This article is about the proper mic placement that every streamer should read.
After you read this text, you will be able to create the best possible videos without any problem related to the sound quality of your live stream.
Moreover, if any mic-related problems appear, you will know how to fix them.
Here are the focal topics of our article:
Therefore, let us cut a long story short and learn where to place our microphones.
Table of Contents
Best Mic Placement for Streaming
Sound quality is crucial for every streamer.
Namely, a streamer might create the best possible content, whether they stream games or edit their vlogs, for example, but if the sound is terrible, it will ruin the whole video.
Therefore, pay attention to every detail from our list, and it will enable you to create professional-sounding live streams.
1. Right Spot for Clear Sound and Acoustics
The first and the most crucial advice is to find the right mic position, or the so-called “Sweet Spot”.
As you might guess, the right spot is a position where your mic functions the best.
The “Sweet Spot” is always near the source of sound and in the most acoustic spot in the room or studio.
Our team has prepared some pieces of advice when it comes to the three general classes of microphones: microphones with boom arms, headset microphones, and free-standing microphones.
Although the types of microphones from the same class can differ, some universal rules for positioning can be derived.
Positioning Microphone Boom Arm
Probably the most common type of microphone is one with the boom arm.
Streamers opt for it because the microphone boom arm enables them to adjust the mic’s position and get the best possible sound.
We recommend putting them on the right or left side of your desk because they would not interrupt your view when you put them there.
Moreover, they are practical if you play games while live streaming and use your keyboard a lot because you are free to move your arms beneath the boom arm.
If there is a necessity, your boom mic can be moved away or moved closer, as well.
Positioning a Headset microphone
When it comes to a headset mic, you will have to make sure that the mic is around one inch away from your mouth.
Just make sure to angle your mic towards your mouth.
If you place a headset microphone right before your mouth, it could be unpleasant for your viewers because they will hear you breathing or mumbling if you are speaking directly to the microphone.
Positioning a Free Standing Microphone
If you do not like headsets or boom arm mics, the free-standing microphone is what you get for live streaming.
Generally, there is a rule that you should place them on your desk at a reasonable distance, 6-12 inches away from your mouth.
However, we recommend you pay more attention to whether it is one of the condenser microphones or dynamic microphones because the distance can vary depending on the type, as well.
Condenser microphones are usually put at around 15-20 cm or 6-8 inches away, while the dynamic microphones should be 5-7 cm away.
If you place your microphone closer to your mouth, your streamers will hear the breathing sounds, which are not so pleasant to hear.
On the other hand, place it more than 12 inches away, and your microphone will probably pick up the background noise.
We do not have to mention that you need to direct the microphone towards your mouth in order to create good audio.
2. Choose the right polar pattern
If you want to place your microphone properly, you need to be aware of the polar pattern in which your mic is.
That is because some modes are intended for capturing music, some for sounds from the user’s environment, while some are for streamers’ voice solely.
When it comes to the polar patterns, there are four of them: stereo, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and cardioid mode.
Nowadays, some microphones offer selectable pickup patterns, which means that you have all these polar patterns included in one single microphone.
Therefore, you do not have to buy multiple microphones for different occasions.
If you want to find the perfect XLR microphone, check out our other article about the XLR microphones here.
But let us get back to the polar patterns.
Firstly, when it comes to your streaming setup, we recommend you get a microphone that has a cardioid pattern.
Namely, the pattern mentioned above keeps most of the background noise away, and it is highly recommendable to streamers who prefer to talk directly in the mic.
The only thing you have to bear in mind while using this mic is to keep it a few inches away from your mouth.
Secondly, if you interview other streamers or friends a lot, choose the bidirectional pickup pattern because it can capture sound equally from both sides of the mic.
Finally, if you want to capture ambient vibration from concerts or multi-person podcasts, you should opt for an omnidirectional or stereo pattern.
3. Avoiding Capturing a Background Noise
Now, we know that most streamers do not stream from isolated studios, flats or houses.
On the contrary, many streamers often live in noisy flats or houses, which can be tricky for live streaming.
Therefore, a streamer needs to place the microphone somewhere where it would not be too close to the external sound sources.
First of all, make sure that your desk (and microphone) is away from the windows if you live in a noisy street.
If there is no possibility of placing the desk away from the window because you do not have too much space, at least keep the windows close while you stream.
Moreover, nowadays, one can buy affordable accessories and noise reduction tools like foam panels or noise-reduction curtains, so try to get one of those.
Secondly, we can often hear fans and air conditions working in the background while watching a streamer.
A streamer can quickly eliminate those sound waves if they would only turn the fans or air condition off.
Finally, always test your microphone before you create content or start streaming.
If necessary, change the position of your microphone all the time.
Cardioid mode is beneficial because it captures all the things you say directly into the microphone.
Still, the proper placement and check before use will ensure clear audio and improve the quality of your videos.
4. Purchase a Shock Mount or a Pop Filter
A good placement of a microphone is one of the crucial things.
However, some unwanted low frequencies might appear even if the microphone is perfectly placed.
Free-standing and Boom-arm microphones are often prone to capture sounds of knocking something on your desk or typing on your keyboard.
Therefore, we recommend you buy a shock mount that will stabilize your microphone and prevent it from picking up unwanted sounds from the environment.
Moreover, the shock mount will allow you to place your microphone in a higher position where it would be protected from any kind of contact.
From our own experience, a shock mount helped us when we had a problem with our professional USB microphone- Blue Yeti.
Blue Yeti had an extremely high microphone sensitivity, so a shock mount was required for our Twitch streams.
On the other hand, if you do not like to sound like you have pressed the microphone gain knob and hear aggressive plosive sounds like P-s, K-s, and T-s, we recommend buying a pop filter.
It will prevent your audio from distortion and you will gain control over those sounds.
However, we do not think that the filters are so indispensable, but they would be an excellent addition for any Youtube or Twitch streamer in any case.
What to do if my room is too acoustic?
Bear in mind that there is a vast difference between flat and vaulted ceilings. Namely, if your room has a vaulted ceiling, it would be great for watching movies or listening to music, but for streams, it would echo a lot.
Therefore, we can only recommend you avoid them.
On the other hand, a flat ceiling with some carpets over the floor will help you eliminate the echo and create a better sound.
It is impossible to eliminate every external sound wave, but the rule is that the more objects you have in the room, the fewer sound waves will appear.
What is the best distance from my mouth to the microphone?
It depends on whether you use dynamic microphones or condenser microphones. When it comes to the condenser microphones, we recommend a distance of 15-20 cm from your mouth, while the dynamic should be 5-7 cm away.
However, many condenser microphones have their own recommendations that you can read in their manuals. Therefore, we suggest you try the microphones yourself and choose the best microphone distance for your Twitch stream.
Even the best microphones need to be positioned well to work like the best.
Therefore, we recommend you pay attention to every detail of your microphones- from their pickup pattern and position to other sound sources in the vicinity.
By reading this article, we hope you understand what you need to do to create excellent conditions for streaming, improve your audio or eliminate the popping sounds caused by other factors.
For more tips on how to make your microphone sound great, check the video below!