Microphones are used for a variety of applications and for different purposes, but the common question that many amateur audio recording enthusiasts ask is “where should I position my microphone?” Microphones are used in recording music, speeches, and audio applications, but they can be placed almost anywhere. There are certain factors that will determine the best place to position your microphone; specifically where the sound will be heard most clearly. Microphone placement may seem like a fairly straightforward concern, but it can be very complicated when the environment changes. In this article, I’ll describe some of the common places to put a microphone, as well as some special considerations that come with each location.
When you’re recording in a room with normal ambient noise, it’s usually best to have the Mike positioned toward the front of the room. This allows for the natural sounds from the crowd to be reflected back into the microphone and the resulting sound source. When people talk, the sounds will usually tend to converge toward the front of the speaker, making the mic positioned toward the front a good place to stand if you want to catch everyone’s attention. The same concept applies to sound bouncing off the walls – you want to catch the source of the sound, not reflect it back. It can be difficult to do this with a wall behind the speaker, and so it’s best to keep the mic slightly behind the speaker.
When you’re recording in an enclosed area such as a studio or a soundproof room, the best place to position the mic is at the side or rear of the sound source. This ensures that the sound does not reflect back into the mic, which can lead to a muddy sound. If you are recording in a room that has walls or ceilings blocking the sound from all directions, you can still get a great sound from your mikes by positioning them near the middle. With the sides, it’s possible to overlap one mic with another to increase the signal quality.
Recording with a live band is quite different than recording with a computer-based program. In a live band setup, positioning the mic at the front or center of the sound source will provide a great deal of space to any incoming sounds. However, with a computer-based recording setup, you have limited space to move the mic. You can’t place it too far away and you can’t position it too close either.
Another factor to consider is the physical size of the sound source. In a live recording setup, the mic is usually placed so that the engineer can easily control the distance between the mic and the source. With a computer recording setup, the audio device needs to be kept close enough to the sound source so that the engineer can adjust the distance without having to move the microphone. As a general rule, if you are planning on using a larger audio device such as a laptop computer, then place the microphone so that you can comfortably carry it around.
A final consideration when considering positioning your mic is if you want to record in mono or stereo. mono recordings are recorded only one sound at a time and stereo recordings give the listener the option to choose two or more sounds. The most common application of mono recording is when two people are talking over each other in a conversation. Stereo recording, however, is often used for recording interviews, drum beats, etc. Regardless of what application you use, make sure to position the mic appropriately so that you get the best sound quality.