Whether you're streaming, recording your speaking voice, or you're singing music, the distance you are from your microphone plays a big part in how the sound quality of the recording will turn out. If you're looking to record for fun, you won't need to pay too much attention to getting the best quality, but if you plan to have an audience, you'll want to find that sweet spot when it comes to the distance between your mouth and the mic.
If you were to think of recording quality on a scale from 1 to 100, the distance you are from your mic makes up about 20% of the rating. Your mic quality makes up about 20% (as long as you are in a good range of brands), the atmosphere of your studio makes up about 30%, while the vocalists' approach and the recording levels make up the last 30 percent.
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The distance largely depends on the type of mic, but 6 to 10 inches away from the mic should put you in a good range. You will want to tweak the exact distance depending on your mic and your environment. Test out different distances between 6 and 10 inches to see what works best for you. You will also want to get a second opinion on the recordings from an audio professional if possible.
If your mic is too close to your mouth when you sing, you will run the risk of picking up too many plosives, which are the noises that come from your mouth when you use consonants like "p" and "t" Another problem you will run into when you're too close is peaks in the volume that could distort the sound.
If you're inclined to record close to the mic, consider the reasons why and how you could change it. You may think you're singing are speaking too quietly, but you can adjust the recording levels if necessary. If your concern is diction, it's good to overdo your diction when recording from a distance. You may think the overdone diction will be obvious, but it actually helps a lot and comes off perfectly if you slightly overdo it consistently as long as you aren't too close to the mic.
If you're too far from the mic when you record, you run the risk of picking up too much background noise, and your recordings will have an airy sound. The mic will likely be unable to pick up your lower frequencies well, which will cause the audio to be too trebly and harder to mix. You will lose the fullness and richness of your vocals if you are too far away.
If you're worried about picking up too many plosives, consider buying a high-quality pop filter to help lessen some of those unwanted sounds. If your concern is peaking and distorting the recording, be sure to adjust your recording levels on your DAW or audio interface to prepare for loud singing or speaking.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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