How Important is Microphone Placement?

NoTurning wrote on 7/27/2009, 8:27 AM
Music Maker provides a unique convergence between studio hardware and a home pc... what that means is that many people are now able to record on a more professional level but are not aware of some of the tips and tricks to get the best sound. One of those tips is mic placement.

You might hear some of these "Audio Geniuses" praising mic placement like it's the holy grail of recording... they do this because they're right!

Whether you have a Neuman condenser or a web-cam mic; placement is very important. Take your time and try placing your mic in several different areas; critically listening for that sweet spot. This can take some time but it will the difference between a mediocre or great track. I can spend an hour putting my ear where the mic will be and listening for the best sound - sometimes movement of even a couple of inches makes a world of difference.

Also, many microphones are prone to what's called the proximity effect - the closer to the source, the more bass response. This can be used to your advantage to beef up vocals or thin out an acoustic guitar - you might even have to record each placement until you get the hang of it.

I record myself speaking the location of the mic and then singing or playing the instrument I intend to record... for example I'll record "mic 10 inches from guitar near the 12th fret." Then the guitarist will play. When I review the recordings of multiple placements I'll know exactly where it sounded best. Then fine tune it with subtle adjustments.

Find where the mic sounds best and you will be rewarded with better recordings.  Don't forget to post your songs here for others to listen and stop by the Music Maker Tips, Tricks and How-To group: