Why do people hang condenser mics upside down?


Have you ever wondered why people hang microphones upside down? It’s not just to look cool. There’s actually a practical reason for it! In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of hanging condenser mics upside down and explain why it’s such a popular method for use.

Reasons for hanging a mic upside down

The main reason why condenser mics are hung upside down is that hanging them this way will have a number of benefits.

  • Firstly, hanging a microphone upside down reduces plosives and helps reduce popping when recording vocals in a studio environment. A plosive is an explosive burst of air from the mouth that causes certain consonants to be pronounced with more emphasis than usual. In a spoken word program, it’s particularly noticeable on consonants that have a pop or burst of air after them. This has the effect on changing the pronunciation slightly. This why you will often see condenser choir microphones hung upside down
  • Another reason is that hanging a mic upside down reduces sibilance. Sibilant sounds are harsh, loud and hissing. They’re created by the letter “s” or similar letters that create vivid sounds in the pronunciation of words. The problem with these types of sounds is that they cause distortion in recording and can significantly reduce the quality of a recording.
  • Lastly, a condenser mic with a tube heats up in very little time, hanging it upside down will help speed up the cooling. Using this mic position will help the heat rising away from the diaphragm of the mic faster than hanging it with the head down.

condenser microphone upside down

 

Condenser mic orientation

Hanging a condenser mic upside down is not always necessary. It’s just the orientation of the diaphragm that is important. Commonly, hanging it right side up will provide better sound quality as opposed to hanging it with the head pointing down.

For example, an upside down microphone with its head pointing down helps prevent internal noise from being picked up by the microphone. Internal noise is any unwanted sounds produced by your equipment, for example, the sounds produced by vibrating equipment.

Choosing hanging orientation

The best way to determine if hanging your condenser mic right side up or hanging it upside down is the correct choice is to experiment with both positions and listen for yourself. You can tell which position provides you with better sound quality through careful listening.

Mic stand position

In order to get the best hanging orientation for a mic, you should position it so that the diaphragm of your mic will be parallel with the sound source. This means hanging the mic upside down and hanging it on its side. You can do this using a microphone stand boom arm or hanging it off the end of an upright stand.

How to ensure good sound quality

If hanging your condenser mic upside down is something you want to do, you’ll also need to take precautions in ensuring the quality of sound is good. Here are some pieces of advice for hanging a mic upside down that will help ensure good sound quality.

  • Be sure to leave enough space between the microphone and any surface they may be facing. This is to prevent the sound from being reflected, which could cause issues.
  •  Use a pop filter when hanging a condenser mic upside down if you don’t want to get popping sounds in your recordings. A pop filter should be placed between the singer and the microphone before singing starts. It’s also helpful to place it between two singers in a choir.

Choir mics

You will often see choir microphones hanging with the diaphragm hanging down. This orientation enables you to perform other tasks while hanging it and it’s also easier to adjust a microphone in this position. Choir microphones are larger than a standard condenser microphone so hanging them upside down prevents singers from hitting the microphone with their hands when they’re holding music or have a music stand in front of them. A shock mount can also help reduce this problem.

Since hanging choir mics is the standard, many condenser mic manufacturers design their hanging brackets to fit this orientation. This helps ensure that choir microphones are hanging correctly.

Frank Edwards

Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.

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