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The best approach depends on your desired outcome. If your desire is strictly for recording and live-stream then you have a lot more flexibility than if you expect to reinforce the sound as well. 

Because an organ is such a massive instrument, to try to "direct mic" each rank would be a nightmare. If your Allen organ is like ours, there are no direct outputs that mix all the ranks together. You would have to rewire the amps internally, tap off at a line level from each rank generator, and feed a separate sub mixer to get a manageable signal to the board. Do-able but very impractical.

Assuming your purposes are strictly for recording or distributing elsewhere (not amplified inside the sanctuary) and you don't mind having the congregation singing/background noise included, then find one (if mono) or two (if stereo) good quality mics and position it (them) so they pick up the best mix of all the organ sounds and the congregation/praise band as desired. I would start with a placement of 2/3 toward the front and 2/3 toward the ceiling and, if using only one, slightly off center. Adjust front/back and up/down until you get the desired mix of all the sounds you want or until the aesthetic police arrest you.  ;)

As for specific mic types, again it depends on your desired quality level. The most common mic for this use would be a small diaphragm condenser mic such as a Shure KSM 137 or similar.  If you want something smaller you can probably use a typical 'choir mic' like an Audio-Technica U853R or similar. Due to God's laws of physics, generally the smaller the mic the less bass frequencies it will pick up.  Read the mic specs and match the mics to your desired outcome.

Hope this helps!

Doug Sebens

Lynden, Wa.


Hello Karisa,

Our Allen organ was installed with one set of speakers in the old pipe room directly behind the pulpit, one set in a pipe loft room up and to the right (audience right)  and another set installed way up in the back wall of the balcony. The rear speakers are on a separate rank in the organ called 'Antiphonal'. 

I really don't like it when the organists use the Antiphonal rank because the soundboard is also located in the balcony and it makes it difficult to hear at times. They are not used much and I'm sure it sounds very nice down on the main floor when they do.

The organ is not direct miked nor fed into the sound system in any way other than a 'congregational' mic placed on the front of the balcony which is fed only to the recording and distributed systems (nursery, foyer, fellowship hall, etc.).

Hope this helps

Doug Sebens




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