Do you ever revel in someone else’s mistakes?

Ever learn something from them?

Yeah, me too.

Here’s a list of some of my “best” mistakes I’ve made when it comes to using mics.

’Tis both enjoyable (and educational):

1. I almost blew up a $1600 ribbon mic because I plugged it into a preamp with phantom power already on. (Turns out that’s a bit of a myth, but I FREAKED for a while.)

2. I stepped up to the mic in front of 400+ people to sing, and…I had forgotten to turn on the wireless mic.

3. I sang an entire take of a vocal into the BACK of a condenser mic without realizing it.

4. I bought one of those headword condenser mics (AKA the “Garth Brooks mic”) to do podcasts and webinars. Turns out it sounded like garbage, and I looked like a dork.

5. Recently tracked drums and didn’t realize I overloaded the overhead mics at the preamp. (Sounded cool in the end, but embarrassing that I didn’t realize it was happening at the time.)

6. Tracked lead vocals for an album through an SM7B from roughly 1-foot away. It sounded okay, but had way too much sibilance. I was too far from the mic.

7. Spent a day tracking acoustic guitar (with two mics), only to realize afterwards that I had the mics too close and was recording a very boomy-sounding guitar.

8. After technical difficulties setting up a headphone mix, I tracked a female vocalist without really checking to see if I liked the vocal tone. Turns out I didn’t like it that much.

9. Close-mic’d a lead vocal once on a condenser with a hypercardioid pattern. Ended up sounding really weird due to the exaggerated proximity effect.

10. Recorded acoustic guitar for an EP right next to a window, while it was raining (during the great 2010 Nashville flood). The sound of rain is all over the EP.

To learn how I approach choosing and using mics in my home studio (to get ridiculously good-sounding recordings with inexpensive mics), minus all the mistakes, be sure to register for Thursday’s FREE webinar:

It’s gonna be really good.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner