Hi guys, long time no see. I've been extremely busy on some over-seas gigs.

Right now I'm post producing a concert, and I'm having a bit of trouble with the amount of PA to audience ratio in between songs and even during songs when the crowd sings along with the music, etc. and when I compare my mix to other concert DVDs, I can't help but notice that the recordings of the crowds on other projects have way less PA in them - more isolated crowds.

So, this question is for anyone who has any information or sources I can find out the basics on how recordists set their mics up to capture crowds specifically during concerts:

  • Where are the mics positioned?
  • How many microphones are used?
  • What type/types of microphones were used?
  • Is there any post-augmentation from dry crowd recordings used after the fact? Or are they all original recordings from the original concert?

Thanks in advance.

3 Answers 3


You can capture crowd during a concert on several ways. First of all, it depends quite a lot if you want to record the audience of a classical or rock event. if it's loud as hell on a rockshow, you will get the pa loud as hell on the microphones.

-Classic shows: if you use overhead microphone to capture an orchestra, normaly the level of the audience is quite nice on it. -Delay/amby line: hang 2 microphones directly over the audience, away from the stage -if there is a live-record, place a stereo-set at the FOH-place, one in the front, one goes in back. record as much as possible and check what you can use -Openair-Festivals: If there is no ceiling to put on overhead mics, there is a big stage with lot's of truss. hang some amby mics, directed to the audience on the front of the truss: a stereoset in the center of the stage, one microphon left, one right. Also place microfones at FOH place.

All this requires preparation, takes a lot of time (except placing 2 miks at FOH, this is easy), gear, long cables, channels for recording and good microphones (schoeps, neumann). The fact is, you need something placed on the audience. If it reacts, you will have something. If it's a good show, the audience is very loud, no problem! But if you compare for example with the Rolling Stones DVD, they record every show, cut together the best things. And also, the FOH place of such a big show is far away from the stage, and the direct sound from the pa is much smaller than the level in a club or small venue.

I have some audience reaction on: https://www.soundeffects.ch/surround-sound-effects-_e.php?soundeffects=concert+crowd&soundcategory=&type= sometimes, boxing-ambience or sport ambience can help, but most of the time, it does not work.

I'd try to record the audience, if the pa is too loud, try some tricks, filtering, to phase-inverse the LR-Output from the mixing-desk (which should be recorded too!) to the amby-channels and so on. If it's too loud, than it's too loud, the only thing is to run a show on quiter level for the record.




I've not experience in recording/micing such an event, but I would advise capturing as much crowd noise before and after the performance, and between each song, as possible and mix that in where needed, much as with the 'laugh track' from a comedy show with an audience.

Of course you probably won't be able to instruct the crowd to do some applause/cheering takes etc as they would prior to the recording of a tv show, but concert crowds tend to be excitable and start cheering a fair bit before and after the performance!


Directional microphone aimed at the crowd. If you have a very narrow directional mic at the crowd and you wave it it will be a bit like having an ear that is flying over the people hearing to individual zones and voices over all the rest, if you have 5-6 mics on a mobile turning towards different zones of the crowd then you have many crowd reactions to mix from, and if you use a wide dir mic you have larger zones of it.

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