Monday, June 25, 2018

To mic or not to mic? – that is the outdoor choir question

At this time of year many singing groups are asked to sing outdoors.


Whether it’s on stage at a noisy festival or a pop-up choir at your local village fete, the question of amplification will arise. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using mics for your choir when performing outdoors.

Many summer outdoor events have a wide range of acts sharing stages for relatively short sets. Stages can be quite close together and it’s easy to get noise overspill from one stage to another.

If your choir sings a cappella it becomes especially difficult.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having your choir use amplification in outdoor situations.


  • your choir can actually be heard!
  • it can make your performance seem more professional


  • you’ll probably be using mics set up for the previous act which might not suit your situation
  • it’s very hard to mic a choir properly – it might be that there are just a few mics which will end up amplifying only a small set of singers (possibly not the ones you want to hear the most!)
  • the person on the sound desk may be more used to using mics with instruments and bands rather than just vocalists so might get the mix wrong
  • many choirs are not used to using mics or hearing themselves on feedback monitors (if there are any!), so things might go pear-shaped quickly
  • you become dependent on the organisers of the event, lose a certain amount of control over your own sound, and will probably not get a chance to do a proper sound-check


  • insist on singing without amplification, but make sure you’re put in a quiet spot where the audience can hear you and you’re not competing with other acts
  • bring your own equipment and sound person which you then have total control over
  • don’t do outdoor performances!

You might also like to read:

Outdoor gigs: how to cope when audiences aren’t interested

The joys of outdoor singing

Performing outdoors – tips and tricks

I’d love to know what your experiences have been. Have you found being amplified has helped or hindered?

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Chris Rowbury



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Chris Rowbury


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