound fuller, but as I said the trade off is that it won't sound as natural.

I would ask a local music store what they have, but let them know the mics and desk specs. It's worth trying.
 

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A chorus on a chorus... hit me funny. Doing any effects on anything distant mic'd live will be dicey. You could try putting your 4 best (SATB) singers on close mics, squash 'em with compression (maybe some chorus) and subtly mix that in with the main choir mix...
 
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