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Position of mic for Lead vocal studio recording

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Can people share their thoughts on placing the mic for lead vocal tracking?

I see two basic camps "modern" with the singer right up on the mic in front of them and "classic" with the mic above and in front of the mouth.

Think Frank Sinatra versus your favorite Hip Hop artist :)

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Can people share their thoughts on placing the mic for lead vocal tracking?


I see two basic camps "modern" with the singer right up on the mic in front of them and "classic" with the mic above and in front of the mouth.


Think Frank Sinatra versus your favorite Hip Hop artist
:)

 

Mic above the singer's mouth is for videos only, IMHO. Doesn't really work in practice, just looks cool.

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A lot depends on the mic properties & how you want it to sound.

 

Example: If using a cardiod, and you want to avoid heavy bass boost, it's good to keep the singer about 12" away. A pop screen works pretty well for this.

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Agreed, the mic above the singer is about the worst position you can have it. Tilting the head back puts pressure on the vocal cords and windpipe, and robs the singer of range and power.

 

IMHO the best position is so the mic is aiming somewhere between chin and top of breatbone, NOT at the mouth. This accomplishes several things. It encourages good singing posture, head straight, shoulders relaxed, captures a much fuller tone, capturing chest resonance and cuts down dramatically on sibiliance issues.

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IMHO the best position is so the mic is aiming somewhere between chin and top of breatbone, NOT at the mouth....

 

Is this assuming the mic is positioned directly in front of the singer and at an angle downward toward them, i.e. in front of their mouth but point down a bit?

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Fom Stav's book I learned to explore modest right/left and up/down positioning of the mic versus the singers mouth. It turrns out that we all have a particular hot spot where the most wind is blown. Its different for every individual.

 

For me slightly to the left is hot. At first I went for it noting that it was slightly clearer and brighter. However, pops and sibilance increased dramatically. Im talking just 1-2 inches to the left of center and about 10 inches from the mic. So, for me, with my SD U195 vocal mic dead center abpout 10 inches out ended up to work best. Based on this i beleive there is no one right answer that works for everyone. Of course optimal distance from the mic depends on the proximity characteristic of the mic and how that interacts with the singers tone. YMMV

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Is this assuming the mic is positioned directly in front of the singer and at an angle downward toward them, i.e. in front of their mouth but point down a bit?

 

No, position the mic so it is aiming no where near the mouth, so the singer sings over rather than into the mic.

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Boosh, thanks for the laugh! Uncle Ray had such a good sense of humor, hope you saw the Blues Brothers movie.

 

And just an observation, was there ever a question on these forums that was just made for where02190?

 

Yeah, I seem to have the best results singing to the side or above the mic.

 

I heard that John Lennon would twiddle his fingers between his mouth and the mic on Ps & Bs & S's.

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No, position the mic so it is aiming no where near the mouth, so the singer sings over rather than into the mic.

 

but are you talking about of putting the mic higher or lower keeping it on axis with the singer? or just angling it and making it more off axis as you aim diferent places on the singer's face with the mic in one position?

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but are you talking about of putting the mic higher or lower keeping it on axis with the singer? or just angling it and making it more off axis as you aim diferent places on the singer's face with the mic in one position?

 

I usually go with slightly off-axis, a little lower than my mouth (I do a lot of voice-over work these days, so things are usually pretty well set for me, since I record mostly me.)

 

i.e. the mic is slightly lower than my mouth, angled slightly upwards, and a little off-axis - you have to experiment with how far off axis, because a little can reduce plosives dramatically, but too much and you lose all the sweetness. It is a fine line. Like all mic placement, it is a nice idea to experiment quite a bit before committing.

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Mic below mouth, aiming at chin or chest. Placing it above and tilting the head back to sing up to the mic severely restricts airflow, robbing the singer of power and range.

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Mic below mouth, aiming at chin or chest. Placing it above and tilting the head back to sing up to the mic severely restricts airflow, robbing the singer of power and range.

 

aimed at chest? wow... i would'nt have thought

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I put my tube mics upside down in the stand - I read somewhere (around here I think) that it stops the heat of the tube interfering with the diaphragm. I place the mic slightly below the level of my face so I have to lean over to sing into it. And of course a pop shield. The link in my sig was, however, done with a non-tube cheapo Behringer mic and no pop shield, hence the proximity effect.

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aimed at chest? wow... i would'nt have thought

 

Between the chin and chest, depending on the singer and desired tone. But yes, I have actally aimed vocal mics at the top of singers breastbones before with wonderful, warm, rich results.

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Using a dynamic microphone, I typically adjust the singer so they are facing 180 degrees opposite magnetic North. This is so the magnetic "pull" on the dynamic element will be equal in all directions and be "pulling" to the front of the element to ensure proper phase, since it would be facing magnetic North. I usually use condenser microphones on female lead vocalists. The reason being, females tend to emit heat and pheromones which typically tranfers the heat to the plates of the condenser/capacitor plates making them become closer spaced... thus increasing gain.

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