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I've read that it's best to a have mic at a 45 degrees horizontal angle, pointed not towards the mouth, but at some point in front of it. Is it really the case? What advantages does it have?

Currently I own Sennheiser MKH416. I'm looking for the perfect position for my voiceovers. I found two positions that I like:

  1. for reading: directly in front of my face, ~20cm from it, popfilter directly in the middle.
  2. for commenting video games (I need to see the whole screen in front of me + keep mouse/keyboard clicks rather quiet): pointing at my mouth from above the screen (~30deg vertical angle), ~20cm distance, no popfilter needed.

Pointing the mic like in the article results in rolling off highs, making it hard to monitor on my mid-focused headphones because I can't hear myself clearly enough. When I review recordings from such tests it is obvious to my ears that it was not a direct speech.

Am I doing something wrong? Do I fool myself into thinking that these highs are good? We all know how our ears can fool us, so I wonder if it's the case. I can hear the difference in highs between using a popfilter and not (that's why I'm using a special popfilter that doesn't affect SQ negatively at all), and I like highs, so maybe I'm oversensitive.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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You do what works with your particular microphone and setup when checked with headphones and with monitor speakers. Live monitoring of yourself is a good first approximation but not reliable.

Microphone positioning guides are usually another first approximation. How good they are depend on how closely they match your microphone and situation, and how much experience the author had.

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Off-axis isn't necessarily "better", it's just different. This is a common theme with most mic-placement techniques.

Sometimes (when recording a screechy guitar amp for instance), it is desirable to reduce high-frequency pick up and get more of a soft mid-range sound, and off-axis placement can help achieve that.

When recording vocals, off-axis placement can reduce the boomy effect of plosive syllables, and high-frequency content isn't strictly required for intelligibility, so that could explain why some people consider it a "better" technique for non-musical vocal recording.

Pop-filters are designed to reduce plosives while maintaining on-axis recording, so that might explain why you prefer the set-up you have in scenario 1 (from your question).

  • Thanks. No problem with plosives in the scenario 2 though, the difference is in high frequencies. – Ctrl-C Apr 19 '18 at 11:53
  • That's because scenario 2 is off-axis – user9881 Apr 19 '18 at 14:57

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