How to Make Your Podcast Sound Better with Proximity Effect
Proximity effect is a phenomenon present in all microphones. In simple terms, microphones pick up more low frequency sounds (bass) when the sound source (you) is closer to the mic and picks up less bass when you’re away from the mic.
“The closer you are to a microphone the more bass it picks up.”
So, is this good or bad? Actually that depends. If your voice is naturally thin or more high pitched (especially for female voices), this can probably be good If you get closer your recorded voice will have some more energy in it and proximity effect will favor you. On the other hand, if your voice is naturally strong and bassy (especially male vocals), getting closer to your microphone might make it boomy in the recording, creating a not-so-pleasant impression to the listener. In this case you can get a little away from the microphone so it picks up less bass.
Now, getting too close to your microphone can create its own problems, one of which is “pops”. That thud-like sound it make when you pronounce “P”, “B” sounds and even “S” sounds in extreme cases. This can be somewhat reduced in the post production but that never sounds as good as a recording taken without the pops. So be sure to use a pop filter if you’re trying to get close to the microphone.
So, how to decide the optimal distance between the mic & you? There’s no one size fits all solution for this. So take about 15 minutes to try recording in different positions. You can later compare the recordings and decide what’s better for your voice. Happy podcasting!
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