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Recording Mic Tricks

November 25, 2016 / no comments, on Blog

So one of my favorite things to do in the studio is to record demo tracks of all instruments and vocals using micing techniques that I normally wouldn’t use, aka mic tricks. These are not necessarily tricks, it is more just using what I have rather than looking for another piece of equipment to do the job.

I started recording like most people. I bought an interface and  a condenser mic. Back then I was using the Presonus Firebox with a pair of ADK mics, one large diaphragm condenser and one small diaphragm condenser. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I read about mic placement and how to use each mic in every situation. I think I learned most of my “Mic Tricks” when I had a limited amount of gear. This helped me learn to envision what each mic is “hearing” when I was placing them in the room. The coolest mic tricks that I used for vocals will change your recordings.

So the biggest issue when you begin recording is that you usually don’t have a budget to throw $500-1000 on a mic, interface, and a preamp, just to realize, audio recording isn’t for you…what a waste! So grab a  cheap condenser and a basic interface, and try this for your vocals.

The first basic trick is to simply sing into the back of your mic, at pretty close proximity, maybe around 4-5 inches from the mic. If your mic has polar pattern adjustment, then do the same and play with the polar patterns. The reason why this works is due to the fact that most cheap condensers already have a pretty big boost in the highs to upper highs. This is usually hard to deal with in a mix without compromising the sound. The second trick is simply to sing above the front of the mic at the same proximity…and for the same reasons…cheap mics are abnormally bright!

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For drums, I have recorded some pretty good stereo tracks with a pair of LDC’s. My trick for recording a nice drums track with 2 mics is to place one LDC in close proximity to the snare, towards the bottom of the snare, and facing towards middle of the snare and kick. I take the second mic and usually change it per the drummer. Sometimes the second can simply be an overhead, or use it in the room for a bigger sound. The best place for me is about 3-4 feet from the kick drum, facing the top edge of the kick drum ring.

For bass and guitars, I use  the same techniques as on vocals and drum. Play with the mic position and use a second mic to round out your sound. Be careful not to have phase issues. Listen in mono and make sure none of the sounds “disappear”. All of this is simply mic placement all over again, and be used with even the most expensive mics. My goal here was simply to tell you that you can use any modern recording gear successfully.

Now if you have more than 2 or 3 mics, this all still applies. Remember what I wrote about painting a picture in my previous article. Although the previuos article is for mixing, it applies in the same manner when capturing sounds. Enjoy!


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Golden Age Project PREQ-73 Vintage Style Preamplifier and Equalizer

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