Regent's Park in central London hosted the free Fruitstock Festival in August, with a headline appearance from the London Community Gospel Choir (www.lcgc.org.uk) using its newly acquired collection of Electro-Voice vocal microphones.
Dressed in pure white, 40 members of the choir performed a one-hour set on the Main Stage, giving the 100,000-strong Fruitstock sang through E-V's RE510 supercardioid vocal mics, which were recently purchased from Shuttlesound (www.shuttlesound.com) prior to setting off on a tour of European festivals.
Front-of-house engineer Schon Emmanuel is largely responsible for the choir's investment in 20 RE510s, two of which are wireless, packaged with E-V's RE1 receivers.Emmanuel first discovered the potential of the RE510s when working with jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine, and more recently has introduced them to British soul diva Terri Walker."In fact, the full-bodied sound of the RE510s is a perfect match for the sound of the LCGC," says Emmanuel.
Emmanuel's ideal setup would be one singer to one microphone, but with the size of the choir varying dramatically from concert to concert, from a touring party of 12 to 16 singers, up to 45 at a larger festival, and to full strength of 70 performers, the singers have to share. However, he is full of praise for the off-axis pickup of the RE510. "The gain before feedback is superb," he enthuses. "The large-diaphragm condenser picks up everything I need: not too much of the band, just the singers.
"The mic is particularly good at capturing the vocal qualities of the different lead singers, from the real belters who hammer the mic to the very quiet ones; it picks up all the detail without maxing out my gain stages and creating feedback," he continues. "It's especially good on Bazil's vocals, bringing out the complex characteristics of his voice.We've done A/B comparisons and the RE510 just blows the alternatives out of the water."
Working with the LCGC, Emmanuel is usually found in front of a Midas XL4 or a Heritage 3000 analog mixing console. "My mixes are quite busy, with two principals, 16 singers and a full 5-piece band. I use the wireless RE510s with complete confidence. I never have to worry about my RF status; a quick channel scan gives me a clear band that is rock-solid. All the switches on the RE510s are internal so they are quite idiot-proof; no one can inadvertently change the settings. Overall, these mics take care of the major part of what I do, which is get the choir over the band. They're versatile enough for acoustic piano, but on vocals, they're absolutely perfect."
The LCGC is touring in Europe at the end of this summer, playing festival dates in Spain, France and Poland. They'll be back in London this month.
For more information, visit www.electro-voice.com.