|Published: February 16, 2021|
Mic Placement Matters
I had the enormous pleasure of singing in a virtual concert with a local theatre company in my hometown. Not only was it incredibly fun, but I also learned a neat little lesson in audio. Audio learning is always handy as it prevents me from being a complete audio dunce.
On the day of filming, we performers noticed that the sound of the digital piano accompanying us was a little too quiet. The piano was behind the camera and was being amplified through speakers that were even farther away. The piano comes through two speakers, but special curtains for the shoot were blocking one speaker. Would this mean that the streamed concert would not have a balanced sound?
Yet, when I listened to the streamed performance, I noticed the piano sounded much louder, relative to the voices than it had on filming day. In some moments, the piano level was actually too loud. Why was it louder in the recording, when it had been so quiet in the room? The answer is mic placement!
The sound was captured with a single external microphone, which is a simple and effective way to record a performance. If the instruments and voices sound balanced in the room, then your audience will hear that same balanced sound. That is IF your mic is well-placed relative to the sources of sound. If the mic is closer to a piano speaker and farther away from the singers, the resulting balance in the recording will be much more piano-heavy. Furthermore, if that mic is designed to pick up sound in a directional way, and is pointing at one sound source but away from the other, the resulting balance will be different from what you hear in the room. The safest bet is to ensure your mic is “facing” all the sound sources, and make sure the balance sounds right in that spot.
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