MIc Placement for Mono Recording

Last Update: 07/22/2011

Any sound recorded by one mic is a mono sound or track and will never truly be stereo even when placed into a “stereo” mix. At this juncture lets discuss some mono or single microphone techniques .

The first and most commonly used technique is “close" micing which places the mic very near to the source, thus excluding virtually all other incident sound and environmental effects and gives the most control over the sound. This is the preferred technique for multitrack recording which is based primarily on mono tracks of many instruments and/or vocals.  Since the final resulting mix is generally an unknown factor, the purer and more uncolored the initial tracks are, the better the mix options at final mixdown.  For example, a coloration from room acoustics in the initial recording cannot be deleted later. Tracks resulting from close micing will be far freer from artifacts. 

The direct opposite of this technique is distant or ambient micing, where the desired result is to pickup the effects of environment along with the specific sound. Often when a collection of instruments that are in the same immediate physical location (such as drum sets), they can be recorded  together to give a cohesive whole kit sound  by using “room” mics that record all sounds within the room, plus the reverberant character of the room. In this example most often close mics are also used to give precise control over critical portions of the sound. The room mic simply adds the ambience from the environment.

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