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How to set up a single mic for recording

Recording Week
(Image credit: Future)

RECORDING WEEK: Microphones are our electronic ‘ears’ in the recording process, but unfortunately, they don’t hear things in quite the same way that our ears do, which is why we have to learn how to use them correctly.

Read through these three steps to master the one mic set up.

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(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Recording with a single mic should be reasonably straightforward. The first job is to select a microphone based on its pickup pattern and suitability for the job. 

This could simply be a case of choosing something small or robust enough if it’s going to be near drumsticks. Choose a cardioid or hypercardioid to help isolate an instrument from its surroundings.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Next, use your ears to establish where the instrument’s sound is coming from and position the mic accordingly. 

To find the sweet spot, get someone to move the mic as you listen on your monitors, or try listening via headphones as you move the mic yourself. Try right up close and gradually move away to establish a satisfactory representation.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: If the sound you’re after isn’t translating, and you’re certain the instrument sounds good in itself, try a different mic, as each one has its own frequency response. 

Alternatively, if you’re using a directional mic, try angling it slightly off axis to help make things less edgy.