How To Fix Mic Bleed in Live Sound
Audio bleed is when an audio from an unwanted sound source leaks into your microphone input. While easily controlled in a studio setting, it’s an especially tricky problem in live environments. Mic bleed impacts the audience’s ability to hear key elements and creates unbalanced sound. In this blog, we’ll go over tips on how to fix mic bleed problems to enhance your sound in live situations.
Know the Ideal Microphone Pickup Pattern
An important thing to know about a microphone is its polar or pick-up pattern, which is the area around the mic where it picks up sound vs. the area it does not. This plays a key role in the sound quality produced. There are four main directional pickup patterns:
Omnidirectional Microphone Pattern
An omnidirectional pattern picks up sound equally from all directions. Omnidirectional mics are bad choices for live sound situations because they pick up sound in all directions around the mic increasing the chance of audio bleed.
A microphone with a bi-directional pattern, or figure-eight pattern, captures sound from both the front and back of the mic. It simultaneously captures the performer and the audience in live settings, making it a poor choice for live events.
Cardioid Mic Pattern
Cardioid microphones are designed to pick up the sound from the front of the mic. They eliminate audio bleed issues by focusing the pickup pattern on the front of the mic and rejecting the noise behind it. These qualities make cardioid mics ideal for live performances.
Super-cardioid patterns have greater directionality than cardioids, and a different pattern for handling rear noise rejection. They’re ideal for isolating desired sound in live settings.
Dynamic vs. Condenser
By design, condenser microphones pick up significantly more bleed and ambient sound in a given space regardless of what pickup pattern they have. With some exceptions, this characteristic of condenser mics is not ideal for live sound. In contrast, dynamic microphones are more directional, have superior rear noise rejection, and reduce or eliminate mic bleed, making them a much more suitable choice for live settings.
Prioritize Microphone Placement
Open microphones in live situations can lead to troublesome audio bleed. To offset this risk, here are some tips on proper mic placement to fix mic bleed issues:
Place Mics Close to Source
Setting your mics close to their intended source reduces the chances of audio bleed and keeps audio levels consistent. Minor adjustments to a mic’s distance to a source can make a huge difference. If performing with an instrument that is being miced, like an acoustic guitar or horn, it’s important to maintain a close, consistent distance from the mic so the volume doesn’t drastically change.
Angle Mics Correctly
How you angle your mic to its source can also impact audio bleed. Angling a mic down toward a source (on-axis) will capture more direct sound from the source and reduce mic bleed. On the other hand, angling a mic slightly off-axis from the source, while sometimes desired for a particular sound, can introduce more bleed from additional sources. Experimenting with your mics on different sources helps you find the right angle and reduce audio bleed.
Worried about audio bleed at your next live show?
Browse our selection of dynamic mics and see how our live sound equipment helps fix mic bleed.
Fix Mic Bleed With Heil’s Selection of Dynamic Mics
Our dynamic microphones are the trusted choice of professionals because they offer high-quality sound with superior rear noise rejection. The mics Heil produces are up to any challenge and consistently deliver exceptional live sound no matter the environment. Some of the more popular mics we offer include:
We designed the PR 37 with the vocalist in mind. It delivers an ultra-clear and transparent sound that easily cuts through any mix, and its innovative frequency response allows vocals of all kinds to shine. The PR 37 has superior rear rejection noise qualities that reduce audio bleed issues, making it the quintessential workhorse microphone for live sound use.
Our PR 35 mic features a smooth frequency response and provides a warm, lush presence for all vocal characteristics. Its floating dynamic element preserves sound when the mic is cupped, and the excellent rear rejection minimizes audio bleed at all volumes.
When looking to reinforce midrange focused instruments, look no further than the PR 30. It excels at preserving the nuances of acoustic instruments, and its condenser-quality features capture overhead drum sound without the issues of stage noise and audio bleed.
The PR 40 is the ideal dynamic microphone for live sound applications. Its wide frequency response delivers articulate sound in any situation, while its natural sound reinforcement maintains an instrument’s natural nuances.
PR 22 UT
Our PR 22 UT dynamic microphone provides live sound reinforcement across all applications. Ideal for snare drums and hi hats, it provides a better frequency response and clarity compared to other mics.
Designed to perfectly capture toms and drums, the PR 28 features a dual suspension element that reinforces a drum’s natural frequency without picking up unwanted vibration. The PR 28 provides excellent sound isolation and eliminates audio bleed from other drums and cymbals.
Stop the Bleeding With Heil Sound
Heil Sound has been providing world-class sound for live stage applications for 55 years. All of our mics feature excellent wide-range frequency responses and superior rear noise rejection that allow vocals and instruments to be heard the way they’re intended. We’re passionate about providing the best and most reliable sound possible. Discover more about Heil Sound today and see how our dynamic mics fix mic bleed issues.