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The Power of Proximity: Improve Your Recording With Distance

The-Power-of-Proximity using the proximity effect to improve your audio

When I first started out in recording, I remember instantly going for the bass knob and cranking it up to try and get that huge radio voice sound. It didn’t take long to learn how terrible that technique sounded. Today we’re diving into the proximity effect and how you can use it to get that amazing, rich, radio broadcast sound in your voice recordings.



Proximity Effect

  • A build up of bass and low frequencies that occur when you are close to a dynamic directional — cardioid in this example — microphone
  • Radio broadcasters take advantage of this technique
  • Makes your voice sound HUGE
  • Extra bass presence
  • Distinct radio sound

Shure SM58

  • Dynamic
  • Small Diaphragm
  • Cardioid Microphone


  • 1 Foot
  • 6 Inches
  • Close Mic

Electro Voice RE20

  • Large Diaphragm
  • Dynamic
  • Cardioid Microphone


  • Noticeable room tone at 1 ft
  • Sounded thinner (less bass)
  • Big improvement at 6 in
  • Right on mic created more bass and overall richness
  • Paid to compare the small diaphragm to the large diaphragm
  • Each mic is better equipped for certain jobs
  • RE20 delivered radio sound (more bass and warmth)
  • SM58  sounded more mid-ranged (less bass) but still produced a noticeable proximity effect
  • You can always subtract bass with EQ while editing
  • Displays versatility
  • Little tweaks like bass presence and distance alter our perception of the recoding (so does volume!)
  • To get that big radio sound use a Shure SM7B or an Electro Voice RE20
  • Simply adding bass will not produce the same effect
  • Simulation vs. Reality
  • If you don’t want that radio sound, don’t use those mics
  • Film industry uses Neumann U87 because it provides a natural, and unaltered sound that is great for film.
  • Use the right tool for the job.

Thanks again to everyone for checking out the video. Be sure to take advantage of our newsletter to get 18 royalty free music tracks, and weekly sound effects to use in your projects. The podcast also went live today, so be sure to check that out because it is packed with amazing interviews and epic tips for upping your audio game.

Keep on Learning,

Michael Heuer

Sound Design Academy


Audio Gear Used and Referenced

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