Microphone Polar Patterns

Microphone polar patterns, also known as pickup patterns, refer to the shape and directionality of a microphone's sensitivity to sound. Different polar patterns are better suited for different recording situations and understanding them can help you choose the right microphone for the job.


The most common microphone polar patterns are omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-eight. Omnidirectional microphones have a uniform pickup pattern, meaning they pick up sound equally from all directions. This makes them a good choice for recording a group of people or instruments in a room, as they capture the sound of the entire space.


Cardioid microphones have a heart-shaped pickup pattern, with the most sensitivity at the front of the microphone and less sensitivity at the sides and rear. This makes them a good choice for recording a single source, such as a person speaking or a musical instrument, as they reject sound coming from the sides and rear.


Figure-eight microphones have a bidirectional pickup pattern, with the most sensitivity at the front and rear of the microphone and less sensitivity at the sides. This makes them a good choice for recording two sources that are positioned directly in front of and behind the microphone, such as a conversation between two people.


In general, the best microphone polar pattern for a given situation will depend on the number and positioning of the sound sources, as well as the acoustics of the space. Understanding the different polar patterns can help you make the right choice for your recording needs.

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