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Old April 2nd, 2015, 04:07 PM   #1
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Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Hi everyone.

I've recently come across some audio how to video that say mounting a lav mic up side down is sometimes preferable to to the "normal" right side (up-ward).

In my dangerously knowledgeable mind, mounting upside down would introduce problems like picking up reflected sound from a table if subject is seated.

What are your thoughts on this?

BTW- I just ordered a A-T899 wired lav for my ever expanding sound kit.

Jonathan
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Just about every lav mic we use in video recording is omnidirectional, including the AT899.

The immediate reason is that when a subject turns their head, they would go off-mic with a directional mic. We don't want them to go off-mic.

And we don't care about gain-before-feedback, because we're not using the mic for sound reinforcement. And with a lav, we depend on proximity, not directionality, to get a good direct recording with minimal room noise - including table reflections.

The result is that there's little to no perceivable difference between mounting a mic rightside-up, upside-down or sideways; omni is omni.

Lots of soundies like upside-down in a tie knot, because it gets the mic a little further from the throat, and is less visible to the camera. Sometimes we rig a mic wire over the shoulder/collarbone, taping it to the inside of a shirt/blouse, or maybe to a bra strap; here, the arrangement of the wiring is sometimes easier with an upside-down capsule.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Seth. Thank you for that detailed explanation! I shall re-read to make sure it sinks into this thick skull.

On another note, been watching all sorts of interesting lav hiding tricks, many of which use either the triangle sandwich of gaffer tape as well as moleskin.

Audio is facinating and scary at the same time.....my technique and sound is so much better than it was a few years ago!

Thanks.

JL
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 09:08 PM   #4
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Here's the thing.

An omni lav is usually directional at high frequencies. Try it by hissing into a lav as you turn it.

Why mount upside down? In the case that the lav is an end address mic and not a side address mic, aiming it away from the face of the wearer is a good way to reduce or eliminate popping that occurs when the person speaking is a "down breather." These folks manage to blow air out of their noses or mouths in such a way that it shoots down their chests and into the lav, resulting in popping the mic. There may be some loss of high frequencies, but popping will (should) be reduced.

Side address mics can also be popped, even though the diaphragm doesn't point to the face of the wearer. There, the problem is not solved so easily because there is no "upside down" to get the diaphragm out of the way. You can try to mount the mic in such a way that the diaphragm faces the body instead of outward to the room.

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Ty Ford
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 09:23 PM   #5
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Thanks Ty.

Good to hear from you too! I am guessing when you have talent who are always on camera like news anchors et al, then you can figure what their body functions are and mic accordingly.

But as a general rule would diaphram up be the way to go? Are there any other cosiderations other than breath that would make consider mounting the oposite.

Jonathan
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 02:44 AM   #6
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

After the first explosive pop when somebody coughs or sneezes, you put them on upside down, and never suffer again. This is why the TV people do it. Sound wise the tiny hf lift the 'right' way around is a tint twist on the eq. The other thing is that the cable then goes through the clip, preventing a little mechanical noise through the cable itself. If the cable comes straight down, the clip can only hold the mic body, or the cable in a single place, depending on the design.

I've never used one opening up for years, maybe it's prevented some pops maybe not, but it really doesn't make a difference, so I just do it.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 04:45 AM   #7
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

^^^^ Have to totally agree with you Paul, sometimes people over think things.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 04:49 AM   #8
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Jonathan, quick thought: test with the specific gear you use. I'm very ignorant of all things audio, but it's my belief that some lavs are more directional than others.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 08:44 AM   #9
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Some omni lavs also have a higher frequency response and can benefit from turning them upside down.

Some are already less sensitive to high frequencies and may sound too dull unless pointed "correctly", even though they are omni.

So definitely experiment with the gear you have for best placement of the capsule and routing of the cable loop, etc.

On a side note to omni mics being more directional as the frequency goes up, generally speaking, directional mics become more omni as the frequency goes down. Something to keep in mind no matter what type of mic you are using.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 09:49 AM   #10
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Thanks guys. Yeah, I plan on testing and testing and testing.
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Old April 4th, 2015, 07:00 AM   #11
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
Hi everyone.

I've recently come across some audio how to video that say mounting a lav mic up side down is sometimes preferable to to the "normal" right side (up-ward).

In my dangerously knowledgeable mind, mounting upside down would introduce problems like picking up reflected sound from a table if subject is seated.

What are your thoughts on this?

BTW- I just ordered a A-T899 wired lav for my ever expanding sound kit.

Jonathan
Most of these miniature mics are omni-directional and pick-up equally from all directions.

So, picking up reflected sound from a table, for example, would be the same wherever the mic. is "pointed".

The reason for pointing the mic. down is to eliminate air blasts from the nose as the diaphragm is shielded by the body of the mic.
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Old April 4th, 2015, 08:52 AM   #12
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

Aside from looking a bit odd, there's minimal sound difference with most omni lavaliere mics when positioned upside down. This applies to the typical end-address 'oil can' shaped ones.
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Old April 6th, 2015, 01:39 PM   #13
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

I always go upside down and as most of my BBC work is live to air better to be safe than sorry, some people still need the small pop shield fitted on our stock ECM77B's even though the mic may be upside down.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 11:01 AM   #14
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

I've been watching Foxnews and noticed that the round table conversations have upside down lavs. When in doubt learn from the pros. lol.
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Old April 12th, 2015, 09:23 AM   #15
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Re: Lav mic- Upside down or Rightside up???

I was watching TV the other night and damn! all the mics on the guys were definitely upside down but on the ladies they were sorta sideways clipped on a blouse collar but I never saw any facing upwards.

Now I did a wedding today where the groom was directly under an aircon vent and during quiet periods yes, the lav was spluttering a bit as bursts of air were hitting it .. the moment they moved to do the document signing and away from the vent, it was quiet so IF I had clipped it upside down it probably would have been less noisy.

I'll try it on the next gig for sure!!
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