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Microphone Month 4

Why Hang a Vocal Mic Upside Down?

Q: In most studio pictures I see, the vocal mic is hanging upside down in front of the vocalist’s mouth. Do engineers do this because it looks cool, or is there a real technical reason for it.

A: Vintage tube microphones were often positioned “upside down” so that rising heat from the tube wouldn’t affect or damage the fragile diaphragm. With today’s mics, this is less of an issue, but most engineers still adhere to this practice.

Another reason is that with the mic hanging above the vocalist from a boom stand, there’s room for a music stand in front of the vocalist. Plus, there’s less chance the vocalist will hit the mic stand with a hand, foot, or other flailing appendage in the heat of a passionate performance.

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