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Mic Position and the Cindy Crawford Mole

Yes, I'm obsessed. I can't stand vocal mics being directly in front of the mouth. Three reasons:
1) The air that puffs out on the letters P and B (and T and C to a lesser extent) pops the microphone in an ugly manner (even at quite a distance).
2) There's often not enough nose in the sound, so it gives the singer that slightly blocked nose sound, losing the Ms, Ns and NGs.
3) It covers up the mouth so you can't see what's going on.

The solution?
The Cindy Crawford Mole Position!

Yes, moving the mic to one side a little (somewhere around the corner of the mouth), angled slightly in (aiming diagonally back towards the lips) and slightly up, will solve all these problems: The pops can go past, nasal component is added and you can see the mouth... yay! What's more, when you sing louder, try moving the mic around your face a little rather than away: This means the warmth (low frequencies) aren't lost as you get louder. This is easy if the mic is on a stand... just turn your head away from the mic.
People often complain they sound weird through a mic: I think part of this is because they're naturally used to hearing themselves through their head, and the nasal component of your voice is an important part of you sounding like yourself.

Now, getting singers (and speakers) to do this is a challenge, as we're all obsessed with symmetricality. But several renowned audio engineers I know have confirmed that most people don't sing symmetrically anyway. And if you play an asymmetrical instrument too (like guitar, bass, drum kit, accordian, hurdy gurdy, etc), it's not going to seem strange to the audience. Most piano players mic the voice from the side anyway. And if you're holding the mic in one hand, as most singers do (well, except Chrissy Amphlett), it's more comfy to have it to one side.

So, give it a go!
Challenge convention... just because people have been eating mics for as long as mics have been around, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.


Extra note: The chin position is OK for speakers and comedians, because at that distance, the mouth/nose mix is fine, but because of the distance, the mic has to be turned up louder and thus it's no good for band situations. And unfortunately, many people let it drift up into the pop zone (which is lower than you might think), and that's extra bad, due to the fact the level is pumped up and the EQ is made bassier to counteract the distance... aarrgghh, pop-o-rama! People just have to get over the symmetry thing, as the sound doesn't care. An off centre chin position (like, in jowl position), is ideal for speaking gigs, as it still leaves the mouth visible to all, but let's you bring it a up closer without the risk of popping.

Here we see renowned Auckland vocalist (and teacher of many) Caitlin Smith having only recently learnt the joy of the CCMP.
Caitlin and Cindy