The Magic Of 45 Degrees

The Magic Of 45 Degrees

I want to spare you hours of experimenting and only give you techniques that work right away. I‘ve found out that you get a very natural sound from any instrument or voice by pointing the microphone in a 45 degree angle towards it.


Use dynamic microphones on all drums  and point them in a 45 degree angle towards the center of the drum-head. You want to get very close.

In the kick-drum, place the microphone right in  the middle of the drum, in a 45º angle towards the the middle of the beater-head, where the beater hits.

For cymbals use two condenser microphones and point them on either side of the kit, 45º to the high-hat an 45º to the right cymbal.

Acoustic Guitar

Point your microphone of choice, I  typically use a large diaphragm condenser microphone, about half a meter away from your guitar and point the angled mic towards the 12th fret.


Guitar and bass amps have a curved  membrane to start with. The cone, where the highs come from, are further in than the edges, where the bass increases. By positioning a dynamic mic in the middle of the cone but angled 45 degrees towards the edges, the distance of the whole membrane to the mic is the same, resulting in a more even sound. You can get very close here, right at the grill.


With vocals the 45 degrees enfold it’s magic, as all plosives (p,t, k) and s’s land  right in the middle of nowhere and can’t freak the capsule of the microphone out. Therefore, you don’t even need a popp-filter. Position the mic similar to the acoustic guitar, but less distant, (30cm).

A Note On Distance

Air is a good compressor AND equalizer. The more space there is between the voice/instrument the more even will the recording turn out. The volume dynamics will be more consistent and the frequency range more even, especially the decreasing bass built up. The downside is increasing room sound (noise). If your room sounds good and is treated well, that won‘t be a problem. If you have bare walls, you don‘t want the reflections of the room on your recording, so get closer to the mic.

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