Where should you place your microphone?
Here is an important question you should be asking yourself when you are recording your vocals. How far should you stand from the microphone? There is some leeway here, but between six and eight inches is generally alright. If you get too close when using a cardioid microphone, the bass boost caused by the proximity effect will increase, though this is sometimes the effect which is desired. The important thing is to try to keep a good distance between the singer and the microphone constant if you want to keep the tonal balance consistent — even a slight movements can dramatically alter the sound if the microphone is at all directional.
Most of the time when recording vocals it's best to keep the effect of the room or the sound to a minimum. Keeping one’s self well away from the walls is a good idea. Try not to have a reflective wall directly behind the singer. Another thing to avoid is recording in the exact center of a room, as any standing waves will be in phase at this point, and this will tend to exaggerate the room resonances in the recording. Balancing the two problems mentioned by not recording to close to the wall and or center of a room.
If you're getting a boxy sound, no matter how you position things in the room, the first thing to try is working closer to the microphone — it is usually the nature of the room's ambience which causes that boxy sound. Obviously, the proximity effect may often limit you a little here, and so four inches is probably a sensible minimum distance — this will still improve the direct-to-reflected sound ratio. Ensure that there are non-reflective walls behind the singer. Use curtains or hang up drapes, duvets or sleeping bags to soak up the reflections. If the sound is still boxy then it may be that the room is simply too small or you should try to use a different room. However, this is a rare occurrence, except in the case of poorly designed vocal booths.
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