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Microphone Patterns
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Microphone Patterns


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  • 1. Microphone Patterns Mics are defined by their pattern vs their sensitivity.
  • 2. Omni-directional
  • 3. Omni-directional
    • 360 degree spherical pattern
    • Sounds the same from any angle
    • Good for handheld interviewing since mic angle is not critical
    • Good for lavs worn under clothing since mic angles can shift due to clothing & physical pose
  • 4. Cardioid
  • 5. Cardioid
    • Aka Uni-directional
    • Heart shaped?
    • Frontal facing
    • Sound diminishes as we move around the mic
    • Most sensitive in the front, reduced at the side, and almost gone in the back
  • 6. Cardioid
    • Good for reducing feedback & background noise
    • Okay for trained reporters
    • Cardioid lavs often used for live presentations to reduce feedback
    • Cardioid condenser boom mics used to reduce echo in tight interiors
  • 7. Bi-directional
  • 8. Bi-directional
    • Figure 8 shaped
    • Picks up from sides, but not front nor back
    • The sides are merged as MONAURAL, not stereo Left/Right.
    • Cannot control the gain of the two sides independently. Would require 2 cardioid mics to do that!
  • 9. M-S Stereo
    • Mid-Side stereo
    • Allows adjustment of left/right width
    • Achieved by varying mix of a bi-directional mic overlapped by a cardioid mic
    • Bi-directional mic is + on one side and – on the other…
    • Cardioid is + on both sides
    • M+S and M—S yield Left/Right
  • 10. M-S Stereo
    • Stereo effect is created by matrixing the signals from the two mics
    • Very dependent on correct phase relationships. Big trouble if phase is not maintained throughout xfer and mixdown.
    • Requires headphone matrix box to hear stereo in the field.
    • Great tool if you have control over recording, transfer, edit, and final mix. If not, better to use X-Y stereo technique.
  • 11. Hypercardioid
  • 12. Hypercardioid
    • Aka “short shotgun”
    • Very directional
    • Slight pickup at tail 180 degrees
    • Least sensitive 120 degrees
    • Compresses foreground/background, just like a telephoto lens
    • Best when deployed above talent. Talent is on-axis, and background noise is off-axis.
  • 13. Ultra-directional
    • aka “long shotgun”
    • Extremely directional
    • Slight tail
  • 14. About Shotgun Mics
    • Very directional on-axis
    • Less directional as we work around to the sides
    • Least directional 120 degrees off-axis
    • Slight increase in sensitivity at tail
    • May not be flat response off-axis: some freq’s are rejected more than others. Distant, hollow sound
    • Flat off-axis = lower volume, no loss in quality
  • 15. About Shotgun Mics
    • When used horizontally (like a rifle), they pick up talent as well as everything behind talent
    • Horizontal may be okay for sound effects, but rarely for dialogue
    • Generally, tighter pattern = more echo
    • Wider pattern = less echo