The Case For Fewer Mics

2011 Jul 22, 2011

If I’m going to be honest with you, sometimes fewer mics in a recording situation is better than more mics. As with the case for fewer tracks, a minimalist approach with microphones is not only cost effective, but can render you much better recordings.


Via Oreste Pantegani

Fewer Phase Issues

One of the biggest problems with using multiple microphones on a source is the issue of phase. The concept is simple. If I put two mics up over a drum kit, sound from the snare drum could easily hit those mics at different times if one is slightly farther away than the other. The result is two tracks in my DAW (or live console) that are out of sync or out of phase. Sonically the result is a thin, hollow, crappy sound.

Sure there are rules and suggestions for keeping mics like the above mentioned overheads in phase, but the infinitely easier option is to simply use one mic instead. You will get a nice full and rich sound of your drum overhead and have no phase issues whatsoever. This concept can be applied to recording anything. If you can pull it off with fewer mics, do it. It will sound better.

Fewer Distractions

The other big advantage to using fewer mics in the studio (or on stage) is you minimize distractions. If you have only two mics on a drum kit, you have  a lot less to think about than if you had ten. With fewer gain, placement, and sound decisions to make you can focus in on the two mics you ARE using and get a great sound out of them.

Using fewer mics forces you to focus more on what you are doing with the mics and less on what mics you are using. The type and number of mics is not nearly as important as what you do with them.

Perfect For The Home Studio

Many of you are home studio owners. You are relatively new to recording and producing music, so I want to serve you well. If you want to make bigger, clearer, and more punchy recordings, use fewer mics at any one time. Keep things simple. Don’t be fooled by all the fancy and complex setups you might see in an advertisement of major studio documentary. Less is more when you are inexperienced…and the truth is, less is more even when you are a pro. It’s just not as flashy 

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