In an auditorium situation (such as the Kodak Theater), how would you set up your audience mics to capture the audience of an awards-type show most naturally?

Keep in mind the podium would be in mono in the final mix.

How would you configure the stereo image and which mics would you use? Where would you place the microphones? (preferably mics that would work merely at the end of an XLR cable without any extra power boxes, etc).

Does anyone have experience doing this type of gig?


Boundary mics facing the crowd a bit higher up above head level on the left and right walls say a little bit in front of half-way center crowd, maybe an additional 2 on the front wall facing the crowd same height.

Thats how some mega-churches mic up their congregation.

Other than that, and beyond using a matched pair, thats all I got.

  • Never even thought of boundary mics! What are some good brands and models to look into? (price not an issue) – Utopia Mar 31 '11 at 23:08

I did a recording just this weekend of an evangelical gathering of 30,000 plus people with Angus Buchan (Faith Like Potatoes) in an open field out in the countryside and I used a Sanken CMS9 Stereo mic recording as a stereo pair onto my Sound Devices 552. I also used a Zoom H4 from the stage, next to the onstage mixers booth, pointing at the crowd. Finally I used my Senheisser 816T as well. I used the 816 and the CMS9 from various perspectives around the crowd to see what sound I would get and I am very happy with the results. All three configurations gave me satisfactory recordings of what I needed, though the Zoom H4 does sound a little thin in comparison to the other mic's.

Experiment and you'll quickly find the setup that works well for you!

  • Thank you! You're right, might just need to experiment and see what works best. – Utopia Apr 1 '11 at 18:20

I do recordings like this all the time. I'd suggest an LCR setup if you can swing it.

3 widely spaced omnis (like the front of a Decca tree) facing the audience sounds killer. 3 channels gives you the perfect amount of control over width when mixing with a mono speaker at a podium. You can start by adding a tad of the center crowd signal to the mix keeping the speakers voice up front and intelligible. Then add the L and R mics to taste, depending on how wide you want the stereo image to be. Wide sounds great with this sort of thing, but sometimes too wide can be distracting.

Good luck.

  • Thanks! Yeah, I could probably swing a Schoeps MK5 trio. What other mics do you think would be good in this instance? – Utopia Apr 1 '11 at 18:21
  • MK5s would be perfect. I see those used a lot in classical recording. I've been using DPA 4006s for this recently and have been very happy with the results. Make sure to get the mics far enough away from the crowd that you don't pickup too many specifics. All it takes is one person with a distinctive laugh recorded too close to ruin it. – Justin P Apr 1 '11 at 19:57

If its for an added recording for post, I reckon, the Zoom H2 is pretty good for recording the audience. I've placed one at the center, bottom of the stage on a mic stand. Set the H2 to record in quad, and mixed the 4 channels. Had to wrap the whole recorder in black gaffer tape so that it wouldn't distract the audience but the recording was pretty amazing.


  • Very nice recording. I have an H2 I could bring along and test out like this. I probably couldn't put it on stage, but how would flying it in the rafters above the stage sound? Tried that? – Utopia Apr 1 '11 at 18:22
  • Nope. I actually had a MKH 418S flying overhead but that was aimed at the stage. It would probably work pretty well I guess. I wouldn't have minded flying it if not for the logistics involved. Changing the battery would have been a pain too. I actually had 2 SM81 hanging on top of the orchestra I was recording that would have probably picked up the audience. I may have mixed this in the sound file I posted, but I clearly remembered being so impressed with the H2 and thought I could have probably gotten away with just using that recorder. – user6513 Apr 1 '11 at 18:41

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