Different microphone patterns
A microphone is an essential tool for capturing sound, and it comes in various shapes, sizes, and types. One crucial aspect of a microphone is its polar pattern. A microphone's polar pattern describes how the microphone captures sound from different directions. In this article, we will discuss the most common microphone patterns and their applications.
An omnidirectional microphone captures sound equally from all directions. It's an ideal microphone for capturing ambient sounds and for recording group conversations. The sound captured by an omnidirectional microphone is usually more natural and less directional, which makes it an excellent choice for recording sounds in large spaces.
The cardioid pattern is the most common microphone pattern. It captures sound from the front while rejecting sounds from the sides and rear. Cardioid microphones are commonly used for vocals, solo instruments, and podcasting. They're also a popular choice for live sound reinforcement because they reject feedback from the stage monitors.
A supercardioid microphone is similar to a cardioid microphone, but it has a tighter pickup pattern. It captures sound from the front while rejecting sounds from the sides and rear. Supercardioid microphones are commonly used for stage performances because they provide a more focused sound and better rejection of ambient noise.
A hypercardioid microphone is a more directional version of a supercardioid microphone. It captures sound from the front while rejecting sounds from the sides and rear even more effectively than a supercardioid. Hypercardioid microphones are commonly used for film and video production, especially for capturing dialogue.
A bi-directional microphone, also known as a figure-eight microphone, captures sound equally from the front and rear while rejecting sound from the sides. Bi-directional microphones are commonly used for stereo recording, such as in mid-side recording or Blumlein pair stereo recording. They're also useful for capturing sound from two sources facing each other, such as in an interview.
A shotgun microphone is a highly directional microphone that captures sound from a very narrow angle. It's commonly used in film and video production to capture dialogue or sound effects from a distance. Shotgun microphones are also useful for capturing sound in noisy environments because they reject ambient noise effectively.
A boundary microphone, also known as a PZM (Pressure Zone Microphone), is a flat microphone that is placed on a surface. It captures sound from all directions, but it's more sensitive to sound that is close to the surface. Boundary microphones are commonly used for conference calls, meetings, and recording sound from a stage.
In conclusion, choosing the right microphone pattern is crucial to capture the sound you need. Omnidirectional microphones are great for capturing ambient sound, while cardioid and supercardioid microphones are perfect for capturing individual instruments and vocals. Hypercardioid microphones are ideal for dialogue in film and video production, while bi-directional microphones are useful for stereo recording and interviews. Shotgun microphones are perfect for capturing sound from a distance, and boundary microphones are great for recording sound in a specific location. By understanding the different microphone patterns, you'll be able to choose the right microphone for your specific needs and achieve the best results.