2) Microphone Placement

In recording scenarios, it's common to think that aligning your mouth directly with the microphone is essential for capturing a balanced signal. However, this misconception can lead to issues such as plosives and sibilance, which can negatively impact your recording quality. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of proper microphone positioning, how to avoid common recording pitfalls, and why you shouldn't always trust music video microphone placements.

Plosives: The Disruptive Sounds in Your Recordings

Plosives are bursts of air caused by the pronunciation of certain consonants, such as "p" and "b." When your mouth is aimed directly at the microphone, plosives can cause a sudden increase in air pressure on the microphone's diaphragm, resulting in a low-frequency "pop" or "thump" sound. These disruptive sounds can ruin a good recording, and they are nearly impossible to remove in post-production.

To avoid plosives in your recordings, follow these tips:

  1. Aim the microphone at your mouth, not vice versa: Positioning the microphone at an angle can help minimize the impact of plosives on your recordings.
  2. Maintain a proper distance: Keep a distance of at least 6 inches between your mouth and the microphone to reduce the impact of plosives.
  3. Use a pop filter: A pop filter is a simple screen that's placed between your mouth and the microphone, helping to disperse the air from plosives before it reaches the diaphragm.

PRO TIP: We've found that our recordings sound better with ideal microphone placement, rather than using pop filters. The biggest asset a pop filter has offered is providing the vocalist with an expected position. Artists will typically sing directly into the pop filter. This keeps the microphone 6 inches away and prevents the artist from singing directly into the mic, which is what we really care about.

Sibilance and Lip-Smacking Sounds

Sibilance refers to the hissing sounds produced when pronouncing certain consonants, such as "s" and "z." Lip-smacking sounds, on the other hand, are the unintentional noises made when opening or closing the mouth. Both sibilance and lip-smacking can be distracting and detract from the overall quality of your recording.

45-Degree Microphone Angle

Microphone placement professional recording mixing masteringAiming the microphone at a 45-degree angle toward your mouth can help reduce both plosives and sibilance. This angled approach prevents direct air blasts from hitting the microphone's diaphragm and minimizes the chance of capturing unwanted sounds.

Music Videos Lie

Music videos can be deceiving when it comes to microphone placement. For example, Lewitt LCT series microphones feature a logo on the front, which should face the vocalist during a performance. However, music videos often position the microphone with the logo facing the camera, causing the artist to sing into the back of the microphone. This misleading setup is purely for aesthetic purposes and does not represent the ideal recording configuration.

Final Thoughts

Achieving a balanced and professional recording requires proper microphone positioning. By aiming the mic at your mouth rather than aligning your mouth with the microphone, you can reduce plosives and sibilance, ultimately enhancing your recording quality. Remember to maintain a proper distance, use a pop filter, and don't be misled by music video microphone placements. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to capturing clean and professional audio.

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