Dealing with Soloists

School CD

Our sound engineers don’t mind getting up early in the morning.    Often they are on the road at 5am travelling to a school so they can arrive and start setting up at 07.30.

Why so early?

Firstly by leaving home around 5am, we avoid the majority of the traffic. This means that if Google suggests it will take 2 hours to get to a particular school, we can usually rely on this.   Even so we always build in an extra bit of time in case of traffic – hopefully we still have that extra time when we arrive which means there’s time for breakfast.  This of course assumes we can find a local cafe near to the school which is open.  Usually Costa or similar is our best bet at that time of day.

Once we arrive at the school, our first task is to get all our kit unloaded into the school hall or recording venue.   Depending on where the car park is in relation to the hall or space being used, this can either take 10 minutes or, in extreme cases, nearly an hour!  This is why we have to arrive early…

The setup

Our set up for most primary schools is fairly similar.   This means we can often get everything assembled and ready to record within an hour.  Whilst our engineers are setting up they will usually ask if there are any soloists to be recorded during the course of the day.  This might be for example a child singing the first verse of a song before others join in, or a small group of singers in a given song.

It is important for us to know about soloists so that we can prepared a suitable microphone ready for use. If you have a single voice, even if the child is singing verse 1 totally unaccompanied, it is much better if done with a separate microphone.  Schools often make the assumption (perhaps from previous experience with a less professional setup) that soloists just need to come to the front.

Capturing the detail from soloists

In order to properly record a solo singer we need them to have their own microphone, in addition to all the microphones set up for the choir or year groups.  We cannot just get them to stand in front of the nearest microphone – this will not work at all well.   I’m sure you dont wish to be bombarded by the technicalities of it all, but basically if we capture the soloist separately from everything else, we can make them sound much nicer when we work on the song in post production.  There is nothing worse than a solo voice  in the middle of a choir where it sounds distant and weedy.   If someone has learnt a solo and, particularly in the primary school, has the exciting job of singing their own line, they will want to hear it properly.

The same goes for small groups of singers.   A lot of school songs we have recorded might have either a couple of solo singers or one soloist with 3 others singing a second part.

On the day all you need to do is tell us about any solo sections or other groups of singers aside of the songs by year group or by class.  Our engineers will then make sure microphones are setup and connected ready to go at a moments notice.   We will also then direct the children to the best place near the microphone for their voices to be properly captured.  D

Don’t forget that on the day we also offer full playback solutions which means you can hear the songs played back as soon as you have recorded them.  Our engineers will be checking the sound quality as we record and if they think anything isn’t quite right, adjustments will be made and the recording will be done again.

Summary

Our job is to make your school CD sound fabulous.   With years of experience and a plethora of recording gear we are not normally phased by any situation or combination of singers / instrumentalists which might appear.   We love the variety of different things which School Recording sessions produce.   So far there is nothing we haven’t been able to deal with or come up with a plan for.   But the more information we can establish in advance of the recording, and indeed on the day before we start, the better your recording session will be.


If you would like to record a CD at your school with Recordings 4 Schools then please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us

Edit