The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Final answer to any question about mic choice and placement...
Old 3rd June 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Matt Biermann's Avatar
 

Final answer to any question about mic choice and placement...

I notice so many questions pop up here every day about "The best way to mic this..." or "The best mic to record that...". When I was first starting out teaching myself recording lore I would obsess about these issues as well, but I really wish someone had come right out and told me how pointless these questions generally are.

I am not trying to be insulting or tongue-in-cheek here. The truth of the matter is it doesn't really matter what mic you use or where you put the mic... as long as it sounds good.

None of the pros really get down on their hands and knees with rulers, angles, compasses and slide rules and calculate trigonometric equations to arrive at the scientifically correct mic position (ok, maybe some do, but not most). They use their ears and move the mic around until it sounds good to them. There is also no magic list of mic formulas in their back pocket. While they develop a sense for what works over the years, it's not a definitive thing by any means.

Instead of asking, "Where should I put which mic on an acoustic guitar?" you should be asking, "What does a well recorded acoustic guitar sound like?" and then from there you know what you are striving for.

This, of course is the crux of the problem: taste. What sounds good to one person may sound bad to another. So when you are asking about mic placement or choice for any given source, you will get 1500 different answers from 1500 different tastes and still be left wondering where to start.

So to answer any more questions about mic placement or choice, I would like to offer this final, definitive answer: listen to your favorite records. Do you hear how those instruments sound? Now go move your mics around until you get a sound that’s close to or as good as what you just heard.

In the end, your own particular taste is more important than your mic placement or choice, and as an afterthought I would offer that this is what separates "good" engineers from "bad" ones: TASTE, not myriad scientific rules about mic placement.

(As an example, if you listen to anything on my Myspace page, you will hear that I have what most people call "bad" taste in sound, which is why I never made a good recording engineer for commercial music. )
Old 3rd June 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dreamsongs's Avatar
 

I wish it was that easy. But the fact of the matter is that you need the right tools for what you're trying to achieve.

You can't put your ears to good use if you're using the wrong tools for the job. You can't use a screwdriver to pull a nail out of the wall...
Old 3rd June 2008
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Matt Biermann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamsongs View Post
I wish it was that easy. But the fact of the matter is that you need the right tools for what you're trying to achieve.

You can't put your ears to good use if you're using the wrong tools for the job. You can't use a screwdriver to pull a nail out of the wall...
Very good point! Perhaps I should have clarified a bit more. If your taste dictates a $5000 mic, then that is what you should use. My point being only that a $5000 mic might not be the right choice just because someone says so... The final arbiter in the matter should be your ears, not endless objective minutiae.
Old 26th February 2013
  #4
Gear Guru
Great post! Much truth there.

And that Tone Tank thingy looks pretty cool!
Old 27th February 2013
  #5
Rerealized this recently after going on a GS-inspire shopping spree (of sorts) - it's great advice for anyone cowed by everything they don't own or know. No matter what else you have in your spread, your ears are ultimately your primary tool.
Old 27th February 2013
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
K.Lastima's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamsongs View Post
You can't use a screwdriver to pull a nail out of the wall...
You absolutely can, and I have. Just not recommended.
Old 27th February 2013
  #7
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by vizcities View Post
Rerealized this recently after going on a GS-inspire shopping spree (of sorts) - it's great advice for anyone cowed by everything they don't own or know. No matter what else you have in your spread, your ears are ultimately your primary tool.
Yes.
Nobody says gear doesn't matter. The best recordings happen when great gear is in the hands of a great engineer.

But a great engineer with decent gear will produce a better recording than a decent engineer with great gear.
Old 27th February 2013
  #8
Gear Addict
 

These posts speak truth! I have actually decided to stop buying gear until I learn what I have now (well, subjective gear, if I need a mic splitter or something utilitarian like that I will pick it up.)
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Jimbo / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
5
manthe / So Much Gear, So Little Time
10
gar_lei / So Much Gear, So Little Time
6
Sput / So Much Gear, So Little Time
6
movingonstudios / Low End Theory
22

Forum Jump
Forum Jump