Sound Guy's #1 Tip For Microphone Placement!
Veteran Technical Director and CCI Solutions Church Relations Director Duke DeJong shares a great tip for sound techs. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions & www.twitter.com/ccisolutions.
Last week we hosted the Mic Like A Pro Webinar where experienced audio guys from CCI Solutions and Sennheiser came together to discuss tips and tricks to getting great sound from your microphones. Experienced audio guys know how critical it is to get it right at the source, and this is the reason why we held this webinar and will be making the video available for everyone to watch soon. We focused on two key elements of miking your instruments: choosing the right mic and achieving perfect placement.
Fussing with the EQ!
This weekend during sound check, I just couldn't get the electric guitar sounding the way I know it could. I kept fussing with the EQ and it just never felt right. Finally, I walked up on stage and realized someone had used a different mic than the one we had specifically purchased for the electric amp. Every microphone has specific properties and coloration to them, making them more ideal for different uses. When we switched the mic from a solid, all purpose microphone to one designed specifically with guitar amplifiers in mind, every one noticed the immediate difference. We gained fullness, clarity and the tone of the amp really stood out in the mix, all simply by changing the microphone. This is one of hundreds of stories I can tell you where changing the microphone made all the difference in tone that we wanted.
Another Mic Placement Issue!
Just like the guitar amplifier, I wasn't really happy with the sound I was getting out of the snare either. This was our normal snare and our normal snare mic, both of which I'm usually happy with. The problem? The mic was point down towards the very outside of the snare, not toward the center where the drummer was hitting and where the biggest part of the sound was. I listened to the snare and listened for the sweet spot, then placed the mic there. The same was true when I placed the new electric mic on the cabinet. I had to first listen for where the sweet spot was, then place the mic there.
The Right Mic!
So what microphones should you use for which instruments? Frankly, whichever one gets you the sound you like is the "right" one. There are microphones that work better in specific applications and our audio experts at CCI Solutions can certainly give you some recommendations of where to start. In fact, you're welcome to email me if you want some ideas of what I have used and liked. But while we all have our favorites, there is only one "right" mic, which is the one that gives you the results you are looking for.
The Sweet Spot!
The same rule of thumb goes for placement. The "right" place to put your microphone on any given instrument is where you get the sound you want. The first place I always try though is in the instrument sweet spot, which can only be found by listening to the instrument. Don't be afraid to get right next to the instrument or the guitar cabinet and listen. Move your ears around until you find the sweet spot, and then place your mic there. If you don't like what it sounds like and can't get it there with little EQ tweaks, then move the mic. And be sure to make sure that the sound you're hearing and don't like isn't the instrument itself. That is one thing mic placement (or a different mic for that matter) can't fix.
There is only one hard and fast rule when it comes to selecting and placing your microphones: do whatever makes it sound great! If you're not happy with the sound you're getting from your microphone, try adjusting the placement. If that still doesn't work, try a different mic. And if you want some help on where to start, give us a call or shoot us an email. We're here to serve and help make you successful.
Church Relations Director
Duke has over 14 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions