Dumb question but I was wondering about mic. placement.

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by crucified, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. crucified

    crucified Guest

    Is it true holding the mic. upside down makes it sound better and why? I am talking about condenser mic.'s by the way for recording vocals.

    <<Edited out>> Please try to use better language in your posts. There are lots of ways to ask the question without the profanity. Feel free to edit this post and reword. --Ben
  2. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    The only reason to mount a condenser mic upside-down would be if it were a tube mic that generated a lot of heat. The heat rises, obviously, and if the diaphragm were above it, the heat could damage it. So if mounted upside-down, the diaphragm is below the tube which generates the heat...eh, you get it! Also, might want to watch the attitude. Won't make many friends here like that, FWIW! Play nice, and clean up the language and attitude if you want help. Friendly advice! Andy
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Guest

    I can think of two other reasons. Not very important, but still.

    - gives more place below for music stand
    - may make the singer "be tall and proud" and making him sing slightly upwards and sounding better.

    Regardless of what direction the mic points, try different positioning. It sounds different at chest level from well above the nose.

  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Also, some shock mounts have a limited range of motion and you can get the angle you want upside down better than rightside up. Again, several logistic reasons for mounting upside down - no audio reasons.
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    As Gunnar has already stated, it gives more room for the music stand, etc., underneath. This is helpful in a lot of ways. There's less likelihood of the singer hitting the mic with sheet music, water bottle, etc., and less chance of physically bumping into it overall. If you're coming in from above on a large boom, your talent has all kinds of room to move around and feel freer in their performance.

    Also, when it comes to taming "plosives" on the mic, it's always better up top, above the blast. When working with singers who are moving a lot of air (esp working with the mic in close), it's better to be looking down on their face from up above, than from down below. You can be slightly angled that way, aiming the sweet spot at the nose or chin area, but stay clear and away from the air-blast from the mouth.

    Plus it just looks cooler. <g> Look at any shot of Sinatra working in the studio. :twisted:
  6. peat

    peat Guest

    i dont really think heat is a factor
    i mean, the melting point of the metals in the capsule are pretty high, if you mic was putting out that much heat, youd have other things to worry about,

    i think its more to do with unblocking the path from the chest to the capsule

    without the stand, the microphone body and the shock mount there, lower frequency sounds eminating from the chest have a more direct path to the capsule
  7. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Heat issue:

  8. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    If you go back to the early days of sound recording, when engineers really were 'engineers' and there was hardly any EQ so you *had* to get things right with the microphone, I think you'll find that one of the reasons for putting the microphone upside down (and on the end of a boom arm) was to minimise the effects of diffration from the microphone's body - especially with side-address microphones. In those days, microphone bodies were huge obstacles sitting directly beneath the capsule. Better to get it above the path from voice to capsule, where sound will reflect/diffract upwards and away from the capsule.

    There is considerable research about this if you look for it, some of it dates way back to the '50s or earlier. You'll be looking for research on diffraction of microphone bodies and similar things.

    Whether the effect of this diffraction is significant or audible is another thing, of course, but when you're trying to get the best sound you can, you do everything you can.

    I do it whenever I can (er, put the microphone upside down, that is); apart from anything else, it makes the singer look and feel like someone famous, doing it 'for real'.

    Other possible reasons: in those early days, microphones were big and heavy; it was much safer to hang them from a boom arm rather than balance them on top of a mic stand. We must also remember that in those early days, boom stands had counterweights and huge heavy bases with wide footprints, and the weight of the microphone was not enough to cause it to topple over.
  9. crucified

    crucified Guest

    What r yall talkin about did I curse at yall or something I dont understand? Clean up my language or I wont make friends? uhhhh.....?????
  10. silverspeedo

    silverspeedo Guest

    Do you hang the mic upside down with the shock mount?
  11. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    I can't talk for others, but I do if possible. Most shock-mounts will hold the microphone safely regardless of which way it is oriented (I wouldn't be doing it if the shock-mount couldn't hold the microphone safely!).

    The use or not of a shock-mount is worth talkig about. Personally, I'll use them whenever I can to help isolate the microphone from external vibrations. However, there is at least one manufacturer of microphone stands and/or clips/mounting systems who believes the microphone should be held as firmly and rigidly as possible - which means not using a shock-mount. Some people rave about the improvement in sound quality they get from using such systems. I've never tried it.

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