I was setting up my home studio one night to try out a microphone I had borrowed, the Rode NT1A. I was pretty excited. Trying out a new microphone is always fun, even if it’s an inexpensive one. 

I hadn’t spent a lot of time in my studio at the time, so I was happy for the chance to spend a few hours catching up on projects and songs.

After a few minutes everything was set up. The mic was on its stand with the pop filter in place. I had run it to my interface, adjusted the gain and routed everything in my DAW. Time to record.

But something was off. The mic just didn’t sound all that great. It was kinda muffled, and it picked up a lot of the room. “Oh well,” I thought, and I went ahead with the recording. I recorded an entire lead vocal track…still it sounded off.

The problem?

I was singing into the back of the microphone.

That’s right. I had years of  recording experience, had amassed all of this useful head-knowledge about recording, had recorded vocals countless times…and yet here I was, singing my heart out into the back of the microphone. It sounded awful, but for some reason I didn’t notice until I had done an entire vocal take.

I’m not proud of it, but it’s pretty funny. Okay, your turn. Let’s hear it. Leave a comment with one (or more) of your studio blunders. This should be fun.

  • I once had an extremely heavy tube condenser mic in the shockmount on a mic stand. The mic was probably suspended 5 feet or so off the ground. I decided to change out the mic and thought it would be quickest to just unscrew the shockmount with the mic still in it. I underestimated the weight of the mic though and when the shockmount came off the stand the whole thing slipped out of my hand and crashed into the steel base of the mic stand. The mic was bent at about a 30 degree angle. Ouch indeed.

  • Troy Burton

    Just purchased a Roland 2480 workstation. Finally got it going was eager to record and laid down 6 songs about 5hours of work. The band was so proud. Went to the studio the next day….blank,nothing,zilch.After reading the manual duh…be sure to store project before turning off power. I got the heres your sign award.

    • Okay, Troy. You absolutely win the award. It hurts me just to READ your comment. Ouch.

  • jackie sheeler

    i did EXACTLY the same thing with a shure condense mic once. and even more embarassing, i couldn’t figure out what the problem was right away….

    sheesh.

  • WILLIAM JONES

    Embarrassing moments. I’ve been working on a recording before. I was Singing or playing my heart out. But I forgot to hit record. So a whole take had to be done over. I think that I have done that a number of times, though.

    • HA! Some of my best performances EVER have happened while tape wasn’t rolling. Of course, I have no proof…:-)

  • I was recording an elderly war veteran’s reminiscences – he spoke form memory and liked to talk for 20 minutes or more at a time. As I sat and listened I gradually became more an more unhappy with the sound, and eventually actually looked up from the computer through the glass – he was sitting down, so it was hard to see him.

    I hadn’t tightened the mic stand enough – the mic had drooped about 8 inches down from where I wanted it to be. He hadn’t realised because of the pop shield…

    But he was better on the second take anyway 🙂

  • Dude, they put that gold dot there for a reason…

  • WILLIAM JONES

    Gosh, I think I’ve had too many to mention!! I think the only thing that really embarrasses me is the continuance of buying and accumulating gear thinking that one day you’ll find the magic box that is going to solve all of your problems. No such thing exists. Learning how to use your equipment to effectively make music(preferably a small setup) is the best thing you can do. You should only upgrade when your system runs out of gas to do it for you anymore. I think the only other thing that embarrasses me is being so picky that I never release any music again for people to hear. Hey, it’s a home studio. It’s going to have some flaws.

  • rick

    I used to think that almost everything I purchased had some sort of flaw.

    Now I assume the gear is fine and I need to figure out the right way to use it.

  • This sounds like what happens to me with most issues. I spend some time troubleshooting some new gear thinking the problem is extremely technical. Only later do I realize after a lot of frustration it is something as simple as not being plugged in or routed correctly. This is usually after an hour of pacing a hole in the carpet in deep thought and breaking the configuration of other working devices. The microphone thing happens to everybody at least once. Usually once is embarrassing enough.

  • Been there. It was an AKG, although I forget which one.

    When we first started out we were using a cruddy little dynamic mic (you know it’s cruddy because it had an on/off switch) and I would turn it off between takes and then forget to turn it back on. We ended up taping over the switch and even put a sign on the mic stand that read: “Is the mic on, numb-nuts?”

    K

  • Chris T.

    I did the exact same thing with the NT1000. Pretty awesome.

    • We ought to petition Rode to put a big “SING HERE” sign on all their mics. The little gold circle just isn’t enough. 🙂